This is the second installment in a 2-part article series on creating more intimacy and passion in your relationship. In Part 1, you learned about the developmental stages that gay couples go through in their relationships and how declining passion is a normal phenomenon and indication that your partnership is growing and maturing. You also had the opportunity to complete a self-assessment to uncover any blocks that could stand in the way of your having more passion in your relationship. Part 2 will now offer some practical tips and suggestions for enhancing intimacy in your relationship to bring more life and spice to what you and your partner already share.
An important first-step in bringing more novelty and excitement into your relationship is to lay the foundation for intimacy. Gay men can often confuse sex with intimacy. While sex certainly is important and has its place in fostering connection with your partner, there is much more that goes into cementing a sense of closeness with each other. Sex is just part of the recipe for intimacy; there are deeper, core ingredients that must be present for a relationship to be maintained in the long-term. Intimacy is a process that develops over time. It's the ability to risk being vulnerable with your lover, to share yourself openly and to reciprocally meet each other's needs while respecting each other's differences. It's about making your relationship a private haven from the world for comfort and security, a place where you can be uninhibited and free to be yourself.
Here are some tips for promoting more intimacy in your relationship and creating a foundation from which all your interactions and inner-feelings can grow.
1. Create the Backdrop:Trust. Respect. Acceptance. Honesty. Friendship. These traits are crucial for relationship success; nothing else matters without these. The ability to feel passionate can only come from an atmosphere where the two partners feel a sense of safety with each other.
2. Communication Is Key: Learn how to talk to each other "the right way", fine-tune your listening skills, appreciate the differences between the two of you and become adept at validating each other. Become pros at the art of negotiation and conflict management.
3. Squash the Anger: Nothing contaminates a relationship faster than bitterness and resentment. Learn how to identify and express your needs and feelings directly and don't stuff anything. Create a tone in your relationship where you each can feel comfortable approaching each other and talk about your needs, wishes, opinions, dreams, and feelings.
4. Be Fully Present: Make your relationship a priority and recognize the fact that effort is required to keep it growing and satisfying. Look at your relationship with conscious intent and be attentive to it and each other. Never take each other for granted.