Feeling connected to others is one of the most basic needs we have as human beings.
Human beings are social creatures and rely on a sense of closeness and intimacy with our partners, our friends and family, and wider peer groups. In interpersonal relationships, intimacy manifests in different ways, and as a blend of both physical (skin-to-skin contact and sex) and non-physical (an emotional experience or bond, including love, trust, vulnerability, and closeness).
Intimacy is one of the most important parts of being in a relationship. It is the fundamental thing that brings and holds people together in committed, long-term relationships and marriages. Intimacy also relates to how well we know and understand our partner, as well as important other factors in the relationship such as trust and commitment.
Understanding the most common causes of intimacy issues in relationships is the first step toward working through them with your partner, and improving your relationship.
Here are the five most common causes of intimacy issues in relationships.
1. Lack of communication
A lack of communication is the single greatest cause of any issue in just about any relationship, be it romantic, platonic, or professional. It’s vital to be able to identify and communicate your own needs, desires, boundaries, and feelings with your partner, and hold space for them to do the same with you. Talking with your partner about issues as they arise in your relationship is the best way to validate their feelings and experiences, and demonstrate your commitment to maintaining a healthy, well-rounded relationship.
2. Depression, anxiety, or other forms of mental illness
Mental illness can place enormous strain not only on the person suffering but on their partner too. Aside from the common effects that mental health conditions can have on an individual, they can also affect the way the person sees, feels about, and relates to their partner or spouse. Their perceptions of how their partner might see or feel about them can change, which in turn has a damaging effect on their self-esteem. Mental health conditions can make common stressors in day-to-day life feel much worse than they actually are, which can create situations that seem to “blow up” or as though things are being “taken out of proportion”.
3. Lack of trust and excessive anger or resentment
Feelings of anger and resentment can contribute to a lack of trust in relationships. It’s important to note that arguments and disagreements are natural, normal parts of all kinds of relationships. We all have our own beliefs and opinions and are entitled to our own feelings. If you feel angry or as though you can’t trust your partner, consider the circumstances. Do those feelings relate to a one-off incident, or have they become a persistent, common feature in your relationship? If so, it might be beneficial for you and your partner to consider couples counseling to identify any underlying causes at the root of the issues. Addressing and working through these together will help to rebuild any trust that has been lost, and bring you closer together.
4. Having children
Having a child with someone is one of the most intimate, natural things you can ever do — but it can also be an incredibly difficult path to walk, for both parents. It’s very common for parents to feel that between feeding, bathing, cleaning, managing a busy family schedule, and getting the kids to sleep every night, there’s little time for anything else. It’s also common for partners to feel that, with so much time and energy invested in the children, their own needs and boundaries aren’t met. This can create distance between partners, and it’s important to be able to make time for each other and foster intimacy on a continued basis — even the smallest gestures can make a huge difference.
5. Work or other commitments outside the home
One common factor that contributes to a lack of intimacy is physical distance. If your work or special interests regularly take you away from home or your partner, they may begin to feel like less of a priority, or that their own needs aren’t being fulfilled. Aside from physical distance, work can also become a contributing factor to intimacy issues when there are no boundaries set around work time and personal time — for example, checking work emails while out to dinner with your partner, or taking work calls while on a family vacation with your spouse and children.
Plus, there are some simple things you can do every day to work toward more intimacy in your relationship.
The most important thing to do is communicate — talk about your problems with your partner, and allow them to do the same. Practice naming the emotions you experience and encourage your partner to do the same. The more aware you both are of each other’s feelings, the easier it will be to resolve conflict as it arises. Being able to manage your anger and frustration and discuss how you’re both feelings is a key to restoring intimacy.
It’s also beneficial to commit to trying new things together or doing a favorite activity together regularly. As they say — the couples who play together, stay together! Set aside an hour, or even thirty minutes, each week to do something you both enjoy together. When you make plans, stick to them — this will help your partner feel valued and prioritized.
If you feel that intimacy issues run deep in your relationship, you and your partner might benefit from speaking to a trained and licensed professional therapist. Couples counselors in Sacramento often see couples after it’s too late — so committing to speak to a therapist well before issues escalate within your relationship is proactive, healthy, and effective.
Begin Sex Therapy in the Sacramento Area
If you are ready to regain intimacy in your relationship, sex therapy at The Relationship Therapy Center can help. Our compassionate therapists want to help you and your partner feel comfortable being passionate with each other again. We are here to help support you in your relationship journey. To begin sex therapy at our counseling clinic in the Sacramento, CA area or online, please follow these steps:
Contact our therapy center to learn more about sex therapy,
Make an appointment with one of our Gottman trained sex therapists
Find healing in your relationship and regain intimacy with your loved one.
Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
In addition to sex therapy, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.