How to Build Emotional Intimacy In a Relationship

A couple who shows strong emotional intimacy canoodling outside.

Having a physical connection to your partner is important, but without emotional intimacy, there won’t be a deeper, below the surface connection. It’s this connection that allows couples to be open and honest at all times, and speak and share freely. You both have a deep knowing and understanding of one another.

Emotional intimacy doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s definitely something that requires constant work and commitment from both people in a relationship for it to grow.

Here are some of the best ways to start building emotional intimacy in your relationship.

Be brave.
Avoiding talking about certain issues, disagreements, or fears, will only break down the connection you share with your partner over time. Sweeping things under the carpet might temporarily make you feel better, and help swerve any confrontation; but it doesn’t help to solve the root of your problems.

Challenging topics always need to be addressed, and it requires a certain degree of courage to have these conversations. If you don’t, then the intimacy in your relationship will begin to erode. You may not notice it immediately, but over time, huge cracks will appear; and they will also require a much greater deal of effort and time to resolve than if you’d addressed the issue when it first arose.

Being brave enough to have these difficult conversations shows you are both committed to and invested in the health of your relationship, and will make both of you feel more confident in having these types of open discussions.

Be vulnerable.
Everyone is afraid to a certain degree of being vulnerable in a relationship, because it opens us up to the possibility of being hurt or betrayed. But being open and honest with your feelings helps create a strong emotional connection with your partner, and builds trust.

You can take this slow at first, and share little pieces at a time. Be sure to support and encourage each other as you do. The more you practice this, the easier it will become, and eventually being vulnerable will become a no brainer.

Take care of yourself.
If you invest time and effort in loving and taking care of yourself, and developing into a stronger person in your own right, then when you come together with your partner you’ll create a much stronger, healthier partnership.

This is why so many people preach that you need to love yourself first, and enjoy your own company before entering into a relationship. And they’re not wrong.

Even when you’re in a relationship, quality time on your own and away from your partner should continue. Spend time with friends, enjoy your own hobbies and interests, and continue to grow as an individual. This is how you can be the very best version of yourself, and participate in your relationship more mindfully and meaningfully.

Build trust.
A deep connection requires a deep level of trust between both partners; and this takes time to develop. If you want to build emotional intimacy, then you need to trust your partner completely, and they need to trust you.

If you’re someone who struggles with trust issues—maybe because of childhood traumas or being betrayed in past relationships—it’s important to address where those fears are coming from. Because you can’t be afraid that your partner is going to hurt you, and love and trust them with your whole heart.

Working through your fears will help you be more vulnerable, so you can build the trust back up in your relationship.

Let go of the past.
Keeping score of past fights and wrongdoings will only help you stay stuck, and dwelling on petty things that you’ve supposedly moved on from and forgiven for. If you forgive someone, you’re making a choice to let it go and move on, but dragging things back up signifies that you haven’t fully forgiven.

Let go of the need to be right and in control all the time. We are all flawed, and we all make mistakes. But if you choose to focus on them, and always point them out, it creates a wedge between the two of you, and can make one or both partners feel as though they can’t do anything right, so why bother trying?

If your partner makes a mistake, or does something that ends up hurting you, it’s important to address it, but without trying to hurt them in the process. And once you have, let it go, and make a conscious decision to move forward.

Spend quality one on one time together.
Switch off your phones, and commit to spending quality time together where everything is about the two of you. This helps you to connect and communicate with each other in a relaxed setting, and feel heard and loved.

Try and mix things up, and do things you don’t usually do, to make sure it doesn’t become another chore you feel you have to tick off.

Write a “what I love about you…” list.
The longer you spend in a relationship, the easier it is to take each other for granted, and become much more focused on your flaws, instead of all the amazing things you love and appreciate about one another.

Take some time to sit down and create a what I love about you list. Do it together, or individually, and then share your list with your partner. This will help you remember why you were drawn to each other in the first place, and help deepen the emotional intimacy.

Shani Jay

Bestselling Author and Empowerment Coach

Shani is a bestselling author, empowerment coach for women, and self-love advocate. She is the author of Bloom, The Babe Bible, Glow Getter, and Light Up Your Life; and her writing has been featured on many internationally recognized platforms including The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, and Teen Vogue.

​In 2016 Shani founded The Glow Getter Tribe – a self-love & kindness movement which helps young girls & women worldwide feel happy, confident and beautiful starting from the inside, out.

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