Building and Keeping Intimacy

It is a common conception that as people enter new relationships they will develop high hopes about it. Among these feelings of hope, there are the expectations for the connection to mature, as much as the desire for closeness. Many of us discover though, that as time passes, love can falter and intimacy dissolves in the day-to-day diligencies of life  and this is not what we want from our relationships.

Sometimes there is a sudden loss of trust and interest in the relationships we hold romantically and with our families.  A certain dullness begins to populate our daily lives and somehow we realize that these are not what our connections should be.

What is intimacy?

Humans are social beings. They have the need to believe that they are worthy of feeling loved. The closer one is to another, both physically and emotionally, the more connected and intimate the relationship becomes.  

Psychologist have categorized four main forms of intimacy.Intellectual intimacy when people share reflections and ideas. Physical intimacy when people engage in sharing common recreational activities like sports or something artistic.  Emotional intimacy refers to two people comfortably sharing their thoughts  and having empathy for each other.Sexual intimacy although mostly known as sexual intercourse, also includes many forms of sexual expressions like cuddling in bed.

A study made by Mackey, Diemer, and O’brien on couples with long lasting relationships and levels of intimacy found that social and demographic factors such as age, race, education, income, and religion did not have significant level of impact on intimacy”. “Rather couples with greater quality communication, minimal relation conflict, couple decision making, relational equity,  and physical affection among others had better intimacy levels.’ (Mackey, Diemer, O’brien 2004)

Intimacy, just as happiness, is affected by the phenomenon of hedonic adaptation. It is equally a common conception that couples state that passion fades with time. Passion and intimacy are both subjected to hedonic adaptation, just as the thrill of a new car fades  away,  the same goes for these emotions.

For intimacy to develop in relationships it takes time, effort, and motivation. Moreover all forms require action and emotional work.  

Here we share 10 key elements to  increase/maintain intimacy:

1 Sharing.

Are your conversations based on insensitive facts rather than emotional experiences? Are you just uttering one word responses back and forth to each other, or simply just living in an atmosphere immersed in silence?
Engaging in deep and meaningful conversations is an essential aspect of a healthy relationship.You don't  have to speak about the theory of relativity to have a profound conversation. Sharing every little piece of emotion ,thoughts, troubles, and achievements is well enough.

2. Being Responsive

When the other party is trying to share something what is your response? Are you engaged in what is he/she is saying? Are they being responsive too?

Listening thoroughly and carefully is a key aspect in maintaining intimacy. Respond to his/her emotions and engage with more questions. Verbal and nonverbal communication is one of the few things we are in charge of and it is one of the main factors in establishing/maintaining any relationship. It is the kind of dyadic exchange that builds intimacy.

3. Touching.

This isn't only about sexual intercourse, but about communication. Humans perceive a lot of cues from the touch of another person. Studies show that, when touch is involved, we tend to be more generous, more compassionate, more helpful—and we feel a greater sense of connection.

4. Lack of empathy

Although it may  seem pretty obvious, sometimes we are too buried in our own thoughts to feel someone else's joy or sorrows as if they were  our own.

5  Time

Spend quality time with the people around you. Just as a bottle of wine gets better with time, so too do levels of intimacy improve. The best way to develop intimacy is to share experiences together.

6 Be sincere

Avoiding to hurt someone’s feelings, it is always better to speak the truth. Be as clear and straightforward as possible. People who are not intimate do not share their  sensitive side. Be open minded and accept when others are speaking their mind about yourself. If one is feeling sad,  share your emotions.

7 Acceptance.

This relates to understanding each other and, at a times, to be forgiving of one another. Moreover it is imperative to have self-acceptance of our own shortcomings. No one is perfect, accept yourself as you are.

8 Be able to laugh at yourselves.

One key element to thrive in all aspects of life is to be able to maintain a sense of humour about life itself. Life can be hard at times and without the ability to laugh in the eye of the ironies of life, one can end up hating the world surrounding us.

9 Take personal time.

Personal time provides a space to reflect about our relationships and this observation creates a greater desire for more intimacy. You shouldn't feel guilty for taking your own time. Pursuing your own hobby and taking a little independence is good for both men and women. It builds self esteem and lets the relationship breath and feel fresh.

10 Have fun

Simple and easy. Schedule time for just enjoying each other's company. Do the activities you adore..

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