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Intimacy, at the beginning of a romantic relationship, is often easy to achieve.
Frequently pegged as the "honeymoon" phase, the first few years serve as a merging period with your partner.
The chapter following this initial romantic phase, though, is often quite different. Rather than being overwhelmed with an incredible desire for togetherness, partners often feel the need to reclaim their individuality. It's not uncommon to struggle with intimacy issues during this timeframe. And, while it's a natural part of any romance, it can also be challenging and confusing.
Here's what's happening and how to handle it:
1. You Let Silence Win
Intimacy issues often cause an overwhelming silence in a relationship. For instance, you may have negative thoughts brewing about your partner. Instead of releasing those thoughts or addressing them, you ruminate.
It's the silent rumination that is problematic. The less you talk with your partner, the less fulfilled you feel and the more you feed into your negative thoughts.
You may even begin forming other relationships outside of the marriage to fulfill your need for closeness.
Rather than let silence come between you, communicate to your partner what you're feeling and work through the barrage of negative thoughts together.
2. You Argue More and Listen Less
Conflict is a necessary part of any relationship. The reason conflict often causes intimacy issues is mostly because neither partner commits to finding a resolution. Instead, you go rounds on the same topic like a record on repeat.
The problem is that you don't often feel heard and you don't often listen either.
Because you feel unheard, you regress back to an immature emotional state like when you were a child taking a defiant stance. You begin to handle things on your own rather than to cling to or lean on your partner. It's the emotional solidarity that poses a problem.
A better approach is to commit to a healthy emotional age and hone up on your effective communication skills.
3. Things Change in the Bedroom
It might feel like you're settling into a routine. Albeit a boring one, but settling nonetheless.
You may experience less frequent sexual encounters or notice a decrease in intensity. It's normal to get into a routine, but running on auto-pilot often gives way to feeling like good roommates.
Essentially, it eliminates the deliberate feelings of connectedness between two people. Thus, creating intimacy issues.
Develop relationship rituals that foster connectedness. Do things like greet or say goodbye with a kiss, go to bed at the same time, and maintain communication throughout the day. These small habits increase intimacy in a relationship.
4. Your Routine Drives Your Relationship
Like mentioned before, you may feel like excellent roommates at this point. No longer do feelings of blissful love run the show. Rather, your to-do list and schedule drive your lives.
When a relationship reaches this point, the flirting, playfulness, and fun often disappear. Often, you put others first. And further still, you take care of the chores, the kids, or even socialize with friends before giving attention to your partner.
To battle the roommate rut, pencil in time to just be with each other. Though it might sound dull to schedule time to focus on each other, moments meant for you two foster a unique closeness.
5. You Feel Invalidated
It's not uncommon for intimacy issues to reveal themselves in feelings of invalidation. In other words, you may feel misunderstood or unimportant. It could even feel like your partner doesn't "get you" anymore.
Also, when you disagree you rarely actually resolve the issue. Instead, you play the blame game and might not even apologize. Neither of you fully process the issue. Consequently, the conflict is swept under the rug.
The problem is that you don't release the issue or really even forget it. Because of this, you feel less comfort and warmth from your relationship.
To remedy this, it's vital to learn how to communicate in a healthy way and resolve issues fully.
6. You Feel Closed Off
When you struggle with intimacy issues, you may feel criticized by your partner. It's even possible not to feel good enough for them in anything you do.
So, you stop trying so hard. In doing so, you give up on being vulnerable to them. Instead, you surrender your intimate connection and create a sort of gap of self-protection between you.
This closed off feeling often occurs because of old emotional wounds. It's not uncommon to face intimacy issues in a marriage when your emotions are still struggling to process the past.
Rather than trudge through, seek help. Fully address past hurts. Doing this will allow you to open yourself up to your current relationship.
If you're ready to address intimacy issues in your marriage, please contact me. Together we can work to reclaim closeness and growth in your relationship.