Sometimes, the physical part of the relationship is the easy part. (Remember the beginning stages of your relationship when you and your partner had a hard keeping your hands off each other? You had physical intimacy in the bag). Sometimes opening up emotionally is harder than opening up physically because it takes a lot of self-confidence and trust in yourself as well as in your partner. But, having strong emotional intimacy will lead to an even better, more fulfilling relationship with your partner.
It begins with the self
Intimacy begins with knowing yourself well enough to completely share yourself with another person. One of the biggest reasons we wall ourselves off from others is lack of understanding we have of ourselves. Try scheduling some alone time so you can re-connect with your thoughts and feelings. Write down a list of activities you enjoy and activities that you would like to try so you can continually discover new things about yourself. When we show up as strong, solid partners, our relationships are more likely to flourish.
Build trust slowly
Intimacy is something that builds over time. When we are afraid to be emotionally intimate, it often points to a lack of trust of our partners or within ourselves. It is best to start small and build your trust. You may want to begin with entrusting your partner with a small secret, perhaps something little you’ve always wished for or wanted to do. It could be anything you’re comfortable with that will show you how your partner reacts when you are vulnerable. If you find that your challenges to emotional intimacy stem from your relationship with yourself, try keeping a journal, meditating and other mindful practices to help keep you aware of your emotional needs.
Learn to speak the love languages
Understanding how you and your partner communicate affection is a huge step toward developing deep emotional intimacy. The five love languages are gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch. So, while one person may express their love by bringing flowers (gifts), another person may express their love by cooking dinner (acts of service). Talk with your partner about how each of you best receives affection. By letting each other know how you communicate, you are letting each other know how you both can most effectively communicate your feelings towards one another. You will also be more aware of and be able to recognize when your partner is expressing his or her love for you.
Be emotionally vulnerable to your partner
Allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable with your partner gives you the opportunity to show how much you trust your partner and gives your partner an opportunity to show you how much they love you. Being emotionally vulnerable could be sharing your dreams and goals, a prior experience or even how you really felt about your day at work. Don’t be afraid to communicate your needs and wants while giving your partner the ability to share and expose his needs and wants. The more you communicate and are emotionally vulnerable to each other, the more trust will develop in your relationship. Showing each other your human side will strengthen your emotional bond and bring you closer.
- Developing Emotional Intimacy
- Intimacy: The Art of Relationships
- Skills for Meeting People, Dating and Developing Intimacy
- The Five Love Languages
About the Author
Polly Anna has been writing articles about relationships, intimacy, sexual wellness, and interpersonal well-being since 2012. Her articles have appeared in "Kindred Spirit" magazine, "Wake-Up World News," "Spiritual Awakening" magazine, and more. Polly Anna holds a Master of Science in psychology and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing, with a Bachelor's in theater.