There are many signs of intimacy in a relationship that one might simply overlook without knowing or understanding the deeper effect it can have in the relationship. Relationships are made of three elements, the first being physical attraction – how one person perceives another in terms of appearance. The second is chemistry and compatibility, which depends on how well one person fits with another. The third is intimacy – how a person expresses intimacy in a relationship.
When I reached out to Shivanya Yogamaya, who is an astrologer as well as a relationship and intimacy coach, she said, “Generally, when we speak on intimacy, people jump to conclusions and assume it’s only about sex and how two people indulge in sexual activities in a relationship. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Intimacy means the act of being vulnerable around the person you love. It means being seen and heard while being unfiltered and raw. No masks, no pretentiousness, and no faking it.
“If you are asking what creates intimacy in relationships, the answer is trust. One of the biggest signs of intimacy in a relationship is the ability to trust and be trusted by your significant other without being judged and without being judgmental. This is where real intimacy lies. In the act of trusting someone wholeheartedly.”
Being irresistible toward your partner is what brought the two of you together. But you need more than physical attraction to keep the relationship going, and that takes a lot of work. No relationship is easy. Building a relationship where two people are happy is a complicated and time-consuming task, and requires many kinds of intimacy. If you are looking for signs of intimacy in a relationship, then keep reading and find out.
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Shivanya says, “Intimacy does a lot to strengthen the relationship. It generates many good qualities such as compassion, acceptance, empathy, freedom, tolerance, and the ability to be non-judgmental and realistic. It helps us let go of unrealistic expectations that we set for our partners.”
When asked Shivanya about how intimacy affects a relationship, she says, “There are many types of intimacy in a relationship and all of them affects us in the most beautiful ways. It brings in fulfillment and a reality-check. It shatters illusions and puts you through a roller coaster ride.
“If you have intimacy, then the two of you are in one union. You become best friends and don’t criticize each other’s shortcomings. You live and let live rather than expecting them to follow your directions.” There is more than one kind of intimacy in a relationship. From physical to emotional to recreational and spiritual, every kind of relationship is required to bolster the love that two people share.
Long-term relationships don’t just demand good sex. While sex is one of the major factors that helps in keeping the spark alive and to beat boredom in a relationship, there are other factors that contribute to the revitalization of satisfaction and happiness in a relationship.
1. Mutual trust and respect
Establishing a strong sense of mutual trust and respect for one another in a relationship fosters emotional intimacy. When do we share the deepest, darkest thoughts of our heart with someone? It’s when we confide in them. When we trust them so much that we want to share every little thing with them. Once you learn all the tips to develop emotional intimacy and implement them in your relationship, the bond you share with your significant other will reach new heights.
The vulnerable act of sharing candid and authentic thoughts when you are at the risk of being judged is one of the first signs of intimacy in a relationship. It is immensely beautiful how instead of being judged, you are being understood by the person who you love and respect.
Shivanya says, “Emotional intimacy is met when two people are open with one another and don’t hesitate to voice their needs and wants. Being able to hold space for each other to vent and cry their hearts out without feeling attacked is what creates intimacy in relationships. Lack of affection and intimacy will present a dead-end in your relationship.
“For example, let’s say your partner confides in you and shares that they were abused as a child. Instead of judging them or using this against them, you find ways to understand them and make efforts to heal them. You help them confront their traumas.
“One of the ways you can show intimacy in a relationship is by offering emotional support by trusting and respecting each other. Valuing each other’s feelings and needs is one of the ways you can build respect. Also, if your partner honors your boundaries no matter what, and talks openly and honestly, then it is one of the signs of intimacy in a relationship.”
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2. Your sexual needs are met
Shivanya says, “From holding hands to hugs and sexual intercourse, all of it comes under physical intimacy. Sex isn’t just about making each other come. It is not just about the moans and orgasms. It is about how safe you feel and make them feel while having sexual intercourse. There are some instances where someone’s touch may put you off or you may feel it’s not the right kind of touch.
“What creates intimacy in relationships is when someone’s touch makes you feel safe and comfortable. The ability to surrender yourself to someone without feeling exposed and unprotected is one of the signs of emotional intimacy in a relationship. Physical intimacy and sexual liberation in relationships is when you express and honor each other’s fantasies.”
More than treating sex as just a gratifying experience to climax, treat sex as an art. Communicate your desires, turn-ons, and turn-offs. List your needs. If you want to be experimental, then talk it out. If your significant other is also game for such activities, then this experience will help the two of you grow stronger.
3. You feel accepted
In a completely intimate relationship, you will truly feel accepted by your partner. There are many tips to build harmonious relationships. One of them is acceptance. When you accept them with all their flaws, secrets, and scars, with all their strengths and weaknesses, that’s what creates intimacy in relationships. You don’t feel the need to be impressive in order to allure them to love you. When you are accepted by your partner, everything will happen naturally.
Shivanya says, “When we are more transparent, it enables acceptance and trust. Your significant other will rely on you more once you become more accepting of them, their habits, and their behavior. When you aren’t judged or attacked for feeling a certain way, it is one of the signs of intimacy in a relationship.
“The first intimacy in a relationship is when you can make mistakes and accept those mistakes without being afraid of having to face criticisms. Life can be tough and we are bound to make mistakes. Learn how to forgive and forget mistakes in a relationship. We all need someone who won’t hold them against us and taunt us for the rest of our lives. If you know that your partner has wholeheartedly accepted you and there is no fault-finding, then it is one of the signs of intimacy in a relationship.”
4. You rely on each other
Relying on your partner matters a lot when the two of you are in a long-term relationship. There is a thin line between emotional support and emotional dependency. It is normal to look for your partner’s support emotionally but when you demand and expect to be completely reliant on them for every little thing, then it surpasses all kinds of support and becomes emotional dependency.
“Dependent” has become a word which is synonymous with weak and clingy. But that’s not the truth. Healthy dependency has been known to boost the relationship. All you have to do is learn how to build an interdependent relationship where there is mutual respect and growth. Dependency requires vulnerability and what creates intimacy in relationships? Vulnerability. And bingo! That’s why dependency is important in every relationship.
If you have widened your emotional radars and rely on each other for emotional, physical, and financial support to a healthy degree, then it is one of the signs of intimacy in a relationship.
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5. You tackle crises hand-in-hand
There is no relationship which runs smooth as a river. Every relationship and its participants must tackle one crisis after another. Shivanya says, “There are many relationship challenges everyone has to face. That’s what is known as crisis intimacy. It is being there for each other in difficult times. When the two of you come together in times of adversity, it creates intimacy in relationships.
“For example, if your partner’s loved one passes away, and you stand with them emotionally and lend a shoulder to cry on, it is how you show intimacy in a relationship. You stand with each other through thick and thin. You never leave their side. You are there for them despite challenging situations.”
There is a personal instance I would like to narrate. Our story of financial bankruptcy. My father was a well-known name in the leather industry. He worked his way up in that field and we enjoyed the perks of his success all through our childhood. When his business collapsed, my mother supported him despite the financial crisis we faced.
She was there for him like a rock and started her own business which my father fully encouraged; he became a tower of strength for her. When my father couldn’t provide, my mother filled in that role and shattered all the gender norms of the society and traditional gender roles. To this day, my father is unemployed but helps my mother in her catering business despite all the vociferations from our backward society.
Shivanya says, “In times of crisis, we either come together or pull apart from each other. When you decide to leave, it means there was merely physical intimacy in relationship; there was no other kind of intimacy involved. But when you help your partner grow, and love each other even more in those times of growth, that’s one of the signs of intimacy in a relationship. Crisis helps to build love and care. When your partner shows this kind of intimacy, we tend to become more grateful for their presence in our life.”
6. You take part in each other’s interests
She says, “If you are asking what to look for in a relationship, then taking part in each other’s interests and activities in one of the things. What creates intimacy in relationships is when your partner offers to take part in activities that interest you and you take part in activities that interest them.
“You don’t have to like the same things or agree on everything. What matters is how beautifully and empathetically the two of you agree to disagree. Small stuff like this brings about good teamwork. It will nourish the relationship beyond your imagination.
“You can also do other kinds of activities together. Take up gardening or clean up the house. Let’s say you read a book and you liked it. You share your opinion with your partner and share what you have learned, which leads to intellectual intimacy. Another example of intellectual intimacy would be: The two of you have just watched a movie together and share each other’s point of view regarding the movie.
“Just like the above mentioned point, there are many other ways to build intellectual intimacy in a relationship. Your opinions don’t have to match but the fact that you respect their standpoint and don’t try to force or influence your opinion on them is what creates intimacy in relationships.
“One of the signs of intimacy in a relationship is when you don’t try to prove that you are right and the other person is wrong. Two people can have different feelings, thoughts, opinions, and ideas and still be right at the same time. Each person has a mind of their own. And when you have intellectual intimacy, you begin to appreciate and respect their way of thinking.”
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7. You make each other a priority
If you don’t put your partner first, then you can never build the kind of intimacy that will help intensify the love and the relationship. What brings more happiness than physical intimacy in relationship is when you make your partner a priority, share your life with one another, and include them in your decisions. That’s one of the signs of unconditional love in a relationship.
Shivanya says, “How you show intimacy in a relationship is when you make time for your partner and spend quality time with them in an attempt to connect on a deeper level. When you prioritize your partner and increase the quality of communication, you will achieve intimacy on another level.
“Make time for your partner and go on a trip together. One of the most interesting kinds of intimacy which I often implement with my patients is that I suggest they travel together. There are many reasons why a couple should travel together. Traveling together opens new windows to a relationship. There are no office calls or kitchen duties or doorbells to cause hindrance between the couple. A clean mind space will help you hit the refresh button.”
8. One of the signs of intimacy in a relationship is when you and your partner respect each other’s beliefs
She says, “Spiritual intimacy adds more quality to every relationship. It’s a subtle act of learning and unlearning limitations. Let’s say, one partner is more spiritually aware. They could teach the other one or two things about it which will bring about a spiritual oneness, which in turn will deepen the relationship. Respecting each others faith and beliefs is one of the examples of healthy boundaries in relationships.
“Have a shared divine experience together. Because stress can spoil and damage the relationship in many ways and spiritual retreats can help you rejuvenate. But if they aren’t interested, don’t push or manipulate them to put an end to their faith and beliefs. You know it’s one of the signs of intimacy in a relationship when you are supportive of your partner’s spiritual or religious interests. That’s one of the ways to learn compassion.”
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9. They are always the first one you want to talk to
One of the affirming reasons that I chose to marry my current partner is this. Whatever happens in my life, good or bad, he is the first person I want to reach out to. A juicy gossip or work frustration, he is the first one I vent to. We have an intimacy that shatters all relationship norms and conventions.
First intimacy in a relationship is when your partner becomes your best friend and there are many ways to become best friend with your spouse as it helps in strengthening the relationship. You put your phones down to talk to each other and find out how their day went. One of the signs of intimacy in a relationship is when you give them your undivided attention.
10. There is team mentality
Shivanya says, “One of the core signs of intimacy in a relationship is having a team mentality. Facing the odds together and not giving up on each other. Some partners look after the household duties, and some earn and take care of the bills. Drop the labels. There are no more “I am the man and you are the woman” kind of labels anymore as gender equality in a marriage and in any kind of relationship is very important.
“It’s all about equality. Help each other out in doing the chores and in bringing up the kids. We do not live in an era where a man is supposed to earn and a woman is supposed to handle kitchen duties. What creates intimacy in relationships is when you take responsibilities as a team.
“You don’t control or dominate your partner. Men can ask for monetary help from their women. Women have the right to expect men to contribute fully to household responsibilities. It is absolutely okay to shatter gender roles.
“People will say a lot of things. But they aren’t the ones paying your bills or helping you run the house. It’s just you and your partner, so what happens between the two of you should involve your mutual decisions. Connect with your partner on a deeper level and form team mentality. Once the team mentality is formed, you will feel like your relationship is the safest place on earth. And as they say, teamwork makes the dream work.”
Healthy intimacy affects a relationship in the most positive way. Love has many languages and intimacy is one of the most significant ones. Partners can disagree and have conflicts all the time. But never shame them for making mistakes or hold their mistakes against them. Manifest your love for each other by creating a safe space for each other where there is zero judgment and criticism.
As the relationship grows, it needs to evolve as well. That can happen only through intimacy. Intimacy looks like care and comfort. It looks like a safe space where two people can be without masks and throw away their pretenses.
It helps the relationship to grow strong. It inculcates good qualities which help the relationship in the long run. It helps you become a good listener and understand your partner in a better way. When you grow to care about each other intimately, the quality of your relationship will enhance in a spectacular way.
Attitudes such as holding back from sharing can hinder intimacy. Being afraid of judgments and even fear of sex can cause hindrance in intimacy. If you are afraid of your partner’s judgements and shy away from opening up, then that might cause a lot of hindrance in your relationship.
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