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How to Have Greater Emotional Intimacy


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. "Inconsiderate" and "emotional intimacy" are mutually exclusive. "Nice" and "emotional intimacy" go hand-in-hand. KNOW YOURSELF. Okay, this is a tough one but I promise that the more you know about yourself, the better partner you will be. You'll be able to change what's not working and you'll be less likely to project your self-perception onto your partner. Examples: 1. If you bicker over every decision, big or small, perhaps it's not because your partner is argumentative, but because you are excessively competitive and need to make a change. 2. If you hear constant criticism, perhaps the problem is your self-esteem. If your sweetie says, "The rice is salty," and you hear, "You're a terrible cook," it's time to work on your self-perception instead of complaining that your sweetheart is critical. "Ignorance" and "emotional intimacy" are mutually exclusive. "Awareness" and "emotional intimacy" go hand-in-hand. BE GENEROUS AND FORGIVING. It's inevitable that your sweetheart will hurt and disappoint you, sometimes through thoughtlessness and sometimes only through the filter of your self-perception. Guess what? The flip side is true, too. Be generous and be forgiving if for no other reason than to garner the same from your sweetheart when you screw up. "Unforgiving" and "emotional intimacy" are mutually exclusive. "Generous" and "emotional intimacy" go hand-in-hand. In summary, the relationship crown jewel of emotional intimacy is achieved by laser-beam focus on being, doing, and saying those things that build and sustain it. Start today to have the emotional intimacy that is the hallmark of a truly great relationship.


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