How to Understand Her Feelings and Build Emotional Intimacy in a Relationship

By Patrick Banks

Posted 4 years agoSEX

Oftentimes tensions in a relationship are caused not by luck of feelings, but simple misunderstandings. Emotional intimacy refers to the processes used to build deeper, meaningful connections with someone. It’s about how you allow your partner to connect with you in a more significant way. Far too often, we focus on the physical aspect of building a relationship. When you think of the word intimacy, you might think of cuddling, holding hands, or romance. But intimacy isn’t just about physical connection.
8 Ways to Build Emotional Intimacy in a Relationship

For a healthy, long-lasting relationship to thrive, there needs to be a healthy dose of emotional intelligence. There are many reasons why you’d want to build emotional intimacy in a relationship. Perhaps the relationship is new and you’re seeking better ways to connect with your partner. Or perhaps you’ve been married for decades and believe the emotional connection you once had is fading.

Whatever the case, building emotional intimacy takes time and effort. Here are eight things you can do:

Embrace that Having Lots of Feelings Is Good For Your Health

There is a major stigma among males regarding emotion. Men are raised to be tough and told to “man up” if they display any signs of emotion. Before you can begin building emotional intimacy, you’ve got to remove the barriers that surround you, and sometimes those barriers are sociocultural and can easily lead to toxic masculinity.

Ignore the society that tells you men are only allowed to express themselves in four ways: through sex, work, sports, and violence.

Be Vulnerable

Vulnerability is too instrumental to emotional connection because it’s the ability to be open with your partner; it’s about having the courage to put yourself out there to another human. The vulnerability can give you a strong sense of belonging, but it’s not easy for everyone to do. Many people struggle with vulnerability because they believe that their deepest, innermost thoughts will lead to rejection. But getting past this barrier may surprise you.

Talk About Fears

One of the biggest benefits of working on emotional intimacy is that it allows you to build security in the relationship. If you lack emotional intimacy in the relationship, then it’s not uncommon for one or both of you to feel insecure in the relationship and to feel a lack of safety and overall support.

If there are things you are afraid of—whether these “things” manifest themselves as real fear or insecure thoughts—now is a great time to try expressing them. Perhaps you’re scared of your financial future or are worried your partner is growing attracted to you. Discuss these fears openly and be receptive to hearing your partner’s fears in return.

Emphasize Sexual Satisfaction of Both of You

Numerous studies have shown that couples who are sexually satisfied are more likely to feel a greater emotional connection with their partner. Sexual intercourse won’t be a cure-all for any major emotional connection issues you have, but it’s certainly a healthy way to solidify and grow your emotional bond. If you want to spice things up in the bedroom, explore sex toys for couples or try different positions. Ask your partner to tell you more about their fantasies and desires and be open to learning more about what one another likes. 

Offer Compliments & Affirmations

Make it a habit of offering daily compliments and affirmations. No matter how long you’ve been in a relationship, compliments and affirmations allow you to highlight the things you enjoy about your partner and show them regular appreciation. Compliments can make anyone feel valued and cherished, and goes a long way towards building a healthy relationship.

Cultivate a Friendship

After a while, it’s not uncommon to become so absorbed and entrenched in the relationship that you forget about the foundation of friendship. Start thinking about the different ways you can become a better friend to your partner. This might mean focusing on how you can have more fun together or how you can support their extracurricular activities and interests. Either way, being a better friend can help you feel more emotionally connected.

Explore Common Values

Shared values are what help us feel connected to another person. Take the time to explore more of your common values. Communication, loyalty, support, and generosity are just a few examples. If both you and your partner enjoy the gift of giving, why not go volunteer somewhere together? If family is of the utmost importance to the both of you, why not put together more family-oriented events?

Use the Socratic Method

The Socratic Method is a form of dialogue that focuses on cooperative argument. It uses the process of answering and asking relevant questions to help stimulate critical thinking.

Used in moderation, the socratic method can be a great way to help better understand your partner and practice the ability to exchange thoughts on different topics, even if you don’t necessarily agree.

For example, let’s say you’re discussing love using the socratic method. One question might be, “How do you define love?” From here, you would ask questions that implore both of you to think more deeply about your answers, weeding through cookie-cutter responses or contradictions.

8 Reasons Why Emotional Distance Appears in Your Relationship

Does it sound familiar to you? All couples face this problem, but we delve into this topic to find a way out of it. Keep reading the article if you want to get the spark back in your relationship!

For as long as I can remember myself, I can recall having this urge to be surrounded by people whom I could be rather intimate with. So you can imagine I have had all kinds of relationships throughout the years. There were good times and there were rough patches. But what I have always been looking for is finding people whom I could genuinely be close to. This was often the main reason why relationships would end.

Lack of emotional intimacy is often much more depressing than lack of physical intimacy, for, well, a lot of reasons. Amazon can deliver you a bunch of fun toys to fix any bedroom problem. But once you lose that spark that lit your relationship in the first place, it might take a fair amount of effort to get it back.

Signs of Emotional Distance in a Relationship

Having Even a Casual Conversation Is Difficult

You most probably had this issue in your relationship at some point! One of the most distinct things that define emotional intimacy between two people is trust. And the thing about trust is that it’s no one-way track and always has to be mutual. One of the most toxic traits a relationship can gain is there not being a balance between the degree of trust between the partners.

Being truly close to someone it is vital for you to be able to share your real feelings and most profound thoughts with them. Yeah, even those kinky phantasies of yours that you would never really talk about without blushing.

Everyone has those, and it is always good to get them off your chest, so we are definitely not here to judge. And neither should be your partner! In fact, if you feel like there are topics that you cannot discuss with your partner, it might be the first red flag that your relationship is undergoing a rough patch.

What is even bigger of a red flag is when you cannot talk to each other at all. You know those moments when you would genuinely like to start a conversation with someone because the pause is getting uncomfortably long, but you cannot think of a thing to say?

You Alter Your Behavior in Unusual Ways

Sound familiar, right? The reason for the prolonged silence hanging in the air can be the fact that you are no longer comfortable around the person you used to be so close to.

In fact, if you find yourself reflecting more and more on the way you act around your significant other, overthinking your behavior and trying to analyze how it affects the image of you in her head, this might be an actual issue.

Do not take me wrong; it is obviously a great thing to think before saying — we all have been in a situation where some words spat out in the heat of the moment did us no good, —but not if you spend hours and hours practicing a mildly important speech. If you ever catch yourself drafting a casual small-talk, it may be a sign of there be major fear of judgment coming from your partner. And that, my friend, is definitely not how things should work.

After all, your significant other is supposed to be someone who accepts you for what you are. It should be someone you could be your real self with and not the ‘I have run this dialogue in front of the mirror about 5 times before actually talking to your partner.

You Avoid Spending Time Together 

And when you do, it feels awkward and forced. As if someone made you hang out with each other, while you personally would much rather spend time with your friends. Avoiding spending time with each other is one of the worst things that could happen in the relationship, don’t you agree?

Usually, people start relationships because they like spending time around each other. Of course, the struggle of being an adult is real, and work and other commitments often come in the way. However, this is where time management comes in handy: when people are genuinely into each other, they try to make the most of the time to be together. This includes sharing hobbies, having some interests in common, and wanting to introduce each other to friends so that you could legally be inseparable at all times.

Indeed, it is absolutely okay to want some alone time occasionally. But if you find yourself thinking about how seeing each other feels like a chore and not a pleasant activity, this could mean there is some emotional distance between the two of you.

There Is Much Less Physical Touch

You are probably the reader to know what to do in such a situation! Humans are interesting creatures. Even though our brains are so developed, and the spectrum of emotions we can experience is so large, we still cannot go without the good old physical touch to manifest our feelings. After all, emotional intimacy goes hand in hand with physical intimacy. So, if you have noticed you are having less sex, and either of you seem to be avoiding getting down to the business, it could be an indicator of emotional distance.

However, even more so is the lack of touch outside of the bedroom. Physical contact is an integral part of establishing and maintaining a connection with your partner. So if you are no longer keen to have a cuddling sesh that might be why. Through touches, you pass your energy to people, and if you do not feel like sharing your vibes, there will be significantly less proximity.

You Feel Weirdly Detached from Your Partner

Sometimes, you cannot even pinpoint what is that exactly that does not feel right. But it is often that your gut feeling does not lie, and there really is some emotional distance. Usually, people can tell that something is off long before it all goes south.

The Most Common Causes of Emotional Distance

Are you wondering what causes the emotional distance in a relationship? The reasons vary from couple to couple, but we researched the most common ones. If you can relate to at least one of them it means that you need to start working on your relationship.

#1 You Project Outside Stress Onto Your Relationship

You know that life can be a hot mess sometimes, right? Starting with spilled over a cup of coffee that has totally ruined your favourite shirt and ending with a douche boss that sets unrealistic deadlines at work. It is normal to have some stress in your life. However, it does not mean you should take a toll on your partner.

If you ever find yourself shouting at your loved one for no reason other than to release the tension from your work-related issues, there is a big chance of you scaring your significant other off with your behavior. You need to remember that she is not the reason why you are feeling down, and she definitely does not have to suffer the consequences of it.

While she would be more than happy to give you a soothing talk, and maybe a relaxing massage so needed after a long day at work, she would not want to deal with your suppressed anger. And this would likely mess with your relationship, making her distance herself from it.

#2 You Are Taking the Relationship for Granted

Hopefully, this is not about you, but if it is, there’s always a way out. Unfortunately, this is the one a lot of us are guilty of. Remember how excited you used to be at the beginning of your relationship, how you would smile at the smallest things not being able to fully believe how lucky you are to finally be together with someone you like so much!

Love is a truly great feeling that engenders emotional intimacy, but as time passes initial spark is starting to disappear. As you get to know each other better, you start getting used to each other’s peculiarities. So you eventually end up taking all you have for granted.

This can be a significant obstacle on the way of your relationship flourishing as, without this thrill, the relationship starts to die out slowly.

#3 You Are No Longer Each Other’s Top Priority

As mentioned previously, as time passes, it is normal for you to start losing some of the initial interest that brought the two of you together in the first place. While it is okay to experience that, there is a thing that exacerbates the situation! When you are just at the beginning of your relationship, the two of you reschedule your appointments and sneak out of meetings early just to spend another spare minute with each other. This is what strengthens the emotional connection — an understanding that the other person is willing to sacrifice something important for you because of how much they appreciate you.

However, if you slowly start prioritizing other things over your significant other, it can be a reason for emotional distance in your relationship. If you are no longer each other’s top priority, it can be a difficult thing to stomach, which causes trust issues and destroys the emotional connection.

#4 You Bottle Up Your Emotions

Went through an unpleasant argument recently but haven’t quite got it figured out completely? This could be a reason why your relationship is going through a rocky patch. Even though you might have talked through all the aspects that made either of you mad, it is possible you have not reached a full understanding. So you may still hold grudges against each other. Not fixing the problem soon enough can build up tension and lead to a whole lot of problems, including emotional distance.

It is especially tough if you do not talk about your feelings and tend to keep the things you are dissatisfied with yourself. Even if those are insignificant such as not putting a heart emoji at the end of a good morning message, eventually they accumulate into something big and ugly. And without even realizing the real reason, you start despising your significant other, rejecting their love. And for what? Emojis are overrated anyways.

#5 Routine Is Getting on Your Nerves

At the start of your relationship, every day is exciting and unpredictable. The two of you go on an adventure of exploring each other as well as pretty much every cinema and restaurant in the area. This is fun and refreshing and builds a strong connection between the two of you. However, as you pass the honeymoon period, it becomes more and more dull. As you have already seen each other in pretty much every state imaginable and do not really have any places to check off your bucket lists left.

This is rather depressing, especially considering many people venture into relationships for the sole purpose of getting new emotions. If nothing happens, they tend to shut down.

#6 Either of You Needs Some Time Alone 

Another reason why there might be the emotional distance in your relationship is there not being enough space for either of you. You might be so invested into each other; you are actually being too much. The only way to get some alone time for your partner would be calling it a day and slowly distancing themselves emotionally to have some time to think freely.

#7 It Is a Part of an Emotional Dynamic Within a Relationship

It is a subconscious game your partner is playing to revive your relationship. She is taking a step back to see how you react and wants you to pay a bit more attention to her. It is a continuous cycle of pursuing and avoiding, so you can either play along and give in or play hard to get and see where it takes you.

#8 There Is Someone Else on the Scene

As much I do not want to say that, there are situations where the prime cause of your relationship experiencing an emotional distance is your significant other being interested in someone other than you. It happens, and as much as it sucks, it is probably for the best to figure it out sooner than later.

How to Overcome the Rough Patch and Build Up Intimacy?

Reviving the Feelings That Brought You Together in the First Place

They say that there is a set of 36 ‘magical’ questions that can make anyone fall in love with you once you go through all of them. They can come in handy when trying to revive the passion the two of you used to have! With some alterations, these questions can remind the two of you what unique features of the two of you made you so interested in each other.

Spicing Up Your Relationship

You have to bring some romance to your relationship, experience new stuff together, make it thrilling and interesting! Let every single day feel like your honeymoon so that your emotional connection to each other would only get stronger. Do some crazy things together for the mems!

Keeping the Balance Between ‘Self-Time’ and ‘Together-Time.’

Bear in mind, even the most extraverted people need some time alone with their thoughts and feelings. so set some boundaries with each other and do not cross them to let everyone be comfortable. You should allow your partner to miss you! At the same time, though, do not let the two of you get too distant and plan out some time together.

Looking out for Yourself

And after all, keep in mind that you need to listen to your own heart. If the person you have fallen for is just incapable of giving away as much as you do and just cannot open up enough, it might be that the two of you are simply incompatible for each other. So it will be best for both of you to part your ways.

About the author Patrick Banks

Patrick is a Berlin-based dating advisor, motivational speaker, a huge fitness and vegan diet enthusiast and the main editor at Wingman Magazine, specialised in men's health. His ultimate goal is to share with men around the world his passion for self-development and to help them to become the greatest version of themselves. He believes a healthy body and successful social interactions are two main keys to happiness.