In a close relationship, sex is safe: you can communicate needs and show your feelings without fear of rejection or ridicule. But many people – it can tend to be men especially – even though they may acknowledge a need for more closeness in their relationships, find intimacy hard to achieve. Indeed, they often fear and fight shy of it.
If you want to feel closer to your partner, the following suggestions will help. You’ll need a high degree of commitment, but the rewards in your sexual and emotional life will be great.
Choose your partner well
Take an objective view of prospective relationships, and don’t sabotage your chances of success by becoming involved in a relationship that’s likely to fail. How compatible are you as people? Can you be friends as well as lovers? Are there any danger signs? For example, are you going for people who might be reproducing any patterns of destructive and dysfunctional behaviour you may have lived through in the past, especially in childhood, in your family home? Look for similarity and emotional maturity – and don’t expect your partner to change.
Learn to communicate
Set aside some time each day when you can talk freely to your partner about your day and discuss any problems. Make a special effort to talk about what matters most to you and don’t avoid emotional or sexual issues. If there is a problem to do with the relationship, don’t blame your partner in any way – and aim to work with your partner to get the issue solved.
Be open about who you are
Let your partner see the ‘bad’ side of you. It’s easy to let anyone know the good things about you, much more difficult to expose aspects of yourself about which you feel worried, guilty or ashamed. But it’s revealing these problem areas that makes for true intimacy.
Learn emotional honesty
Show your feelings. Affectionate touching is the most straightforward way of demonstrating a need to be close. Show anger too, if you feel it, but not in a destructive way – not directed against your partner.
Show your needs
Give your partner the chance to do things for you. Let go of your emotional independence a little. It’s particularly important to be able to ask for things sometimes. Do this and you’ll acknowledge that you have needs and you’re allowing your partner to meet them.
Take time out
Spend time together on leisure activities. Don’t use excuses such as the pressure of work to avoid spending time with your partner.
Don’t distance yourself from your partner, by provoking a quarrel, for example, whenever you sense he or she is getting too close to you.
Look for the good
Don’t focus on your partner’s shortcomings or least attractive features so that you lose sexual interest just as soon as you feel you’re becoming more involved than you might want to be.
Use lots of foreplay and physical intimacy. Explore each other’s body and allow yourself to feel intimate and pleasurable with your partner. Don’t head straight for orgasm to avoid spending time being intimate. Relax and spend time enjoying being physically and so emotionally close.
You’ll need to concentrate on kicking the habits you’ve developed over a lifetime which stop you being intimate, but give yourself a chance to let go and you will get there.