Elite Reover

How can I strengthen emotional intimacy in my relationship?

24 October 2022
How can I strengthen emotional intimacy in my relationship?

What you will learn from reading this article:

  • The fundamentals of emotional intimacy
  • 5 simple steps to build emotional intimacy in a relationship

What is emotional intimacy?

When a couple has reached a strong level of emotional intimacy, they find it easy to share their thoughts and feelings openly. They have the faith and confidence that their partner will love and support them regardless of what they are feeling.

Such a couple feels deeply connected and truly supported. They are conscious of the way they communicate and are respectful of each other.

Intimacy is a journey

Emotional intimacy is not a milestone or a goal post. It is something you constantly work together to nurture.

It is important to keep in mind that both yours and your partner’s needs for emotional intimacy will grow as your relationship progresses. For example a couple in their 30s may need to support each other emotionally with their young children’s discipline and tantrums. In their 40s, on the other hand, they may need to support each other emotionally with their turbulent teens and ageing parents.

Intimacy takes practice

Not everyone is comfortable jumping right in to build and strengthen intimacy. Keep an open mind, and remind yourself that everyone has their own journey. We all bring our own baggage – influenced by our past experiences – into our relationships, and working through them with our partner requires setting the right intention, open communication, and practice.

5 simple steps to build emotional intimacy

Here are some tips to nurture emotional intimacy and grow as a couple:

01. Set the right intention

Pick a time when you and your partner are relaxed. Discuss with your partner:

  • Why both of you you would like to build emotional intimacy
  • What does emotional intimacy look like to both of you
  • What can both of you do to build emotional intimacy together

For example, you may want your partner to listen to your troubles and offer comfort through your partner’s presence, while for your partner it may be the ability to show you their vulnerabilities and not be judged.

Once you understand what you and your partner’s expectations are in the relationship, being open about each other’s emotional needs and clarifying misconceptions becomes easier.

02. Have open communication

Now that the intention has been set, start talking about your feelings openly and honestly with your partner. If your partner upsets you, or if you feel that your partner did not make the effort to understand what you were trying to say, don’t hold it in and let it fester. Say what’s on your mind clearly, and gently remind yourself and your partner of the intention both of you had set.

It is important that you communicate not just what you want to say, but also your intention for sharing what you are sharing. This will help your partner understand your thought process and clarify any misunderstandings.

03. Practice

Building emotional intimacy is not a one-shot deal. It is something that requires practice. You may fail in your first few attempts, but the important part is that you keep practising.

Remember the first time you tried to cycle? You probably did not master it in one go, but instead kept trying and practising until you got it right. Apply the same theory here – because emotional intimacy is also a skill that takes time to develop, and get good at.

04. Appreciate your partner’s efforts

Appreciation and gratitude goes a long way. Thank your partner for their effort to understand you. Tell them how you felt seen and heard.

When they do something that makes you happy, tell them how their actions made you feel – because even you would like to hear words of gratitude and appreciation from your partner, which will encourage you to continue your efforts.

05. Be kind

We are all human, so there are bound to be ups and downs. Don’t hold it against your partner if they slip at times. Building emotional intimacy in your relationship is a marathon, not a sprint.

There have been times when both of us (Kavitha and Kester) have slipped, causing the other person to feel as if the progress we were making so far was shattered – but it does not have to feel that way. Remember to be kind and allow your partner the space to breathe and pick things up from where it fell.

Reach out to us

These are some steps we have used ourselves as a couple to strengthen emotional intimacy in our relationship. Having brought our own baggage into this relationship, unpacking and working on our problems together has helped us build a strong intimate bond.

If you and your partner are seeking additional guidance, we – Kavitha & Kester – are a couple therapists offering couples and relationship counselling in Singapore. Learn more about our services today and start building a better bond with your partner.

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