Emotional Intimacy 101: How Can You Build It With Your Partner? 

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Ever feel like your partner hears your words but misses out on the heart of what you’re saying? You crave understanding and support, but it feels like talking to a wall when you make attempts. In this blog, I am sharing how you can build emotional intimacy in your relationship and make things work out for you. 

Building emotional intimacy in relationships feels hard these days, I get it!

Most people prefer to keep things casual. With so much buzz on social media about the emotional burdens & manipulation in relationships, it keeps getting harder. 

All this makes it tougher for people to take a leap of faith. You might be scared about coming on too strong or getting your heart broken.

However, you can overcome it. This blog will explain what healthy emotional intimacy looks like in relationships, how to build it with your partner & how to have a healthy experience overall.


Emotional Intimacy 101: How Can You Build It With Your Partner? 

Life can feel overwhelming these days. We’re so connected online, yet so lonely. It’s hard to know who to trust when everyone seems to be putting on a mask.

That’s why home feels so important. We crave a place to be ourselves, to shed the stress and pretension. We don’t want to feel lost or guarded even in our own haven.

This is where your partner comes in. Your romantic relationship should be a safe space for deep connection and understanding. 

Think of a strong, supportive emotional bond with your partner as a life jacket in a stormy sea. 

They “get you” and see you for who you are. This haven helps you weather the challenges of the outside world.

This emotional bond is what you call emotional intimacy and it helps you –

  • Beat loneliness: Feeling close to someone makes you feel less alone.
  • Feel happier: Love and support bring joy.
  • Handle stress better: Sharing worries makes them easier to bear.
  • Be healthier: Strong bonds can even improve physical health.
  • Communicate better: Openness leads to better understanding.
  • Grow closer: Sharing vulnerabilities strengthens your connection.
  • Get more support: You can rely on each other in tough times and celebrate victories together.

Now that you know why a healthy, emotionally intimate relationship is important — it’s time to learn to identify whether you are already in one such relationship or not

6 Simple Signs of an Emotionally Intimate Relationship:

  • You can finish each other’s sentences. But, not out of habit! This shows you’re in tune with each other’s thoughts and feelings.
  • You high-five over the little stuff. Big wins are great. But, you empower each other by celebrating your everyday victories. For example: crushing that presentation or acing a tricky recipe. This shows you’re truly happy for each other.
  • Fights turn into teamwork. Disagreements happen. But, instead of blaming, you tackle the problem together. It’s about finding solutions, not winners and losers.
  • Difficult conversations may be tough. But, closeness means you can be open and honest, even when it’s hard.
  • You’re your most real self. You may wear weird socks but you feel comfortable showing your true colours to each other. You accept your flaws and embrace each other’s imperfections. This shows the deep trust you have in each other 
  • You’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders: Your partner’s success is your success! You support and encourage each other to grow and become the best versions of yourself.

Turning the tables, let’s see what are some signs that emotional intimacy might be lacking in your relationship.


7 Signs You Need to Work on the Emotional Intimacy in Your Relationship: 

  • Your conversations feel surface-level. 
  • You hold back from sharing your true feelings. 
  • You constantly feel you’re giving more than you’re getting back. 
  • You find yourself wondering if they even “get” you anymore. 
  • Silence feels heavy and awkward. 
  • Physical touch feels infrequent or awkward. 
  • You don’t celebrate each other’s wins (or feel excited to share yours). 

If you can relate to these, don’t despair! 

The good news is that you can build emotional intimacy between you and your partner. 

All it requires are consistent and intentional efforts. That’s exactly what we are going to talk about next.


Building Emotional Intimacy: A Collaborative Effort

Building an intimate relationship isn’t a one-size-fits-all equation. No magic formula guarantees an instant emotional connection with your partner. It takes time and effort. You need space and deeper self-understanding to grow as individuals.


The non-negotiables?

A successful relationship needs both partners to share a mutual intention to grow together. Also, they need respect and a readiness to invest time and effort to know each other better. 

Once you have these, you can build a strong emotional bond with each other that is both beautiful and enduring. 

So where do you start?

In the following sections, I will guide you to explore a roadmap for building emotional intimacy with your partner. You will delve into key aspects, tools, and exercises that can strengthen your bond as a couple.


Working Through Emotional Intimacy With The 8-Stage Guide

Stage 1: Getting to Know Yourself & Your Partner 

Before you can connect with someone else, you must know yourself, inside and out. 

Grab a journal and write down your values, dreams, and even your fears. What makes you feel loved and secure? 

Understanding yourself is the foundation for understanding your partner.

Think about how you communicate with others. Make note of your daily routines, how you handle stress, and even your sleep patterns. 

These small details can help you understand what affects your mood. It can help you learn how to share your thoughts with your partner. They also impact your well-being, which in turn affects your romantic relationship. 

Then comes part of getting to know your partner. 

Plan special discovery dates with conversation starters that go beyond the surface level. Here are some conversation-starter ideas that can spark deeper connections:

  • “What’s a time you felt misunderstood?” 
  • “What’s your proudest accomplishment?”
  •  “If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?”
  • Talk about their childhood. Talk about their family traditions and past experiences that shaped them. 

On these dates, be an active listener. Pay attention to their body language. Ask follow-up questions. 

You can also take these conversations to a deeper level by exploring my guide of 161 questions you can ask your partner to build stronger emotional intimacy


Stage 2: Sharing Your Heart

This is where things get real. 

Sharing your vulnerabilities, those little fears and insecurities, is scary but important. It shows your partner the real you and allows them to know you. 

Start small, share a fear you have about work, and let them know how much it means to you that they’re listening. This is a two-way street, so encourage them to open up too!

Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, however, it is the mutual effort that counts. 


Stage 3: Fighting Fair

Let’s be honest, disagreements are a normal part of any relationship. The key is to navigate them healthily. 

First things first, agree on a “time-out” word when things get heated. A quick break to cool down allows for clearer communication later. This is what I do with my partner whenever things get rough between us. 

Instead of blaming your partner with phrases like “You always…”, try “I” statements. For example, “I feel hurt when…” This focuses on how their actions affect you, not a personal attack. 

Remember, you’re a team. It’s you both versus the situation not versus each other. Thus, work together to find solutions that address both your needs.


Stage 4: Truly Seeing Each Other

This is where the magic happens! 

Active listening is key. When your partner talks, listen. Make eye contact, summarise what they’re saying, and hold off on interrupting. It shows you care and are present in the moment.

Feeling extra brave? Try the vulnerability experiment. 

Choose a deeper fear to share and create a safe space for the conversation. Remember, open communication is the key to building trust and emotional intimacy.

emotional intimacy

Stage 5: Prioritising it well 

To nurture this closeness, make sure you don’t push your relationship to the bottom of the list. This can happen when things get hectic.

Schedule regular emotional check-ins, maybe just 15-20 minutes a day to see how each other is feeling. 

Ask open-ended questions, listen without judgment, and most importantly, offer emotional support to each other. Feeling valued and heard consistently is also essential for a strong connection.

And who doesn’t love adventures? Take time out now and then to do activities together, big or small. 

It could be a weekend getaway or a new cooking class you both want to try. Shared experiences create memories that bind you closer.


Stage 6: Beyond the Physical

Emotional intimacy is more than just the physical connection. Schedule regular “affection dates” to focus on non-sexual touches like cuddling or massages. Physical touch releases feel-good hormones that strengthen your emotional bonds with each other.

Thus, communicate your physical preferences with each other. Talk openly and honestly about your physical needs and desires. Don’t be shy, let open communication build a fulfilling physical relationship.


Stage 7: Building a Shared Vision

Having a shared vision for the future, big or small, strengthens your bond. It gives you an “us against the world” feeling. Talk about what intimacy means to both of you. Then, think of ways to connect and align those ways with each other. 

By understanding each other’s desires, you cultivate a sense of teamwork in your relationship

Set 2-3 specific goals for intimacy. For example, have deeper talks or listen more actively. These goals will keep you motivated and provide a roadmap for progress on your journey together.


Stage 8: Keeping the Flame Alive

Schedule weekly/monthly check-ins with each other. Dedicate this time to discuss your progress, celebrate your wins, and find areas for improvement for each other.

Take turns talking about the things that you have been loving about the relationship lately and what areas you both can improve on. Then work on them.

You can also plan regular “Novelty Nights.” These can be date nights where you try something new together. Or, you can revisit old favorites that you both enjoy.

Remember, these tips are a great starting point. 

Don’t be afraid to give them your own spin – take things at your own pace, and remember, there’s no shame in seeking professional help if you need it.


Toolbox to Building a Stronger Emotional Intimacy with Your Partner

Now that you are through the 8 stages of building emotional intimacy in your relationship, let’s learn more about the tools that can help you. Think of these tools as building blocks. The more you use them, the stronger and nicer your relationship becomes! 

Also. don’t forget to have fun with them while getting to know your partner (and yourself) even better!

Tool Description Benefits
Take a love language quiz together and discuss the results. Explore how to incorporate each other’s love languages into your daily routines (words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time, physical touch). Feel more loved and appreciated, leading to greater intimacy.
The Emotional Inventory Create a list together of emotional patterns you experience and situations that trigger them. Improves understanding of how each other experiences and reacts to emotions.
Monthly Relationship Check-Ins Dedicate time to reflect on the past month, discuss what worked and what did not work, and then brainstorm new ways to connect. Provides a dedicated space to nurture the relationship and keep it growing.
Appreciation Jar Create a nightly ritual of writing down one thing you appreciate about your partner. Expresses appreciation and strengthens the bond.
The 36-Question Challenge Spend 20 minutes taking turns asking and answering a specific set of questions designed to build emotional intimacy. Opens doors for deeper conversations and fosters a stronger connection.


Questions for the 36-Question Challenge:  

Set 1: Building the Foundation (Questions 1-12)

  • Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
  • Would you like to be famous? In what way?
  • Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
  • What would constitute a perfect day for you?
  • When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
  • You could live to 90 and keep your current appearance, or have the body of a 30-year-old for 60 years. You crave to be truly understood and supported, but your attempts feel like you’re talking to a wall.
  • If you could live to 90 and keep the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
  • Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
  • What is the single most important thing you learned from your parents?
  • What is your most treasured memory?
  • What is your most terrible memory?
  • If you knew that you would die in one year, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
  • What does friendship mean to you?

Set 2: Going Deeper (Questions 13-24)

  • What roles do love and affection play in your life?
  • Name five positive qualities that you consider to be your strengths.
  • What is your dream for the future?
  • What is your greatest fear?
  • Do you feel close to your family? Are your relationships generally warm and positive?
  • How would you feel if you were to lose someone close to you?
  • Tell your partner something that you consider a positive characteristic about them. Share a total of five items.
  • Is there anything too serious to joke about?
  • If you were to become magically invisible, what would you use this invisibility for?
  • What is one thing that you would change about your upbringing?
  • What is a recurring dream or fantasy that you have?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment in life?

Set 3: Sharing Vulnerabilities (Questions 25-36)

  • What is something that you hope for and wish would come true?
  • What is your biggest regret in life?
  • What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
  • What is a serious issue that we haven’t discussed yet, that you would like to talk about with me?
  • How do you feel about your body?
  • What are your sexual fantasies? (Optional – Only answer if comfortable)
  • Tell your partner something that you consider a shameful experience in your life.
  • Have you ever felt hurt or betrayed by a close friend? How did you deal with it?
  • On what occasion did you cry the most in your life?
  • Is there something that you are currently frightened or scared of?
  • If you were to die here and now, without a chance to talk to anyone, what would you most regret not having told them?
  • Why are you grateful for our relationship?

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions. 

The most important thing is to be open, and honest, and create a safe space for connection and communication with your partner.

4 Mistakes That Can Block Emotional Intimacy  

Even the closest couples can drift apart over time. Life can be stressful. In-laws can be tough. Priorities can shift. 

All these things create distance. Sometimes, even past hurts can also make it hard to connect.

So, here are some common roadblocks in relationships and tips for you & your partner to work through them and unblock the emotional intimacy. 


1. Communication Problems:

  • Mind Reading: Don’t expect your partner to guess what you’re thinking. Talk it out!
  • Stonewalling: Don’t shut down during arguments. Talk about what’s bothering you.
  • Blame Game: Focus on finding solutions, not who’s to blame.
  • Negativity: Constant criticism, sarcasm, or complaining hurts the relationship.
  • Contempt: Putting your partner down is hurtful. Be respectful, even when disagreeing.

2. Unhealthy Habits:

  • Distractions: Put away your phones and focus on each other during quality time.
  • Bottled-Up Feelings: Don’t let little things build up. Talk to your partner calmly.
  • Unequal Effort: Share the workload, both chores and emotional support.
  • Too Much “Me Time”: Find a balance between personal space and quality time together.


3. Emotional Issues

  • Losing Interest: Be curious about your partner’s life, hobbies, and feelings.
  • Take Each Other for Granted: Show thanks for the little things your partner does.
  • Forced Intimacy: Don’t pressure each other into physical intimacy. It should feel natural.
  • Holding Grudges: Let go of small things. Talk about bigger issues that bother you.
  • Neglecting yourself: Make time for your hobbies and interests. They will keep you happy and fulfilled.


4. Other Things to Watch Out For 

  • Keeping Score: Don’t bring up past fights all the time.
  • Putting Yourself Down: Don’t constantly criticize yourself around your partner.
  • Money Fights: Talk openly about finances to avoid stress.
  • Boundaries: Respect each other’s need for space.
  • Broken Promises: Follow through on commitments, big or small, to build trust.


Take note of these mistakes and talk them out with your partner. But, don’t stress about making everything perfect!

It’s normal to make mistakes in relationships. Just be aware of common problems and discuss them with your partner. Curate what works for you both and where you can improve. 

By acknowledging these things, you can get closer and build the emotional intimacy you’re craving. 

Going a step further!

A key and underrated point is to know that men and women have different ideas of intimacy. Here are some specific actions each partner can take to strengthen the connection and emotional intimacy with their significant other:

For Women Partners:

  • Say thanks more!
  • Initiate physical contact (not just sex). A hand on his arm, a hug goodbye, or cuddling on the couch can show love and build closeness.
  • Ask open-ended questions. Instead of yes/no, ask, “What was the best part of your day?” or “How are you feeling about work?
  • Celebrate His Achievements (Big & Small): Be truly happy about his wins. They can be big or small. This shows you care about his goals and dreams.
  • Give him space to solve problems alone. Sometimes, men need time to process their emotions alone. Respect his need for space and avoid pressuring him to talk immediately.

For Men Partners:

  • Practice Active Listening: Give her your full attention when she’s talking. Put away distractions and make eye contact.
  • Validate her feelings. Acknowledge her emotions and say it’s okay to feel that way. For example, say, “That sounds frustrating,” or “I see why you’re upset.”
  • Offer Emotional Support: Be a safe space for her to express her vulnerabilities. 
  • Help with Daily Tasks: Take initiative with household chores or errands. This shows you value her time and effort.
  • Plan Meaningful Dates: Put thought into your date nights. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but shows effort and caters to her interests.

However, it’s important to note that these are just suggestions. The real secret is to understand your partner’s unique needs and tailor your actions to them. 


10 Signs of Unhealthy Emotional Intimacy 

By now you have all the keys to building a deep emotional connection with your partner. 

But before we wrap things up, let’s talk about relationships that make you feel emotionally close but aren’t healthy. These can be manipulative and draining.

Here are 10 signs of a toxic emotional bond: 

  • Disguised as affection, a controlling partner will make you feel suffocated. They will make you question your independence.
  • They use guilt trips, emotional blackmail, and mind games to get their way.
  • They love bomb you; that is when someone showers you with affection and makes plans early on. They aim to make you feel obligated before you truly know them.
  • They make you feel guilty for having boundaries with your friends and hobbies. This makes you rely on them more.
  • They never apologize. They blame you for everything. This chips away at your self-esteem.
  • They talk too much about the future together. It’s before you’re ready and it’s about locking you in.
  • They constantly share problems. They do this to make you their emotional caretaker, not an equal partner.
  • They are passive-aggressively jealous. They make veiled comments about who you see and what you wear. This behavior isolates you.
  • They invalidate your feelings by claiming to know how you feel. This shuts down communication and makes you question your emotions.
  • They are needy and insecure. They constantly seek reassurance and make you feel responsible for their happiness.
  • They hide things and lie to you, and you know they have cheated on you. This infidelity can be emotional, physical, or even financial.

You may be thinking, “Wow, this sounds familiar.” If so, know this: you deserve a deeper, healthier connection with your partner. 

A healthy relationship should make you feel safe, supported, and strong. It should not make you feel confused or unsure. Trust your gut and don’t be afraid to walk away.


Building emotional intimacy takes time and effort, but the rewards are truly remarkable. 

Remember, a healthy relationship is a two-way street. Be patient, be present, and most importantly, be yourself. When you and your partner embrace your true selves and celebrate your differences you create a strong base for lasting love.

I hope this blog helps you understand and navigate your relationship better. 

Do share this with your friends who might be struggling with emotional intimacy in their relationships.

Also, the tips in this blog post are intended to be helpful and come from a place of wanting to support stronger relationships. 

They are based on research and general best practices. Thus, it’s important to remember that every couple is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. 

If you’re facing serious challenges in your relationship, seeking professional guidance from a therapist or counselor is highly recommended. 

Finally, I would also encourage you to do your own research and adapt these tips to fit your specific situation and relationship dynamic.