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Relationships

Building Intimacy: How to Get and Give More of it?

Everyone has something to learn about achieving intimacy in their relationships.

Without intimacy, there is no meaningful togetherness.

Intimacy has many facets: physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional.

Improving intimacy in one area will improve other areas of intimacy, too. But the reverse is also true. One weak area can weaken other areas.

Today, you’ll learn new skills to help you deepen intimacy in your relationship.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Most people view intimacy as a given – something that automatically happens as you get to know someone and share time with them.

While this might seem to be the case, especially at the beginning of a relationship, the truth is rich, meaningful intimacy doesn’t just happen, it must be cultivated.

What Is Intimacy?

When people think of intimacy they usually think about having sex or maybe a very personal discussion.

But intimacy has many facets.

An intimate encounter possesses three qualities: connecting, caring, and sharing.

  • Connecting. Be it through a physical interaction or an emotional connection when the person away.
  • Caring. It can involve feelings of love, compassion, or any other very positive feeling.
  • Sharing. This means that the connection is mutual rather than one-sided.

Related: How to Get More Affection from Your Relationships?

Intimacy Misconceptions

1. Liking Is The Same As Caring

A relationship might only be for the purpose of pleasure. One or both people may like the other person and still not care about them.

2. An Intimate Moment Must Involve Intense Feelings

An intimate moment, such as an embrace or a quality time together, may involve intense feelings or not.

3. Genuine Intimacy Requires Commitment

While intimacy does not require commitment, commitment can deepen love and intimacy.

4. Intimacy Can Be One-Sided

If you share too much, too soon, the other person might not care enough or won’t reveal as much about themselves.

6 Signs of Healthy Intimacy In a Relationship

  1. You think lovingly and positively about your partner throughout the day.
  2. You remember when your partner has a special meeting and always ask about it later.
  3. If you disagree with your partner, you can always talk it out and reach a middle ground.
  4. You look forward to time alone together.
  5. You don’t feel threatened by your partner’s outside interests.
  6. You show affection to each other throughout the day.

How to Build Intimacy With Your Partner?

#1. See Intimacy As The Main Goal Rather Than a By-product

Most people believe that if they improve their communication skills, they can achieve intimacy and stop arguing.

While communication skills may improve intimacy, the main reason why people fight is usually because their intimacy is low.

Without working on your intimacy as a main goal, lasting change probably wouldn’t happen.

#2. Make The Decision to Increase Your Intimacy

If you’re not sure you want to spend the time and energy it takes for you to increase your intimacy, make a short list of the things you feel you are losing by being more intimate.

Does increasing intimacy mean you’re losing money? Time alone? Time with friends?

Then make a list of the things you’ll gain by increasing intimacy.

Rate each item and ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”

#3. Commit to Increase Your Intimacy

You can commit alone or make it an agreement between you and your partner to increase your intimacy.

This agreement may include:

  • I will commit to doing at least one activity a day to increase intimacy
  • I will focus on what I need to do to increase intimacy, rather than on what my partner needs to do.
  • I will make sure routine and events don’t interfere with intimacy.

Place the paper or index card where you can see it.

#4. Increase Intimacy Through Talk

Increasing your intimacy through talk can be one of the most profound and fulfilling types of intimacy, yet it is also the weakest part of most relationships.

Even if you think you’re too busy to sit down and have an intimate talk, try “pillow talk.”

It can last just a few minutes but still be special.

During conflicts, usually, one partner would attack and the other would withdraw, then blame each other for their inability to communicate.

If you find yourself getting defensive or withdrawing, stop yourself and take responsibility for your own side of the discussion.

#5. Increase Intimacy Through Touch

Physical touch is important to build and sustain intimacy.

However, physical connection alone is not enough to build true intimacy.

In fact, it is rare for couples who are unhappy together to enjoy great sex life.

#6. Intimacy Through Togetherness

Many couples claim that they’re “too busy to spend time together.”

The truth is, even when two people care deeply about one another, without the opportunity to connect on a regular basis, intimacy will be stifled.

#7. Become a Better Listener

If you tend to offer a lot of advice when someone shares something with you, consider if this is what the person has come to you for.

Oftentimes, people are not looking for solutions, but are simply looking for a compassionate ear. Most people need to feel heard and validated.

Refrain from giving advice when the person doesn’t directly ask for one and focus on listening and understanding the person’s perspective more.

Related: The Art of Validation: How to Comfort and Support Someone Without Giving Advice?

#8. Maintain a Balance

Intimacy without balance between togetherness and separateness is not healthy intimacy.

Too much togetherness and little separateness can lead to losing your sense of self and control and there is no intimacy if you have no self for the other person to be intimate with.

In this case, take the time to develop a new hobby or interest you’re passionate about.

Too much separateness and little togetherness can lead to losing your sense of union.

In this case, try cutting back on less important interests and spend that time with your partner.

#9. Be Aware of These Intimacy Obstacles

Some of the most common obstacles for intimacy include:

  • Contempt
  • Retaliation
  • Unreliability

Contempt

Nothing can kill intimacy like contempt.

Agree to stop speaking to each other in a contemptuous way, including treating each other with disrespect, sarcasm, and mocking each other.

Replace contempt with praise and admiration. End every conversation with something praiseworthy to say aloud to your partner.

Retaliation

Most people use retaliation to get their partner to see and understand their pain and respond with compassion. This is understandable but not useful.

Retaliation will only lead to resentment.

When feeling hurt, instead of retaliating, express your hurt over what has been done or said, and request some time off to think things over and calm down before you discuss the matter.

Unreliability

Many people believe that being trustworthy is only about being faithful and monogamous, but trustworthiness goes beyond sexual fidelity.

Not keeping your promises or not fulfilling your responsibilities may hinder your intimacy. This includes:

  • Irresponsibility with money
  • Inability to maintain a job
  • Forgetfulness
  • Thoughtlessness, such as failing to call when you’re running late
  • Recreational overuse of alcohol, drugs or other addictions

#10. Learn the Language of Emotions

In order to increase intimacy in your relationship, you need to first increase intimacy with yourself.

In other words, you need to learn how to listen to and manage your own emotions.

1. Check In With Your Feelings

Through your day, take a pause for a few minutes to ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now, this second?”

The following are the 7 primary emotions:

  • Joy
  • Pain
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Love

For example, as you leave work, you may find yourself feeling excitement that you are going to see your kids, or you may feel anger that your boss kept you overtime.

2. Journal Your Feelings

At the end of each day, take a few minutes to journal.

Simply ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?”

You may start by identifying physical sensations, such as tightness in your chest. Then see if there are any thoughts or emotions attached to the sensation.

#11. Consider the Fact That We All Marry Our Unfinished Business

When choosing our partners, we tend to choose our mothers or fathers.

Consciously you’re thinking this person is different, but unconsciously you think this person feels familiar.

You find that every hurt and anger you’ve ever carried inside is brought up in the relationship again and again. The deeper our early pain, the more we are triggered.

Why Do You Re-create Your Own Family?

Mostly because they are what we know and what feels familiar.

But also it’s an attempt to control a situation that was once out of our control.

Are We Doomed to Keep Repeating the Same Patterns?

Not if you heal your pain.

A good relationship is not one in which your pain is avoided, a good relationship is one in which you face and handle your pain and heal it.

The good news is you don’t have to change your partner. You can use your relationship to heal your wounds and change yourself.

25 Easy and Simple Romantic Ideas to Try With Your Lover

  1. Look your partner in the eyes and say, “I love you.”
  2. Call each other once a day from work just to say “I love you,” or, “I miss you.”
  3. Kiss each other first thing every morning and last thing every night.
  4. Brush each other’s hair.
  5. Make love in broad daylight.
  6. Get in the hot tub.
  7. Give each other massage using massage oil or baby oil.
  8. Feed each other breakfast.
  9. Hold hands wherever you go.
  10. Make up new loving nicknames for each other.
  11. Frame both your baby pictures together.
  12. Take some time to talk about things you haven’t discussed in awhile.
  13. Take turns revealing secrets and things about yourselves
  14. Interview each other with ten questions about your pasts, preferences, and experiences.
  15. Make resolutions together to improve your life and your relationships.
  16. Tell your partner a bedtime story.
  17. Choose a book that you read together and discuss later.
  18. Do a jigsaw, crossword, or sudoku puzzle together.
  19. Make a list of the ten things you love most about each other.
  20. Leave a sweet note in his suitcase.
  21. Leave a rose on the car seat.
  22. Redecorate your house together.
  23. Cook something together.
  24. Learn how to make your lover’s favorite dish and surprise her.
  25. Look—no, gaze—into each other’s eyes more often.

Image Credit: www.freepik.com

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Building Intimacy How to Get and Give More of it

References

  • Portions of this article were adapted from the book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Intimacy, © 2005 by Dr. Paul Coleman. All rights reserved.
  • Portions of this article were adapted from the book The New Rules of Marriage, © 2007 by Terrence Real. All rights reserved.

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