Reveals Couples Therapist Shivani Misri Sadhoo what defines intimacy between couples
According to The Oxford English Dictionary intimacy has been defined as the “inmost thoughts or feelings; proceeding from, concerning, or impacting one’s inmost self: closely personal.”
While couples therapist Shivani Sadhoo says, from a psychological or relationship’s view intimacy generally, denotes mutual vulnerability, openness, and sharing. It is mostly present in close, loving relationships like in marriages and friendships. The word is also at times used to refer to sexual interactions, but intimacy does not have to be restricted to be sexual only.
Though intimacy could undoubtedly exist beyond romantic relationships, it most usually pertains to dating and marriage. The word intimacy has been derived from Latin word “intimus,” which means ‘inner’ or ‘innermost. In the majority of romance languages, the word intimate refers to an individual’s innermost qualities.
Intimacy lets people bond with each other on multiple levels. Therefore, it is a mandatory component of healthy relationships.
Through this blog, India’s eminent marriage counselor Shivani Sadhoo covers the different forms of intimacy and how you can make more of it in your relationship.
Types of intimacy that exists in a relationship
Upon hearing the word, most of you perhaps instantly jumped to thinking about physical intimacy, but other forms of intimacy are simply as important, particularly when it comes to romantic relationships. Let’s have a look at some different kinds of intimacy.
While holding a hand or hugging are both examples of physical intimacy, this form is most commonly used in reference to sex. And while sex is integral in relationships, you can also showcase physical intimacy through kissing, holding hands, cuddling, and skin-to-skin contact.
While these minor physical displays of affection might seem mundane, they can actually help you and your partner cultivate a feeling of bonding and closeness.
With reference to sex, a part of intimacy is also about feeling safe enough with your partner to share your likes and dislikes. Make certain that you are asking for the same piece of information from your partner. In this manner, you can facilitate a safe haven where both of you will feel comfortable sharing your deepest thoughts, needs, and desires.
Emotional intimacy can also be one of the most vital aspects of a relationship. One specific journal defined emotional intimacy as involving “a perception of closeness to another that lets sharing of personal feelings, accompanied through expectations of understanding, affirmation, and demonstrations of caring.
To harvest emotional intimacy, take the proper time to listen to and share with your partner every day. Also, make notes of special moments or things that remind you of your special one so that you can let them know you are also thinking about them.
Studies have suggested that self-disclosure helps build feelings of intimacy inside marriages, which will make your bond even stronger. A big part of it is sharing your thoughts and feelings with transparency, honesty, and listening to your loved ones when they do the same.
While couples do not have to be joined at the hip, shared experiences are essential in healthy relationships. They are also mostly the way that relationships start, so experiences could even add an aspect of nostalgia for long-term partners.
If you are looking to deepen your experiential intimacy, this is an excellent moment to book a trip or try out a fun new date spot or activity in your city. Try to learn something new with regard to your partner.
See, you do not have to watch a specific TV show together every single night, but it could be fun to have intellectual conversations with your significant other, mainly if you work in different fields. Find new topics to discuss; simple website searches pull up tons of conversation starters.
If you put good effort into having conversations beyond the everyday monotony, it will keep things fresh within your relationship.
While this could be referring to religious ideas and beliefs, it also means something way more profound, such as sharing actual beliefs and values. Your values and beliefs could align with religion or even general health and wellness. Regardless, it is necessary to share these vital aspects of your life with your partner.
This could also be an opportunity for you and your partner to talk about what role you exactly want spirituality to play in your lives if you have a family.
Methods to form intimacy
Not an issue of how long you two have been together, it is always important to develop your intimacy levels. Here are certain simple, practical methods to enhance and expand your levels of intimacy in your relationship:
- If you are not in the mood or are extremely exhausted from having sex or even talking, cuddle on the couch.
- Plan for a trip to a place neither of you has earlier been to. It is fun to experience new things for the first time.
- Keep aside the gadgets even if it is only during a meal or while you and your partner watch a show together. Rather, make certain to do this if your partner is talking to you about their day or a specific experience.
- While listening to your partner, make yourself completely emotionally present to them. If you at all cannot manage to do this when they are talking to you, calmly explain your case why and then set aside a specific time in the future to listen to what they have to say.
- Send each other articles so that both of you can have fun and something new to discuss. This also assists in building intellectual intimacy, and it could provide you a much-required mental break if you have kids, or a caregiver to another loved one in the extended family.