7 tips for building emotional intimacy with a woman
By Vagdevi Meunier, Psy.D.
I get asked this question quite often, usually by men, but sometimes by women as well: “How can I be more successful in relating to my partner?” What is hidden behind that question is often a deeper question, which goes something like this: “How can I be attuned to my partner? How can I be a safety net, or an emotional container for my partner, especially when she is upset with me?” Whether you are a man in a relationship with a woman, or a woman wanting a better connection with another woman, here are seven tips for creating an intimate emotional bond with a woman.
1. Be a good listener – pay attention to feelings and needs, not just the who, what, where, and when (the content)
Listening deeply is about hearing the emotional experience behind the story and not just the facts. By listening for feelings, needs, dreams, and desires, you send the message that what her heart desires is important to you.
2.Don’t cut her off mid-sentence and say okay, okay, I get what you are saying. Whether you have heard the story or complaint multiple times or for the first time, allowing a woman to have the floor until she stops is not only a sign of respect, it is an affirmation of her right to speak and be heard. She will admire you for it.
3. If you sense her mood shifting, take the initiative to ask what is going on. Don’t wait for her to tell you.
This is one of the key skills in emotional attunement: being aware of your partner’s moods and showing that you care by asking about it when you sense a shift. Don’t wait for her to initiate an emotional conversation.
4. If she is upset and crying, don’t decide to give her some time alone (maybe that is what you would like) – go up to her and give her a hug and tell her you are there to listen if she wants to talk. If she pushes you away – don’t take that personally.
Having someone connect with us when we are upset is healing and nourishing. Having someone near us builds trust and safety.
5. If the two of you are home on a weekend day just puttering around and doing chores – see if you can find a way to hang out with her, share whatever she is doing, or invite her to spend some time on the deck or on a walk in the neighborhood – the idea here is to find a way to take some of your free time on a weekend to engage her in a relationship building conversation.
Small mundane experiences shared often creates a feeling of togetherness. It is like making deposits in an emotional bank account. A rich bank account is a buffer against hostility and negativity in a relationship.
6. Take time everyday to let her know how much you love her. She can never hear this too many times. But be sincere and genuine. Tell her why you love her and find something you noticed or observed in the past week. Don’t be generic.
A specific, present-oriented, and positive appreciation is remembered for a long time.
7. Know her love language. If she loves romantic gifts, then take the time to find gifts that move her. If she loves sharing and verbal connection, then the most precious gift you can give her is attention and time.
Knowing what makes her feel special does not have to be expensive. It just has to be mindful and personal. Learn what makes her unique and let her know you really see her for who she is.