Role Of Emotional Intimacy In Physical Closeness In A Relationship

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Counselling Psychologist - M.Sc. Clinical Psychology

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Counselling Psychologist - Ph.D. Relationship Psychology

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Physical closeness plays a very important role in most relationships and could be one of your priorities when choosing a partner. But the chances of you achieving physical closeness in a relationship without emotional intimacy are very low. Emotional intimacy and closeness play a crucial role in physical intimacy, at least in long-term relationships. Sharing one’s deepest and darkest thoughts is similar to giving a piece of yourself to the other person. It is a rather vulnerable experience, but once done effectively can create a great sense of closeness, comfort, and connection with your partner.

Of course, emotional intimacy and physical intimacy are not always perfectly correlated. There may be times when you feel emotionally intimate with someone but don t feel physically attracted to them. And conversely, there may be times when you feel physically attracted to someone but don t feel emotionally intimate with them. Physical intimacy does require a certain level of vulnerability and trust - more for some than others, and in some settings than others.  It does not, however, necessitate complete vulnerability and trust for it to occur. It is not impossible to be physically intimate without emotional closeness. However, emotional intimacy is generally a strong predictor of physical closeness in most long-term relationships. 

Common Issues While Forming An Emotional Bond 

With that being said, why do so many people struggle with creating an emotional bond with their partners? There are some common issues that you can look into:

  • Having differing opinions and values- it is very rare that two people have the exact same values and opinions regarding subjects. Values and opinions are formed in the early stages of life and having conflicting values can be stressful and may cause a hindrance in achieving emotional as well as physical closeness.
  • Communication issues- not being able to communicate properly is not only detrimental to physical closeness but also to the emotional bond that people share. You cannot build an emotional bond without communicating your thoughts, feelings ad motions properly.
  • Trust issues- past experiences may have led to this. It is important to heal from one’s past and then move on to the next relationship so the wounds from the past relationship do not affect the current relationship.
  • Past experiences- someone’s past experiences might affect the way they deal with certain people and scenarios. Past experiences may be negative in nature such as abuse or trauma which causes the person to build very high walls around them which can be hard to get through

Ways To Deal With These Issues

These are very common problems that people tend to face due to a variety of reasons, if you also feel some of these, then here are some things that you can focus on improving:

  • Respecting your partner- it is essential to respect your partner in every way that you can. It could be their emotional needs or physical needs which must be met with utmost respect. Not having this may be a factor for the above-mentioned problems.
  • Communication- we have learned that communication plays an essential role to fix and break things. Hence if you feel that you lack in this aspect then you should start with sharing small things and build on them eventually.
  • Opening up about your wants and needs-having open communication and opening up about your wants and needs is a vulnerable experience and must be done with patience, starting with small steps. 
  • Maintaining boundaries- boundaries include both mental and physical boundaries. It is important for you to maintain and respect your own boundaries for everyone else to respect them as well.

Creating an emotional bond with someone gives you another person you can trust and rely on hence making you feel more secure. Emotional bonds can sometimes be hard to create and even harder to maintain hence it s important to understand what you want and not hurt others. Being able to be physically close to someone comes through vulnerability and a sense of comfort, which can be achieved through emotional closeness. Another thing that can be achieved through emotional closeness is reduced levels of stress. Stress can cause a hindrance in physical closeness and intimacy. Being able to share your stress with your partner and knowing that you have someone to hear you out and even help you when required is a sign of a healthy relationship.

Ms. Priyanka Walia
Ms. Priyanka Walia M.A. Counselling Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

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Ms. Muskan Maheshwari
Ms. Muskan Maheshwari M.Sc. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 02 years of experience

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Mr. Nishant Sharma
Mr. Nishant Sharma M.Phil. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 07 years of experience

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Ms. Akshita Bakshi
Ms. Akshita Bakshi Ph.D. Relationship Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

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