We all desire to feel close and connected to our partner. However, this can easily get lost in a long-term relationship, somewhere along the way with raising kids, excelling in your jobs and keeping all the cogs of the household moving. It’s hard to juggle so many things at once and keep your relationship prioritised. Especially when your relationship feels very stable, it is easy to take each other for granted.
I often see issues like: one partner withholding of intimacy or sexual expression as a way to dominate the relationship, or a partner having sex to ‘please’ which leads to dutiful sex rather than close sexual intimacy and often leads to resentment of the pressure to perform.
Every couple will have their own unique way of showing emotional and physical intimacy between them. There is a stereotype that men show their love through sex and women show love through emotional connection, however I have worked with many couples where this has been the opposite. So I treat each couple as unique in their own beliefs around love, intimacy and desires.
In counselling, we unpack what intimacy means to each partner and why. I guide couples to open their heart and accept their partner for who they are, rather than trying to get their partner to change. To get there, each partner is guided through the process of expressing what their fundamental intimacy need or desire is from their partner. Most often it goes deeper than what they realise, some insights I hear from my clients are; ‘to feel good enough’, ‘to feel wanted’, ‘to feel powerful’ ‘to be just tenderly embraced’. Sometimes where there is a constant need for intimacy, it can be a residue leftover from something that happened in their relationship a long time ago that was not dealt with, maybe a past broken trust or from previous relationship hurts or even from their childhood or adolescent experiences, all this gives an individualized perspective around intimacy. In counselling sessions, my goal is to guide my couples through the multi-layered areas of intimacy, to gain a deeper heart felt sense of intimacy and for them to re-discover their eros spark between sex and love.