You might love each other to bits, but lately… you simply haven’t been feeling it.
There’s no affection or intimacy in your relationship anymore.
Everything feels meh and if this goes on much longer, you’re sure you’d break up.
In this article, I will share with you my 10-step guide to overcoming lack of affection and intimacy in your relationship.
1) Figure out when it started
First things first—it’s important to figure out where things started going downhill.
By knowing WHEN it started, you will hopefully be able to answer WHY.
So how do you do that? Sit down and recall the events.
Keep in mind that things often start going downhill before the “final straw” even drops.
So don’t just focus on that one day or week when you first started noticing the change in your dynamics. Instead, try to think about the context and what had triggered that change and try to trace it backwards as far as it could go.
For example, let’s say that your partner started being less affectionate towards you after a big argument.
Well…what were you arguing about?
Have you been arguing frequently all through your relationship?
Was it something so important to them?
Were you turned off by how they reacted?
It’s so easy for a relationship to turn sour, especially if the relationship is still new. So ANY reason can actually affect intimacy.
Try to figure this out and you’re halfway to fixing your relationship.
2) Assess each other’s personality
While it’s very likely that there’s a “trigger”—a reason— why you’ve become cold to each other, it’s also possible that they’re just slowly becoming who they really are.
Perhaps your partner is really an introvert and was just acting all bubbly at the start of your relationship because you’re still at the honeymoon phase. And now that the hormones are leveled, you see the real them.
This “change” doesn’t mean they don’t love you anymore, it’s simply them being themselves—finally.
After all, they’re no longer trying to impress you.
Now that you’ve been together for a while, it’s time to take a hard look at them.
Who are they really? Are they withdrawing from you or are they simply just comfy and secure?
And how about you? Do you always need to feel affection? Why?
Know who THEY really are.
Know who YOU really are.
And see how you can meet halfway when it comes to intimacy and affection.
3) Know each other’s love language
Sometimes the reason why there isn’t any affection or intimacy in your relationship is because you simply haven’t been talking in each other’s love language.
For example, perhaps their love language is all about physical touch and gifting, while yours is quality time.
The two of you can recognize that the other is showing their love. But because the two of you aren’t speaking in the other’s love language, it can seem like you simply aren’t loving one another enough.
And that eventually leads to a decline of intimacy.
When you start thinking “They aren’t putting as much into this relationship as I am”, you start to get protective of yourself.
And if you feel this way, chances are that they feel the same way, too.
So that’s why you should make an effort to understand each other’s love language, as well as try to speak in each other’s love language as much as possible.
4) Ask guidance from a relationship coach
There’s no switch that can improve your intimacy in an instant. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to see your efforts fail and be for naught.
Even having gone through the same experiences before isn’t enough, especially if this keeps happening every time.
That’s why I strongly suggest you get guidance from someone who has the psychological knowledge on intimacy.
I personally recommend Relationship Hero when it comes to relationship guidance.
They’re a site with professional relationship coaches that are experts at solving complicated relationship problems—especially those involving intimacy.
Talking to a relationship coach will mean you’ll get advice that’s personalized to your experiences—something you can never get from an article, or a book, or even a 5-hour Youtube video.
If you value your relationship, get proper guidance.
5) Ask yourself “What am I willing to do for my partner?”
Before you start complaining about how they’re now cold as ice, you have to take a look at yourself.
What were the sweet things that you used to do? Are you still doing them?
Are you willing to go to therapy so you can improve your relationship?
Are you willing to cancel some nights with friends so you can stay with your partner?
But don’t just think of random things. You have to pay attention to what they asked from you in the past.
Think. What were the things that they complained about or asked from you?
Say, your partner who has “quality time” as a love language always complains that you play games after dinner instead of spending time with them. Then ask yourself if you can do something about it.
You may be willing to spend at least one hour talking with them before playing your game.
Try doing that and see if it will change things.
6) Ask yourself “What do I want them to do—really?”
What do you want them to do so you’ll feel their love?
What do you want them to do so you’d WANT to be affectionate with them?
We all want to be in a loving relationship but there are some things that can make it challenging to do.
Maybe they’re too critical or busy so you’re scared to “bother” them with your affection.
Maybe you feel that they still haven’t forgiven you for something that you did, and it’s affecting how you act towards them.
Or it can be as simple as them not appreciating your efforts so you stopped giving them flowers or making them tea.
Don’t be scared that your requests would sound demanding. You have to communicate your needs and feelings in order for things to improve.
But while it’s good to have an extensive list, only prioritize two to three things. You don’t want to overwhelm them or else they’d lose interest in fixing the relationship altogether.
7) Have a new definition of “intimacy”
Perhaps part of your problem is that you simply have an unrealistic definition of intimacy.
Perhaps your idea of intimacy involves always being around one another, or always taking the other’s side no matter what, for example.
Or perhaps you equate intimacy with validation, or that you have a very specific idea of what your partner should be doing for you.
But as the renowned shaman Rudá Iandê explains in this mind-blowing free video, love and intimacy might not necessarily be what you expect it to be.
And in fact, it’s quite possible that your current definition of intimacy is what’s ruining your relationship!
Perhaps you’re asking too much out of your partner, or perhaps what you thought of as intimacy isn’t even intimacy at all.
That’s why it would help you a lot to try to question your understanding of intimacy.
I certainly had similar issues back in the day. But when I listened to Rudá’s words, I was finally offered an actual, practical solution to my relationship problems.
Gone were the days when I would wonder where my relationship was going, and of doubting whether my partner was truly the right person for me.
You can click here to watch the free video and begin changing up your life (and your relationship) for the better.
8) Set time to talk
Fixing a relationship that has eroded to this point isn’t something that you can do over a quick chat on phone or passing conversation.
So you need to set aside the time to sit down and have a proper conversation.
Start from the beginning, and try to share what you have observed about your relationship with your partner.
Keep in mind that they might not be seeing the same things as you and be confused or even offended. So try to be as gentle with it, and to ask them for their perspective.
Try to figure out the reasons why together—everything up until this point should help you get a general gist—and work on a solution or compromise.
Don’t think this is something you necessarily have to do in a single sitting either.
Fixing up your relationship is something that will take a while, so take your time to let your talk sink in and progress at what pace is comfortable for both of you.
9) Remove the pressure
After having a long, serious conversation about your relationship, it’s time to let go.
Yes, it’s time to do the work but don’t make it feel like a chore.
Not only does it feel awkward, it might have an opposite effect on them if you keep monitoring their level of affection and the things they do or don’t do.
Don’t say “Hey, you promised to give me flowers. Now, where are they?”
Or “I thought we’ll have sex three times a week. We only had one this week. What’s REALLY going on?
Love and affection can’t be built with a hammer. Rather, it’s like a seedling that you must carefully nurture and care for using gentle hands and a lot of patience.
Don’t treat them like a child by monitoring their daily “performance.” You already had an adult discussion. That’s enough for now.
10) Be the one who’s more loving
Instead of focusing on them, focus on yourself—and by that I mean, focus on what you’re doing.
Although it’s great that you discussed your concerns and tried to fix your intimacy issue, remember: love is something you give and not something you ask for.
And the thing is that people will feel it when your love for them is conditional if you have an “I will love you only if you love me” mindset. And, well… such things will only make them love you less.
While it might seem a little unfair on your end, if you truly love them, then you should simply express your love without thinking (much) about whether they’re loving you back.
And while this might make them love you back, or show you more affection, don’t count on it.
Expect less from them and more from yourself.
Perhaps doing this—loving more, and loving unconditionally—might just help your relationship heal and bring affection and intimacy back into it.
And if in the end, you’re still unhappy because you’re not getting the intimacy that you want, at least you can tell yourself that you gave it all you’ve got.
Love and intimacy hacks
The steps above are meant to help you figure out and solve the issues with love and intimacy that you are facing in your relationship. And they’re things that you do together with your partner.
But there are also some hacks that you can do on your own as well—some extra effort on your side that can help fix your relationship.
And who knows, maybe it’s all you really need.
1) Set quality time
Quality time is a must if you want more intimacy.
And I don’t just mean being together in the same room. I mean QUALITY time—time that’s actually spent expressing love and getting to know each other better.
Set at least 30 minutes daily to really enjoy each other’s company.
And at least a day in a week to have a date—whether that means going to a restaurant or staying in to just cuddle and watch a movie.
2) Treat sex as a kind of play
Some couples put too much weight on sex to the point that it becomes a kind of performance. And that could be the reason why they stop doing it altogether.
Don’t be too pressured to have satisfying sex all the time. Just have fun with your bodies!
You don’t have to reach orgasm all the time.
You don’t have to always do crazy sex positions.
You don’t always have to use it to express love.
Forget what the media has taught you about sex. Sex should be a kind of play that you do to connect and express affection.
And if it isn’t satisfying now, that’s a-ok! You can do it again later.
3) Do the “small” stuff
When it comes to intimacy, it’s really the small stuff that matters.
Small things like cooking breakfast together, walking the dog, or even greeting them with hugs and kisses matter.
In fact, they matter more than the grand gestures when they’re done regularly and many people are content just with these regular small displays of love and intimacy.
So even if it might not seem a lot, if you think it will make your partner happy, do it. Both the small stuff and the big stuff matters if you want to keep your relationship healthy, after all.
4) Have common interests
Having interests in common is a good way to add a lot of closeness into your relationship. And with that, intimacy.
That doesn’t mean you should force each other to always like the same things, of course. Instead, just try to see if you can like their interests, and if they can like yours.
Or discover new hobbies together.
Once you have interests in common, you will not only be able to engage in those interests together, you also have more to talk about, increasing intimacy.
5) Share stuff even if you think they’re boring
You might not want to tell them about your day because you think it’s boring. Well, if that’s how you think, no wonder your intimacy is suffering.
Just share away!
Although you shouldn’t expect them to be too interested in what you’re about to say, trust that they’d still be curious enough to listen.
A part of you might think “Well, what’s the use of sharing if they’re not interested?”
Well, the point is in the act of sharing.
Intimacy blooms when you share, and withers slowly when you start keeping things to yourself.
6) Make a vow to be honest to each other
Being honest to each other creates intimacy.
And I don’t just mean telling the truth when asked, I mean sharing what’s true to you—from how you truly feel with your relationship to how you see the world.
Think about this. Would you like it if your partner is affectionate—gives you sweet gifts and hugs and kisses—but they’re dishonest and not open to you? I bet you wouldn’t.
Good, honest, communication is a requirement to have a genuinely intimate relationship.
7) Do grand gestures from time to time
I know I said “small” things done regularly matter the most, and that many people are content with just that.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s no need for grand displays of affection. They’re magical, and
Grand love gestures can add spice to the relationship. It can dramatically make you fall in love with each other again. It can sometimes even help you forgive each other’s misgivings.
Bake a cake for them and send it to their office. Or treat them to your special massage complete with their favorite music.
Do it from time to time and your intimacy would greatly improve.
There are many different reasons why there might be a lack of affection and intimacy in your relationship—from incompatibilities and misunderstandings to conflicts left unresolved.
And because of that, it’s not so easy to bring that spark back into your love life.
Do the steps above, but if things won’t improve, I strongly suggest that you talk to a skilled relationship coach.
This is one of those circumstances where having someone offer you personalized advice will go a long way.