The 6 Most Common Enemies of Intimacy in a relationship
… and why it’s not too late to defeat them.
In the beginning of an intimate relationship, new partners strive to give it all they can. They want to love deeply, give from their hearts, and for their partners to express themselves similarly in return. They are very careful to practice those behaviors that keep their lovers close and intimacy strong.
Sadly, as their relationship matures, new behaviors all-too-often erode the love they’ve created. As more time goes by, two people who once felt loved and treasured now feel distant and unsafe to each other — and suddenly, they realize their in a relationship without intimacy. And very often they don’t even realize how they’ve gotten that way.
Identifying and recognizing these six behaviors is the first step to healing, but it is only the beginning.
It takes commitment and hard work on the part of both partners to stop these enemies of intimacy from undermining their positive feelings towards each other along, with a mutually sacred promise to keep these behaviors at bay in the future.
The following examples illustrate what a partner senses when each of these behaviors happen. (Either partner may be the first to notice them, so I’ve alternated between male and female genders.)
Here are 6 ways you and your partner could be ruining the intimacy in your relationship:
1. Disconnection: You’re increasingly distant and keep pulling further away.
Remember that man who couldn’t get enough of you? He dropped everything when you needed him and turned his attention to you immediately.
Nothing else took precedence over your desires, no matter how small. He kept a list in his mind of anything that was important to you and made sure it was available even before you remembered yourself.
But over time, things changed. Now, he’s often preoccupied with matters that clearly come before you and the relationship. Yes, you can still get his attention but it takes work, justification, and presenting your needs at “just the right time”.
He tells you that he feels terrible when he forgets an important date, and you are supportive. Yet, those times you don’t feel central to his life anymore are increasing.
You don’t want to seem needy, but you’re feeling more and more neglected and sometimes ignored completely.
Where is that guy who put you first no matter what? He tells you that he still loves you, but he’s just not available the way he was. You can’t pretend anymore. He is definitely more disconnected.
2. Dissing: You’re super critical about every little thing your partner does or says.
That amazing, compassionate woman you fell in love with now seems like someone you can’t please anymore. You try to talk to her about things you’re upset about, and she responds by telling you that you’re being too reactive, or preaches about what you could have done differently.
When you try to get her in the present, to care and to listen, she flips it and tells you that you’re in the wrong for wanting what you want. It seems that you can’t do anything right anymore.
She finds fault where she used to give support, and then challenges your responses by telling you that you’re being oversensitive.
When you ask her what’s wrong, she says it’s nothing and accuses you of being overly concerned. When she wants you, she is very seductive and engaging, but it’s less and less often, and you definitely do not like the direction this is taking.
3. Domination: You’re using intimidation and domination to get your way.
He was so exciting when you first connected — a really take-charge guy who could handle anything that came his way. He was protective of you and so confident. The best of testosterone in abundance, he swept you off your feet.