How To Build Intimacy In Your Relationship - How To Win a Man's Heart

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August 10, 2014

How To Build Intimacy In Your Relationship

The couples I see in my private practice frequently come to see me because they are disconnected, lonely and isolated from each other. Often they are not sexually active. Or if they are having sex, it is disconnected and one of the partners, usually the woman isn’t enjoying it, but just going along to please her husband because she thinks she should. The following is a list of things to do that build emotional intimacy.

Intimacy is “In to Me You See”-starts with oneself.

I tell my couples that Intimacy is “In to me you see.” If you say it out loud it means a lot.  Intimacy then, starts with oneself.  In order to be more intimate with your loved one, a person needs to be more intimate with him or herself. You may wonder what that means, to be intimate with yourself.

The start of a vibrant and full relationship is to be present with all of the feelings that are evoked by your partner and share them. Yes, it means to share your full self with your loved one.

Sharing your full self with another means that you need to know what you are feeling. This can be quite a trick, especially given how overwhelming emotions can be once they get triggered. It can also be difficult because we tend to be uncomfortable with the negative emotions and deal with them by burying them or numbing them. There are many ways we numb ourselves: TV, alcohol, busy-ness, caffeine, food, and over-exercising are some of them.

The way to fully connect with yourself is to listen to your emotions. I often tell my clients that emotions are a person’s  internal guidance system, just like a GPS telling you what to do next. Emotions and feelings are your friends, it is important to listen to them.

Once you begin to quiet down and listen to what you are saying and feeling, sometimes you may not like what comes up. Perhaps your feelings are telling you that you are hurt, dislike a comment that was made, or hate your job.

Generally, the internal voice or mind’s chatter tells us not to share our vulnerable side in relationship. Fear says, “If I tell her that I was hurt when she did that she will think I am a loser”, or more commonly it is, “If I share how I really feel she will judge me and not really like me, so I have to keep my true self hidden.”

As the saying goes, “All roads led to Rome”, which means that underneath all of this mind chatter is, “If I share how I really feel he/she might not love me or think that I am the right one, or good enough, smart enough, make enough or simply am not enough for him or her.”

There is always a lot of vulnerability that is evoked when a person loves another. Think about what your main fear is when it comes to relationships. It is usually that you are not loveable enough.

Spend quality time ALONE with your loved one, EVERY DAY!

After you gain clarity about how you feel, the next task is communicating it to your loved one.  The primary way to do that is by spending time together, alone!  Again, this means that the two of you need to do things together that are not mutually numbing, such as watching TV, getting drunk, and being with others.

Yes, it is important to have friends, and to be friends with other couples but you need to make time for each other.  We live in a world which values activity. Be conscious of how you spend your time. Sometimes we get ourselves busy as a method to avoid being close.

Once you decide in a conscious way that you want to make time for each other, be intentional about that time and protect it from outside distractions. This will serve to bond you both. Set aside time for your loved one, usually the same time each day is best. You will need at least 20 minutes of time to bond with your partner.

Talk to your loved about EVERYTHING!

I work with a lot of couples that have been through affairs.  Affairs and cheating are usually born out of lack of communication and a lack of emotional intimacy. It is important that you share how you feel about everything that has to do with your relationship WITH your loved one.

Talk about it right away and do not let it build up. The best way to create distance is to ignore, placate, hide or deny that you are having issues. That said, timing is important so you will want to discuss the important subjects when you have time to give them your full attention.

Listen to your partner

I usually tell my couples that the word “listen” has the same letters as silent.  In order to listen, one must stop talking and being quiet.  It is important to remember that communication is about really listening to your partner.  Sometimes people think that communication is only about talking.

In order to listen better, you can check in with your loved one and repeat what you heard him or her say. We call this mirroring and it is great way to make sure that you are really listening, instead of just waiting for your partner to stop talking so you can make your next point.

Be honest

If something is bothering you, tell your loved one.  Act with integrity in all areas so that you don’t have to hide anything.

Be kind and share your gratitude

Be sure to compliment and say nice things to your loved one when you feel it.  Everyone likes to here good things about themselves.  Share your gratitude with your loved one.  This is a great way to get your partner to do more of the things you like because everyone likes compliments.

Following these steps will add emotional intimacy. And the result is that you will feel closer and more connected to your loved one.

About the author

Renee Segal

Renee Segal is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist focused on providing individual and couples counseling services. She specializes in helping couples rebuild trust from infidelity, betrayal and addictions by helping them renew their bonds and develop secure attachment. Renee is trained in Emotion Focused Couples Therapy which is empirically validated to help even the most distressed couples.

To know more about Renee, visit