Emotional intimacy, though difficult to define in concrete terms, can basically be described as a bond between two people that allows them to say what they feel and be who they are without reservation. It isnít easy to begin developing emotional intimacy with somebody that you just started dating because you are more likely to be nervous, which obviously makes it harder for you to be yourself and let your true colors shine. As the relationship progresses, though, you should find it easier to gradually let your guard down so that the emotional intimacy between you and your partner can grow.
Review the suggestions below and use them as a guide for developing emotional intimacy with a romantic partner.
- Know and love yourself first - It simply isnít possible to open up and share yourself with anybody else until you first get to know and learn to love the person that you are. By accepting yourself just as you are, you will develop the emotional maturity that you will need to later accept your partner just as he/she is.
- Gradually let your guard down - Obviously this is not something you want to do too early in a new relationship. But if you have taken the time to get to know your partner and feel that he/she is trustworthy, then think about starting to tear down some of the emotional walls that you use to protect yourself. As scary as it might be, emotional intimacy requires an emotional investment, which does involve a certain degree of vulnerability. As you let your guard down, you are giving your partner the opportunity to see who you are and what you are really made of so that he/she can accept you just as you are, flaws and all.
- Accept your partner completely - Just because nobody is perfect doesnít mean that somebody canít be perfect for you. Recognize that your partner is a fallible human being much like you and accept him/her exactly the way he/she is. If you find yourself constantly trying to change your partner to fit some imagined ideal then it is probably safe to assume that you are dating the wrong person. Emotional intimacy can only flourish between two people who genuinely accept themselves and their partners just as they are.
- Keep the lines of communication open - Much like it is in all other aspects of dating and relationships, effective communication is key in developing and maintaining emotional intimacy with a partner. Converse openly and freely with your partner about anything from every day little things to more meaningful discussions about hopes, dreams, fears, and aspirations. Open up to your partner without fear of being a burden or of being judged. If any problems arise within the relationship, donít be afraid to bring them up with your partner so that they can be resolved before getting out of hand.
- Practice compassion and forgiveness - Expect that both you and your partner are bound to make mistakes from time to time. Practice compassion by going easy on yourself and your partner when this happens. Be generous with forgiveness and learn from the mistakes that are made so that the experience only serves to strengthen the bond between you and your partner. Of course this is much easier said than done and might not always be possible in some cases where the mistakes are severe but just do the best you can with what youíve got so that you can improve your chances of preserving the emotional intimacy for which youíve worked so hard.