According to Dictionary.com, intimacy is defined as "a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group." Emotional intimacy takes things one step further, bringing that intimacy to a higher level where two people can share feelings, thoughts, troubles and opinions openly without feeling judged or dismissed.
There's no doubt that feeling a sense of shared emotion is not only important for both mental and physical health, but can really help to strengthen a relationship; helping it to last the test of time. Here we identify 4 simple ways to help create this emotional intimacy in your own relationship.
1. Know the difference between emotional and physical intimacy
When the word intimacy is mentioned, the initial reaction is to think about sex. However, intimacy goes much deeper than the physical act itself. Some couples may enjoy a fantastic sex life; however, when it comes to sharing feelings and emotions they freeze up or seem unable to communicate openly with one another. Those couples that do manage to master the emotional side to intimacy, tend to find that sexual intimacy is also enhanced and as a result feel closer and better connected.
2. Identify your own emotions
Before trying to connect fully with your partner’s emotions, it's worth getting your own emotions in order first. It's not often we take the time to think about our feelings or the difficulties we have in expressing them; but by doing so, you are helping to better your relationships with others. For example, if you are aware that you become very emotional at certain times of the month, (perhaps during your period) or if you have a pet hate that triggers a negative emotion for you every time, then discuss these things with your partner so that they are aware and can develop a way to help you deal with them when they arise.
3. Talk it over
Honest and open communication is essential in every relationship. This doesn't have to be serious or in-depth conversations - instead try to have regular, informal chats about how you’re feeling in the relationship, and anything that's concerning you. Also, don't think you have to only discuss difficult things; happy times and experiences should be shared just as much as any worries or doubts that you both may have.
4. Get over the arguments
Let's face it, everyone has arguments no matter how solid their relationship is. Arguments are entirely natural, but while some leave you feeling stronger and as if the air has been cleared, others can leave you pretty distressed and angry. The trick to getting through an argument and coming out better at the other side is to accept your partner’s views, whilst making sure that he is fully aware of yours. Don't hold back and make sure you get everything out in the open, rather than bottling emotions up inside.
From there, consider taking both sides into account and try to come to an agreement about how to resolve the problem so that you both win. Try to stay as calm as possible, and don't say things in the heat of the moment that you are sure to regret. Also never bare a grudge - once the argument has settled, let it drop and don't keep going back to it and re-hashing old wounds. This will only lead to problems further down the line.