Search icon


25th Apr 2024

What is emotional intimacy and how can you develop it?

Anna Martin

emotional intimacy

Building emotional intimacy in a relationship can be difficult

Especially when so many of us don’t actually understand what emotional intimacy is or how to work on it.

While sexual intimacy is rather self-explanatory and very important when building a connection with your partner, being vulnerable with them in an emotional capacity is just as important.

It’s getting to know them on a deeper level and making sure they feel safe expressing their thoughts and feelings with you.

What is emotional intimacy?

When discussing emotional intimacy, we’re talking about closeness, familiarity, and similarity in communication between two people.

It’s a deeper type of connection that feels safe and comfortable.

While you may think of it in terms of romantic relationships, you can experience this deep sense of closeness with family members, friends, and so many other people in your life. 

These meaningful connections take time and oftentimes, effort, to develop.

In these relationships, both people feel comfortable sharing their innermost feelings, ideas, dreams, and hopes, things you might not usually share with someone.

How can you you build it?

emotionally intimacy
Credit: Canva

Be open to communication: You can’t reach emotional intimacy without good communication.

This includes breaking through any fear and resistance you might have to share your feelings with another person.

Having regular structured conversations about important topics is an important element of this.

These discussions may include addressing any problems you are having, particularly if there is something in the relationship that needs work or changing.

Be sure to cover areas of satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and ask the person how you can better support them.

Be vulnerable: Though it can be difficult, the best way to cultivate emotional intimacy is to bear your heart.

You may need to show parts of yourself that you have the least confidence or certainty about.

This will help the other person feel comfortable enough to open up right back.

emotionally intimacy
Credit: Canva

Practice empathy: You need to create an environment where the other person feels safe and half of this will depend on your attitude and behaviour.

For someone to trust you, you need to possess the skill of empathy.

Empathy is a skill that you can practice and develop over time, it’s all about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Keep things balanced: In an emotionally intimate relationship, each person feels free to share their innermost feelings; neither party consistently dominates the conversation.

So, if you consistently use your relationships as dumping grounds for your problems, you are not being emotionally intimate.

The same holds true if your partner or friends constantly burden you with their issues.