Relationship Behavior that Undermines Intimacy

Divulges Leading Marriage Counselor Shivani Sadhoo

No relationship is ever perfect. There will always be some problem or the other. It takes a joint commitment to make them work. Once the honeymoon phase is over, couples get so busy with their daily routine that they forget to make time for each other or even pay heed to each other’s dreams and desires. That’s when the intimacy in their relationship begins to fade. ‘Intimacy’ refers to the feeling of closeness between two people. It is a unique bond shared between two people that is built upon mutual trust and understanding. It could be physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and even experimental. A relationship becomes strong only when all forms of intimacy work together.

Lack of intimacy can give birth to other relationship issues that ultimately lead couples to drift away from each other. It is therefore important to understand what affects intimacy in a relationship. Shivani Misri Sadhoo, an eminent marriage counsellor in India shares the factors that trigger a lack of intimacy in relationships.

Not being communicative: Communication is the key to any successful relationship. Two people can become emotionally intimate only when the communication is positive, honest, and transparent. A breakdown in communication will lead to resentment and conflict eventually resulting in a lack of intimacy in the relationship.

Lack of trust: Trust is the cornerstone of a successful relationship. Having faith in each other and being honest and transparent are the hallmarks of an intimate relationship. Lack of trust can lead to feelings of insecurity and thus rules out the possibility of having intimate interactions.  

Stonewalling: How would you feel if your partner gave you a cold shoulder during a difficult discussion and simply withdrew himself from the conversation? You will feel angry, hurt, and confused. This is called stonewalling which could either be a defence mechanism in a moment of conflict or a way of making the other person feel inferior. This can definitely lower down on their self-esteem making them feel hopeless and thus affecting emotional intimacy. You need to build bridges instead of walls in order to encourage intimacy in your relationship.

Criticism: Constant criticism is a toxic behaviour that destroys the intimacy between partners. It belittles your partner, erodes trust, and damages relationships. You directly attack someone’s character by finding flaws in him and blaming him for his shortcomings, nitpicking, passing judgment, etc. The worst part is it doesn’t end there. The person at the receiving end feels hurt and annoyed and starts being critical of his or her partner. So, criticism is like a vicious cycle of mistrust and anger when both partners criticize one another in turn. The warm positive feelings the couple once shared are replaced by resentment and hostility. The person feels less loved. The intimate bond seems to fade away.

Contempt: Criticism paves the way for another negative behavioral trait—contempt. If criticism is a direct attack on a person’s character, contempt conveys disgust and superiority. The feeling that “I am better than you” makes the other person feel less loved and less appreciated which often leads to conflict and corrodes the intimacy between the two.


Don’t let conflicts and criticism ruin the intimacy in your relationship. Take charge of your life and live happily ever after.