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We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on thiswe may earn a small commission. Sex and romance may come to mind first, but intimacy plays a role in other types of relationships too! You might also be referring to the quality of the time you spent together. Maybe you and your friends opened up about personal details and bonded over common interests.
Your relationships with family, friends, and other trusted individuals all include elements of intimacy. Your specific idea of intimacy may be influenced by your interests, communication style, or preferred ways to get to know someone. Emotional intimacy is what allows you to tell your loved ones personal things that you might not necessarily share with strangers. Think of it as letting your guard down.
As you learn that you can trust someone, you feel safe enough to let your walls down. You build experiential intimacy by spending quality time with someone and growing closer over common interests and activities. Generally speaking, spirituality is about belief in something beyond the physical realm of existence. In order to share personal parts of yourself — like your most embarrassing secrets or your deepest fears — you have to be able to trust them. And in the same vein, every time you open up, you can grow a little bit closer.
Sharing your deepest, truest self with another person can put you in a pretty vulnerable position. So, intimacy means feeling safe enough to take the risk of putting yourself out there, knowing the other person cares enough not to let you down. You know your BFF will be there for you after a bad breakup. Caring about each other is one thing, but you also build intimacy by showing that you care.
Sometimes affection is in the unspoken ways you show up for each other, like when your friend spends their day off helping you move simply because they care. When you make an effort to listen to someone and tell them how you really feel, you can build a deep understanding for each other.
Mission accomplished! The more time you spend sharing experiences and feelings, the more elements you have to work with to build intimacy. You might feel some apprehension, or even fearabout building intimacy.
If anyone has ever violated your trust, it can take a while to want to take a chance with them or anyone else again. It also helps your mental healthreducing your stress level as your feel-good hormones get a boost from touch like hugs and emotional release like laughter. In fact, intimacy can actually boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and reduce your risk for heart disease. You might avoid deep relationships or feel anxious about social situations for reasons that are unclear. Do you isolate yourself from other people?
Have low self-esteem?
Have a hard time staying present during sex? Avoid letting people get to know you? Once you can spot a pattern, identifying your symptoms will give you a tangible list of what to work on. Many people find it useful to work with a therapist or other mental health professional to help guide you.
For example, fear of intimacy would be an understandable response to trauma like sexual assault or childhood neglect. After abuse, we may try to protect ourselves from judgment and further harm by isolating from the rest of the world. At times we can all use some support with facing our fears.
A mental health professional like a therapist can offer that. Take time to tell the other person what you appreciate about them. The key to this is listening so you can build a real understanding of what the other person cares about and why. Plan a weekly date night, a monthly board game night, or a nightly moment to check in one-on-one before bedtime, away from the kids or other responsibilities. Spending time together without electronics can give you a chance to give each other some undivided attention.
If you have a sexual relationship, then mixing things up with new toys, outfits, and fantasies can keep things from getting dull. Restore a piece of furniture, learn a new skill like bakingor teach your old dog some new tricks. Whatever the project, working toward a goal with a loved one can cultivate bonding time, make invaluable memories, and give you something new to look forward to together. Listen when they tell you the same. Building intimacy is one of the most rewarding ways to enrich your life. Give yourself permission to seek out the meaningful connections you deserve.
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