Where has the intimacy gone in our relationship?
Intimacy in relationships
Sometimes we feel our relationships have lost their intimacy. That moment when we no longer have the sense of closeness we need. We feel we have to guess or be telepathic to understand our partner’s world. Perhaps you feel that the word intimacy means sex to your partner and you miss the closeness and the vulnerability you had before. All of these may be signs you need to pay attention to the state of the intimacy in your relationship.
Intimacy in relationships is important to us all. Intimacy is that sense of being able to be close to your partner, of being able to be yourself and let your guard down because they will accept you for who you are. There is a sense that you can share and inhabit each other’s world. Notice that intimacy is a whole range of feelings and situations including being with each other through sadness and painful moments.
The biology of Intimacy
Science has discovered that when we have this feeling of intimacy many hormones are released into our bodies to reward the behaviour. Endorphins are released - they act in a similar way to opiates like heroin that gives us a euphoric state. Not unnaturally we enjoy and crave this state and enjoy being connected to our partner in a close way. Of course this is just one of the many responses that makes intimacy such a pleasurable experience.
How can we help ourselves enjoy Intimacy in our relationship?
There are practical ways that you can increase the intimacy in your relationship.
Think of intimacy as a living thing not an object. In other words it is something that changes throughout your life. You and your partner’s needs change as you both mature, so be open to that change. Value the changes in the ways that acknowledge your relationship.
Be clear about who you are in the relationship. If you are not sure what you want from a relationship it can be easy to get into people pleasing for an easy life. Being sure of whom you are gives a good foundation for relating to your partner and gives them a person that they can relate to.
Be prepared to be open in your relationships. Intimacy by its very nature relies on you being open and trusting others. In many ways this can involve a leap of faith and being vulnerable at times. Intimacy builds over time so be comfortable with each step, but it’s important that you are open to sharing at a deeper level in the longer run.
In the same vein you need to be forgiving and open to your partner. We all make mistakes, have rough edges or have dark corners where we hide from the world. It is hard, perhaps impossible to achieve intimacy if your partner cannot accept the difficult parts as well as the likeable. Learn how to disagree and fight but in a respectful way so that both are heard. You do not need to have the same opinion to have intimacy.
Sometimes it can be too difficult to rekindle the intimacy on your own, Counselling can be a great help. If you struggle to get intimacy in your relationship or your life then talking to a counsellor can help to tackle the issues. You might want to change how you talk to each other or with others, it may be that you feel you have lost each other over the years. Clients strive for different things and types of intimacy and counselling offers one way of looking for answers.