What is intimacy and why is it so important?

Intimacy is about being emotionally close to your partner, about being able to let your guard down, and let him or her know how you really feel. Intimacy is also about being able to accept and share in your partner's feelings, about being there when he/she wants to let their defences down.

To be able to share our 'inner-world' with a partner we love, and to be able to share our partner's experiences, is one of the most rewarding aspects of a relationship.

Intimacy often doesn't need words, but being able to put feelings and experiences into words makes intimacy more likely to occur. Intimacy involves being able to share the whole range of feelings and experiences we have as human beings - pain and sadness, as well as happiness and love.

Most of us, however, find it easier to share some types of feelings than others. For example, are you and your partner able to let each other know how you feel about each other?

Saying 'I love you' is important. Assuming your partner knows about your love because of the way you behave is usually not enough.

  • How do you feel when you are sad, a little depressed, in need of some comforting and reassurance? Are you able to let yourself be dependent and to receive some nurturing? Is this balanced in your relationship, or is one partner the 'strong one' who never needs to show any vulnerability? If so, is this really how you want things to be in your relationship?
  • How do you feel about yourself? -  when you've taken a bit of a knock and are feeling small and 'put down', or when you've achieved something that makes you feel good about yourself.
  • How do you feel about sex?  - what you like and don't like in your love-making, and about how your sexual relationship could be made more enjoyable for you.
  • Do you really know what your partner thinks and feels, or do you have to guess and 'mind-read?' Are you able to be open with your partner, or do you feel that your partner would not be able to accept some of your feelings?

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