Emotional intimacy is a form of connection or bonding with another person. This does not just exist between couples, but it can also exist between family, friends, and even co-workers.
People who share emotional intimacy may share in common some perspectives and viewpoints on life and the world.
Most people agree that emotional intimacy is very important in a relationship. But what can you do if you face challenges to establishing these bonds or connections?
Tips on How to Create more Emotional Intimacy with Others in Your Life
Reflect on your past and think of the times you may have been emotionally intimate with others
Sometimes we are our worst critics. While you might be less emotionally available than you would like, odds are there has been a time in the past where you were able to establish these connections. Hone in on those moments when you have shared in those close and intimate connections with another individual.
Recollecting your past experiences may help you gain more clarity moving forward in the present and beyond. This also will help you to seek out a therapist who can help you navigate through some of the less than advantageous times to help strengthen your emotional intimacy skills.
Identify what’s holding you back from emotional intimacy
Do you feel at times that you build an imaginary barrier to distance yourself from others? Maybe you have been disappointed with a bid for intimacy or perhaps this may have been instilled from a young age with your family?
If you have been emotionally intimate with other individuals in the past, but feel you are challenged in finding that with someone in the present, it may not be that you are the potential cause of the resistance. Look to getting to the root cause of the issue to move ahead.
Physical intimacy does not equal emotional intimacy. Males may have more of a tendency than females to steer around being emotionally intimate. Do not get physical intimacy intertwined with emotional intimacy, as these do not necessarily equal one another.
Try to experience intimacy at both a physical and emotional level but realize that physical intimacy is not a substitute for filling the emotional intimacy bucket.
Start to open and expand yourself in incremental steps
While some individuals may feel more at ease to disclose their personal feelings and emotions, others may be more hesitant to disclose anything at all. By taking the plunge to share something more personal about yourself, you have now taken a step to start building more trust and closeness with someone.
Avoiding any kind of personal disclosure may pose a potential roadblock to the next steps of developing emotional intimacy. If you feel uneasy about divulging, start with something very small and you can work on building from there. This will allow you to get into the routine of sharing your thoughts and opinions with others. When someone has earned your trust, share a touch more.
Don’t force a square peg into a round hole
Attempting to coerce intimacy into your relationship may potential have the adverse result that you may be looking for. This may place added stress on the other individual to be on the same level, which may introduce stonewalling or defensive communication. Intimacy builds in subtle ways, as long as you are open and willing to let someone in.
Try using physical intimacy as a bridge to emotional intimacy
Shifting your perspective and actions can change the way you feel. Maybe try embracing the other person at a time you normally would not. Hold hands or squeeze their arm as you walk by. It might feel strange initially , but it’ll help build that intimacy you’re seeking.
It can be challenging to expose yourself and leave your vulnerable, but emotional intimacy is key if you are seeking a more fulfilled life. Remember to always start small and expand from there. If the other person is reacting in a more positive manner, proceed a little bit further. Even if you are feeling closed off or faraway from those you’re keen on , you’ll create the intimacy you desire.
Nicole O’Hare, MS, LPC, CMHIMP is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Mental Health Integrative Medicine Provider at A Beautiful Soul Holistic Counseling in Chandler, AZ. Nicole has completed Level 3 training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, which allows her to provide tools on helping couples communicate effectively and transform their relationship. Her style offers a more holistic and integrative approach to achieve optimal health and wellness while preventing common mental health problems.