It will not come as a surprise to you if we say that intimate relationships are a natural instinct of people. However, this is not only about continuing the race nowadays. Intimacy is what forms the base of long-term, healthy and strong relationships and has a deep meaning. Love, affection, and feeling close to a person are what is vital for people. We all seek for emotions and want to be near someone, who really understands us.
It seems pretty simple. But if it was all so, why would we constantly face the same problems? People have been living together for years, have children, but one day they realize that they don't even love each other. Why does the lack of intimacy in a relationship occur and how to really find powers to stay open to your beloved one? The many aspects to the issue of intimacy problems in a relationship are the topic of this article.
What Is Intimacy in a Relationship?
A relationship without physical intimacy is something many people are concerned with. Some couples choose to have only sex without any obligations while others don’t really feel like getting physically close after they have already been living together for several years. Love and respect are only one side of the coin. Physical intimacy is also included in the notion of being close, feeling trust and confidence in a relationship with a partner. But having sex is only a part of it. The fact is that the understanding of a partner's closeness has narrowed too much lately. In the minds of many people, sex goes purely before the emotional affinity, and they simply do not understand the whole importance of building intimacy in a relationship. In fact, intimacy is the closeness between the partners and their openness to each other.
In general, it includes several basic parameters:
- Knowledge of the partner, their interests, dreams, goals, personal background, character, preferences and plans
- Caring for a partner
- Mutual feelings and emotions
When two people meet, they are complete strangers to each other. Both of them are like blank sheets of paper where they need to start writing their story. What does it mean to be a person, though? People are collections of pros and cons, problems, insecurities, expectations and aspirations. Any start of a romantic relationship and its initial stages fall on the “oxytocin period.” This period of development of the relationship and the connection between people is approximately the same as between mother and child. How do mother and child look at each other or how do they interact? They see only positive sides of one another, and the negative ones are smoothed. Oxytocin, in the same way, supports a sense of closeness and understanding in a couple. Under its influence, people are ready to sacrifice something personal, try to be better for a partner, hold back the negative and create each other a holiday.
The longevity of this pleasure is different for all lovers but reaches 6 months on average. Later, the level of oxytocin, if not maintained, begins to gradually fall, and lack of intimacy in a relationship can occur. And what has left afterward? You meet real people, not embellished, with their problems and unperfect traits of character, plans that may not correspond to you and all other flaws. After that, people who were so passionately in love with each other notice this reduction in emotions, they try to get everything back. The memory keeps the situation when the brain had a lot of oxytocin and the partners seemed so perfect. Well, at this stage, it is important to realize that only open partners will survive as a couple.
The period of development of a strong relationship is when you stay real and true to yourself and your partner, show them your personality so they know what to expect. The emotional intimacy is about knowing your partner's plans and being sure that they correspond with yours. It is about knowing what food, books and any other things they like to divide the pleasure of discovering them together. Is it not painful to you if after a few years of marriage, you simply do not know each other’s favorite film? Doesn't it hurt when your beloved one is not aware of your interests? Hopefully, now you can clearly see how important is intimacy in a relationship.
Moreover, a very common case is when people have never had intimacy at all. They were just afraid to work on it. That is why building intimacy in a new relationship is so vital. But what is required to do it? How to overcome the loss of intimacy in a relationship and live happily after? This is what we are going to talk next.
Can a Relationship Survive Without Intimacy?
Harmonious relationships are impossible without understanding your partner. You have beautiful and bright ideas about how you want your relationship to develop. But for your dreams to become a reality, you still need to spend time and energy, trying to find contact with another person. You cannot build a love relationship on your own. Another person is involved in this process, and this is your partner. Do you know them for real? Do you understand their aspirations and acts? Do you consider their wishes?
If someone's interests are infringed, then it is unlikely that you will be able to confidentially and openly contact a person. All people are different. This is often forgotten by those who are deeply in love or on the contrary, don't think about someone. If you are cold to a person, and their emotions do not interest you, you treat them as if everything is the same for both of you: thoughts, feelings, and desires. But how can two different people who have been living in their own way for many years have the same dreams, values, and outlooks? Even in the most perfect couples, men and women are somehow different from each other. And this must be remembered, so as not to wonder why your partner doesn’t satisfy you physically or mentally, and why your loved one doesn't consider things that are important to you.
The fact that you and your partner are different says only one thing: you should know what each of you appreciates and show respect for this. In other words, if you want your desires to be satisfied, first make an effort and satisfy the desires of your partner. Sure, you may not care what your loved one wants. But if it doesn’t matter to you, it can mention that you are simply with the wrong person.
Closeness and emotional intimacy are important for having strong relationships. It is about being respectful to your partner and love them with all their imperfections. At the same time not being afraid of telling your darkest truth because you know you won’t be rejected. A relationship without intimacy is doomed to failure. You have to trust your partner as you trust yourself and be the soulmates with the person you call beloved.
Effects of Lack of Intimacy in a Relationship
Just because two people value different things does not mean that they cannot have a harmonious relationship. If they learn to respect each other's wishes, no matter how meaningless they may seem at first, and satisfy them, then such a union will be much stronger than that one of the couples whose desires are the same but are not realized. Giving the partner what is important to them will induce them to do what is important to you. A strong union is impossible without mutual understanding, this is what we have already explained.
However, what can happen if there is no intimacy in a relationship?
- The relationships in which one of the partners is unhappy will become toxic. It can lead to the feeling that your needs are ignored as well as to the mental breakdowns in the future.
- The absence of physical intimacy is also a huge problem. As long as two people are healthy and capable of satisfying each other’s sexual and physical needs, they should have sex. If they are respectful to the needs of their partner, the intercourse is wanted and satisfying, it will only do them good.
- After long years of living together, it can turn out that you don't know the person you are in love with. And all because their needs didn’t matter to you, so you were ignoring them.
- All of this, of course, can lead to cheating. Because when a person doesn't get enough love and affection at home, they can seek it on a side.
How to Bring Intimacy Back into a Relationship?
To start working on this issue, you need to answer the question, "Is intimacy important in a relationship?" In case you really notice that your couple has problems with this aspect of living together, then get down to looking for the points of contact if you are still interested in a partner. But in reality, people choose 3 main ways. They either 1) feel unhappy and curse their fate, 2) look for new oxytocin on the side, or 3) continue to fantasize about perfect relationships and maintain their oxytocin level. It is important that both of you choose the same way as well as cooperate and meet each other's needs.
Emotional closeness and all stages of physical intimacy in a relationship can always be restored if there is a desire on both sides. And here are the important things about the new course:
1. Enthusiasm is not bad, but this is not the option to “execute the five-year plan in 3 years.” When people are in a hurry, they usually stop hearing another partner, i.e. they miss the old times when they did nothing but things were easier. It means they didn’t care that their relationships were falling apart and now when they have to take measures, things get hard for them.
2. Look at yourself if you have any illusory connections with your partner. They are very often not visible, and they are perceived as reality. Take a sober look at your couple. For example, you believe that your partner is a good parent, but in fact, they don't spend enough time with their children. Stop idealizing, no matter how painful it may be.
3. Do not take up a passive position, such as your partner will do everything for you. Remember that if you do not build your life yourself, it will be built for you, but this doesn’t mean you will be satisfied with the results.
4. Agree on common steps and responsibilities. If you had a misunderstanding and false expectations, this does not mean that they suddenly disappear.
5. Voice your expectations and intentions. And be as straightforward as you can.
6. Seek pleasure from each other's company. This shouldn’t be only “doing it for the duty” or “sacrifice for the sake of children,” otherwise, it will not be easy to build real intimacy.
All in all, look for the balance in relationships. People are unique and make unique couples. There are no exact recipes that will fix everything for a certain period of time. We must learn not only to build relationships but also to maintain them. The latter is even more difficult.