Often times when we talk about intimacy, we tend to think of sex. The two are usually considered mutually inclusive, as intercourse is as physically close as possible to another human that we can get. However, there are at least four types of intimacy that don’t involve sexual contact at all—but can be just as impactful in a romantic partnership. Without these types of intimacy, it’s not uncommon for a relationship to drift apart or remain at a superficial level.
Below are the four types of intimacy that you should focus on to create a more closeness with your partner:
This form of intimacy involves an honest sharing of thoughts and feelings with your partner. It’s encouraged to open up to being able to tell each other your fears, dreams, disappointments, and most complicated emotions. Emotional intimacy generates a felling of safety for both you and your partner and you should be comfortable with this type of uninhibited expression around each other. Each person must refrain from judging the other when they share.
How to Increase Emotional Intimacy:
- Engage in deeper, more introspective conversation together
- Talk about emotions and experiences you don’t usually share with others
- Ask your partner thoughtful questions and be curious about the way they think and feel Listen to understand rather than waiting to respond
- Don’t invalidate their feelings
Knowing that you can communicatee your beliefs and viewpoints without worrying about potential conflicts is a great incubator for intellectual intimacy to thrive. Each person in the relationship is free to think for themselves and believes that their opinions are valued, instead of feeling pressured to agree with their partner all the time. By engaging this way, it creates stimulating conversation, allowing for thought-provoking conversation that challenges each person’s ideas without anyone feeling personally attacked.
How to increase intellectual intimacy:
- Spark discussions with different perspectives
- Make an effort to not be defensive or angry
- Discuss ideas, disagreement isn’t a requirement
When you share experiences, it will result in private memories and inside jokes that can intensify the connection between you and your partner. The act of teamwork and moving as one toward a common goal while creating an experience also establishes a feeling of closeness.
How to increase experiential intimacy:
- Embark on new adventures with your partner
- Plan activities that you haven’t yet done together
- Schedule a date to meet at the same restaurant so that it becomes your spot
A specific religious practice isn’t necessary for spiritual intimacy. It can serve the same purpose however. This closeness forms when you share deeply emotional moments with your partner. Though praying and worshipping as a couple could qualify as one such moment, there are many other examples of spiritual intimacy.
How to increase spiritual intimacy:
- Talk about spirituality with your partner
- Discover experiences that the other considers awe-inspiring
- Schedule time to engage in those and similar endeavours
A healthy relationship involves relating on multiple levels with your partner. The nonphysical types of intimacy discussed are four types of relationships you can build with the same person – your partner.