How to develop intimacy in a relationship

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

How important is intimacy

In my previous article How to develop intimacy with friends i explained how lack of intimacy between friends can lead to feelings of loneliness. Lack of intimacy in romantic relationships can't just lead to loneliness but it can also lead to relationship dissatisfaction and eventually breakups.

So many relationship partners feel disconnected even though they live in the same place and spend a lot of time together and the reason this happens is the absence of intimacy.

Intimacy helps people feel connected, makes them believe they share many common things and strengthens their bond. When couples complain about their relationships the first thing a person should look at is the level of intimacy between them for intimacy goes hand in hand with relationship satisfaction.

How to develop intimacy in a relationship

So how can you strengthen the bond between you and your relationship partner?
Here are some of the best things you can do to achieve that goal.

  • 1) Discuss your problems, fears and thoughts: When you keep your thoughts, fears and concerns to yourself you will feel disconnected from your partner as you will realize that you don't share the same life. When you talk to your partner about the things that concern you then you will feel much more connected (See dealing with loneliness)
  • 2) Don't discuss a problem with friends without telling your partner: Many people do the mistake of discussing their problems with their friends without sharing them with their partners and the result is feeling more connected to their friends than to their partners. This habit can kill intimacy
  • 3) Find common grounds: If you don't do some activities together , even if that was watching a movie that you both enjoy, then you will feel disconnected. Intimacy can happen faster when people believe they have many similarities in common and if you kept doing things together then the bond between you both will become stronger
  • 4) Don't live separate lives: Many people do the mistake of living separate lives even though they live together. When each person has his own life, problems, friends and hobbies then very few intersections can happen and intimacy can be broken. I am not asking you not to have your own life but you need to make sure that there are so many intersection points so that intimacy stays strong (See How to make my husband love me more)
  • 5) Your partner needs to know this: The process of building intimacy requires the cooperation of both of you. It's very hard to build intimacy if only one partner was trying to do it. This is why it's very important to let your partner know the importance of intimacy and how it can affect your relationship together so that you can both work on the same goal

Fear of intimacy

Many people fail to develop intimacy in relationships because they are too afraid. A man for example can fear to share his emotions or problems with his wife not to appear weak. A woman can fear to share her concerns with her man because she might not want him to think that she is needy.

Anxiety contributes to lack of intimacy as well. A person can feel anxious if he felt that he is about to expose his thoughts to others or to his relationship partner.

If you have such fears then you need to understand that by giving in to that fear you will be risking your relationship and increasing the like-hood of a breakup.

Long distance relationships can kill intimacy

Long distance relationships can badly hurt intimacy since both partners rarely see each other.

The best thing you can do if you are in a long distance relationship is to always keep updating your partner about your life and getting updates about his. This means that you should have a powerful communication channel , preferably video chat, that you use everyday to stay updated with your partner's life.

If you ignored this advice then each of you might feel like he is drifting away and losing the connection. This can ultimately lead to a breakup.

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