Love is arguably a universal symbol of happiness. We all yearn for it, and when we find it, we do everything in our power to hold on to it. Whether in our romantic pursuits or those ride-or-die friendships we live for, love makes life worth living.
The transcendental nature of love often allows us to experience the highest form of contentment. From a romantic standpoint, being in love provides us with a sense of security, connection, and above all, intimacy.
Without intimacy relationships are merely blank, emotionless chasms often void of security and trust. One online forum defines intimacy as the closeness between people in personal relationships, which builds over time as you connect with someone, grow to care about each other, and feel comfortable during your time together.
Romantic relationships, especially at the beginning, are coloured by physical and emotional closeness, making it difficult to think about anything other than your partner. In its infancy stages, the thrill of a relationship is usually derived from the exploration and excitement surrounding intimacy. And just like everything else that makes us unique, what might constitute your idea of intimacy may be influenced by your interests, communication style, or preferred ways of getting to know someone.
Finding a workable balance at the start of something new is a fun way to understand your partner’s needs. But just like everything else in life, change sneaks up on us and can sometimes affect intimacy in a relationship.
Sadly, the emotional and physical requirements we had a year ago or before having kids might differ tremendously to our current needs, causing an unfortunate shift in our relationship and how well we connect with our partner on an intimate level.
There may come a time in some relationships where intimacy is lacking or becomes non-existent, leading to feelings of hurt and resentment, which can bring the relationship to an end.
Although we are highly emotional beings, sometimes, various factors prevent us from fully connecting with our emotional selves. This affects how much of a team player we are when it comes to intimacy.
Clinical psychologist Hal Shorey found that, fearing intimacy and avoiding closeness in relationships is the norm for about 17 per cent of adults in Western cultures and that the tendency of individuals to shut off their emotions and become detached from a person or situation may stem from how that person was raised or a traumatic incident that might have occurred.
If as we grow, we change, how best do we nurture or keep intimacy alive or get it back when things start to fizzle? Relationship experts say it’s quite normal for relationships to feel stagnant over time, especially as life gets in the way. And although the routine of your relationship could easily fall into a funk, intimacy could be restored with a bit of effort and creativity.
Over time, relationships can lose the mystery and thrill that was once alive during the honeymoon phase. To keep your partner on their toes, continued learning is key. Your relationship should be an exercise in continuous data sharing to cater to the many changes in life. Even if you’ve been together for five years, keep in mind that there is always more to learn.
Paying attention to your partner goes without saying, but sometimes we allow life to get in the way, causing us to ignore our partners unconsciously. Sex and relationship expert specialist Dr Janet Brito highlighted that if you’re not paying attention to your partner, it’s easy for time to fly by without sharing quality time. Instead, she recommends planning a weekly date night or a nightly moment to check in one-on-one before bedtime, away from the kids or other responsibilities.
We all know that sex screams intimacy, yet sometimes sex can become plain and so routine that it threatens to topple the relationship. For this reason, it’s important to spice things up. Adding new toys and outfits as well as exploring fantasies, keeps the excitement at an optimum level and can lead to a much deeper connection. Experts also stress that partners should learn to build intimacy by making it a point to show physical affection without sex. A touch of comfort, cuddles and hugs can help create a connection beyond merely joining your bodies together for sexual pleasure.
Also, talk openly about what you want and be open to accepting your partner’s needs. Take the guessing out of intimacy and simply talk about things to figure out how to build intimacy.
Sustaining a healthy relationship requires a deep understanding of intimacy and knowledge of your partner’s overall needs. When this is put into perspective, it could do wonders for your relationship and forge a deeper bond and a stronger connection.