Can you picture a group of blokes talking about intimacy?
A rare occurrence!
At a recent Man Talk session here we all were focusing our attention on a subject that can seem a tad uncomfortable!
We began by discussing what intimacy meant.
- Being myself in relationship
- Strong sense of trust
- To be completely vulnerable
- No judgment
- Empathy, support and patience,
- Experience activities together
- Honest and open
- Mutual respect to share
- Freedom to express
- Beyond surface level
This brief video further outlines our discussion.
Intimacy isn’t always straight forward.
In our discussion the men were comfortable to share some of their experiences about obstacles to intimacy.
- Fear of judgment and criticism
- Struggle to open up old wounds
- A lack of awareness and a closed mind to emotions
- Being distracted, escaping and avoiding deeper conversations
- Not listening
- Too dismissive and impatient
As with many a problem most blokes love a good fix!
Four Steps to Better Intimacy
The following steps could help you to build or rebuild closeness with your partner.
Communication with your partner every day is a pretty good start!
However, emotional intimacy is deepened where both of you are present. Yep, no phones or screens!
Essentially good communication is being in a non-distracting and genuine discussion. It’s where you join with your partner in talking about the experience of life.
Some of these discussions may include:
- Supporting each other’s work and activities
- Asking open ended questions that reflect curiosity in each other’s opinions
- Listening to each other’s hopes and dreams
- Taking an interest in each other’s studies, community activities, hobbies.
- Acknowledging each other’s capabilities, and potential for growth.
- Bolstering each other’s confidence with encouragement
Support means being there for your partner when they need you.
It’s an essential element of intimacy.
Give support by:
- Listening when your partner is worried
- Being attentive when they are sick
- Helping practically when they’re tired
- Inquiring about your partners feelings
- Staying engaged patiently when your partner is confused
- Discussing and debriefing events of the day together
- Expressing concern and/or providing physical comfort when your partner is sad or hurt
3. Show up more
If, like many men, you keep too much of your personal thoughts and feelings to yourself it’s time to show up sides of yourself you may not show anyone else!
What doe this mean?
- Share moments of doubt, fear, sadness, and pain
- Seek out your partner’s understanding and empathy
- Remember that all your feelings are normal and need for connection is legitimate
4. Handling Conflict
Couples argue and disagree. It’s normal and even necessary.
When conflict becomes high level it’s important to repair after negative interactions.
It may seem unusual but repair is vital to sustaining intimacy.
A couple of ways of ensuring this is:
- Take responsibility, even if it’s for only your part of the problem
- Avoid criticism or blame, and instead focus on our own needs
Conflict can actually deepen intimacy and bring couples closer together.
When it comes to building stronger emotional intimacy many couples are a work in progress.
The Man Talk men shared their hopes to improve intimacy in their relationship by:
- Being more present
- Allowing hurt
- Accepting and working through stuff
- Escaping less
- Increasing curiosity about partner’s experiences
- Listen more
- Supporting more often
- More patience
- More vulnerability
- Normalise feelings
- Take responsibility and avoid blame
- Less trivialising, less dismissive
Do any of these resonate with you?