Intimacy is an important part of any relationship. When we refer to intimacy, we aren't just talking about physical intimacy, either.
In a healthy relationship, intimacy often involves many different components.
Maybe you were hurt in a past relationship and no longer feel as if you can let your guard down around someone else. Or maybe you have never been able to feel truly close to someone on a deeper level. Whatever the case, you may wonder if there is anything that can be done about this.
The great news is that you can definitely find ways to let yourself be intimate with someone else again. First, let's talk about what intimacy is.
What Is Intimacy?
Intimacy has many sides to it. When a relationship has emotional intimacy, it should involve:
Trusting each other
Being able to show vulnerability
Accepting one another for who they are
Knowing them on a deeper level
Showing appreciation and respect for one another
All of these components help to create a deep connection that goes beyond the surface level and is often long-lasting.
Someone in a relationship could struggle with emotional or physical intimacy — or sometimes even both. Here are some ways a person struggling with intimacy may show up in a relationship:
Being unable to trust your partner
Getting angry at your partner easily
Avoiding opening up to your partner about yourself
Fear of abandonment or being cheated on
If you are struggling to let intimacy in your life, here are some tips to help you bring it back.
How To Allow Intimacy Back Into Your Life
1. Look at the Past
The past shapes us into the people we are today. Sometimes, that is good, and other times, it isn't in a positive way. The past experiences you had with caregivers, friendships, or romantic relationships can play a huge role in the way you handle current relationships.
Reflecting on your past can help you see how it influenced your current relationship and how you approach it.
2. Focus on Your Partner
Intimacy is more than just focusing on you. Fostering a healthier connection with your partner by being curious about them is huge.
Ask them questions about their past. When they speak, be an active listener and don't interrupt them until they are done. Spend time with them as they are doing something they like and show interest in what they love to do. You don't have to personally love it, but it will give you a chance to spend time together. And they'll appreciate the effort you are making.
3. Practice Self-Care
You can't pour from an empty cup, as the saying goes. To help foster a healthier relationship with your partner, be sure you are taking care of yourself, too. Take time to find ways to relax and destress from a long day. When stress builds up, it is often hard for many of us not to lash out at our partners. Or to focus our energy and how tense we feel instead of seeing what our partners are going through.
4. Learn Your Attachment Style
This goes along with the point above about learning how the past affected you. Known in the therapy world as attachment styles, they help someone see for certain how the past has influenced relationships.
In therapy, you can pinpoint the exact attachment styles influencing you. From there, you can work on modifying your own behavior and thought processes in a non-judgmental and safe space.
If you want to learn more about relationship counseling or couples therapy to bring intimacy into your relationship, don't hesitate to reach out.