5 Ways To Build Emotional Intimacy Between You and Your Partner

Maria del Russo
Photo credit: Luis Alvarez

From Woman's Day

In relationships, physical intimacy tends to come easier than emotional intimacy. “Emotional intimacy is, in layman's terms, what is typically referred to as ‘feeling close’ to someone,” Sofia Robirosa, MBA, author of The Business of Marriage, tells Woman’s Day. “It is not exclusive to romantic relationships.” According to Rubirosa, emotional intimacy typically comes about when there is a sense of emotional safety in a relationship. “This results in deep feelings of trust, an essential ingredient of feeling loved,” she says.

But like physical intimacy, emotional intimacy can wane once a couple has been together for a while — and that’s totally normal. In fact, Robirosa says that it’s what she addresses the majority of the time with couples she works with. But it’s an important part of a relationship and one that needs to be worked on if it does start to go away. “A couple can start their relationship having great physical intimacy,” she says. “However, if they have a bump in the road, without a strong sense of emotional intimacy, it might be hard to bring it back.”

Emotional intimacy is the bedrock of a relationship. Luckily, there are simple ways to cultivate it and bring it back, according to Robirosa.

Work on your communication style.

Communication tends to be the thing that drives a wedge in a lot of relationships, especially the way a couple argues. According to Robirosa, things like criticism, sarcasm, and labeling are communication blockers that tend to create distance in relationships. So if you find yourself sliding into those types of communication, take a beat and ask yourself why. Then figure out a better way to get your point across. “If there are any resentments, those need to be worked out by talking about it and healing together,” she says.

Photo credit: Corinna Kern

Express gratitude and appreciation.

The longer you’re in a relationship, the easier it is to just let the nice things your partner does for you slide. But it’s important to acknowledge the small things — like when they bring you coffee in the morning, or take the dog out for a walk. “For emotional intimacy to exist, the expression of gratitude and appreciation is needed to create reassurance of why we are together.” It’s easy to say “thank you” for the big things. But it’s the little things that are sometimes the most meaningful.

See things from your partner’s point of view.

This is one of the harder things to do — especially when you’re in a relationship. But Robirosa says it’s more important to understand your partner’s mindset than it is to be right. “Have a mindset that dialogue is a space to foster understanding rather than being right or wrong or keeping scores,” she says. That doesn’t automatically mean your partner is right, though. It just means that you’re willing to see things from both sides, and that can lead to greater understanding.

Photo credit: NickyLloyd

Do things that are important and meaningful together.

“Spontaneously do something your partner has asked you to do in the past,” Robirosa says. “This can be trying an activity that matters to your partner, or doing a chore that relieves stress for them.” It’s not all about doing the things that aren’t fun. In fact, Robirosa says it’s important to do the fun things together, too, so that you can focus on cultivating joy together.

Work on fostering openness.

Look — the things that need to be discussed in relationships aren’t always fun or comfortable to talk about. But it’s important to make space for those discussions and to work on being more comfortable talking about the things that are scary. “Even if you’re worried that it will hurt your partner’s feelings, the results of expressing your needs and working on enhancing the closeness in the relationship is worth the risk,” Robirosa says. This goes for intimate topics, like sexual fantasies or mental health issues, too. It helps you continue to learn about your partner, which allows that emotional intimacy to thrive.

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