Why Intimacy is Killing Your Relationship

This is a guest post written by Sara Sharnoff.  Sara is currently finishing her Masters Degree in Family Therapy at the University of Massachusetts Boston.  After years of feeling let down because her life did not resemble a John Hughes movie, Sara decided to devote her time to studying couples and intimate relationships.  During her free time she loves to drink copious amounts of coffee, cheer on the Boston Celtics, and explore the gorgeous sights in New England.  She's here to share her perspective on relationships.

One of the sexiest scenes in movie history is the opening sequence between Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia in When a Man Loves a Woman. For those of you who have not seen the film, it begins with Andy Garcia’s character picking up Meg Ryan’s character in a bar.  After a few minutes of some sexy banter, (spoiler alert!) the audience realizes that they are actually a couple. And that Andy Garcia looks very good in a pilot uniform, but that is beside the point.

This couple practiced something in relationships that most people do not; they used intrigue and mystery to keep their love life exciting and fun. While emotional intimacy is typically viewed as the holy grail of relationship satisfaction, research suggests that long-term partners are most attracted to one another when there is an emotional and physical distance between them. For example, many couples will describe feeling turned on by watching their partners at work or while they are performing on stage because they are viewing them from an outsider perspective. No longer are these the familiar people who are flossing in the bathroom or snoring loudly on the couch; they are exotic strangers, if only momentarily, and it can ignite desire long after the honeymoon phase of the relationship is over.  Invite your sexy significant other out to sing karaoke in front of a crowd, or quietly listen in while they talk to a client on the phone for their job.  It may seem like a small step, but viewing your honey as an individual rather than an extension of yourself will spark the passion in your relationship once again.

Naturally, establishing a relationship needs more than sex appeal and intrigue to succeed, and there is no denying that emotional intimacy has its place for maintaining a loving connection.  However, it appears that the problem arises when there aren’t any limits on the amount of information that is shared.  Couples simply do not need to tell each other every single detail about their lives. It may be difficult to withstand the temptation to over-share; after all, today many people are tweeting and posting every place they go and each clever thought that arises.  It is growing increasingly challenging to keep a partner’s attention when everyone seems so accessible.  It may take some extra effort, but keep some of those thoughts to yourself.  No one will mind if you don’t update your Facebook status about loving The Situation. I assure you, the world will somehow go on. 

This Valentine’s Day and for all of the days after, remember that keeping the sexy alive may be hard work, but it needs as much nurturing as the emotional growth in your relationship. In a perfect world everlasting love would always equate to everlasting passion, but the real world is a bit more complicated. Tonight, slip on your hottest duds and accidentally/on purpose pick up your date at a crowded bar.

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