What are the Factors that contribute to a Lack of Emotional Intimacy

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Counselling Psychologist - Ph.D. Relationship Psychology

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Impact of Emotional Intimacy on Relationships 

Emotional intimacy refers to the ability to form a deep connection with your partner that is filled with trust, respect and vulnerability. It is a special bond that is created when two or more people trust each other and are comfortable with being vulnerable with each other. Emotional intimacy is very important to maintain the vitality of a relationship. If there is a lack of emotional intimacy in the relationship, it feels like two people are living very uncoordinated lives together. 

You have been seeing your special someone for a long time and everything seems to be going great. You enjoy each other’s company and have had no problems getting physically intimate together. This seems enough right? Unfortunately, it is not. Having fun and being physically intimate does not guarantee happiness in a relationship. There is one more component that has to be taken into consideration and that is emotional intimacy.

    Emotional intimacy is very important in a relationship because it helps in creating a lasting sense of satisfaction between the couple. If you and your partner are able to create a secure and trustworthy emotional bond then it will nurture a deep sense of love, care and affection that can create a long-lasting relationship. Emotional intimacy is also useful in creating states of positive well-being for the partners in the relationship. When you are emotionally intimate with your partner without fear or hesitation, you are likely to experience more positive emotions. 

How does a Lack of Emotional Intimacy create Relationship Dysfunction/Imbalance? 

If a relationship has a lack of emotional intimacy for a long period of time, then the vitality of the relationship is going to get lost. A relationship without intimacy is like two uncoordinated partners. There is going to be a lot of chaos and disruption.

These are some of the effects of a lack of emotional intimacy in a relationship:

  1. Lack of emotional intimacy leads to a breakdown in communication between partners, 
  2. Partners are likely to feel excess of frustration, and anger, 
  3. Feelings of detachment and isolation,
  4. Experiencing a lack of support and validation from their partner, 
  5. Inability to trust their partner,
  6. Fear of being vulnerable with their partner, 
  7.  More conflicts and arguments, 
  8. Loss of satisfaction in the relationship, 
  9. Not feeling the desire to engage in sexual or physical intimacy acts, 
  10. Experiencing more negative emotions like anxiety and sadness. 

What are the Factors that contribute to a Lack of Emotional Intimacy?

These are some of the factors that could be contributing to a lack of emotional intimacy in your relationship, stick around to find out, 

Poor Communication

Communication is the cornerstone of any relationship. It is very important for partners to have regular conversations where they air out their grievances and address the things that are bothering them. Communication should also involve having a conversation about your needs and wants from the relationship so that your partner knows what to work with. If you find yourself hiding things from your partner, or just holding yourself back from sharing your thoughts and feelings, then you are drawing a subconscious barrier between yourself and your partner. This is going to be a problem with establishing emotional intimacy. 


Another reason that could be hindering your ability to have emotional intimacy with your partner is a deep-seated fear. Maybe you are fearful because you feel that if you disclose too much, you will come across as needy or might be rejected. Or perhaps you feel that if you communicate with your partner about a problem, they will lash out at you. Fear is a very strong emotion and before you ridicule yourself for being fearful in your relationship, you must examine the root cause behind it. What are you scared of? And why are you scared? The answers to these questions will reveal the true problem that is forming a barrier to having stronger intimacy. 

Issues with Self-Concept

People who struggle with their self-concept could also contribute to a lack of emotional intimacy. This doesn’t mean that something is inherently wrong with you, but it is an indication that there is something problematic about the way you think, especially about yourself. Having a poor self-concept can make it difficult for you to be authentic in your relationship. Small triggers can upset you and make it difficult for your partner to take the initiative to connect. It is important, therefore, to work on yourself and the triggers that could be holding you back from being your happiest self in the relationship. 

Negative Past Experiences

Another factor that is responsible for a lack of emotional intimacy is having a lot of emotional baggage. Have you ever been subjected to negativity in your past relationships? Maybe you suffered through a long time of emotional (or physical) abuse and now you find it difficult to let your guard down completely. While vulnerability can seem like a big task, remember that it is one of the first steps towards stronger emotional intimacy. There are many relationship experts who can help you drop past experiences and move forward with a little more confidence. 

Low Emotional Awareness

Having low emotional awareness is also a huge indicator of the lack of emotional intimacy in your relationship. Low emotional awareness means that either you or your partner is unaware of how the other feels or thinks in the relationship. If you find it difficult to deal with the emotions and feelings of your partner when they are coming and sharing them with you, then you probably don’t have much emotional awareness and ability to deal with them correctly. 


Have you noticed that you and your partner live disconnected lives? Even though you both are under the same roof (maybe) and are aware of each other’s presence, you seem to be disconnected. This often happens when people get too caught up with their own lives and their own minds. They often forget to notice their partner and this contributes to the disconnection. This is why it is often suggested that couples should take time to do things together in the relationship so that they can sustain some connection. 

These are some of the prominent factors that could be contributing to the lack of emotional intimacy in the relationship. But these are not permanent, and can be changed if you and your partner decide to make a change for the better! 


It is never too late to restore the lost emotional intimacy in your relationship. These are some of the ways you can help yourself and your partner in rekindling your lost emotional intimacy, 

Communicate More

One of the biggest reasons people lose out on their ability to have emotional intimacy is by not communicating more. You must openly communicate with your partner about your needs, wants and thoughts. This will allow your partner to meet them at their capacity. Not being communicative creates confusion because your partner does not know what you want vs. what you need. 

Emotional Vulnerability

Emotional intimacy is the creation of a deep emotional bond. Therefore, you must allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable with your partner. You must share what you are feeling, how you are feeling etc. with your partner from time to time. This allows you to be emotionally seen by your partner and can create a deep connection. 

Create Shared Routines/Rituals

When you create a sense of togetherness within a shared routine or ritual, you and your partner are strengthening intimacy. These routines or rituals can be ranging from simply doing your chores together, and cooking together or can involve the both of you engaging in a hobby together. This will allow you to spend quality time together and the proximity can enhance intimacy. 


It is very important to practise empathy in your relationship. Sometimes our partners just require a good hearing and not advice. In moments like these, it is useful for us to practise empathy by placing ourselves in our partner’s shoes. By practising empathy you are validating their emotions and making them feel heard. This is going to create trust and your partner is going to be more vulnerable with you over time. 

Show Affection

Showing affection is a big deal in building emotional intimacy. You must show regular affection to your partner. This can be in various ways. Perhaps you can shower your partner with some words of affirmation or gratitude, or you can shower them with gifts if that is your style! Even a little goes a long way in making your partner feel loved. This will help you strengthen your bond with them and guarantee vitality in your relationship. 

How CoupleBees Can Help 

Our platform, CoupleBees, is a blog designed to help you navigate through issues like trauma that could be impacting your relationships. The platform is maintained by Relationship Experts who have curated and reviewed the content by reflecting on real-world scenarios. This is a platform where you can get professional insights on ways to work through your trauma by developing self-compassion, empathy and resilience. We also provide a safe space for those who want to hear from other couples and their experiences. Along with this, our experts provide personalised advice in their therapy sessions, so feel free to reach out to our experts for further help on being your best self!

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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