As a marriage and family therapist that is a doctor of psychology my focus is on sexual trauma, sex addiction, porn addiction and most importantly sexual health. On the eve of a romantic holiday I am compelled to talk about a polarizing topic for many people. Intimacy and jealousy. These all too often go hand in hand or been understood as one or the other. The following are key points to better understanding the value of true intimacy and secure a better grip on our jealous tendencies.
Becoming close to another person is one of the most vulnerable things a person can do. It’s both the foundation of emotional security and a gateway to self-expansion. Intimacy can be used as both a learning experience for what you need, as well as a transformative way to connect with others.
Sometimes unravels slowly… A partner may be able to emotionally connect with a great deal of people and the other person takes pride in privacy. Great ways to connect with a partner is by empathizing with their style and simply practice how they engage in communication and connection. This can unravel slowly.
Seek your solo self… The other day I prescribed to an individual in a couple’s session be gentle with yourself. Even requesting them to give themselves a gift. Synchronistically, it was their birthday and just then they burst into tears. Seek understanding trying something you really want. When getting comfortable with yourself your inclination is then to want to share with your loved one too.
What you permit is what you promote… In relationships that are reconnecting to intimacy lost, it is often because what individuals are willing to put up with or tolerate. My first request is for couples to examine what do they promote in relationships outside of their lover. Immediately, people will come to the conclusion that they permit a great deal of discretion from their partner. Simple advice is to treat your lover, as you would want to be treated. It’s an amazing way to introduce intimacy.
Be Vulnerable… Let your story be heard by your partner. If you are trying to build intimacy and love again, jealousy surrounding their activities or personality will only destroy the relationship. However, if you enter into a vulnerable space you can request to be met with a compassionate ear from your partner. Let them know your story, your anxiety; it can start to sound as love and care rather than control and power.
Drop the Ego… Tension that often plays out in my office is a struggle to hold on to an ego that holds onto the illusion that we can control and manipulate others (even the one we love so much). As I stated above in the section regarding intimacy, a strong couple is strong with a significant amount of individual autonomy; and through that many couples grow a stronger bond. Drop the ego.
Trust, Honesty and Acceptance… Every strong couple has a great deal of similarities, and all people have insecurities. When you enter into relationship and want to grow stronger intimacy you must trust, be honest and accept the desires your partner longs for; becoming the best listener, support system and partner.
Ultimately, the spectrum of a strong intimate relationship may have signs of a jealous partner. By having strong, open conversations and being willing to be vulnerable to their needs everyone will be understood. Intimacy takes work and transparency, exposing and letting go of jealousy takes humility and understanding. Walking this tightrope can only build a stronger relationship.
Dr. Ryan Westrum is the visionary or Healing Souls, a private therapy practice that specializes in building, supporting and nurturing healthy relationships. Contact Dr. Ryan at 952-261-5269 or firstname.lastname@example.org