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What is emotional intimacy?

In a relationship, emotional intimacy can be just as important as physical intimacy. If you are emotionally distanced from your partner, your relationship will be limited and can become damaged. Cultivating emotional intimacy will strengthen your relationship.

Getting in touch with your own and your partner’s emotions is a key part of emotionally focused therapy, which is used in couples counselling to help improve your relationship.

Learning more extensively about yourself and your partner will only bring you closer together and reinforce your bonds. Here, we look at what emotional intimacy is and why it can be important.

What is it?

When we talk about ‘emotional intimacy’ we are referring to the sense of closeness you develop with another person over time. Having this kind of bond with someone will usually involve feeling safe, accepted and understood. The other person comes to understand how your mind works and how you will react to things. They begin to understand your thought processes on an intimate level.

Emotional intimacy provides a deeper connection that allows each person in the relationship to express worries and vulnerabilities without fear. It means that you can wholly be yourself without worrying that anything you do puts your relationship at risk.

Everyone’s needs and expectations for emotional intimacy will be different. Learning about the level of emotional intimacy each party expects will be part of the process.

Why is it important?

Generally, a couple is happier and healthier when they feel free to share feelings and understand one another on a deeper level.

A lack of emotional intimacy is not sustainable in the long run; without the feelings of security and love it can bring, other areas of your relationship will start to become negatively affected. Emotional intimacy can be thought of as the foundation for long-term relationships; without it, your relationship is not reaching its full potential.

A couple hugging closely

How can you improve emotional intimacy?

Cultivating emotional intimacy will be an ongoing process, but they are many ways to start building it.

Do something meaningful together

Making time for connection-deepening activities is essential if you want to reverse your lack of emotional intimacy. Try to do something you wouldn’t usually do; break away from the ritualistic or your old habits and do something where you can have meaningful conversations or new experiences together.

Don’t treat these activities as a chore, but invest time in something that you both like doing. Focus on each other as people, rather than just an object in the relationship.

Be vulnerable

It can be challenging, but being vulnerable and completely open with each other is a great way to strengthen your connection.

Try to go out of your way to share something you might usually keep to yourself. Revealing a secret or long-held thought may prompt your partner to be vulnerable in return and will help cultivate trust and honesty.

Be curious

To show that you’re interested and invested in your partner’s feelings, ask questions you would normally hold back. Be curious about why your partner feels or thinks a certain way.

It is more useful if you look outside of yourself and attempt to understand why your partner reacts the way they do. Building empathy is another essential facet of emotional intimacy. Encouraging this kind of thinking will also be helpful in learning to have healthy disagreements; understanding your partner on this level will show you why they feel and act in certain ways during arguments.

A couple smiling at each other

Express appreciation

Not matter how long you have been in your relationship you should make an effort to show how grateful you are for the nice things your partner does. Acknowledging the small things that your partner does is a powerful tool for cultivating gratitude and reassurance.

Daily affirmations or complements can help outline the reasons why you are together and why you love each other.

If you and your partner struggle with emotional intimacy, it may be worth considering seeking the help of a professional counsellor. Here at Remainly, we provide a catalogue of pre-recorded videos that give tailored advice for your relationship. For more guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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