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How to Build Emotional Intimacy With Your Partner

There’s a time and a season for everything: change, peace, challenge, love. The same is true for our personal relationships — romantic and otherwise. There are ups and downs, periods of bliss, heartache, conflict, and growth.  

Whether you’re in a long-term relationship and have grown distant, are dating someone new, or want to connect on a deeper level with a close friend, there are intentional ways to cultivate a more intimate connection with your partner. 

It won’t always be a cakewalk. Emotional intimacy takes thoughtfulness and commitment. You may have to rethink how you process emotions and communicate. But the end result will be a stronger bond that can make it through life’s trials and tribulations. Here’s how to build emotional intimacy and deepen your relationship with your partner.    

Be Honest With Where You’re At

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An honest foundation is crucial. It’s important to understand and acknowledge where your relationship is at and why you want to build a more intimate connection. 

Are you trying to build back trust after a betrayal? Perhaps you realized you don’t do many activities together anymore. Maybe you’ve been having fun with a new partner and want to connect on an emotional level. Or a close friend moved away and you want to ensure you don’t drift apart. Whatever your reason for embarking on this journey, if you aren’t truthful and sincere, you’ll be doomed from the start.    

Show Appreciation 

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As they say, it’s the little things. Showing your partner how much you appreciate them doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. It’s as simple as saying, ‘hey, thanks’ when they empty the dishwasher, have coffee waiting when you wake up, or warm up your car on a cold morning before you leave for work.

Don’t live with your partner or friend? Send them a text out of the blue to tell them how grateful you are to have them in your life. If they’ve helped you through a hard time, let them know you appreciate them being there for you. Or communicate how talking and spending time with them always lifts your spirits.    

Be Vulnerable  

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Let your guard down. It’s easier said than done, especially if there has been a breakdown of trust, but sharing your insecurities, fears, dreams, and hopes for the future — without the anxiety of being judged — can help build or rebuild trust. It will also allow you to feel more understood and valued by each other. As a result — and over time — your relationship will evolve into a safe space where both you and your partner can talk in an open and honest way about your thoughts, emotions, and worries.  

Be Compassionate and Supportive

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We’re all human. That’s why it’s important to be compassionate when your partner is going through a hard time or has simply had a tough day. 

If they’re agitated, give them some space. If they’re feeling down, ask if they’d like to talk about it or if there’s anything you can do to make things less stressful. Offer to make dinner or suggest going on a walk together so they can clear their mind. By meeting your partner with compassion rather than frustration or anger, you’ll develop mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation for one another.     

Focus on Communication 

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Many people believe they are great communicators, but few actually are. When it comes to communicating with your partner, be direct, let each other speak without interruption, avoid questions with yes or no answers, and actively listen instead of thinking of what you’re going to say next. When you and your partner know how to effectively communicate, you’ll have those techniques to fall back on when challenges arise.      

Break Out of Your Routine

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Shake things up. Plan activities that will help you better connect with your partner or friend. If there’s a lake nearby, rent a paddleboat and take it for a few laps (bonus points if you pack a picnic for afterward). Sign up for a salsa dancing class. Have an at-home spa night complete with face masks, candles, and massages. Workout together. Go skydiving. 

For friends that don’t live nearby, schedule weekly phone dates to catch up and actually talk to each other rather than texting. The small effort it takes to plan something new or break out of your routine will bring you closer together and remind you that, at the end of the day, relationships are meant to be fun.



Brentwood Home, Meredith O'Connor