5 Signs Your Relationship Lacks Intimacy — And What To Do About It

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5 Signs Your Relationship Lacks Intimacy — And What To Do About It
Love, Sex

Mindfulness is sensing your innermost self, rather than paying attention to the chatter of thoughts telling you they are protecting you. Those patterns of thinking may have protected you in your childhood when you had less power, but now they keep you hidden from your partner.

Couples, whether they've been together for months or years, sometimes run into a fear of intimacy in their relationships, leading to feeling ashamed or indifferent, both of which are the opposites of mindfulness.

Because mindfulness is the path to improved intimacy, it's important to follow relationship advice that mends the gap. And it all starts with recognizing bad habits in your partnership. 

RELATED: People In The Strongest Relationships Share These 5 Types Of Intimacy

1. You're indifferent towards your partner.

Indifference is what will eat away at your closeness. You must truly want to know your differences with your partner and respect those differences.

2. You follow patterns of feeling resentful.

And these patterns are self-fulfilling prophecies. If you successfully hide bad feelings from your partner, it will be easier to use the same habits next time. This can go on and on until you explode from all the toxic build up.

3. You keep secrets.

The only way out of the dilemma of indifference is shared knowledge of each other’s emotional hiding places. What would you never tell your partner? You're only as sick as your biggest secrets. Relationship secrets are the perfect brewing ground for any habits of indifference.

4. You aren't present.

Being present in your relationship is expressing and recognizing feeling states. Can you stay still and really hear your partner’s truth? When your partner is receptive, can you express your innermost honesty?

5. You have a unique way of feeling disgust and shame. 

Your partner needs to know your earliest memories of these hidden feelings.

How can you fix this lack of intimacy? There are a few options to consider.

Create a safe environment to disclose your earliest remembered feelings of embarrassment. You can ask a therapist to help you make these disclosures. Do this on separate days so you know you have understood the thoughts and feelings of each other.

Talk with one another when you recognize old habits of thinking which have long interfered with your happiness sexually. Disgust and disdain will not be discussed, because you will both take your partner’s reports personally.

You will be better able to see your judgment when you quit hiding behind your shame. Your habits of feeling bad about yourself will contain a flip side of bad feelings toward others.

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If you spend significant time around another person, indifference can only be done by feeling disdain, disgust or judgmental toward them. These are deep primitive processes which keep you away from situations, things and people who would be poisonous to you.

Indifference allows you to ignore people without showing a turned up face of disgust.

Intimacy develops naturally when you spend time around someone. You will be soothing to one another in some areas and challenging in others. The challenges need to become conflicts so you can better understand your differences. Your passion for each other lies within these differences.

If instead you force yourself to feel indifferent to these contradictions, a true feeling of utter aloneness will grow in you. Indifference can only be artificially produced. It may feel natural to you; however, it is only a convenient hiding place from your honest desires.

It requires a great amount of energy to force indifference on your systems. You have to constantly imagine an unnatural state (usually resentment or fear) to hold on to an image of aloneness while being around someone.

This judgmental, fearful energy creates a poisonous stew inside you. It causes no pain to the person you are focusing it toward. You may even say, “He made me feel this way,” which allows you to keep believing it is useful to feel indifferent. This is especially exhausting in intimate relationships.

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Couple’s counseling stresses communication skills. Verbal communication will have little, if any, impact on indifference. Verbal communication uses Left Frontal lobe cognition and language.

Your Right Frontal lobe and your Limbic System (your feeling base) are the most important areas for successful communication. Humans need this feeling of connection. Words can be used as blinders. Our true sense of ourselves can hide behind the things we have said.

A felt sense of attunement with others is what all our internal systems demand. We keep ourselves internally organized around micro-expressions being perceived by the Right Frontal lobe and a general body sense from the Limbic System.

This sense of another person knowing your feelings can only happen in the present moment.

You have to know them and know they know you. This is really what is meant by “the present moment.” The present is a present to relationships. In fact, if you felt hurt around your partner and learned to ignore your need to feel connected, you're using massive energy output to quiet your hardwired demands to feel close to them.

You are developing a more playful and meaningful connection with your partner.

RELATED: There Are 5 Stages Of Intimacy In Relationships — And Here's How To Know Which One You're In

Bill Maier is a psychotherapist in private practice in Portland, OR. He specializes in depression, PTSD, trauma, and addiction.