Do you ever feel disconnected from your significant other? Does it seem like the two of you are often distant? Are you wondering how to be more intimate?
If we want to start being more intimate, we need to start being more honest. So the real question is: Do you lie to your significant other?
Most of us see this question and say, “No! Of course not,” but how many of us genuinely display our authentic selves in our interactions? We might not think of it as lying, but intimacy comes from honesty. Here’s how to be more intimate by getting real.
For most of us, honesty and authenticity don’t start on day one. We go on a first date and what happens? Do we immediately open up about our childhood, religious beliefs, or expectations in a relationship? Do we tell our new friends about the intimate details of our lives and our innermost feelings?
Even months into a relationship, we may still hold back on our true feelings. We dress a certain way, act a certain way, even let go of certain feelings because we want to please our significant other. Most of us still lie or, at least, avoid the full truth until we’re well into a relationship.
But what about those in long-term relationships or marriages? Do they share everything with their spouse? Are there “secrets” they keep hidden? Do we always tell our husband where the dent in the car really came from? Do we hide our Amazon orders, or downplay our frustrations with certain behaviors?
There are also intimate details we might be afraid to share. We all have secrets, desires, and yearnings that we hold back because they may make us feel vulnerable. Do we tell our spouse what we really yearn for? Do we tell them when we need more affection? When we long for them to hold our hand, hug us, or kiss us because it’s what we need?
We also may have feelings we don’t bring up because we don’t want to engage in conflict. We don’t want to fight. When our spouse pisses us off, do we call them out? When we trip over sandals on the stairs, wash their pile of dishes in the sink, or review credit card charges, do we express our irritation or silently stew?
These little moments of holding back build-up, and they can slowly erode our sense of intimacy or prevent us from being more intimate with our significant other. If we’re not expressing our authentic, true feelings from day one (yes, even on the first date), we’re not fully experiencing real intimacy. But don’t worry—it’s never too late to get started!
Real intimacy comes from being vulnerable, naked, open with another person. It’s an entirely authentic state. It’s so comfortable you can burp or fart in front of your significant other and laugh it off. It’s allowing the messiness of our lives to spill over and to share with another. Intimacy doesn’t just mean sex or physical intimacy, but closeness at all times. It’s becoming acquainted with the deepest recesses of each other’s personality.
Sounds scary, right?
For most of us, we’ve spent years of our lives building safe emotional walls and personas. We’ve created a personality we believe will lure people in and attract them to us. We’ve carefully cultivated who we are to create someone charming, pleasing, and appealing to others. We create what psychologist D.W. Winnicott deemed the “False Self”—a protective and defensive persona we create from childhood.
Winnicott posited there were two sides to our personality—our False Self, the persona we create for others, and our True Self, the deep yearnings of our heart.
This naked authenticity allows us to be truly intimate with other people, not only our spouse but our friends, our family, and those around us. We know when someone loves us, they genuinely love our authentic self. They love who we really are, not merely who we pretend to be.
Unfortunately, most of us build up ideas of how a relationship should look. We’ve created a vision of a fairytale romance. One where we “get” someone to “fall” for us (sounds pretty inauthentic, right?), and then we seduce them into a connection.
Even the concept of seduction is rooted in deception. Seduction is defined as deliberately enticing someone to engage in a relationship or to be led astray. We feel we’re tricking someone into liking us or connecting with us–this is a display of our False Self.
Instead, by being open and honest—truly honest—we build trust. When you meet a genuine person, chances are you’re drawn to them. You don’t necessarily agree with everything they do or say, but because they’re “real,” you feel an ease and rapport that may lead to a fast connection.
When we see a celebrity, politician, or person of note display emotions, what do we say? “He was so authentic,” or “I felt like I really connected with her because she was so open.” We feel like we know them on a personal, human level. We relate to them. Indeed, our vulnerabilities make us stronger, yet we avoid them out of fear of being weak.
In our book The Heart of the Fight, we bust many common relationship myths, embracing new truths of relationships, including the ideas that:
Are you wondering how to be more intimate? The price is being real. If a profound partnership sounds appealing, we must learn to express our most profound truths, even if it’s not what the other person wants to hear. If you want a great relationship as friends and lovers, then be prepared for great fights.
Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to fight—or don’t fight enough, or at all! We often hear advice on conflict resolution rather than conflict completion. Contrary to conventional wisdom, conflict can be a couple’s secret weapon for coming closer, not a sign of their coming apart. The key is when couples know why they fight, how to fight, and what to fight for.
These battles can be used to develop us and help us reach high levels of intimacy and trust based on an ever-deepening love. This requires full engagement, including conflict, confrontation, and verbal combat. It also requires following certain rules of engagement that you’ll learn about throughout the book.
Conflict comes from a place of honesty and truth. You see, if we believe something and hold it dear as our truth, then it’s worth fighting for. If we want true intimacy and an honest relationship, we must accept we won’t always agree. That’s okay! Growth doesn’t come without resistance. Growth is born of struggle and conflict. If you want to grow in your relationship, it won’t always feel comfortable.
The secret behind greater intimacy is to stop pleasing others and to stop hiding our feelings. When we’re annoyed by a comment, say so! When we want something, ask! Don’t be afraid to lay it all out on the table.
How much heartache and how many problems could be resolved if couples put it all out there? Imagine a first date where each person was completely honest about their expectations. What if we told our date precisely what we wanted, what we valued, and what we needed in a relationship? What if we were just…honest?
As we interact with others, whether it’s a friend, partner, spouse, or coworkers, commit to embracing honesty. Express how we really feel. Don’t worry about what people think or if people won’t like us. Simply be our real, honest, authentic selves. If we want to know how to be more intimate, honesty will get us there.
For more ways to become your best self, please join us for an upcoming workshop or event. On Wright Now, we’re offering an array of courses to help you in your career, relationship, and life. Get MORE of what you want out of life today!
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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.