Emotional intimacy, like physical intimacy, keeps the bond between a couple strong. It helps build trust, makes the relationship fulfilling, and keeps the couple secure. Unfortunately, busy schedules, stress, kids, etc., may wear off emotional intimacy over time. In some cases, emotional intimacy may not have even developed from the start of the relationship. Whatever the reason, lack of emotional intimacy is not to be ignored.
But how do you know if your relationship is lacking emotional intimacy? And what can you do to rebuild it? Here, we discuss the signs to watch out for and the 10 ways you can rebuild that lost emotional intimacy. Let’s begin!
In This Article
What Is Emotional Intimacy And Why It Is Important
An article published in Issues in Mental Health Nursing suggests that intimacy is a quality of a relationship in which the individuals have reciprocal feelings of trust and emotional closeness toward each other and are able to openly communicate their thoughts and feelings with each other (1).
The invisible bond created by being close, accepting and understanding each other, and resonating with one another is what emotional intimacy is.
There are many reasons emotional intimacy is important in a romantic relationship:
- It helps promote overall well-being (2).
- It improves sexual satisfaction (3).
- It helps women with issues like endometriosis to have better relationship satisfaction (4).
- Lack of emotional intimacy makes women more prone to breaking up with their partners (5).
- It aids sexual well-being in aging couples (6).
- Absent or deficient intimacy (sexual and emotional) affects mental health (7).
- Intimate relationships are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease (8).
Emotional intimacy has a positive effect on the physical and mental health of couples. And the lack of it can make the relationship strenuous. However, do not confuse lack of emotional intimacy with breach of trust, one-sided relationship, or toxic behavior. Here are a few signs to confirm if your relationship lacks emotional intimacy. Take a look.
Signs Your Relationship Lacks Emotional Intimacy
- You Do Not Listen To Each Other: Not actively listening to each other, whether it is feelings, opinions, discussions, or talking about each other’s day, could mean reduced emotional intimacy. You both could be busy or tired to hold a long conversation – and this ultimately widens the gap between the two of you over time.
- You Do Not Have Each Other’s Backs: No matter who started it, not having each other’s backs is another sign that your relationship lacks emotional intimacy. Not supporting one another in private and social gatherings can reduce trust and the feeling of security in the relationship.
- There Is No Open Communication: If you both lie and conceal instead of being open and transparent about your emotions, feelings, opinions, you could be lacking emotional intimacy. Couple communication is an important factor to keep the relationship alive. No open communication can cause the ultimate catastrophe.
- You Both Do Not Share Equally: If one of you shares too much and the other does not share at all, it does not always mean that the other person is a good listener. It could also mean that the other person does not want to open up.
- There Are No Common Hobbies/Interests: Did you share a lot of common interests and hobbies initially? Doesn’t that happen anymore? Doing things together develops an emotional connection. If not, you both may experience an emotional distance that causes small cracks in the relationship.
- You Do Not Look At Each Other With Love: Whether it is in a room full of people, around the family, or just the two of you – if you are not making eye contact and communicating love and care, it is a significant indicator of a lack of emotional intimacy.
- You Do Not Empathize With Each Oher: Not empathizing with one another can be a major sign of a lack of emotional intimacy.
- You Avoid Physical Intimacy: If your partner is avoiding physical intimacy, the root cause could be a lack of emotional intimacy. In long-term relationships, emotional intimacy plays a crucial role in sexual satisfaction. A reason your partner may not be physically intimate is the fear of intimacy. Having a bad past relationship can be the root cause of this behavior. Another reason could be an avoidant personality disorder, in which case, it is best to seek professional help.
These are the signs that indicate your relationship lacks emotional intimacy. Thankfully, you can build emotional intimacy again and reduces the chances of potential conflicts. Keep reading to find out how.
10 Ways To Build Emotional Intimacy With Your Partner
1. Don’t Haste The Process
First and foremost, do not haste the process of building emotional intimacy. It will take time to build an emotional connection, especially if you are dealing with unresolved conflicts. Be patient and keep doing the great work of building trust, working on issues, showing empathy, accepting, and loving your partner.
2. Communicate Effectively
Effective communication is the key to an open and transparent relationship. It helps build a deeper, intimate relationship. The best way to communicate effectively is to first pay attention to what your partner says. It is important to hear your partner out to understand what they are saying and why. Second, lay down your points on the table and let your partner assess them. If you do not agree with your partner, let them know the same without being aggressive. Writing down your points on a piece of paper may also help.
3. Empathize With Your Partner
A common characteristic of a long-term relationship is couples taking each other for granted. This leads to diminished empathy and understanding. Over time, this builds into an invisible mental divide. Of course, you also feel wronged somewhere and that keeps you from being empathetic. However, you want your relationship to work – and that is why you must make the first move. Be more forgiving.
4. Apologize For Your Mistakes
No one is shielded from making mistakes. In romantic relationships, sometimes it is easy to get hurt even by the smallest of mistakes. If you have hurt your partner in the past, make amends by first apologizing. And next, work on the issue and resolve it. This will help your partner open up to you and enable them to be more emotionally intimate with you over time.
5. Compliment Your Partner
Positive affirmations and compliments help bloom emotional intimacy. Appreciate your partner not just for how they look on a special occasion, but also for all that they do every day. Making them feel appreciated will translate into being loved and respected.
6. Break Your Routine
Do you follow a routine and do not like to break it? Well, it’s time that you do. Take a break from your regular routine and spend time at home. What you do for your profession is important, but so is your personal life. Strike a balance to not just help your partner feel loved but also to reduce your stress and fatigue. Be in the moment and be with the most important person in your life.
7. Flirt With Your Partner
There is an overused saying that we are going to use here again: “flirting is good for your heart”. Do you flirt with your partner? When was the last time that you used your charm to lure your partner? Flirt more! Flirting is necessary for romantic relationships to thrive. Slip a love note, play their favorite song, make them their favorite food, place a loving kiss on their forehead, wear their favorite outfit, and more importantly, make eye contact.
8. Visit A Place You Both Loved
Memories work in surprising ways. Visit a place that you both visited a long time ago. The memories will come rushing and bring back smiles. You can also explore the changes and create new memories. It will help you both reconnect on a physical and emotional level.
9. Have Frequent Date Nights
Whether you decide to go out or stay in, going on dates is important to keep the romance and emotional intimacy alive. Have a date night every week or once every two weeks, cook or order takeaway, watch a movie, read a book together, stargaze, play board games or video games, etc. Keep your phone and laptops away and live every moment of your date night with your partner.
10. Learn A New Skill Together
If you both have no common interests or hobbies, it is time to build one. Create a list of skills you can learn together. Ask your partner to help you decide which one to choose for you two. It could be salsa dancing, pottery, glass painting, gardening, etc. Book a slot for the two of you and learn the skill together. You will not only become emotionally closer to your partner and spend quality time together but also be exposed to a new world. And the intellectual intimacy that you will experience would bring more joy to the relationship.
Emotional intimacy helps maintain a strong bond between couples. If your relationship is lacking it, it is time to act upon it. Yes, you will not be able to build emotional intimacy overnight. But taking small efforts can give big returns. Take baby steps, be patient, empathize, work on the issues, and value your time with your partner. With time, you both will become more emotionally intimate with each other and will begin to experience that magic in your relationship like never before!
- 15 Signs Of An Emotionally Connected Relationship
- How To Build Trust In A Relationship
- Top 20 Rules To Regulate A Strong Relationship
- How To Rebuild Broken Trust In A Relationship
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- A concept analysis of intimacy
- UNDERSTANDING EMOTIONAL INTIMACY: A REVIEW OF CONCEPTUALIZATION ASSESSMENT AND THE ROLE OF GENDER
- Emotional intimacy is the best predictor of sexual satisfaction of men and women with sexual arousal problems
- Emotional intimacy empathic concern and relationship satisfaction in women with endometriosis and their partners
- Emotional Accessibility Is More Important Than Sexual Accessibility in Evaluating Romantic Relationships – Especially for Women: A Conjoint Analysis
- Correction to: Emotional intimacy and sexual well-being in aging European couples: a cross-cultural mediation analysis
- Types of marital intimacy and prevalence of emotional illness
- Intimate relationships individual adjustment and coronary heart disease: Implications of overlapping associations in psychosocial risk
- A concept analysis of intimacy