What is Intimacy? How Does it Develop & How Do You Keep It Alive? What a Question…

Head shot of young black couple laughing -clearly very connected and in love with one another I’m often asked, what is intimacy and why is it so important?

Intimacy is encapsulated by the emotional closeness you feel towards your significant other. It’s about being able to be yourself with your partner… rather than having to feel that you need to be on guard…or protect yourself.

True intimacy means being able to be free…To be yourself …To let your guard down, and let your partner know who you really are and how you really feel.

How Does Intimacy Develop?
Intimacy develops when you’re both able and willing to accept one another for who you are and openly share and support one another’s feelings. It develops as a direct response to feeling deeply connected…

True intimacy is being able to stand together naked…fully exposed so to speak and to know that despite all of your weaknesses your true inner beauty is appreciated and valued in every way, every day.

That doesn’t mean that the relationship won’t have hurdles to overcome or that both of you will agree to seeing eye to eye on everything. All healthy relationships face challenges and hurdles…

But the manner in which those hurdles and challenges you’re thrown are dealt with is what differs in a healthy, loving, successful relationship.

Intimacy involves being able to share the full range of feelings and experiences we as human beings experience…the pain and the sadness, as well as the joy and love.

To be able to share your ‘inner-world’ with your partner knowing that you’re accepted for all that you are, is one of the most rewarding aspects of a deeply loving relationship.

While true intimacy often doesn’t need words…being able to articulate your feelings and experiences in words means that intimacy is more likely to develop.

So for the moment…consider how comfortable are you sharing your feelings and most intimate thoughts with your partner.

How easy do you find sharing your feelings with your loved one? Being truly open and honest about your feelings?

Don’t Expect Your Partner to be a Mind Reader
Most of us rather than sharing our feelings as we experience them, expect our partner to mind read how we’re feeling…and that’s unrealistic… No one can mind read another person’s feeling. And Ladies…Men have enough challenges getting in touch with their own feelings, let alone being able to accurately mind read someone else’s!

So don’t even go there…

Expecting your partner to know how you feel is a heavy burden to give someone and worse…counterproductive in developing true intimacy. Doing so creates barriers to true intimacy.

I recently heard of a couple that broke up after what my male friend had believed was four blissful years together. In the break up his partner revealed all the times over the past 2 years that he had not understood or responded to her feelings.

Totally bereft, to what he was hearing and stunned by the accumulation of two years of resentment…he said to his partner that he didn’t know that that was how she was feeling. To which she responded… ‘but you are supposed to know…’

I loved his response…’but I am a mere male. How would I know what you’re feeling if you don’t tell me, I’m not a mind reader…’ And ladies that is SO true.

Get Comfortable With Being Open
How often do you tell your partner how you really feel…? Or share how important he or she means to you?

Saying ‘I love you’ is important. And reminding yourself and your partner of this on a regular basis is extremely important in keeping the relationship and romance alive and fresh. The sizzle you enjoyed in your early days together.

Assuming your partner knows… because of the way you behave isn’t enough. Don’t take one another and your feelings for one another for granted.

In an earlier post I mentioned Chapman’s Five Languages of Love  and explained the importance of using your partner’s love language to express your feelings of love and intimacy… so that you’re using a language that your partner hears and understands.

That said it’s important to express and share your feelings with your partner on all matters that are important to you. And for you both to feel comfortable with one another expressing those feelings, openly and honestly…

For true intimacy to develop you need to be able to bear your soul, demonstrate how you feel…and know that whatever it is…your partner will hear and respond without judgment…supportive that you’ve shared your deepest, most innermost feelings… So no mincing of words or assuming that your partner understands what’s left unsaid…

Imagine for a moment standing on the edge of a rock face that overhangs a significant drop into the valley below…You can’t see what lies beyond, and your partner says…

                                               ‘Jump – Trust me. It’s safe to jump – there’s water below…’

What would you do? Would you jump?

Would you trust that your partner could see beyond the overhang and would not put your life at risk – in other words that it was safe to jump? Or would you question your partner’s motives?

I like to use this example as means to demonstrate the importance of trust and what it involves… An intimate bond of trust and connection has to exist for you to unquestioningly jump at the sound of your partner’s voice? Trusting that at the deepest level he cares for you and supports you in all that you do and think about.

…That he holds your welfare at heart and would do nothing to lead you into danger…and the knowingness or bond between the two of you leaves no words or room for doubt.

Those very same conditions and rules apply to intimacy. That’s true intimacy!

Total Love & Acceptance
When true intimacy exists the fear to be yourself, to expose your innermost feelings and desires disappears. In its place is total trust, total love and total acceptance.

If you have found this post valuable please like, share or post a comment in the box below…
Much love…

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  1. says

    Great article. I especially like what you wrote about being open. I think vulnerability is so important, in all relationships. I love how Author Brene Brown talks about how she spoke to couples who were still happy later in life and they put it down to being able to be vulnerable.

    • Carol says

      So true Christel, Being open is about allowing yourself to be vulnerable – but it is in that vulnerability that true beauty and deep connection lies. I’m not familiar with Brene Brown. So thank you will l look into her and her work.

  2. says

    one important thing is that both partners have got to want intimacy – it can’t be forced no matter how much it’s craved. the thing I longed for more than anything was great conversation – we lost even that. sometimes just talking is better than sliced bread! 😀

    • Carol says

      Thanks for sharing Nancy, My personal belief is that no-one enters into a relationship wanting to be an island, alone and desolate…that said it is how many of us behave – expecting that our partners will appreciate that we feel abandoned or alone, like stranded ships on the sea of doublt… need to be saved. True intimacy develops when one or both partners are prepared to be vulnerable, take off the masks and declare what they want. And be prepared to be open and vulerable. That as you so truly say cannot be forced, it has to be desired…But isn’t that want we all want from our partnerships?

  3. says

    I love this post, and believe that my husband and I have a wonderful level of trust and intimacy – but I must admit, if he told me to jump off a high cliff when I couldn’t see the water – I would be asking questions hahaha! There would be no jumping until he confirmed a few things and if I had just bought an insurance policy – alarm bells would be ringing hahaha!!

    • Carol says

      Thanks Serena, Yes it was an extreme example – came from friends who were 4 wheel driving around Australia. My girldfriend is not overly adveturous and her husband is. His aim was to jump into every plunge pool in the outback of Australia from the highest point over their 2 year off road adventure. He and their two kids were fearless, and just jumped…She had to be coaxed and reassured that it was safe and she’d have fun.. Linda’s comments were that it was hard enough climbing the peaks he wanted to jump from. And having reached the summits and enjoyed the view, she just had to trust… Climbing back down was not an option. And 3 years later she survives to tell the tale. Laughed so loud when I read your comment.

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