Emotional intimacy is a crucial part of any relationship. It allows you to share your feelings and fears with another person, and it creates a sense of trust and safety.
One of the best ways to fix a lack of emotional intimacy is by spending more quality time together. This means turning off the TV, cell phones, and other distractions and just being present.
1. Create a safe space
Emotional intimacy requires a safe space for partners to open up genuinely. It involves being vulnerable and sharing deep thoughts and feelings, fears, hopes, and dreams with each other. It also means being willing to hear what the other person has to say without judging them or attacking them.
This is not an easy thing to do, but there are some things you can do to create a safe space for emotional intimacy. For example, avoid sarcasm, name-calling, and defensive body language. Instead, turn towards your partner when they are talking, use eye contact, make positive facial expressions, and touch them frequently.
If you and your partner are having difficulty establishing emotional intimacy, couples therapy may help. You can find a relationship counselor by filling out a brief questionnaire on BetterHelp and getting matched within 48 hours.
2. Learn to listen
Emotional intimacy is a key element of healthy relationships. When it’s missing, you and your partner may feel disconnected, even if you spend lots of time together.
One way to build emotional intimacy is by listening effectively. This means avoiding judgmental bemusements, such as mentally criticizing what your partner says, or rushing to discount or argue their point. It also helps to maintain eye contact and an attentive posture.
Another way to increase emotional intimacy is by talking openly and honestly about your thoughts and feelings. It can also be helpful to discuss issues you disagree on to boost empathy and understanding. And of course, remembering and praising your partner often can help deepen the connection. These small day-to-day practices can have a big impact on your relationship.
3. Ask for help
Emotional intimacy is a vital component of any relationship, but it can take a backseat to other priorities in life. Some couples may not even be aware that they’re lacking emotional intimacy until it becomes a major issue.
Some people assume that emotional intimacy only refers to physical intimate acts, but it actually encompasses a wide range of qualities, including trust, compassion, communication, and understanding. However, it’s important to note that emotional intimacy is not synonymous with codependency, which involves over-relying on another person and blurring personal boundaries.
If you and your partner are struggling to build emotional intimacy, it might help to seek professional guidance. There are many options available, such as marriage counseling or individual therapy. These professionals can provide a neutral space to address emotional intimacy challenges and teach you tools that can be used in your everyday life.
4. Be vulnerable
Emotional intimacy is a key component of a healthy relationship. It is important to foster this intimacy through open communication, routinely expressing appreciation, and taking the time to be together. It is also important to be vulnerable.
Vulnerability is about opening up and sharing a piece of yourself with someone who you trust, knowing that they will offer the same. It is a risk, but it is a part of loving and being loved.
Many people find that couples therapy or individual counseling can help them learn to be more vulnerable. A therapist can also help you understand your own attachment style and what might be contributing to your lack of emotional intimacy in relationships. This can be a vital step in healing and resolving conflicts.
5. Take time apart
In a relationship, it is easy to lose sight of each other’s needs. Taking time apart can help you rediscover what makes your relationship unique and strengthen your bond.
It can also help you break out of a monotonous routine and experience new things together. In fact, many couples who struggle with emotional intimacy report a greater sense of connection after breaking out of their normal schedule.
Developing mental intimacy involves sharing your thoughts and opinions about different topics. It also requires being open to learning and considering the other person’s views.
However, unloading your problems onto others for pity or to make them feel guilty is not an act of emotional intimacy. In addition, depending on a partner to the point of blurring personal boundaries is not healthy and may be a sign of codependency.
6. Be present
Emotional intimacy is a critical aspect of any relationship. If you aren’t connecting to your partner emotionally, it can make it difficult to communicate with them. This is often a result of busy schedules and lack of time together.
During conversations, listen actively to each other’s feelings and opinions. Try to avoid distractions like work emails, video games, and social media. Spend time talking to each other and looking at them with affection.
Focus on the positives in each other and remember what it was that initially attracted you to them. It’s also a good idea to find ways to be physically intimate again, like light caresses or soft hugs. Good things take time, so be patient with yourself and your partner. Consider couples counseling if you need additional support.
7. Take care of yourself
A lack of emotional intimacy can be tough to overcome. But if you want to keep your relationship healthy, it’s important that you and your partner work on the emotional connection. This means talking openly about issues, building trust, communicating clearly, and showing empathy and acceptance for one another.
Taking care of yourself can be as simple as scheduling regular alone time or going on a date. It can also be as big as volunteering with your partner or surprising them by doing something they love.
Just be careful not to confuse emotional intimacy with unhealthy behaviors, like one-sided relationships or trauma bonding (a form of codependency). These are both dangerous and damaging. Emotional intimacy is a beautiful part of any healthy relationship. It just takes practice and patience to build.