A Word To The Wise

With Kate Schroeder, M.Ed, LPC, NCC

Building Emotional Intimacy In Relationships

What is intimacy? Contrary to popular belief, emotional intimacy is more than sharing time or space together or including each other in daily decisions and activities. True intimacy has much less to do with the quantity of time spent together than it does the level of depth in the relationship; there are many people who have high levels of emotional intimacy with each other and live hundreds of miles away. Emotional intimacy is not dependent on proximity or geographic location.

In order to have intimacy with another person, one first has to have that kind of relationship and connection with themselves. It is virtually impossible, although many people expend very large amounts of energy for very long amounts of time, to have intimacy with another person, to both give and receive, if one has never cultivated that level of emotional connection inwardly. So much of our life, especially re-occurring problems in relationships have far more to do with what is happening within ourselves, than what is happening between the two people involved. And most of what is happening within ourselves is far beyond our consciousness. It’s not what we know about ourselves that tends to cause us problems with intimacy; it’s what we don’t know about ourselves, that still influences our day to day interactions with others.

One way to consider emotional intimacy in a relationship is to consider this experience as “into-me-see”. When we invite someone into our inner experience, we are opening ourselves up to a level of connection that transcends the outside world. We offer to them the ability to be present to our deepest understandings and experiences of ourselves, the world around us, them and so on. But in order to be able to invite someone into our inner space, we first have to be aware of that space and all its confines. We have to have explored this territory ourselves to understand what is ours to hold and what we are willing to share with another. There is no “right” way to be emotionally intimate with another, however it does take openness and a willingness to be vulnerable and drop defenses in order to truly let another person inward.

We cannot build true emotional intimacy with another person until we first have created this emotional intimacy with ourselves. This process requires time, diligence, patience, effort and courage to go inward and explore our own histories, especially in a world that constantly emphasizes external successes and accomplishments. The only way outward to another person is first by going inward. By turning in, this will get you where you want to go in your outside world.

For more information on therapy services, guided imageries, meditations, classes, and upcoming programs visit:

Transformation Counseling, LLC
8084 Watson Road, Suite 226
Saint Louis, MO 63119
(314) 761-5310