Common Reasons for Intimacy Problems in a Relationship
A lot of men have intimacy problems because they have been taught to believe that vulnerability is a weakness; that men must be strong and in control. This perceived need for men to hide any weakness can interfere with their ability to experience real closeness. But intimacy always involves some degree of vulnerability.
Intimacy is emotional closeness when two people are able to be open with one another and reveal their true feeling, thoughts, fear and desires. It is more than just touching, kissing, holding hands or having sex. But this can only occur when both parties are genuinely trusting of one another and feel able to take the risk of being vulnerable. Intimacy is a universal human need; without it we experience loneliness. And this lack of intimacy is one of the most common reasons for the breakdown of relationships.
A lack of intimacy in a relationship may occur for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most common:
- Lack of communication
Intimacy is so much more than physical contact. In fact, intimacy and emotional closeness between two people depends on how comfortable they feel when communicating. This is why communication must be open, transparent, honest and effective. Good communication is as much about effective listening as it is talking. A breakdown in communication means there is a disconnect from which conflict can result. Watch out for trigger phrases such as “you never listen” or “I don’t feel like you understand”.
- Resentment, anger or mistrust
Arguments and disagreements are a normal part of any relationship and more often than not resolved quickly. But consider whether persistent negative feelings like anger or jealousy are interfering with intimacy and becoming part of your relationship, rather than infrequent unpleasant feelings. If this is so, the underlying cause needs to be identified and understood.
- Caring for the kids
Being a parent is hard work. Feeding, cleaning up mess, getting the kids to sleep and school, and other countless tasks quickly drain any parent of energy. The end result is less time and energy spent on the relationship with your partner.
- Job and other commitments
Many people want to do well and fulfill their ambition. Some people, however, are so heavily career focused that they neglect their partner and the quality needed to invest in the relationship. Being away from home, talking excessively about work, having little time or energy, or allowing work to interfere in ‘personal time’ will impact any relationship and will contribute to a lack of intimacy.
When emotional distance has become a habit, you increase the likelihood of relationship breakdown. The risk of not opening up is far greater than the risk of being honest. Check back next week for some tips and information on how to restore intimacy in a relationship.