Ways to Develop Emotional Intimacy

Darryl Bachmeier
Jul 11, 2020

Humans are social beings. No one wants to wide up an old, lonely, and an abandoned building in the farthest corner of a dark street. That’s why we struggle to build relationships. That’s why we seek a soul we can connect with and share our lives. That’s why we search for someone who helps bring out the best in us. However, a loving relationship only lasts where intimacy is involved.

When the relationship is new, and the couple is young, they make love a lot; hence sexual intimacy blossoms. However, as time passes by, things can take a dramatic turn. From caring for their young children to dealing with aging, sickly parents, building careers, to running a home and finances, sex takes a back seat.

That’s when most couples will begin complaining about missing intimacy in their relationship. Most people think that intimacy is synonymous with sex, but that is not the case. There are many types of intimacy in a relationship. Let’s see what they are one by one.

Types of Intimacy

Physical intimacy

It involves an open display of affection and love towards one another by physically touching one another. In a romantic relationship, it involves

  • Hugging
  • Kissing
  • Cuddling
  • Holding hands

Physical intimacy is all about closeness and touch between bodies. Your relationship does not have to be romantic or sexual to enjoy physical intimacy. You can give your friend a warm tight hug to show physical intimacy.

You can have sex with somebody and never experience emotional intimacy. For instance, friends with benefits, one-night stands, and having random sex with strangers are loveless sexual encounters with not even an ounce of intimacy involved. The above gestures go a long way in showing your partner that you love them and want to be close to them.

Spiritual intimacy

Spiritual intimacy not only connects a couple at a deeper level but also enables them to deal with life’s twists and turns. Is your partner a believer, and you are an atheist? Or do you both believe in God? If you do not share the same faith, you’ll have problems handling life’s crises.

Intellectual intimacy

It’s about sharing your skill, thoughts, and ideas. It also includes sharing fears, dreams, and past experiences. When people share these things, it shows that you are trusting one another with your secrets. When couples are intellectually intimate, they share, debate, argue, and understand different views without taking different views personally.

Sexual intimacy

Sexual intimacy is when you have sexual relations with someone you feel intimate with. People talk more about this type of intimacy and forget about the other types of intimacy, which are crucial for a long-lasting relationship.

Couples should derive pleasure from having sex rather than having sex just for the sake of it. It’s important to build on all other types of intimacy to guarantee the longevity of a happy relationship.

Other types of intimacy are

  • Aesthetic(experiential)
  • Social (recreational) intimacy
  • Emotional Intimacy We’ll focus more on emotional intimacy.

What’s emotional Intimacy?

Emotional intimacy is letting yourself be vulnerable with one another. When you are emotionally intimate with another person, you freely share your feelings, knowing that the other person will not make fun of you, judge, or criticize you negatively. In other words, you bring all your walls down and let your partner see you for who you are.

You allow the other person to see the good, the bad, and the ugly side of you. You feel understood and accepted as you are. You do not have to fake anything. You do not have to struggle to impress anyone, no matter what.

You openly share your thoughts and your true feelings, knowing you’ll not be shut down. You walk together through life side by side without trying to own or overwhelm each other. You do not have to give up anything to please the other person.

You achieve emotional intimacy by becoming close to somebody and ensuring that you are accepted and loved just as you are. Kids effortlessly develop emotional intimacy with peers, parents, and siblings. Adults seek intimacy/ fondness from their partners, other adults, family, and friends.

How to Develop Emotional Intimacy

When you are emotionally intimate with someone, it means you deeply know that person, and he/ she knows you as well. It means trusting and loving each other to the point of taking a bullet for one another. It means that you have each other’s back and that you can trust the other person to act in your best interest at heart even in your absence.

Emotional intimacy is the one that makes a marriage last till death snatches a partner.

Building emotional intimacy does not happen overnight. It takes years of patience, forgiveness, and willingness to learn to be emotionally intimate with a person you care about. The good news is that you can learn and perfect the art of being emotionally intimate with a person you love.

Here’s how to be emotionally intimate with your partner.

How to Build Emotional Intimacy

Offering both Moral and Material Support

Life is difficult. With its twists and turns, you can never tell what will happen next. But having a supportive partner makes everything you experience bearable. We all need a shoulder to lean on from time to time.

When your partner is going through a rough patch in life, be there for him/ her. Show that you care about what they are going through and that you have their best interest at heart. Let them know that you are in their corner.

Listen to what they are saying and help where you can. Sometimes, helping and listening is all that a person needs to beat the odds they are facing.

Practicing non-judgmental Listening

Have you ever spoken to someone, but before you even finished what you said, the person had already formed an opinion and a sulking attitude? It sucks! Nonetheless, listening to your partner when speaking to you can strengthen your emotional intimacy bond.

You can show you are listening to your partner by:

  • Occasionally nodding
  • Smiling and using other facial expressions.
  • Ensuring that your posture is open and showing interest
  • Encouraging the speaker to continue talking by making verbal comments such as “uhh and yes.”
  • Maintaining eye contact
  • Leaving some room for silence to encourage your partner to share more deeply.

Non-judgmental listening is a muscle that requires to be exercised. Have patience as you learn to develop it.

Be Grateful for Everything your partner does for You

Show gratitude and say so for everything your partner does for you. Appreciate the small things because they are the ones that make the difference. Appreciate the little things that most people take for granted. And do away with an entitlement attitude.

Try saying thank you to your better half if they remembered to buy cooking oil. Small gestures are acts of caring, and if you acknowledge them, they remind you how deeply entrenched your connection is.

Final Thoughts

Lacking emotional, sexual, or physical intimacy is a normal challenge in some romantic relationships. For instance, you may find it challenging to confide or connect with your partner like you used to do, even after spending a lot of time together.

However, developing emotional intimacy does not have to include big changes. All types of intimacy matter a lot in every relationship, so it’s important to cultivate them. Try out the above practices daily to revitalize your love, and you’ll feel closer than ever.

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