How to become more intimate?
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to become more intimate?

How do you become more intimate with your spouse? Not sexually. My wife has said that is a major barrier of ours. I'm pretty sure she is doing nothing to help it but maybe she is and I'm not catching her signals. It is also very likely she wants "it" but has no idea how to go about achieving "it" either...or maybe even what "it" is.

So help me if you have some ideas...how do we go about leading into this? And maybe even "What is your definition of it"

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Old 06-14-2010, 01:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

Kiss and hug her goodbye before work.
Kiss and hug her hello after work.
Kiss and hug her before you go to bed.
If watching TV sit together and hold hands.
Hold hands when walking together.
When passing her in the house always make a point to touch her in some manner.
Spend quality time with her and don't isolate yourself in reading, gaming, watching TV alone.
Make sure she understands you want her intimacy also.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

Amplexor,

These things I/We already do. Not trying to negate, just that it must be something more that she wants.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

What does she say when you ask her what she's looking for?
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

She really has a hard time talking about anything important to the relationship. I don't really think it is because she doesn't WANT to so much as it is that any sort of stress/conflict is avoided by her at all cost.

"We need more intimacy" all I got out of our last conversation. I was hoping to maybe glean some insite here. You are right of course, it may come down to pressing the issue with her directly.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

Ahhh, an avoider. I know them well, I am/was one

I know exactly how she feels in saying that she wants more (emotional bond, intimacy, same thing) but doesn’t know how to achieve it. Unfortunately, it might be her that is blocking herself from achieving it.

I don’t know anything about your situation so this is purely a guess based off of the avoidance comment but; until she lets her guard down she will not be able to form a truly intimate bond with anyone. The intimacy she craves comes from being open and sharing with your spouse, from resolving issues together and the day-to-day occurrences such as what Amplexor suggested. You don’t reap the rewards from those things if you have your guard up all of the time, you just don’t.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneMarriedGuy View Post
"We need more intimacy" all I got out of our last conversation. I was hoping to maybe glean some insite here. You are right of course, it may come down to pressing the issue with her directly.
Let's be clear here.

I use intimacy to mean things other than sex, but it obviously does include sex. Americans tend to use the word as a euphemism for sex.

To give us the bigger picture, please could you describe (separately) the level of your sex life, and your emotional connection. Then we can get a better picture of what your wife means.

But yes, it's clear she is trying to get through to you in a BIG way, you did well to put it up here for discussion.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

Work on really sitting her down and letting her share her heart. Let her know that you are there for her no matter what she is feeling and just hold her as she shares things that are hard for her to say. And you need to be open with her. Pick easy topics to start off with and slowly move into deeper topics. Ask her "what do you need from me today? how can I show you love today" and ask her to ask you as well.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

Sharing honest thoughts despite one's fear it will anger or turn off the other is the most important way to build intimacy--by letting ourselves be vulnerable with another.

She wants intimacy but her fear of conflict is one of the major barriers. Working on good communication skills will help both of you--learning to make "I" statements, to get at one's own thoughts and feelings rather than blaming the other--is a great way to practice sharing tough thoughts/feelings. Get started by talk about the different messages these two random statements send; make sure she understands that you are talking about the way people say things, that you are NOT trying to have a conversation about how much time the two of you spend together! "You don't love me. You never spend any time with me." vs. "I think I must bore you because you seem to prefer spending time doing X instead of Y. I get angry and frightened that I will lose you because I am boring." Discuss what each of you sees as the pros and cons of the phrasing in the different statements, and then see if each of you can come up with a good "I" statement about YOURSELF and phrase it in this way-- I feel X because I think yyy when you [blank]. Most couples do not recognize that it is their thoughts about the other person's behavior that determines how they feel--"You leave me alone so I feel unloved and sad" only makes sense if the person THINKS that being left alone is somehow a bad thing! "I love it when you leave me alone b/c I think you respect my need for 'me-time'" vs. "I hate it when you leave me alone b'c I think it means you find me boring." It is the person's thoughts, not the spouse's behavior, that triggers the feelings, so learning to identify what thought is triggered by another person's behavior is key (and it's hard to do!!).

Even introducing such a topic--how some ways of saying things are more useful than others--is a start. Also, introducing topics that allow each of you to share values, ideas, dreams--all of this requires "exposure" of your "secret self," and so it means vulnerability, thus sharing it helps build intimacy.

Amp, I have to say--your list is distressing. None of those things would feel intimate to me unless we already had an emotional connection. They are evidence of intimacy, not a way to build it--in my one-woman's opinion, that is. I'll be interested to hear what others say.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

WantsHappiness - I think you are pretty much on the money there. She says she can't trust me with her heart because of things I've done in the past. She will admit to having built fortress walls around herself (even prior to me).

Just to give a bit of info here are a couple of the things I did that she has mentioned really made her not trust me with her heart. I will try to make explanations short.

1>friends were coming over. She said "DO NOT take any one in back room" (was messy). While friends were over, I got to talking about my RC airplane I was building and he wanted to see (it was of course in back room). I rationalized that "he's a guy and won't care that its messy" and took him in to show (couldn't take out as it was large and pinned to table etc).

2>We were talking of her legally becoming my daughters mom (natural had passed away). I was excited and told my daughter about it.

I get that what I did in these situations was wrong. In the first I did not value her wishes that were made very apparent to me, I shrugged them off, belittled them and acted on my own. In the latter, I took away her excitement and opportunity to discuss this with my daughter. Also -unbeknown to me- she had not fully made the decision and I took away the opportunity for her to decide on her own.

These are the two main examples she gives to me.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

MarkTwain

"We" have no sex life. She spends time with herself and toys and I with myself and toy.

This is 100% her choice. And the "We need to be more intimate" was actually in response to me asking her if we were ever going to be together again (haven't been since last year).

It was followed by "when we are the sex will probably come along to"

Last edited by OneMarriedGuy; 06-14-2010 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

OK, now we're getting down to business...

Please read this article, and tell me which categories you fit into:

Sexless Marriage?
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

Quote:
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1>friends were coming over. She said "DO NOT take any one in back room" (was messy). While friends were over, I got to talking about my RC airplane I was building and he wanted to see (it was of course in back room). I rationalized that "he's a guy and won't care that its messy" and took him in to show (couldn't take out as it was large and pinned to table etc).

2>We were talking of her legally becoming my daughters mom (natural had passed away). I was excited and told my daughter about it.
#1 is nothing. She is just being controlling.
#2 is serious - you really screwed up. Been there done that

So whereas you should appologise for #2, buy flowers/chocs etc., for #1 you should tell her to knock it off in the most macho way you can muster. Under no circumstances should you grovel or wipe the floor with yourself over this one. She was hoping you would put her in her place and be a man, and you acted like a whimp if you apologised beyond a simple sorry.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:39 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

MT,

I may let you go wild on the sex (or lack therof) portion, but I'll have to wait until I've a bit more time to make that post...I'd like this one to stay on the emotional side of intimacy.

As per your post above, concerning #1 and #2. I did apologize for #1 at the time. #2 I did not even realize I the damage I had done until long, long, long after (like I said, she likes to avoid conflict). Both of these are 6 to 10 years ago, but still among her top examples of how she trusted me with her heart and I stepped on it.

FWIW - maybe I am a whimp because I do think she was right there and I did not merit her strong feelings concerning the mess enough.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to become more intimate?

Quote:
#1 is nothing. She is just being controlling.
#2 is serious - you really screwed up. Been there done that

So whereas you shuld appologise for #2, buy flowers/chocs etc., for #1 you should tell her to knock it off in the most macho way you can muster.
Dangerous advice, b/c the response to #1 is basically saying, "What is important to her is NOT important, so just ignore it." Talk about taking the fast train to resentment.

Just because cleanliness/orderliness may not be important to one person does not mean the other person is "controlling." One of you might be a truly disgusting slob; the other might be an obsessive germophobe. More likely, however, one of you is male and the other is female. What "does not matter" to him is often part of her core self-image. Ignore it at your peril!

There are many approaches to this issue, but one of 'em is not "let the other person know that what matters to her is not important."

You can compromise a lot on an issue like this--just make sure you let her know you value what is important to her (even if you don't share that degree of concern) and LIVE UP TO whatever agreements you make. If you have agreed (and silence means consent) NOT to show the room, then live up to that agreement. Invite the friend back to see it another time, and clean the darn space before then. If you know you will be wanting to show someone something back there, then let her know and ask what the two of you can do, in the time you have, to make it presentable.

You might bluster your way into intimidating your wife into letting you win (by macho behavior), but you will be losing. S*it on enough things that are important to her but that you "judge" to be insignificant, and you are sending a very clear message you do not value her. Take the time to discuss, understand, and work with what is important to her, and you build a stronger relationship.

So, for #1, apologize for not taking her need (to present a clean home) seriously. Let her know you won't do it again--you will plan ahead of time if you might want to show the room, or you will make plans to show it later, when you've had a chance to straighten it. Or, you will unbolt the item and bring it out rather than sacrifice her request to indulge your own passion. Ask her if any or all of these are acceptable options. Expect her to be surprised and pleased that you "get it." Keep up the good work.

Edit: just saw your post about how these are old things. A lot of people will say that she is "wrong" for bringing up old grievances. But that ignores the much more important reality--they are windows into her view of the relationship AND they are moments when she experienced a paradigm shift in her understanding of the relationship. She is giving you two VERY clear examples with a common theme: she feels you do not give her needs and feelings very much consideration when you are making decisions. It sounds like you might be very impulsive--so this lack of consideration may have happened a LOT. You probably do not intend to "slight" her feelings/needs, you are just being "you," excited about the plane, excited for your daughter. . . she is warning you that she is having trouble with "you." IF you have impulse control issues, she may learn to understand that your ability to stop and consider her needs is limited. Right now, she thinks you do not VALUE her needs/etc, and your impulsive behaviors are a conscious disregard for what is important to her, a conscious assertion that what you want is more important than what she might want/need, time and again.

Impulsive behaviors can come across as simple thoughtlessness--you did not take time to think about her b/c she is not important enough. Or, she may think that you are doing it intentionally, a passive aggressive response--b/c she has let you know certain things ARE important to her. If you are quite sure that neither of these things is true, and maybe you really have an impulse control issue, then explain that to her--and regardless of whether her thinking is fairly accurate or not, try to do better at ASKING her before you make decisions about things you are going to do. Asking for her input shows you value her concerns and her judgment. If you do it a lot of the time and then forget on occasion, she probably won't even notice (once her resentment wears away for all the past offenses, which could take a while b/c she has to see enough to let her trust that you really do care for her needs/judgment, etc.)

Sounds like you are making progress at getting her to open up. She really needs to work on this problem of conflict avoidance, of course, so encourage counseling for the two of you. Good luck.

Last edited by sisters359; 06-14-2010 at 02:59 PM.
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