Emotional Intimacy

By Stacy Hixon, LPC

Quite often in sessions I bring up the term, “emotional intimacy.” Many of us have not heard this term let alone know what it is or how to create it in our relationships, so let’s define this. 

According to an article written on the website Psych Central, emotional intimacy is defined as, “being transparent with your deepest feelings, fears, and thoughts. It involves feeling safe and not judged.” Emotional intimacy is the deepest way to connect with another person and is critical for sustaining a healthy relationship. 

Our society, in general, is very transactional. We smile, wave, make small talk, text, email and attending events. Do you have depth in the relationship though? Do we feel so connected to others that we cannot imagine any other way of living? Emotional intimacy is one of the main ingredients in finding contentment in our lives.

Now that you know what emotional intimacy is, how do we create it in our relationships? First, let me say that we cannot develop emotional intimacy overnight. We have to reframe most of the dysfunctional conditioning that we’ve subconsciously learned and  practiced in our relationships thus far. We have to learn new behaviors and thought processes, so it’s not an easy step by step process that you can accomplish in a week. It takes time, patience, and grace for ourselves and the other people in our relationships.

A relationship with emotional intimacy consists of the following ingredients:

  • Feeling safe sharing deep emotions, feelings, thoughts, mistakes, shame, guilt, and pain.
  • Feeling validated in sharing the deepest moments of our lives.
  • Feeling heard and listened to by the person we’re sharing with.
  • Feeling supported by the other person.
  • Feeling respected by the other person.
  • Knowing that the other person will not tell another soul what you share with them.
  • Knowing that the other person will not offer unsolicited advice or try to “fix” us.
  • Knowing that the other person holds no judgment of us in what we share.
  • Knowing that regardless of what lies in our minds, the other person loves us. 
  • Knowing the other person will not use the vulnerable information we share to hurt us, or keep score to use later against us. 
  • Knowing that the vulnerability and support is shared in the relationship. 
  • Knowing that the relationship is based on transparency, honesty and trust.
  • Knowing the other person will not threaten us or intentionally try to hurt us.
  • Knowing that we’re both flawed humans who have made mistakes and will never reach perfection.
  • Knowing that you are partners in the relationship, working together to maintain a healthy and functional relationship as you grow together.

That, my friends, is emotional intimacy. 


By Stacy Hixon

One of the most foundational aspects in human relationships is communication. With effective communication, we will have healthy and functional relationships. We will learn to convey our thoughts and feelings, reflectively listen, problem solve, create ideas, find opportunities, grow, change, and find emotional intimacy and connection with other humans.

We will use communication with family, friends, with co-workers, at school, in social communities, and with strangers. Whether we’re communicating verbally, using body language or facial expressions, communication is necessary in our world.

An important step in communication is understanding ourselves. If we comprehend what’s going on in our own body and mind, we can communicate with others more effectively. Below is a process of questions to help you learn to develop better communication skills.

  • What am I feeling in my body?
  • Where am I feeling it?
  • What does it represent as far as our feelings and thoughts?
  • What is this telling me about myself?
  • Who do I need to communicate this to?
  • What do I want to communicate?
  • Why do I want to communicate this?
  • Why do I feel the way I do about it?
  • How do I want to communicate?
  • What is my goal for communication?
  • What is the resolution I would like to reach?
  • What are some compromises I’m willing to make?
  • Who will I talk with about this?
  • How will I approach it?
  • What tone of voice will I use?
  • How will I convey my thoughts and feelings?
  • What body language will I use to express myself?
  • What are some talking points I want to include?
  • When will I do this?
  • What will I do if the other person is not receptive, is defensive, or doesn’t receive my communication well?

Below you may download an example of the process:

Please leave your ideas or takaways in the comments!