Ask Anne-Marie: How Do You Cultivate Emotional Intimacy In Your Relationships?
This article is in response to a question posted to the Ask Anne-Marie global forum. A place where we co-explore burning questions across multiple topics of leadership, erotic nature, power dynamics and relationships.
Welcome back to Ask Anne-Marie and this week’s question.
what do you do in your relationships to ensure that emotional intimacy and connection stay strong?
I like this question because upon contemplation I realize that the experience, need and definition of emotional intimacy is diverse and so very personal.
The book “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman, is one of many avenues to begin this exploration. He suggests there are five areas in which emotional intimacy is built:
• Words of Affirmation
• Acts of Service
• Receiving Gifts
• Quality Time
• Physical Touch
He suggests that most people lean towards one or two as their primary melting point into emotional connection.
However, I was coaching an executive months back and we discovered that her love language is Play. She wants her partner to prioritize play, laughter and meeting life with an open hearted, adventurous and curious spirit. This was liberating for her to realize this core value was a key driver for building emotional intimacy in her personal and professional life.
Personally, I value friendships and partners who are willing to be vulnerable and real with me. Friends/partners who are fierce and loving truth tellers to themselves as the starting point. And, I commit to do the same. Then we can bring our love and curiosity to each other when something feels off with less blame and projection. I’ve noticed how emotional intimacy grows when I offer to my dear ones what I see in our dynamic and the vulnerable feelings of what it’s like to be in relationship with mine/their patterns of contractions or defensiveness.
Emotional intimacy deepens for me when there is a rupture, which is inevitable in authentic relationships, but we stay in the care and connection between us to repair. We take ownership for our contribution to the conflict and listen to each other’s differences, disappointments and feelings without blaming, defending, or making excuses.
I want to do something different this week and open this important question into the community for a co-creative exploration…
What do you do in your relationships (friends, partner(s), family, colleagues, community, etc.) to ensure that emotional intimacy and connection stay strong?