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How multi-layered intimacy creates successful relationships

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How multi-layered intimacy creates successful relationships

 Let's talk about intimacy… And it's not all about sex!

The two are often thought about in tandem because why wouldn't they?

Within the realm of sex and intimacy, the act of intercourse is about as close as any two humans can get - physically.

The fact is intimacy exists on so many other levels that may well impact our romantic (aka sex) lives, but they can exist and be beautifully rewarding independent of it.

In fact, happy and long-term relationships demand sustainable rapport on at least some of these other levels of intimacy; outside of the chemistry that culminates in the bedroom.

So what are some of the catalysts for this chemistry and can we still have fulfilling relationships without 'it'?

If you want a more holistic relationship with an enviable and lasting connection and closeness with your partner, here's just three of those 'other' types of intimacy you should be focussing on…

They may well sound familiar or even obvious – but are you consciously practicing them?

Plus, as you read through these 'quick tips,' I want to ask you to also keep all your other relationships in mind – you might just see a shift there too!  

 

 Intellectual intimacy

Being able to talk about different views, beliefs, and opinions without fear of creating potential conflicts creates intellectual intimacy.

It fosters a space where you can discover new things about and learn from each other…

When both parties can openly express and engage in conversation or debate their thoughts, philosophies, or approach, it encourages more stimulating communication. You may agree to disagree at times, but when you have that sense of freedom and can challenge each other's perceptions or stand on contentious issues or even everyday matters … you can grow together.

Growing together throughout the years doesn't just mean you grow older side by side; it also speaks to the bond and sense of continuous growth as intellectual beings that contribute to underpinning your relationship.  

 

Emotional intimacy

Like intellectual intimacy, emotional intimacy is still about sharing your authentic self, but we're talking about a deeper and more vulnerable level of thoughts and feelings.

Sharing your innermost fears, dreams, or disappointments in life and being uninhibited about your needs without fear of being judged or those confidences being invalidated or belittled is a critical component of any long-term - happy- relationship.

 

It just occurred to me that you might be wondering what constitutes 'long-term' and what does a 'happy' relationship mean?  My answer is - they're both subjective!

My focus as a coach is getting the happy part right because it naturally leads to people wanting to hang out together – for longer!!

I had a client recently who had been married for almost 22 years. She wasn't sure what was wrong, only that she "didn't feel connected to her partner and she didn't know how to describe what 'happy' was anymore.  She realised that they had been trudging through the past 18 years focusing on work and their two children, who needed them less and less and yet they had never really discussed anything much about their own needs or long term hopes e.g. what they were going to do when the children left home. They weren't talking much anymore, and she didn't feel she could tell him things that happened at work and didn't know much about his work either, or what he did on his 'boys night out. She felt like they were just existing, and that fun was something other people had …the happy people!

She got started, subtly to begin with, with my secret weapon "25 things you want to know about your partner" (Click here to get a free copy), and in gently rekindling her interest in him, it was slowly but surely reciprocated, and the spark was reignited… ๐Ÿ˜Š 

Showing genuine, heartfelt interest in your partner's thoughts, feelings, and aspirations and consciously (but maybe subtly to begin ๐Ÿ˜‰) engaging in more thoughtful 'chat', will open the door to a more intimate understanding of 'where they are and empower them to reciprocate, try it! 

 

Experiential intimacy

Science suggests the excitement of a new relationship and the first fires of passion have primal roots…they ensure we as a species keep reproducing!!

As a modern human race, our relationships flourish and become strong through creating new experiences and memories as the relationship develops.  However, adrenaline-filled adventures are eventually replaced with everyday responsibilities, and ordinary life creeps upon us.

Routine and predictability are comforting but can also put you at risk of complacency and boredom!

Making a conscious effort to create new shared experiences and allowing for spontaneous activities nurtures ongoing bouts of excitement and stimulation… that often flow over to and enriches new and interesting conversations; just watch your close relationships flourish as a consequence.

You don't have to start mountain climbing or go bungy jumping…it could be starting dance classes or a fitness group together, trying new restaurants or growing your own vegetables! Find fun things that might challenge you both, e.g., Trying one new food a week – but blindfolded!

New rituals or habits that you've worked out together will have so much more meaning. Doing something different, getting out of your comfort zone, is also proven to stimulate and exercise different parts of your brain, and that's got to be a good thing!

Consciously trying new things leads to continually discovering new things about each other, growing together, reinventing yourselves and your memories and strengthening your connection.

Shared experiences lead to inside jokes and private memories that can intensify a connection. Sharing new experiences reinforces or rekindles that bond of experiential intimacy you didn't even know you were creating when you first met!

There's also Spiritual, Creative, Cultural, and possibly another dozen ways you can create, nurture, and rebuild intimacy in your relationship…that don't involve sex!

Affection and lasting commitment can be demonstrated and felt in so many other ways.

The bottom line is, healthy and happy relationships involve relating on multiple levels, not just physical. Learning to engage in open, heartfelt, and genuine communication, as well as consciously making an effort to understand your partner on a deep, intellectual, and emotional level will help reaffirm that indefinable connection you once had and strengthen or reignite for your love life.

If you want more tips on how to add to the intimacy in your relationship, click here for our FREE Guide: The 7 Habits of Happy Couples

… Do you need help with where to start? 

Book in a call – I'm here for you XX   Julie