Lack of intimacy can happen in any relationship. People get complacent with what they have and forget to keep working for the things they have already gotten. This can lead to people growing distant without even realizing it.
One of the most common issues, when people get complacent, is a lack of intimacy. There are four different kinds of intimacy and even if just one of these is neglected, we may feel like we are losing our relationship. This article offers 9 tips on how to handle a lack of intimacy in marriage, read on to know more.
Is Lack of Intimacy Normal in a Marriage?
You have probably heard a lot of jokes about how once you are married, all intimacy goes away. Some people may even laugh or scoff if you mention there isn’t any intimacy in your relationship. This may happen to the point that you feel it is normal.
While it is very common in relationships, it isn’t necessarily normal, and it definitely isn’t a good thing. It is normal for relationships to ebb and flow, so you may have moments in your relationship where intimacy is lower than normal or gone, but a permanent lack of intimacy is usually a sign that something is wrong.
It is important to note that a lack of intimacy is more than a lack of sex. While sex is a form of intimacy, so is anything that makes you feel loved, supported, or connected. Cuddling, dates, working together to achieve the same goals, and communication are all forms of intimacy.
There are four main types of intimacy, which are emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual. You need to focus on and grow all four types of intimacy to have healthy and strong relationships.
What Causes Lack of Intimacy in a Marriage? 9 Reasons
Lack of intimacy in a marriage can be caused by a variety of different reasons.
1. Lack of Understanding
You may be feeling like there’s a lack of intimacy, but your partner might not. Everyone has different levels of intimacy they want in a relationship. If there isn’t any communication, one partner might not even realize there is a problem.
Life gets busy, and you may come home from work to take care of the kids or make dinner and be exhausted by the time you can finally settle down. You may find you have little time for your partner most of the week and intimacy gets put on the back burner.
Stress can do a lot of things to a person. They may shut down from stress and not want to talk, or they can be emotional and barely present in the moment. It can be hard to destress, especially when things like bills, work, and daily life start piling up.
Anxiety and stress can go hand-in-hand but are different things. Anxiety can cause people to become ill more often, or they may be exhausted all the time. Sometimes, they get stuck focusing on a certain problem or issue and are unable to think about anything or anyone else.
Sometimes, we try to open up only to get dismissed. This can lead to frustration and hurt feelings. When you are frustrated about one form of intimacy not being met, you may find yourself abandoning other forms as well, and making the situation worse.
6. Low Self-Esteem
Perhaps you’ve gained a little weight, or feel like you are getting a little older and are not as attractive as you once were. This may cause us to not feel like being intimate because we don’t have the confidence or ability to do so.
7. Focus On One Side of Intimacy
Most people tend to think immediately of sex when they hear intimacy. And unfortunately, that tends to be the form of intimacy most people focus on. If you don’t know about other forms of intimacy, you may feel like something is missing in your relationship, but aren’t sure what, and so you blame it on sex or lack of touch.
While children can be a miracle or blessing, they can also make it hard to have intimacy. While they don’t do it on purpose, children demand a lot of time and attention. They also bring their own stresses and can be a factor in having low self-esteem or confidence. Even when children are present, it is important to be able to take time as a couple as well.
9. Conflicts or Arguments
Have you recently argued with your partner? Perhaps the argument wasn’t resolved and you are still upset. This can make you close yourself off in your relationship, and intimacy can be lost during this time.
Can a Marriage Survive a Lack of Intimacy?
Again, it needs to be clarified here. A lack of intimacy is more than just a lack of sex. Some people do not enjoy having sex or don’t want it nearly as much as another. This can create difficulties in a relationship, but it is possible to overcome them as long as both parties are willing to work on it.
However, a lack of intimacy is something else entirely. Most marriages will not survive without intimacy. If they do, it is usually an unhappy marriage or marriage of convenience anyway. You cannot have a proper relationship without any connection or support from the other party.
So to put it simply, without any intimacy in a marriage, it is very likely to fail and make one or both parties miserable along the way.
9 Tips on How to Fix Your Marriage
1. Rekindle the Flame
Bringing back that intimacy is key to fixing your marriage. You need to be able to recreate the romance and intimacy that kept you together in the first place. Try to go back on dates, and talk about your days like you are meeting each other for the first time again.
This can spark the intimacy and let you two grow close together again.
2. Focus on the Good
Often, we find ourselves focusing only on the bad things. It is easy to focus on the things that make you upset, hurt, or mad. However, this only creates distance in a relationship and reduces the amount of intimacy you can have due to hurt feelings.
Instead, try to think of a couple of happy things or good things about your relationship. Maybe your partner isn’t good at physical intimacy but is really good with emotional or mental intimacy.
3. Get Over Your Fear of Intimacy
Some people are afraid to get too intimate with someone. It is often related to past trauma or experiences, or a fear of getting hurt. Some people will shut down if they find themselves getting too intimate or vulnerable.
Sometimes, this is any intimacy in general, but other times, it is a specific intimacy that sets them off. While it is understandable to want to protect yourself and not get hurt, you cannot continue to have a healthy relationship unless you are willing to open up and be vulnerable. Otherwise, you will end up only hurting the other person and yourself in your fear.
4. Take Time to Relax
Life is stressful, but you don’t have to be stressed all the time. Make sure you take time to unwind with a bath and a glass of wine, or by going out to be able to forget about your stresses for the night.
You can take time to relax apart or together with your spouse, whatever works best for you and your needs. Either way, by relaxing and letting go of some of the stress, you will be more open and willing to engage in acts of intimacy with your partner.
Cuddling focuses on physical intimacy. If sex is the intimacy you feel like you are missing out on, cuddling can be a great way to make progress there. It lets you two connect without pressure, and still feel close and comfortable until you have the time, energy, or reconnection to engage again.
6. Have Deep Conversations
Being able to talk more than on a surface level is important for intimacy as well. Discuss things like the problems with your days, your feelings about the future, and your fears and worries. It may seem a little silly or uncomfortable at first, but it can really help with bonding and making you feel like friends as well as spouses.
7. Talk About Problems
As we said before, unless you talk about your problems, it is difficult sometimes for your partner to understand what is wrong. Bring up problems without accusing your partner so they know how you feel and what is bothering you. Them taking steps to fix their mistakes is another form of intimacy.
8. Realize It Is More Than Sex
When you talk to other married couples about a lack of intimacy, most people’s first thought goes to sex, and yours might as well, but you should know by now that it is about more than sex. Even if you are engaging in sex fairly frequently, something else might be missing.
Additionally, if you do find yourself having less sex and don’t know why, a lack of intimacy in other areas can often be a cause. So realizing that you may be lacking in other areas can help.
9. Work on Each Form of Intimacy
Physical intimacy is the one most people understand. This is things like sex, hugging, cuddling, and even holding hands. You tend to this form of intimacy by being physically close to your partner. Cuddle while watching a movie, have fun times, kiss them whenever you think to, or hold hands while you are out on a date.
All of these build physical intimacy and allow you to feel closer and more connected.
This one is also known as intellectual intimacy. It is where you are constantly growing and challenging your partner. You should both be up to learning and growing together as you continue your journey.
This usually involves having a curious attitude and asking questions. You can find topics to discuss together like science, politics, or religion. However, you can also use this to take time to learn more about each other. Ask about their day, their work, or something that changed their perspective that day.
Emotional intimacy is about being open with your partner. You feel safe and open about your fears, worries, anxieties, and more. Your partner should feel the same way with you.
If you shut down, don’t listen to your partner, or feel judged when you do share, then you will not feel emotional intimacy.
You need to be able to feel safe to share your problems and worries and to be able to be reassured when you are upset or need comfort.
Spirituality is often one of the hardest because it means something a little different to everyone. You don’t necessarily have to have the same spiritual beliefs to share in spiritual intimacy, though it can help.
Instead, spiritual intimacy usually has more to do with your beliefs and ideas on your purpose in life, and where the future will take you. It also means being faithful in your relationship and to each other.
To increase your spiritual intimacy, you must learn more about each other’s beliefs, goals, and faiths. While you don’t have to believe in the same thing, you can work together to find a middle ground and find a place where your beliefs will meet.