Authentic Intimacy: Expectations vs Reality
Do you want authentic intimacy with your partner?
Of course, you do, who doesn't? Otherwise, why would you be in a romantic relationship, right? However, your expectations of intimacy may significantly differ from that of your partner and reality!
A good place to start is to establish what authentic intimacy means to you and your partner. Does it mean the same thing? Do you see authentic intimacy as having a relationship with a person where you can disclose your deepest secrets, fears, and fantasies? Or do you see it as working towards experiencing your sexual desire with the person you really love and eventually become a married couple? Every couple is different. Some couples are even disappointed and feel their partner has a completely different idea of intimacy. If you want to feel love towards your partner, you need to be on the same page!
On the other hand, does your partner see "authentic intimacy" as sex between the sheets and being faithful? As you can see, there is a big difference between the two and this is where difficulties can happen in relationships and resentments set in.
What is Intimacy?
Intimacy in a relationship involves two people and it can be:
- physical intimacy, which obviously includes sexual intimacy, and
- emotional intimacy.
On an emotional level, intimacy can be interpreted as
"Into me I see."
Physical intimacy such as sex can increase the connection and intimacy between you and your partner, however, emotional intimacy with your partner increases the likelihood of your relationship lasting long-term.
When your partner connects with you in a deep and meaningful way, you are allowing them to see the true you; it is the ultimate experience when it comes to intimacy. Emotional intimacy is therefore considered a much deeper level of connection than physical intimacy. There are also different levels of intimacy. For instance, over time, as trust develops intimacy goes to another level.
To have a deep, meaningful, and authentic intimacy, you will need to be open and honest.
You expect your partner to be honest with you, but in reality, you may find it difficult to be honest with your partner, particularly when it involves feelings. Maybe you fear conflict and believe that you will end up in an argument with your partner if you express how you feel? Know that couples fight with one another, and it might actually be healthy getting things off your chest that is long overdue, but it's how you express your point of view. Explore with your partner. Test the waters to see how they react. For all you know, you may get the response, "I never knew!"
You’ll need to be willing and prepared to express your deepest fears, and share your wants and needs.
Your partner is not a "mind reader," and if you want, or need, or fear, something in your relationship, you will need to tell them.
Lack of Intimacy
If you keep finding yourself in relationships that are not authentic, and there is a lack of intimacy, ask yourself,
"How am I not being true and authentic?"
Sounds pretty simple but, "you don't know what you don't know."
So....did you know that when you're authentic and put yourself in a position where you're vulnerable (yep, that means facing your fear of being rejected, potentially ridiculed, and abandoned), you actually increase intimacy and authenticity, and have a more genuine connection with your partner?
Expressing your deepest fears can be pretty scary, particularly if you’re not used to doing it. You might worry that your partner will think less of you for exposing your negative side and reject you because you’re "less than perfect." You might feel very vulnerable and wonder whether or not you’ve done the right thing.
When you are not authentic, you are saying you are not important and you are not lovable as you are. You are trying to be someone you are not!
Eventually, if you continue being inauthentic, you become resentful and your relationship will suffer, or even end.
You can only be as true and authentic as you can be at the time.
When it comes to authenticity, and wanting that in your relationship, you have to be authentic with yourself (for what is true for you at the time).
You've heard the saying, "Like attracts like," and it does.
When you come from a place of inauthenticity, you will have a connection with your partner that is inauthentic and is built on illusion, pretense, falseness, and as a result, distrust and fear will appear in your relationship.
What Causes a Person to Be Inauthentic?
Many reasons can cause a person to be inauthentic, but in a "nutshell," they want/need to be accepted, liked/loved, and to get something from another person, for example, they want a relationship with them and don't want to be rejected/abandoned.
The problem with inauthenticity is: the inauthentic person is not being their true self and they can only keep up the pretense for a certain period of time, and as a result, his/her behavior will start to change and "cracks" will appear in the relationship!
Maybe you're the one who is trying to "fit in" and be accepted by your partner and you're ignoring all those irritating traits that she/he has? Believe me, those traits do not go away, and over time—they become more irritating!
When you expose and share your vulnerability with your partner, it develops and increases trust in your relationship.
Your partner will get to see the true and authentic you. When this happens, they will trust you with their feelings. The more you open up to your partner, the more they will open up to you!
You will be able to have a relationship that is based on deep, meaningful, authentic intimacy that is reciprocated.
Do you want a deep and meaningful relationship with your partner that is not based on fear?
Are you ready to take the leap of faith?
11 Ways to Increase Authentic Intimacy in Your Relationship
- If you want authentic intimacy with your partner, you have to be authentic with your self and your partner.
- You need to know and state what your boundaries are. What are you willing to accept or not accept in a relationship. Boundaries enable you to establish trust, which leads into you feeling safe so you can be vulnerable.
- Do not accept or settle for anything less than what you require in a relationship. If you require a relationship where your partner is monogamous, do not settle for anything less!
- Learn to listen to your body. Your body has an emotional intelligence all of its own and it will tell you what you need to know. We have a habit of living in our brains and have detached ourselves from our bodies. Listen to your body's communication. For example, you may have told your partner a lie, which you believe is small and innocent. But shortly afterward, you developed a headache. Was the small lie as innocent as you tried to convince yourself it was? Maybe you and your relationship would benefit from telling the truth?
- When your partner has triggered a feeling within you (positive or negative), sit with that triggered feeling. Identify where the feeling is in your body, do not judge it or make it wrong. If you feel sad, feel sad and sit with the feeling. If you have a tightness in your chest, sit with the feeling. Try to let go of any judgments you may have about your feelings.
- Ask your feelings, "What are you trying to tell me?" An example might be to tell your partner the truth.
- Love your fears—do not make them wrong!
- Love yourself, as "cheesy" as it sounds, it is true! How can you expect another to love you when you don't love yourself? It's about learning to let go of unrealistic expectations you may have placed on yourself. You may want the body of Julia Roberts and you feel "unsexy" to your partner because you don't. Love you for, you!
- Share your fears and worries with your partner. If you want authentic intimacy in your relationship, someone has got to make the first move, why not you?
- Listen to your partner—do not judge them or condemn them for their fears, wants, and needs. You certainly wouldn't want your partner to judge you, particularly if you've found the courage to share your fears and worries! If you find exposing your vulnerable side and disclosing your fears difficult, tell your partner (I bet they feel the same way too).
- Spend time each week with your partner to discuss and share hopes, dreams, plans, wants, needs, fears, worries, and experiences, which may include what you're grateful for in the relationship. Make sure you're not disturbed when you spend this time together. The more you do this, the more you will feel safe in your relationship.
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Until next time
Relationship Coach and Dating Coach
Coach 2 Connect
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