Relationship intimacy involves both a strong physical and emotional bond. In a committed relationship, physical and emotional intimacies are connected and interdependent on each other. One doesn’t happen without the other. Having and maintaining relationship intimacy is important. It fulfills our human need of belonging and to be cared for. Studies show that intimacy is a critical part of our overall health, happiness and sense of meaning in life.
Couples who seek therapy are looking to regain the closeness they once felt in the relationship. When they first come to therapy, couples are often angry, frustrated and hopeless. They fear their relationship intimacy is damaged beyond repair. Other times, couples feel a distance creeping in and will want to prevent further harm.
Many couples struggle with relationship issues that leave them feeling disconnected and distant from each other. When intimacy is lost, interactions become hurtful and isolating. Fights happen quicker and last longer. They will feel misunderstood, taken for granted and alone. Experiencing a loss of intimacy leaves emotional scars. Once this happens, it is tough to be vulnerable in the relationship out of fear of being rejected or hurt.
How does relationship intimacy deteriorate?
- Neglect – Neglect is a common reason couples struggle to maintain intimacy. Neglect happens when partners give up time and energy for the relationship. They may spend their time on personal interests, work, computers or video games.
- Violations of Trust – Trust and intimacy go hand in hand. When couples experience betrayal in their relationship, trust is lost. Trust violations come in many forms: Infidelity, not following through on commitments, hiding information or when boundaries with extended family or friends are not enforced.
- Harmful Communication Patterns –Poor or ineffective communication is a significant barrier to intimacy. Harmful communication may include patterns such as ignoring, criticizing, blaming, defensiveness, poor listening, name calling and threats.
All of these factors contribute to decreased feelings of “connectedness” in a relationship. The good news is – Couples Therapy can help. If you are at a place where your relationship intimacy has taken a hit or is fallen apart altogether – I can help. I would love to meet with you and your partner. Contact me today for an appointment. Together we will assess where you are in your relationship and make a plan to get you back to that “safe” intimate place you once had. Using Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), we will get to the heart of the issue that creates distance and bring you closer together.