Whether you’re a man or a woman, developing emotional intimacy is a key component to any successful relationship. Oftentimes when we hear the words intimacy, we tend to think of physical affection. This could be hand holding, cuddling, kissing, and yes, of course, sex. But emotional intimacy isn’t all about being physical—it’s about building trust and a deeper connection with your partner, but it can ultimately lead to stronger physical intimacy as well.
If you’re wondering how to build emotional intimacy and improve the connection you have with your partner, it goes way beyond these types of physical acts. Yes, physical intimacy is an integral part of any romantic relationship, but having emotional intimacy on top of that allows you and your partner to connect on an even deeper level.
Even if your relationship is already strong, understanding exactly what emotional intimacy is and how you can build on it will help with communication, connection, and setting a solid foundation. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!
What Is Emotional Intimacy?
Emotional intimacy means allowing yourself to connect more deeply with your partner. This can be through means of vulnerability, expressing feelings, and building trust. When we do these things, and communicate on a deeper level with our partners, such as sharing secrets, or talking about our day, you create a sense of security for each party.
Couples that talk about their relationship, even if it might feel uncomfortable, tend to be happier. Lack of emotional intimacy can lead to jealousy, mistrust, or feelings of bitterness or loneliness. (1)
Signs You’re Lacking Emotional Intimacy
If you’re unsure whether or not emotional intimacy is present in your relationship, here are some signs that you may be lacking.
- Lack of trust—Mistrust, communication issues, or not being open with your partner.
- Feeling distant—Not spending quality time with your partner or losing interest in activities that you once used to enjoy together.
- Poor communication—Not communicating enough, or finding it difficult to express your feelings to your partner, or vice versa.
- Sharing imbalance—Either you’re sharing, or communicating more to your partner than they are with you, or they share more about their life or feelings with you than you do with them.
- Lack of physical touch—Your sex life is suffering, or there is a lack of physical affection in your relationship.
How To Build Emotional Intimacy
If you feel your relationship is experiencing any of the above, you may be wondering how to build emotional intimacy to help fix them. Well, that’s a great question! Here are some helpful tips that you can start applying to your relationships today for a healthy and happy relationship.
1. Increase level of openness
If you’re not super in-tune with your emotions, or aren’t much of a talker, this one might seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with small steps. First, try asking your partner about the relationship and get a sense of how they are feeling, then build from that. After, dive a little deeper by becoming more vulnerable, talking to them about your emotions and breaking down some personal walls. Reveal a fact about yourself they might not know, or simply talk about how an incident at work made you feel. No matter how big or small the topic may be, opening up to your partner will help build your emotional intimacy with them.
2. Break out of your routine
Life can get busy, trust me, I get it. Routines come into place, and before you know it both you and your partner can fall into a sometimes mundane routine. If you become comfortable with your partner and your routine, it can be difficult to break out of. Be spontaneous when you can, plan a date night, or buy your partner a “just because” present. Remember when you first started dating and you did everything you could to impress them? Well, do that again! When you spice up your routine, you’re opening up more avenues for communication.
3. Complement and give thanks
This one may seem obvious, but it can be easy to stop showing appreciation for your partner after a while. Don’t forget to give daily compliments, and it doesn’t just have to be about their appearance. Tell them how they make you feel, how they positively impact your life, and express gratitude, even for the little things! You can even give them a compliment in an area where they need words of encouragement. For example, let them know how great of a parent they are or that the meal they just cooked was delicious. Here’s a quick tip for giving compliments with a great impact—be specific! People love hearing them! So if you’re complimenting someone’s parenting skills, be sure to tell them exactly what you love about it!
The Bottom Line
How to build emotional intimacy may sound like a large feat, but starting with these simple tips will help build a better foundation and an easier path to long-term emotional intimacy that you and your partner will notice in all aspects of the relationship. Practicing how to build emotional intimacy in the long run will help you overcome conflict easier, and increase your overall sense of closeness, and it doesn’t get much better than that! ❤️