Intimacy. By definition it involves connection. Sexual intimacy is a physical connection; emotional intimacy is a connection of mind, heart and spirit. Great sex is not only a blast, it's a blessing. If you've got it, count your lucky stars. It's not, however, enough to sustain a fulfilling relationship. For that, you need emotional intimacy and it's the death-by-a-thousand-cuts destruction of that fundamental requirement that is the downfall of so many relationships. Great emotional intimacy is the most rewarding aspect of being a couple but to have it, you must pay attention to a few basics: BE 10,000% TRUSTWORTHY. There's no chance you're going to share private thoughts and secrets or make yourself vulnerable to someone you don't trust. If you tell your sweetie about an embarrassing moment and he makes fun, or you share your dream of writing a novel and she pours cold water all over that dream, are you likely to open up again? I don't think so! Nothing is more devastating to your heart or to emotional intimacy than having trust betrayed by the person you love. On the other hand, nothing is more conducive to emotional intimacy than knowing you are safe in sharing your innermost thoughts, wishes and dreams. "Untrustworthy" and "emotional intimacy" are mutually exclusive. "Trustworthy" and "emotional intimacy" go hand-in-hand. DON'T REMODEL. What would your reaction be if your sweetheart said, "Honey, you would be a better person if you morphed into my image of perfection so here's a list of things you should change." You are soooooooo not likely to say, "Thanks! I'll get on that right away." Pointing out what (in your not-so-humble opinion) are your partner's flaws is tantamount to saying you're better than your sweetie. "Superiority" and "emotional intimacy" are mutually exclusive. "Equality" and "emotional intimacy" go hand-in-hand. RESPECT DIFFERENCES. Difference, while sometimes presenting major negotiating challenges, make us interesting—but they don't make us right. Our opinions rise to the level of "universal truth" only for ourselves. E.g., I can't imagine that anyone loves beige and finds eggplant scrumptious, but am I justified in calling a beige-loving-eggplant-eater wrong? Of course not. Talk about your differences, maybe even debate your differences, but never, ever, ever make your sweetheart wrong for holding an opinion or point of view that differs from yours. To do so is to say you're smarter than your partner. "Judgmental" and "emotional intimacy" are mutually exclusive. "Respectful" and "emotional intimacy" go hand-in-hand. BE NICE. I know you're thinking, "Duh!" Fair enough. But it's worth the reminder that being nice goes beyond holding the door open, refilling your sweetheart's wine glass, not interrupting, and other acts of common courtesy. Being nice includes looking for ways to make your sweetheart's day and life better; looking the other way during your partner's self-indulgently bad behavior; stepping up to the plate when it's time for "the talk"; being supportive and responsive to your partner's wishes, needs and desires; showing your love in word and deed. In short, being nice means demonstrating every day in every way that you cherish your sweetheart.
Shela Dean Relationship Coach, Speaker and Amazon Bestselling Author of Frequent Foreplay Miles, Your Ticket to Total Intimacy http://www.ShelaDean.com http://www.FrequentForeplayMiles.com http://www.SpeakerShelaDean.com
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