In a society where short attention spans and instant gratification are the norm, people want and expect intimacy to happen quickly. This results in:
- Having sex early on and being disappointed when things don't turn into a relationship.
- Texting each other instead of having conversations in person or on the phone.
- Sharing too much information too soon, which scares the other person away.
- Hanging out and hooking up instead of getting to truly know someone.
True intimacy can't happen in the abovementioned situations. In these situations, a woman may confuse the illusion of intimacy with real intimacy. True intimacy is built on multiple levels, which I will explain in more detail. But first, let's look at things that prevent you from being intimate with your partner.
What Keeps Intimacy Away
Intimacy only happens in the present moment. These examples keep intimacy away because you are unintentionally continuing patterns from the past (i.e. taking past experiences and projecting them onto your present situation), being concerned with your future (i.e. worrying about something that may or may not happen) or not being present. If you are doing any of the things in the list below, you are preventing your relationship from becoming intimate.
- You are afraid to let him know how you really feel and what you are thinking. Instead, you keep waiting for your partner to prove he cares for you
- You feel separate from your partner (i.e. you feel as though he would never understand what is bothering you).
- You carry pain and baggage from past relationships.
- You share more on social media than you do with him.
- You judge yourself instead of loving yourself.
- You overthink things.
- You hide aspects of yourself because you're trying to be perfect or want to appear a certain way that you think he wants.
- You constantly feel worried, ashamed, or resentful.
- You blame or judge your partner.
- You want your partner to change.
- You are so caught up in the daily grind of life that you have lost sight of what matters most — your relationship.
Lack of intimacy is a reason why so many people are unfulfilled in their relationships. It's why affairs, separation and divorce happen. The good news is you can positively affect the level of intimacy you have with your partner. If you want more intimacy with your partner, here are 11 practices to build a deeper, more meaningful connection.
How to Build Intimacy
Intimacy is built on multiple levels — emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, etc. The more connected you are on different levels, the more deeply you and your partner will feel about each other. Start experiencing a deeper connection with your partner and a more intimate relationship with these practices.
- Accept and be your complete self. Intimacy happens when you are being your complete self — the good and self-perceived bad. Accept and embrace all of who you are. When you accept your self-perceived flaws, your partner will be accepting of them as well. He will also feel more comfortable being his complete self. The parts that you try to hide from each other may very well be the parts that bring you closer.
- Be present. The more present you are with your partner, the more intimate your relationship will be. If you are present, you will feel relaxed and open. If you feel tense, stressed or constricted, taking some deep breaths will help center yourself and bring your focus to the present. Notice that things are fine in the present moment. Thoughts that consume you will keep you from being present. Become aware of these thoughts and observe them with curiosity and without judgment. The more you practice observing your thoughts in this manner, the better you will get at letting go of your anxieties. You will be able to be more present without these thoughts consuming you.
- See your partner through fresh eyes. The longer you are with your partner, the easier it is to focus on the things that bother you about him. Going down this slippery slope is a sure way to derail intimacy. Instead, focus on his great qualities, the things that attracted you to him and kept your interest. This will foster a deeper sense of intimacy because he will feel appreciated, respected and loved.
- Listen openly without judgment to your partner. When you listen to your partner without judging him, you create a safe space for him to open up about his feelings and thoughts. The more open he feels, the more he will share. If you disagree with what he is saying, instead of telling him he is wrong and you're right, be more neutral by saying something like, "I can appreciate your perspective. We just happen to see this differently and it's okay."
- Be vulnerable. Vulnerability can be scary because it can mean opening yourself up to the possibility of getting hurt. And if you associate being vulnerable with being weak, you may try to keep your emotions in check. Being vulnerable is actually courageous because it requires getting past the hurt to once again open up your heart despite your fears. Practice being vulnerable by opening up and expressing your thoughts and feelings wholeheartedly. In doing so, you will have a deeper connection with the man you love.
- Love your partner for who he is. If you love your partner for what he gives you or for what he can do for you, intimacy will elude you. True intimacy is felt when both people feel loved for who they are. Love your partner for who he is. If he has good intentions and does something to upset you, you can still love him even if you don't love his behavior.
- Have great sex. If sex has declined or become an afterthought, you will want to reverse this. The physical and emotional closeness that comes from having sex on a regular basis builds intimacy. Make time to have great sex, even if you have to schedule it.
- Have mentally stimulating conversations. Superficial conversations make for a shallow relationship. Having conversations that are thought-provoking and energizing builds intimacy. Don't think you have to agree with your partner — you can have a lively debate. If you are having a stimulating conversation, you and your partner will gain insight, consider different perspectives, and learn more about each other.
- Spend time doing things you both love. While it's important to have and live your own lives, it's just as important to spend time together doing things you both love and trying new adventures. If you both love hiking or want to try surfing, spending time together doing these kinds of activities creates a closer bond.
- Create rituals together. A ritual can be as simple as watching the sunset together each evening. It can be as involved as taking a day trip to a new place the first Saturday of every month. Sharing rituals that are special and unique to both of you helps you bond at a deeper level.
- Work together through challenging times instead of giving up too quickly. You are the only person you can control in your relationship. When problems come up, do what you can (without sacrificing your integrity) to change things for the better. Don't let your ego get in the way of resolving issues. When you confront and deal with them, it will lead to greater intimacy. When your partner sees how much you care about resolving these issues, he will be more motivated to do what he can.
Build Lasting Intimacy
You do not have to wait for your partner to practice these steps to build more intimacy. If he is not on board with or unwilling to try, you can start doing these yourself. If you have a good relationship to begin with, the changes you make within yourself will likely influence him to change for the better.
These practices will help you and your partner trust each other completely and be there for each other at all times. You will have a bond that endures — one that lets intimacy thrive for a lifetime. What will you do to build more intimacy with your partner? Please share in the comments below.
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