The Key to Emotional Intimacy
Ironically enough, in the digital age of oversharing everything about our lives, we avoid the authenticity of genuine intimacy. We share what we ate an hour ago, the silly things our kids do, the highlights of our weekend trip, and shutter to give voice to any real meaningful conversation that needs to be had in our most significant relationship.

So what does intimacy look like in a relationship and how do we attain it? Knowing someone on an intimate level is understanding them to such depth you can feel them. You can anticipate their thoughts, emotions, and actions. There’s a conscious awareness of how they’ll feel in any given situation or event. This uncanny ability to know someone like the back of your hand transpires in the presence of vulnerability.

Vulnerability is created when we allow others to see us without the veil of our ego when we can share our emotional joys and sorrows. It’s the fearless ability to tell someone you love them for the first time as well as express your grief by their actions. Vulnerability also manifests when details of your life are shared. Knowing the roots of your childhood, other relationships you’ve had and life experiences all create a bond when disclosing intimate information. However, it’s not all in the facts, it’s communicating how people and events have shaped your character, personality, etc. allowing the other person to comprehend how you tick.

If you’re feeling emotionally unfulfilled in your relationship, odds are one or both of you are not opening up emotionally. Real intimacy requires both parties to be vulnerable and open or fulfillment is not satiated. After my divorce years ago, I developed a friendship with a stranger whom I would confide in over two years. I felt so close and intimate with them yet simultaneously felt alone and abandoned in the relationship. While they knew my life story and then some, I didn’t even know basic information about them. I didn’t know how many siblings they had or what specifically they did for a living. I realized one day that I was the only one that had feelings of closeness. When only one party is vulnerable to share, that party develops a false sense of intimacy. The non-vulnerable party remains emotionally detached. If neither share, the relationship never deepens beyond a superficial connection.

Emotional fulfillment can only be acquired through genuine, mutual emotional intimacy; which requires consistent effort to be both created and maintained. If you’re in a relationship that you want to foster for the long term, make daily contributions to the relationship whether it’s opening up or asking questions that encourage your partner to do so. The emotional health of your relationship should never be ignored or taken for granted as that is the core issue behind the deterioration of an existing relationship and the cause of a faulty foundation of a new relationship. On the other hand, if you’re in a relationship that you want to take to the next level and your partner refuses to emotionally open up, consider this to be a significant red flag. Remember, red flags aren’t decorations…


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