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  • Paula Thompson
    Paula Thompson

    What are some common reasons why couples experience a loss of intimacy over time?

    Loss of intimacy over time is an issue that plagues many couples and can often be difficult to reconcile. Life has a way of creeping in and slowly chewing away at the security, trust and comfort between two people no matter how solid their connection may seem. The intangible, foundational bond shifts from passion to dispassion, leaving a wake of discontentment and disappointment.

    It is all too easy to overlook the waning of connection when busy with day to day life, spending more time apart than together. We numb out, succumbing to the normalcy of robotic routine, complacently accept the lack of spark in the name of practicality, and murmur cursory expressions of love as though it were but a mundane task — a chore of sorts.

    Though, when we find ourselves swimming in ambiguous waters, blindly searching for the surfacing buoy that is the renewed connection shared between partners, we must stop and take a moment to consider what lies below. How did we arrive here and more importantly, perhaps, what are the common reasons why couples experience a loss of intimacy over time?

    Busyness is probably the most frequently cited factor, but it is neither an exclusive nor pervasive one. Undoubtedly, professional and social obligations, such as work or children, can easily consume our daily lives, forcing us to prioritize the necessities of day-to-day living over the realities of emotional connection. It can also make us weary and impatient, leading to condescending behavior and withdrawn emotions. On the other hand, when couples spend quality time together, their relationship is generally given the sustained attention it deserves, allowing for a greater opportunity for closer connection.

    Interpretation of events within a relationship is another relevant element in understanding how the development of a couple's dynamic can lead to a decrease in intimacy over time. Perception being subjective, one person's expectation of a partner may not meet the other’s. Such miscommunications lead to feelings of anger and resentment, impeding the possibility of bridging the gap of understanding between them. This dynamic can be difficult to address and navigate because each partner is responsible for learning to respond rather than reacting emotionally, a challenge in its own right.

    What is more, the infrequency of physical contact over the course of a long-term relationship can decrease the level of intimacy between two people as well. Having sex as a primary form of physical expression can create unrealistic expectations, leaving one or both partners feeling slightly unfulfilled. However, supplementing sex with gentle touches throughout the day, such as a cuddle while watching TV or even a hasty peck on the lips can project affection in tangible ways.

    The conversations between partners can also play an important role in the development of the relationship. A shared flow of everyday dialogue is commonly believed to be essential for a couple's connection and companionship to flourish. Without important conversations that dive beneath the surface and explore feelings on a deeper level, one may feel as though they can never properly reach the opposite person although they live and share the same space. As time goes by, this lack of communication can cause the gradual separation of thoughts, interests and opinions, which are fundamental elements for a healthy relationship.

    Given these myriad of influences, it is clear that there are several common reasons why couples experience a loss of intimacy over time. Whether it be busyness or miscommunication, it is possible to identify the main aspects that need to be looked at or discussed in order to build an understanding and reestablish the connection. With a mutual effort, couples can bring back the affection and closeness originally established in their relationship — provided they remain dedicated to swimming through ambiguous waters and fighting for a common love.

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