Growth Through Emotional Intimacy

Growth Through Emotional Intimacy

Most of us think of intimacy as the kind of thing that happens behind closed doors, some physical act that lays us bare and exposes everything we have to someone else.

Take that to the emotional space and you have the baring of your soul to someone else and trusting them with your innermost self.

To be honest, it can be incredibly scary.

But why?

If we examine emotional intimacy and what it is, it can be equated to a psychological sort of nakedness, and you, as the barer of that nakedness, are relying on another person to protect you and support you, without judgement. In return, you are showing that you feel comfortable and cared for enough to trust your thoughts, feelings and emotions with someone else. You are being vulnerable.

So what’s the payoff?

For you, it’s knowing that you are being completely open, that someone else accepts you and loves your whole self, knowing everything about who you are and what makes you tick. For others, it’s the reward of knowing someone in all that they are, through every layer of their being.

If it sounds tricky, it’s because it can be.

 

Vulnerability is hard for both sides.

Alycia Burant,  MA, LPC, NCC, CMHIMP

 

But it’s also important for deeper relationships, be they deep, ride-or-die friendships or those between spouses or life partners.

You need to know that this person, whomever it is, is someone you can be yourself with.

Achieving emotional intimacy comes from spending time together and learning one another, becoming comfortable with each other and feeling at peace in the other person’s presence.

 

 

The first thing needed to create emotional intimacy in your most important relationships is to reflect on when you feel most connected. Maybe that’s the before-we-turn-off-the-lights moments right before you go to bed, maybe it’s while you make dinner, maybe it’s during your weekly brunch. Whenever those moments of feeling connected are, focus on creating as many of those opportunities as you can within the week. Spending more and more time together is key in deepening your emotional intimacy—but that time needs to be about quality, not quantity.

In other words, sitting at the table glued to your phone doesn’t count, merely because you’re technically “together.”

Quality time is all about actual togetherness. It comes down to expressing your love and affection with undivided attention. Put down the phone, turn off the TV, shut off your devices and focus on them. Even if you don’t consider quality time to be your own love language, time together builds emotional intimacy—for both of you. It usually takes spending quite a bit of time together to establish a shared sense of connection.

Partners and even friends enter relationships with their own history—and that history may be fraught with insecurities and a greater need for closeness. People rarely have the same level of need for connection at the same time, which means that people experience cycles. In the beginning of any relationship, couples usually share a similar desire for closeness—hence, the honeymoon phase of falling in love, which happens when each is excited about seeing the other, and both are paying a great deal of attention to what the other thinks or feels. As the relationship progresses, that need for connection waxes and wanes for each—but the emotional intimacy can still stay strong if both work at maintaining it.

By encouraging emotional intimacy in others, you will find space to be vulnerable, as well. It’s a give and take—and one that will see you in happier, more fulfilling relationships.

This story was sponsored by Healthy Minds Therapy.

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