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6 Tips to Increase Emotional Intimacy in Relationships

6 Tips to Increase Emotional Intimacy in Relationships

Many of us have been there – that stage of a relationship where everything stops being new and exciting and you feel like you are in a rut. It might be after a few years, or only after a few weeks, but a lack of emotional intimacy should not automatically mean the end of a relationship. It happens to nearly all couples, and it just means that a bit more effort is required for both partners. So if you have found that although you still love your partner, that there is just a lack of intimacy, then follow these 6 steps to bring it back the love. Do it for yourself and for the sake of your relationship, which is worth saving.

Where has the love gone?

Do not get a lack of emotional intimacy confused with a lack of love. Two people can love each other very much and just lose the ability to show it. If you want to increase emotional intimacy then this is a sign that you do in fact love your partner, otherwise it would just be easier to break up and find someone else who excites some passions in you. So the important thing is not to question the love of your partner. A lack of emotional intimacy could just be a case of you or your partner not knowing how to show affection or intimacy rather than not feeling it. Emotional intimacy is important for a long lasting, healthy relationship so you should follow these steps to get you and your partner into the relationship that you both want and deserve.

Determine a cause

Often there is a reason for the lack of intimacy in a relationship. It is dangerous to let yourself think that the relationship has run its course and it is the end of that. Rather, think about when the intimacy started fading. Is it you or your partner or both who are lacking intimacy? You may be surprised to learn that it is in fact you who has subconsciously pulled away for whatever reason and you could be unfairly pinning this on your partner. Or the opposite. Could it have been a new job or a stressful situation? A major life change? Once you pinpoint an approximate cause then you can start working on reversing it and bringing back the affection.

Deal with any issues head on

This step may require the help of a professional, depending on the issue and how serious they are. If you have determined a cause as to the lack of emotional intimacy in the first step, then it is important to not shrug it off or ignore it. This is where good communication between you and your partner is critical. Do not sugar-coat any issues – talk them through, and make it clear that you are trying to make things better and not just stirring up the past for no reason. Resorting to the silent treatment is the single worst thing that you can do in a relationship, and by talking and resolving things person, you will build trust and an emotional connection that will get harder and harder to break as time goes on.

Work on the physical intimacy

It is important to distinguish between physical intimacy (hugging and sleeping together) and emotional intimacy. There can be plenty of the physical side while the emotions needed for a healthy relationship might be lacking. However, the physical intimacy is still very important, and sometimes needs to be worked on before the emotional intimacy can return. Make sure you make time to be close to each other, touch each other (even if it is just hold hands), and stop kissing like you kiss your family. This can be harder for those separated by distance, in this case make time to video call so you can physically see your partner, rather than just listen to their voice.   

Get some alone time

Ensuring that you get some alone time is very important for bringing some emotional intimacy back into your lives. If you have a large family or find yourself spending a lot of time apart for work or other commitments, then it can be easy to drift apart emotionally. While it is true that your work and family is important, you need to make your partner number one. Make a conscious effort to spend time alone, without the worry of what other people are doing, and try to leave the stresses of your outside life outside. Focus on your partner and let your feelings surface.

Don’t try too hard

This is important because putting too much expectation on your partner and on yourself is a sure-fire way to set yourself up for failure. You may decide that you will increase emotional intimacy immediately and expect everything to go back to the way it used to be within a few days. And when it doesn’t, the disappointment can lead to the end of the relationship. So do not try too hard too soon, and let it take its natural course. Healthy emotional attachment is not created in a day. These things take time and by putting too much pressure on yourself and your partner, you will be just making things harder. Take baby steps.

Be able to trust and be trusted

One sign of an emotionally healthy relationship is that both parties can trust each other explicitly. The trust needs to be mutual, and the lines of communication need to be wide open, and two way. If there is a breakdown of trust, the first thing to suffer is emotional intimacy. You may not even realize that you have stopped trusting, and that your partner has stopped trusting you. Talk to each other and make sure it is in a safe environment where you can both be open with each other. When you start trusting and believing in each other, you will find that the intimacy will return.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.