by Dr. Amy Demner, LMHC
Licensed psychotherapist and sexologist
Intimacy and closeness are very often at the heart of many relationship problems. If you suspect your relationship is heading south, first try to work it out yourselves. However, if identifying the problem and solution become difficult, or you know the problems and are caught at an impasse, consider professional counseling. Someone trained specifically in sexuality can provide added guidance in the area often resting at the core of the issue and can actually speed-up the therapeutic process.
If possible, try to steer clear of serious problems by learning how to identify the relationshipwarning signs, which include:
The frequency of kindness drops off.
Little favors, romantic gestures or simple polite words are replaced by silence, angry words or total neglect.
Intimacy is infrequent or nonexistent.
This includes emotional, affectionate, as well as sexual intimacy.
You’re caught in a fantasy.
You find yourself, saying “if only … , I would be happier or our relationship would be better.” Beware of this trap, as it prevents you from dealing with today’s reality.
You become better debaters than lovers.
Such power struggles or competition often show up in the bedroom as well.
The key, of course, is to learn the basics that help keep relationships alive. First and foremost is time. Spending time together is critical to building and maintaining a healthy and happy relationship. During your time together, try a variety of activities to do together. Keep spice in your life by trying new sports, visiting new places, starting new hobbies. Avoid falling into that dangerous rut of life. Try dating again to renew the original spark that brought you together.
Through it all, communicate. Long-lasting relationships have one primary quality in common -- open, honest and frequent communication. It is through this that we achieve intimacy, which is the magic ingredient for truly satisfying relationships.