How Can My Partner and I Increase Intimacy in Our Relationship?
There are many different aspects in relationships that are important. And one of those aspects is intimacy. Intimacy is the sense of another person fully knowing you and loving you because of who you are. This requires a large amount of honesty and vulnerability. Intimacy can be fostered both in and out of the bedroom. Kerry (2016) offers ten ways to increase intimacy in your relationship.
- Disclose more to feel closer.
A component of intimacy is the process of discovering more about your partner. However, over time, we sometimes lose this desire to keep discovering all there is to know about one another. People who are more open with their partners in regard to having intimate conversations and disclosing having an easier time in close relationships than those who don’t open up or make it easy for others to do so.
- Make time for deeply emotional conversations.
In order to disclose to one another, you need to make time to do so. For example, this could be you and your partner sharing your thoughts with one another at the end of the day.
- Do something new or big together.
Intimacy can be more than just conversations. It can also be having a new experience together. For example, raising an animal together can often foster intimacy. This could also be something like doing a nice gesture for friends or family together.
- Relish the routine.
At the start of a relationship, whatever we learn and do together is unexpected, which results in intense emotion. However, over time, we become more predictable to one another. But there is a positive side to predictability, Psychologist Robert J. Sternberg found: It leads to intimacy, in which “the partners are so connected with each other that the one doesn’t recognize the other is there, just as the air we breathe can be taken for granted, despite its necessity to life.”
- Shake up the routine.
Although routines and predictability are important, it is also still crucial to shake up the routine every once and a while. Most emotions are the result of some interruption of day to day scripts. You can do this by generating something unexpected, such as going on a vacation to a new place together, trying out a new hobby together, trying a new recipe, and so on.
- Make it harder to walk away.
What does this mean? Kerry (2016) talks about an example in which a woman and her husband’s relationship was stagnating, so they made a family project of a year-long sailing trip in the Caribbean. As soon as they made the commitment and began planning the extensive journey, they felt “pulled together.” Although not everyone can do something this extreme, there are still ways to do this on a smaller scale. This could be as simple as just planning small trips or getaways to take together that are in the future. This gives you and your partner something to look forward to and something to plan together.
- Ensure that it’s safe to be open.
Sometimes one partner is more comfortable and open with sharing than the other. Comfort levels with verbal sharing typically do increase when you practice in an emotionally safe context. With this in mind, continue to work on becoming a non-judgmental listener for your partner.
- Consider whether you’re a better match than you think.
There are varying levels as to how much intimacy people require to avoid loneliness, and how much they can tolerate before feeling saturated. This means that some people might not crave a high level of total closeness. And that’s fine! You might not mind if your partner isn’t keen on sharing their own inner life.
- Give credit where it’s due.
Relationships are about give and take. You need to be able to recognize what your partner’s preferred modes of expression are. For example, some partners might equate communication with intimacy. And even within that, they might prefer to discuss certain topics, such as work. Be open to learning about what it is that your partner enjoys talking about with you.
- Intimacy is more than words or sex.
Similar to the tip above, some partners might want more concrete demonstrations of intimacy, such as being kissed or asked how they are at the end of the day. Some people just are not as articulate in communicating intimacy, but they are still able to demonstrate and receive love in their own ways.
Perry, S. K. (2016, February 19). 10 Proven Ways You Can Increase Intimacy.
Written by Kara Thompson-Miller, Licensed Clinical Social Worker: January 2023 “Why is it so hard to like my body?”: A unassumingly complex question that has been asked by many clients in many different variations, but one that, nonetheless, tends…Read More
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