When you and your partner first got together, it seemed like you were so close right? In the beginning of relationships, you’re constantly learning more about your partner and getting to know all their favorite things. Unfortunately, many of us get to know our partner, and then, we stop making as much time to nourish these intimacy bonds. This can leave you feeling like you and your loved one just aren’t close anymore. During couples counseling, I often talk to partners about how they nourish their intimacy bonds and help them develop new ways of drawing closer together and strengthening their relationships. In this blog, I explore the different types of intimacy bonds, and how you and your partner can continue to build intimacy and grow closer together at every stage of your relationship.
Are there Different Types of Intimacy Bonds?
You may find information about many different types of intimacy bonds going by a number of names, but there are, basically, four types of intimacy bonds:
- Emotional intimacy – if you have good emotional intimacy bonds, you and your partner should feel comfortable discussing your deepest thoughts and biggest feelings safely.
- Intellectual intimacy – good intellectual intimacy means you can talk about your beliefs on any number of subjects, and even if you don’t agree, you can share ideas and discuss your thoughts.
- Experiential intimacy – it’s important for you and your partner to encourage each other in the hobbies and activities you enjoy as individuals, but you should make time to have some experiences together. Our experiences are our history, and sharing these stories brings us closer together.
- Physical intimacy – many couples think this just means sexual intimacy, and this can be an important part of your relationship. However, all kinds of touch can help you feel closer to your partner from a kiss on the cheek to a supportive hug after a hard day.
How Can You Nourish All Forms of Intimacy Bonds in Your Relationship?
In most cases, nourishing intimacy bonds is all about making the time, asking questions, and putting in effort. Whatever stage you’re at in a relationship, there is work to be done to nourish these bonds of intimacy. If you’re willing to take the time, you’ll be surprised how much closer you will feel to your partner again. Some tips to improve the different types of intimacy include:
- Emotional intimacy – check in with your partner every day, and don’t hide your own feelings.
- Intellectual intimacy – start a two person book club, watch movies and have dinner afterward to discuss them, or talk about your plans for the future.
- Experiential intimacy – experiences can be big like going on a vacation or they can be something as simple as taking a walks together.
- Physical intimacy – remember, this isn’t just about sexual intimacy, it can be just as important to give your loved one a hug, hold their hand, or simply make eye contact.
Should You & Your Partner Consider Counseling?
Many couples tell us that they don’t feel like they should have to rely on a counselor to help them with their relationship, but sometimes, working with a professional can make it easier to develope and maintain a thriving partnership. If you’re interested in learning more, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Central Arkansas Group Counseling in Benton and North Little Rock.