8 Best Ways To Build Emotional Intimacy In A Relationship

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Emotional intimacy in relationships isn’t about physical attraction or sexual intimacy. Instead, it’s about healthy emotional bonding where you share positive emotions, such as love and affection, with your partner.

When you are emotionally intimate with your partner, you trust each other and feel secure. You understand each other’s dreams, hopes, and aspirations, connecting at a deeper level. Attaining such emotional intimacy doesn’t happen in days or weeks but takes persistent and perseverant efforts from both sides.

There can be several instances in life when your connection might dwindle, but the trick is to hold strong and rework on loose ends together. Remember, love can survive when you have emotional intimacy, else whether it’s a relationship or marriage, indifference sets in and shake its foundations. Read this post to learn some tips to help you rebuild or rekindle emotional intimacy with your partner and make your relationship or marriage more blissful.

What Is Emotional Intimacy In A Relationship?

Emotional intimacy entails closeness, trusting, and caring to each other. It is being yourself around your partner and sharing an emotionally deep connection or emotional closeness with them. It means you can share anything under the sun — your deepest thoughts, painful feelings, and most genuine of emotions — with them. In short, emotional intimacy is that type of intimacy wherein you agree that your partner is your confidante or your true secret keeper, someone with whom you share everything without inhibitions.

Signs That Emotional Intimacy Is Lacking

Before we discuss how to build emotional intimacy, let us learn a few tell-tale signs of a lack of emotional intimacy in a relationship.

1. Either of you feels distant

This can happen even in a relationship that is a few years old. It typically begins with bouts of silent treatment from either partner. You don’t feel like they are interested in knowing about your daily life, you talk much less than before, and you spend much less quality time together.

2. You feel like you’re doing more than them

You may feel like you’re the only one doing the talking or putting in the effort to keep your relationship alive. There’s very little contribution from your partner, and there’s no such thing as reciprocation. Sometimes, you may feel like you’re talking to a wall.

3. There’s no display of affection outside your bedroom

Being affectionately physical with each other brings about a certain sense of comfort. This should come naturally in a relationship. If this is not happening as often as before, or you feel like your partner avoids physical intimacy, there’s a problem.

4. You have trouble listening to each other

It is common to share thoughts and feelings. But what’s the point if you and your partner aren’t listening to each other? When you both do not listen to each other, it’s a sign there’s trouble in paradise and a lack of emotional intimacy.

5. You have stopped asking each other for advice

When you’re in a relationship, you and your partner should support one another no matter what. If you’re unable to reach out to your partner in times of need, maybe you lack the security and emotional intimacy. If you’re secure, you can ask your partner for anything under the sun, and they will support you. Try to open up and then see how things unfold.

How To Build Emotional Intimacy?

Emotional intimacy is something that you both must create together. You need to make a safe spot for your partner to feel vulnerable around you and share their deepest fears and thoughts with you.

Here are a few tips that you could consider.

1. Listen more, judge less

If your partner is feeling low or is bothered by something at work, have them talk about it. Spend quality time with each other to rebuild your intimate relationship. After all, isn’t that why you both fell in love in the first place? You shared each other’s woes, didn’t you? Be watchful of how you react to these sessions with your partner. Do not judge and ever make it about you.

If your partner had a bad day, don’t say something loose, such as, “I’ve had a worse one,” or anything along those lines. Let them vent, and if you really must, offer constructive comments, such as “I understand,” “I’m here to support you through this,” or “You’ve got this.”

2. Cut the small talk and dig deeper

Ask yourself whether you and your partner indulge in small talk often. If the answer is yes, you must change this immediately — small talk is a collective term for those boring conversations you have with someone you just met. When talking to your partner, remember to give them your complete attention and dig deeper into their interests.

Your emotional investment in your partner is of utmost importance. Whether it is a new job or responsibility at work or just something different they have recently started doing, let them share more about it with you. Remember to make eye contact or nod occasionally to assure them you are interested in knowing more.

3. Create a gratitude list

You live in a world where a lot of negativity surrounds you, whether it is the news you read or the social media updates you are fed constantly. This may inevitably influence your mind and habituate you only to notice the negatives or flaws in your partner or spouse. As a result, you may forget to appreciate them for the good things they do. Do not fret, for there is a potential solution to this.

You should both sit down and create a gratitude list in which you note down the good things about each other. This list should include the smallest of things you both like about each other. Appreciation goes a long way in bridging the gaps created by the mundanities of everyday life as you grow old together.

4. Take care of yourself

Only when you are happy will you be able to keep your partner happy and do justice to your relationship. That is why self-care should be of paramount importance to you. Never forget your individual goals while making your relationship work. When you both work on yourselves, you emerge stronger as a couple.

5. Change your perspective by changing the view

One of the easiest and most effective ways to tackle intimacy issues is to change your daily lives by making quick changes within your home. Rearrange the furniture or spruce up your room by adding some happy colors in your furnishings or changing the drapes, your foot rugs, or linen. Add a throw on your couch in the living room, or put up some bright frames and paintings in the hallway. A change of scenario can also prove to be a refresher and bring back that tender, loving care.

6. Innovate and create together

As human beings, we are programmed to keep innovating and changing for the better. You must treat your relationship in the same way. For starters, indulge in a couple of activities you both enjoy. You could join that pottery workshop you’ve been talking about for a while now, read books to each other, or take salsa lessons together. Learning something new is psychologically proven to do you good in terms of your mental well-being. A happy mind means a healthy relationship!

7. Give the devices a break

Digital devices have become an essential part of your lives, especially when it comes to work. Even at home, you may be dependent on a range of interactive electronic devices. But if you want to save your relationship and bring that loving bond you both shared, you must give the devices a break. Turn off the television or the gaming console, and put your phone or tablet on silent. Give each other all the time you have. Make it a regular practice and see the positive turn your romantic relationship takes.

8. Give your partner daily affirmations and compliments

No matter how many years you’ve spent with your partner, you may tend to forget to express how you feel about them and easily take their positive attributes for granted.

Sometimes, giving your partner or spouse compliments helps them know how much you care about them, and at the same time, reminds you of why they are extra special to you.

It’s not only the grand gestures that count, but even simple things such as saying “I love you,” sending them a cute love quote, or surprising them with something endearing could do the trick.

Emotional intimacy in a relationship allows partners to share positive feelings like love, trust, and security. Such emotional intimacy does not develop over days or weeks but rather requires consistent and continuous efforts on both sides. However, you may occasionally feel a lack of emotional intimacy, particularly in long-term relationships and marriages. If you’re feeling distant from your romantic partner, remember that it’s not the end. With determination and the desire to make it work against all odds, just as you promised, the magic of intimacy in your relationship can be rekindled.

Key Pointers

  • Establishing an emotional intimacy is important to understand your partner’s feelings better.
  • Feeling distant from each other and not showing affection are signs of an absence of emotional intimacy.
  • Changing your perspective, doing activities together, and a few other tips to help improve emotional intimacy.

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Dr. Carlos Juan Carmona-Goyena

(PhD (Counseling Psychology))
Dr. Carlos Juan Carmona-Goyena is a board licensed therapist in the USA and Puerto Rico with a specialty in couples, families, and relationships. Dr. Carlos possesses a PhD in Counseling Psychology granted at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. His two-decade professional experience also includes scientific research in family emotional and relational processes and its effect on psychological functioning. Dr.... more

Ratika Pai

Ratika has experience writing in various fields including finance, education, lifestyle, and entertainment. After her masters degree in Commerce, she acquired a PG Diploma in Communication and Journalism from Mumbai University. She is inquisitive about human relationships and likes to study people and how they manage their relationships, during her freetime. At MomJunction, Ratika writes insightful and informative articles on... more