Couples who come through our office often cite communication challenges and a lack of physical intimacy as main areas of concern. An important third element in the relationship equation is the concept of emotional intimacy. Being able to communicate effectively and productively is a must, but it does not necessarily equate to emotional intimacy.
So what exactly is emotional intimacy? One could argue that a definition of this abstract feeling is highly subjective–but for the purpose of this blog, I will establish two main components:
- An interest and in-depth understanding of each others’ internal worlds. Effective communication is essential, but if it is only being used to discuss superficial aspects of your lives together, it will not do much to bring you closer together on an emotional level. Asking questions and exploring one another’s passions, dreams, fears, and future aspirations are examples of topics that will lead to connection on a deeper emotional level.
- Being vulnerable. Vulnerability precedes intimacy because it opens a pathway to your inner world that only a select few individuals are allowed to access. By making yourself vulnerable, you are creating the opportunity for yourself to be fully known and accepted–and inviting your partner to do the same.
Both effective communication and physical closeness can exist without emotional intimacy (but rarely do!) Without it a relationship loses its foundational strength. If you and your partner need assistance to locate or re-establish your ability to be fully present with one another, contact one of our couples counselors by clicking below:
Written by Joanna Aslanian, LPC, ATR-P