Picture this! Blokes talking about intimacy, but not sex!
A rare occurrence! But informative and transformational discussions that are happening inside my consultations with men.
How do you understand intimacy and not focus only on sex?
Many men describe intimacy in their relationship in much broader ways.
- Being myself in relationship
- Strong sense of trust
- To be completely vulnerable
- No judgment
- Empathy, support and patience,
- Experience activities together
- Honest and open
- Mutual respect to share
- Freedom to express
- Beyond surface level
Intimacy does have a more emotional component alongside physical expectations.
Yet, like anything emotional, conversations about intimacy aren’t always straight forward, stuff gets in the way!
Common Obstacles to intimacy
Conversations about broader aspects of intimacy can be very challenging. Partners often experience:
- Fear of judgment and criticism
- Struggle to be open
- A lack of awareness and a closed mind to intimacy needs
- Being distracted, escaping and avoiding deeper conversations
- Not listening and too reactive.
- Too dismissive and impatient
As with many a problem most blokes love a good fix!
The following steps could help you to build or rebuild closeness with your partner:
Communicating with your partner every day is a pretty good start!
Emotional intimacy is deepened where both of you are present. Yep, no phones or screens!
Essentially good communication is being in a non-distracting and genuine discussion. It’s where you join with your partner in talking about the experience of life.
Some of these discussions may include:
Supporting each others work and activities
Asking open ended questions that reflect curiosity in each others opinions
Listening to each others hopes and dreams
Taking an interest in each others studies, community activities, hobbies.
Acknowledging each others capabilities, and potential for growth.
Bolstering each others confidence with encouragement
Support means being there for your partner when they need you. It's an essential element of intimacy.
Give support by:
Listening when your partner is worried
Being attentive when they are sick
Helping practically when they’re tired
Inquiring about your partners feelings
Staying engaged patiently when your partner is confused
Discussing and debriefing events of the day together
Expressing concern and/or providing physical comfort when your partner is sad or hurt
3. Show up more
If, like many men, you keep too much of your personal thoughts and feelings to yourself it’s time to show up sides of yourself you may not show anyone else!
What doe this mean?
Share moments of doubt, fear, sadness, and pain
Seek out your partner’s understanding and empathy
Remember that all your feelings are normal and need for connection is legitimate
4. Handling Conflict
Couples argue and disagree. It’s normal and even necessary.
When conflict becomes high level find ways to repair after negative interactions.
A couple of ways of ensuring this is:
Take responsibility, even if it’s for only your part of the problem
Avoid criticism or blame, and instead focus on our own needs
Conflict can actually deepen intimacy and bring couples closer together.
When it comes to building stronger emotional intimacy see your relationship as a work in progress.
If you’re hoping to improve intimacy, take note of these expectations:
Be more present
Allow understanding and empathy of any hurt
Accept and work through stuff
Increase curiosity about your partners experiences
Support more often
Have more patience
Be more vulnerable
Take responsibility and avoid blame
Less trivialising, less dismissive
Do any of these resonate with you?
Being emotionally intimate with your partner means opening up to them about your innermost thoughts. Share your joy and pain.