As men and women become closer with each other they tend to experience more emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy occurs when the communication and trust level between two people is so deep that they share their innermost selves. Intimacy tends to grow when we feel we are in a safe, accepting, and caring space with our partners. Many people tend to face emotional intimacy issues when they feel stressed or when they have had a bad day. We need to learn to separate our emotional intimacy from what else has happened throughout our day. The more we control our reactions to what is happening around us, the more control we have over our moods, outlook, and all around behavior.
Relationships are very focused on connection. When we feel connected with our partner we will have an open emotional and intimate relationship. Rather, when we feel abandoned, angry, defensive and attacked we feel emotionally distant from our partner, which tends to cause emotional intimacy issues.
There are various types of emotional intimacy involved in every relationship. Intellectual intimacy is the closeness two people feel when they agree on certain goals they both wish to work towards together. Spiritual intimacy is the shared religious beliefs two people share. Whether they pray together, or discuss spiritual issues together, they share a faith that deepens their intimacy. Recreational intimacy is the time two people spend together being active; for example, taking a walk, going to an event, going biking. Physical intimacy is the touch two people share between each other. Touch communicates love and closeness between one another.
According to Focusonthefamily.com, “True, intimacy can only be developed when we are willing to accept another person just as they are”. We must first make a clear distinction that independent thinking is healthy. It is normal to disagree with your partner, even more so if disagreements are not happening it usually means there is a lack of communication because one person is holding back their thoughts and feelings. The most important part about disagreeing with your partner is communicating that even though you may disagree you love and respect one another, and are willing to listen and accept their thoughts with an open mind and heart.
Ultimately, we seek acceptance, to be admired, and comfort from our partners. To get to that stage of emotional intimacy one needs to expose all aspects of themselves to their partner. Imagine being criticized, or seen as undesirable after exposing these truths? That is when emotional intimacy challenges us the most. In order to get to that comfort zone both people in the relationship must set aside time for each other to spend together. Speak about your fears, your excitements, everything that is on your mind, and this will get you to a place of emotional intimacy. Do not avoid speaking about the issues. When you confront your relationship issues together you create clear communication and unity to work together as a team to overcome these intimate emotional issues.
Dr. John Gottman, a world renowned expert on martial relations and major award winner, explains his method for healthy relationships is based on the idea that, “couples must become better friends, learn to manage conflict, and create ways to support each other’s hopes for the future.” Dr. John & Julie Gottman created the Sound Relationship House, which you can see below. This house gives step by step ideals on how to create open and honest communication and build an intimate relationship with one another.
If you are experiencing severe intimacy issues between you and your partner, and find that your connection has essentially become severed, you may want to consider online couples counseling. A more detailed overview of this can be found here.