In the dark about intimacy

Many couples grapple with the topic of intimacy in their relationship. Recently I received this letter from one of my readers.

Dear Jacqui:

I’m completely in the dark about intimacy. I’ve been living with my girlfriend for two years and we are honing in on getting married. For the most part we get along fine. We go to the movies, I pitch in at home and we have great sex. But she is constantly nagging how I’m not intimate with her. What is she talking about? We even go running together sometimes and always watch the football game together. What more does she want out of me?

What she wants is what most all people in relationship should want: true intimacy, which comes with really good communication between partners, really knowing what’s going on with each other, really being in touch with each other’s lives, being together, not doing together.

What she wants is for you to take the time to listen to her, to hear her out. She may not have anything earthshaking to say. She just wants to share her experiences with you, how her day went, how she feels about a particular subject.

She needs the comfort of sharing with the person she is closest to. (That’s why she talks for hours with her girlfriends when she cannot talk to you.) She is equally interested in what goes on in your life. What is on your mind? How did your day go? She is searching for a way to feel more connected to you. She is asking you to share feelings, not just events.

Intimacy comes from sharing thoughts and admissions of a deeper kind that you wouldn’t want to share with anybody but a partner that you trust and love. Intimacy is creating a language between you in which others don’t share.

It is expressed in many ways: it can be a look, a touch or an unexpected compliment. It can be an e-mail or phone call to let her know that you think about her. Above all, it’s taking time, even if it is ten minutes a day, to really talk and connect. These little acts of intimacy can be more meaningful than grand gestures that happen on special occasions only.

Intimacy is finding the time for being idle together, listening to your favorite music after a day apart. Intimacy is allowing yourself to share the thoughts, the feelings that make you vulnerable.

I know a couple that, each evening, share a glass of wine or a cup of tea and review their day. They perform this ritual in different areas of their home or during a break in their evening walk. At home they light candles, play music they love and just enjoy “being with each other”. “Our love,” they say, “is getting better each day because we make it happen.”

Think about the word relationship. It is about relating. When you watch football you relate more with the action – a great pass, a fantastic tackle – that have little to do with your partner. Your focus is the ball game. When you run together your aim is getting your heartbeat up; exercising side by side is fun.

Doing together is important because it reinforces your compatibility. But being together is a different matter. Enjoying each other without outside distractions is based on giving of yourself, your thoughts, your words, sharing your heart, your fears and joys. Intimacy is the glue that strengthens your relationship. It deepens your trust in each other, and it enlarges your sense of belonging. It makes loving each other more complete in all the ways you can experience it.

Jacqueline Brandwynne has worked in the health and beauty industry for more than 25 years and is creator of the Very Private line of products. Visit her at