Rebuilding Intimacy in Long Term Relationships

Last week we featured an article on loneliness, and looked at how the causes and some tips for combating it. Of course, even in long term relationships, people can sometimes feel lonely, especially if they experience a lack of intimacy. Today we will look at how to rebuild intimacy in long term relationships. Before reading this article you may want to read the (short) article The Meaning of Intimacy in Relationships published a few weeks ago on this blog.

As relationships age, the original sparks of intimacy sometimes fizzle.

New relationships are fed by a seemingly unlimited supply of hormones and the novelty of unexplored territory.

There is so much new information to find out, so many mysteries left to uncover. When a couple has been together for awhile the newness wears off and the familiarity of this person removes all sense of the unknown.

Even the most loving of couples can run into challenges with intimacy.

Don’t Panic

If it seems like your relationship is struggling in the intimacy department, don’t panic. It doesn’t mean the end is near or that your partner no longer loves you. Intimacy issues are very common in long-term relationships.

Common causes of disconnected intimacy can include fatigue, stress, preoccupation with daily life, and low self-esteem.

These are factors that can influence one’s focus on intimacy or willingness to devote time and energy toward sustaining it. In order to counter these effects, couples only need to observe the areas in which their intimacy is compromised and commit attention to improving those aspects of life.

Observing the Disconnect

As you explore the ways in which your intimacy has faltered, look at some of the factors that might be getting in the way. Are you or your partner distressed? Exhausted?

Is your self-esteem a factor in the intimacy disconnect? Take an internal inventory of what is blocking your efforts at maintaining intimacy and ask your partner for advice on how to overcome that barrier.


You don’t have to book an all-inclusive couple retreat at an expensive resort to rekindle the intimacy, but you could do so if you have the means. Intimacy is a far less complicated seed to plant and often only requires time and attention to detail.

Make time for connection:

Daily life pulls you away from paying attention to your basic connection to your partner. Devote a certain amount of time each day (half hour to an hour) to let go of all the stress of the day and focus only on each other.

Make eye contact, put away the phones and other devices. Talk about your thoughts and feelings.

Importance of touch:

Human touch is one of our most basic needs. Get back into the habit of rubbing your partner’s neck or back, holding hands or resting your hand on their shoulder or leg.

That simple act can communicate so much care and love.

Make time for sex:

Even if you are exhausted from the chores of daily life and feel unattractive, make time to be sexually active with your partner.

Set a sex date at varying times of the day to keep it interesting. Practice varying types of positions and use toys to provide additional excitement to your encounters.

Make a plan to fool around without having sex and see who can resist the urge the longest.

Laugh together:

Couples who have fun and laugh together often have the best emotional and physical intimacy. There is a camaraderie in shared humor that can bolster a relationship and make it even stronger than usual.

Intimacy can have its ups and downs. If you can recognize the areas in which your intimacy tends to get lost, you can work with your partner to rebuild it and make it better than ever.

Couples who continue to struggle with intimacy may benefit from couples counseling to help identify the underlying issues.

[This blog post originally appeared on Teyhou’s website]

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