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  • Matthew Frank
    Matthew Frank

    Deconstructing Intimacy: How to Maintain Connection with Your Partner Beyond the Honeymoon Phase

    Ah, the honeymoon phase. It can be used to describe the initial stages of a new relationship, where we dare to call it “love” after just a few weeks of meeting, or simply an extended period of time in an existing relationship that’s rekindled itself. We’re cautious with our optimism - it’s like a whisper hiding in the depth of our hearts. We think, “Is this here to stay? Or will it flutter away when the novelty wears off?”

    Questions that beg to be answered become increasingly relevant once the bliss and eternal optimism of the honeymoon phase subsides - and the answer to continuing that beautiful feeling lies in gracefully navigating intimacy with your partner.

    So what is intimacy? Intimacy as a construct can vary from one to another. Generally, intimacy refers to an emotional closeness with another that binds individuals together, whether platonic or romantic. Intimacy can also refer to “the ability to share secrets and trust someone enough to do so safely.” Such secrets are kept sacred within our individual minds and hearts, but can be shared with an individual who has earned our trust. The reason why so many of us anticipate the honeymoon phase is because it often coincides with a high level of intimacy - feeling comfortable enough to drop our guard and open up to someone.

    To preserve intimacy and maintain connection after the honeymoon phase has ended, here are some tips that you can use.

    Be Vulnerable

    Most people dread being vulnerable because it tends to expose our weaknesses and insecurities to other people - failing to recognize that vulnerability is ultimately intertwined with strength. Sharing vulnerability with another person requires you to demonstrate a level of authentic self-confidence. Being vulnerable allows us to be seen and respected by others, which is essential for maintaining intimacy in a relationship.

    Be Kind & Gentle

    Critical remarks, hostility or teasing can lead to hurt feelings and detachments between partners. This does not mean that conflicts have to go unresolved - but understand that conflict resolution takes effective communication, honesty, and openness. Demonstrating kindness and gentleness radiates respect and understanding to your partner - allowing a higher level of intimacy to be achieved.

    Accept Differences

    On the surface, differences may appear to be negotiable and temporary, but sometimes our core values, ethics and beliefs can’t quite align. Things can get uncomfortable when the differences between two people become too big. Try to have a dialogue about this instead of running away from discussing it - doing so will enable both individuals to step out of their comfort zones and welcome unfamiliarity. Facing our differences head-on paves the way for greater levels of mutual understanding and respect of each other.

    Spend Quality Time Together

    Making time for each other is essential to stay connected as partners. Schedule indicative activities such as a nice brunch or dinner, listening to music together, or spending time outdoors or inside - do whatever feels enjoyable and engaging for both parties. Quality time not only helps to foster genuine conversations, but can also be great practice to observe, understand and absorb the likes, dislikes and preferences of your partner.

    Intimacy and connection are often measured over a more extended period of time than just the honeymoon phase. We’re quick to romanticise catchy titles, looking at the destination before mapping out the journey - and in this case, it was wise of us. What lies further beyond the honeymoon phase is an ever-evolving process that requires patience, commitment and intention, among many other qualities.

    By employing actions and behaviors that emphasize understanding, acceptance, vulnerability and quality time, intimacy and connection can be sustained beyond the honeymoon phase. In the end, even if all else fails, having a safe space to express ourselves as freely as possible can still go a long way towards creating lasting intimacy.

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