How To Connect With Your Partner To Build Intimacy, According To Experts
Anyone can still find ways to connect more intimately with their partner, no matter how long you've been together. While many believe intimacy is all about sex, it goes way beyond that. If you're looking to connect more intimately with your partner, there are some pretty underrated things you can do each day to make that happen.
"Intimacy is about connecting deeply with your partner," Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, licensed clinical professional counselor and certified Imago relationship therapist, tells Bustle. It's "becoming one with your partner" in a way that's more than just sex. When there's intimacy in your relationship, you and your partner are able to form a bond that can make your relationship go the distance.
Connecting with your partner in a more intimate way doesn't have to be that hard. As Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and the CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, tells Bustle, "It’s the little things that make up the bond of a relationship. These things make us long for each other when we are apart, and these little intimate acts are drops in a bucket that add up to a lifetime together." So here are some things you can do to connect more intimately with your partner, according to experts.
1. Kiss Goodbye And Goodnight
If you don't do it already, making a habit out of kissing before you leave for work and right before you go to sleep is great for maintaining intimacy. As Trombetti says, "A quick kiss goodbye in the morning goes a long way to you remembering that someone cares and is waiting for you no matter what the day throws at you. A kiss goodnight goes a long way in making neither of you forget that at the end of the day, you are together." In fact, relationship researcher and author, Dr. John Gottman found that a six-second kiss each day can help couples stay connected.
2. Make Your Partner Coffee In The Morning
Making a cup of coffee for your partner in the morning may not seem like a big deal, but over time, it can contribute to your relationship's success. "It’s an act of kindness," Trombetti says. If your partner isn't into coffee, you can take out the cereal they're going to eat, or make breakfast for them if you're not too busy. This is especially important if you notice that your partner is in a rush to get out. A 2017 Penn State University study found that little acts of kindness make people feel loved in their relationships. When you're kind and thoughtful to each other, the positivity will help you stay more intimately connected each day.
3. Show Up Every Day As Your True Self
"Intimacy means connecting in ways that feel meaningful, authentic, and results in feeling you know both yourself and your partner more deeply," Lindsay B. Jernigan, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. "Whether you're interested in cultivating intimacy emotionally, spiritually, or physically, showing up as your true self is a critical ingredient." When you show up as your true self every day, you have no problem expressing your wants and needs. A healthy relationship is a well-balanced one. If you're doing a lot of giving and very little receiving, at some point, it can lead to resentment. When both partners feel like they're truly being seen and heard, it's easier to maintain a lasting, authentic connection.
4. Be Curious And Ask Questions
"You and your partner have to truly understand each other to reach full intimacy, and a big part of accomplishing that is knowing each other’s past," Jeannie Assimos, eharmony’s chief of advice, tells Bustle. "An intimate relationship cannot succeed if there’s a lack of authenticity." There is always something you can learn about your partner, whether you're going on five years together or 50. People constantly change and are always forming new opinions. So ask questions. Make every day an opportunity to learn something new about them. If you really want to connect with your partner more intimately, get to know the life they had before they met you.
5. Make Eye Contact
"Couples should have a daily method of flirting with one another that says, 'I desire you,'" Jenni Skyler, PhD, licensed marriage and family therapist with Adam and Eve, tells Bustle. "This flirting needs to be safe and separate from an invitation to the bedroom." One easy way to flirt with your partner each day is to make eye contact with them. In fact, a classic study done by social psychologist Arthur Aron found that spending just four minutes locking eyes with someone can increase feelings of intimacy and connectedness.
6. Discuss Your Love Languages
"I find that couples who tend to each other’s intimacy needs are able to stay connected, have fun together, and better manage stress," Dr. Laura Louis, licensed psychologist, tells Bustle. It's important to remember that you and your partner may not give and receive love in the same way. Learning each other's love languages, can help you show love and affection in a way that your partner understands. For instance, if your partner feels loved through acts of service, do something nice and thoughtful for them. If they like physical touch, reach for their hand when you're having dinner out together. When you know exactly what your partner needs, it's easier to create intimacy.
7. Schedule Time For Each Other
Everyone gets busy sometimes, so it's important to make time for each other. If you need to schedule in a specific date and time to make that happen, then do it. "Spontaneous connection doesn't happen without some planning," Jernigan says. "Just like you can't get any work done if you don't carve out time to do it, you can't experience intimacy without carving out space for it." You can't stay intimately connected when your mind is elsewhere. Scheduling time for your partner means you're completely present to listen to them or have fun with them, without any distractions.
Maintaining an intimate connection long-term requires some effort. But you don't have to do anything grand. There are so many ways to connect more intimately with your partner from having sex regularly and sharing your feelings to getting away for a weekend together. These are just a few underrated ones experts say you should try.