Intimacy is defined as a state of being emotionally close, connected, and bonded with another person. While this concept may seem obvious to some people, others may not realize the importance of intimate relationships in their lives. Intimate relationships can be formed with friends, family members and romantic partners. By being open with others about your feelings and thoughts, you allow yourself to experience deeper connections with those around you.
What is an intimate partner relationship?
An intimate partner relationship refers to a romantic relationship that involves two people who share a deep emotional bond, affection and attraction to one another. It’s the ability to share your innermost thoughts and feelings with another person. It’s a key part of healthy relationships.
Signs of a healthy intimate partner relationship
You’re in a healthy intimate partner relationship when:
1. You’re both on the same page about what you want from the relationship.
One of the most important signs that your relationship is healthy is that you’re on the same page about what you want from each other. That’s because when two people are truly on the same page, they’re more likely to be open with each other, communicate effectively, and work towards achieving shared goals.
2. You feel comfortable expressing your feelings to each other.
You know you’re in a healthy relationship when you feel comfortable expressing your feelings to each other. You don’t have to worry about them getting defensive or trying to shut down the conversation. They listen and take time to understand your needs and desires. You don’t have to worry about them minimizing or invalidating your emotions—instead, they validate them.
When you can be open with your partner, it builds trust. And when there’s trust, there’s more room for love.
3. You can trust one another and feel safe in the relationship.
There’s no need to worry about your partner doing things to hurt or manipulate you. You don’t have to worry about how they’ll react if you tell them something that might upset them. Instead, they’ll be supportive and understanding because they want what’s best for you.
4. Your partner is willing to work on any issues that come up in the relationship with you, rather than just ignoring them or avoiding them altogether because they’re too hard to deal with.
If you feel like things are getting tense or difficult, it’s important that you talk about it instead of avoiding or denying it. And if your partner is willing to do so as well, then you will know that they care about your feelings and want what’s best for you—even if it means dealing with some uncomfortable situations together!
Signs of an unhealthy intimate partner relationship
You’re in an unhealthy intimate partner relationship if your partner:
1. Makes you feel guilty, inadequate, or insecure about yourself.
In an unhealthy relationship, your partner is always calling you out for little things and making you feel like you’re never good enough. You’re constantly being made to feel guilty for not doing something right or for saying the wrong thing, or just existing in their presence. Your partner might also make you feel like they’re the only one who really understands you and that no one else will ever care about you.
2. Blames you for their problems or bad behavior, or makes excuses for them.
This can be a sign of emotional abuse, and it’s important to recognize that this is not okay. Instead of accepting responsibility for their actions and apologizing, they may put the blame on you or make excuses for their poor behavior. Remember: You are not responsible for another person’s behavior. If your partner is abusive or otherwise mistreats you, it’s because they choose to do so—not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
3. Talk to you in a way that is disrespectful, condescending and/or abusive.
If your partner is constantly angry with you, yells at you, or calls you names, that’s a sign of an unhealthy relationship. It’s never okay for your partner to talk down to you or insult you. If he or she does this, it may be a sign that they’re trying to control you and demonstrate power over you.
There are many ways to talk to someone that can be considered disrespectful, condescending and/or abusive. Here are some examples:
- name-calling (i.e., calling you names like “stupid” or “loser”)
- making jokes at your expense
- putting you down in front of others
- making fun of what you wear or the way you look
4. Keeps you away from friends and family members who care about you.
If your partner is trying to cut you off from the people who love you, that’s a red flag. They might say they’re doing it because they don’t want to see you hurt, but this is a way of isolating you and limiting your access to resources outside of the relationship. If they have no problem telling your friends and family members that they’re not welcome in your life anymore, then they probably won’t have a problem taking away any other support systems either.
When you’re in a relationship, it’s important to remember that the person you’re with should make you feel good about yourself. Good relationships are built on mutual respect and admiration, so if you often feel bad about yourself in your relationship, that’s a sign that something may be off.
It’s important not just to recognize the feeling itself but also to take action when it arises. If you feel bad about yourself in your relationship, talk to someone about it! Talk to a professional, a friend or a family member who knows both of you well and can help you figure out what’s wrong.
Disclaimer: If any of the above-mentioned items are happening or has happened to you or someone you know, it’s important to seek help and speak to a professional or a family member. We encourage everyone to reach out for support when they need it.
Benefits of creating healthy intimate partner relationships
The quality of our intimate relationships has a profound impact on our happiness and well-being. Research has shown that people with healthy intimate partner relationships are healthier, happier, more satisfied with life and experience less stress. They also have better psychological adjustment, and are more optimistic and less depressed.
The following are the benefits of creating healthy intimate partner relationships:
- Improved physical, mental and emotional health.
- Improved family relationships.
- Strengthened communication skills.
- Better problem-solving techniques and decision-making.
- Improved self-esteem and confidence in personal relationships.
How effective communication leads to healthier intimate partner relationships
Effective communication includes the ability to effectively listen, resolve conflicts, keep your partner informed about what you are doing and feeling, and calmly express yourself. An effective communicator is someone who can convey what they want without hurting or offending others.
Healthy relationships depend on good communication between partners who trust each other enough to share their thoughts openly and honestly without fear of being judged or criticized by their partner.
In addition to having good communication skills in general, certain things can make it easier for couples to share thoughts and feelings:
- Taking turns listening and talking and avoid interrupting each other
- Being specific when expressing emotions rather than generalizing them (“I’m angry” vs “I feel disappointed when you’re late.”)
- Not using sarcasm or put-downs when discussing topics
Communication can be difficult for many people because it requires them to be honest with themselves and others, which can be uncomfortable at times. However, if you are able to learn how to communicate effectively with your partner, it will help strengthen your relationship and help you resolve conflicts more effectively.
Conversation Cards are a simple yet effective tool for getting to know each other better and improving your relationship. The idea is that you ask each other questions from the cards and then listen to each other’s responses. You can use conversation cards as an icebreaker when meeting someone new, as well as a way to deepen your connection with your partner at any time during your relationship.
Intimacy is key to a relationship’s vitality and health. It’s also the foundation on which you build your bond with your partner, so it’s important to nurture it every day. The more time you spend cultivating intimacy in all its forms—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual—the healthier your relationship will be over time.
Note: If you are looking for help with your relationship, counseling is a good place to start. Even if you are not sure whether or not counseling is right for you, it is important to know that it is available. If you have been considering therapy, contact us today.