How non-physical intimacy can improve your relationship

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By Anastasia Amour

Have you ever felt like you’re having trouble getting close to your partner? Do you feel like there’s a little extra “something” that’s missing; holding you back from being fully connected to one another? Your intimacy levels might be the problem.

It’s natural for most couples to experience difficulties in feeling closer to each other at some point and this can be caused by a whole range of reasons, such as financial problems, pressures from work/friends/family, lack of communication with one another or unmatched expectations.

When a couple is finding it tough to feel close to one another, often friends will be quick to prescribe “Have you tried spicing up your sex life” as a cure-all. However, although sex is an important part of a relationship, physical intimacy is just one of the many ways that we can feel closer to our partners. Other parts of the intimacy equation include emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy, recreational intimacy (such as sharing hobbies), spiritual intimacy and creative intimacy (such as working on a shared project).

Whilst it’s certainly true that decreased intimacy all round can be felt within the bedroom, often, the more a couple is able to be intimate with each other outside of sex, the more fulfilling their sex life becomes.

Intimacy outside of the bedroom can occur in so many different ways. These moments aren’t usually amazing, mind blowing experiences, but instead the little moments where you know that you share something special; when you become aware that the person looking back at you makes you feel incredible.

It happens when you feel comfortable enough to let your guard down and share feelings that you’ve never shared with anyone else before, or when they see you at your lowest point and are still there to support you. It’s when you experience comfortable silences – not needing to fill every space with words, but being content just being with each other. It’s those little moments of contentment when they bring you a cup of tea while you read your book and you realise just how deeply you care for each other.

If you want to feel closer to your partner than ever before and bridge the connection gap, try these ideas:

1. Compliment your partner often. By reminding them of why you appreciate them, you’re also reminding yourself of all of their wonderful qualities. When you foster an environment where both of you feel loved and appreciated, intimacy will flow freely.

2. Create opportunities for intimacy to occur. Suggest a regular Date Night, go for long walks together or start a creative project together. The more opportunities you have to just talk, the closer you’ll begin to feel. When you talk, allow yourselves to communicate free of agenda. Just talk. Talk about anything and everything – you’ll often find that the topics that have the capability to unlock something truly special for both of you occur spontaneously.

3. Try something new and fun. Have you both always wanted to learn how to cook? Take a class together! Dreaming of an exotic holiday? Plan it together (even if there’s no way that you can afford it, play pretend and plan it anyway).

4. Reminisce on old memories with each other. Flick through vacation photos or recall your first date. What were you wearing? What was that really awkward thing that happened? Connecting on shared memories is a fantastic way to keep sparks flying. Or if you’re a relatively new couple, share memories from your childhood that reveal the story of who you are.

5. Tackle problems head on. When you face an obstacle in your relationship, sit down with your partner and calmly discuss the issue. What would it take for both of you to feel content with a resolution? Couples who actively involve themselves in the betterment of their relationship (rather than ignoring problems) generally feel more connected and loving towards each other overall.

It’s important to understand that intimacy of any level doesn’t just happen overnight – it builds up over time and just as you must invest time into other aspects of your relationship, you must also invest a dedicated effort to ensure that your intimacy levels remain strong.

The harder you work at developing and keeping intimacy in your relationship, the more rewarding it can be.

What helps you feel closer to your partner? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation @eHarmony_AU or on Facebook.com/eHarmonyaustralia.


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