Can a marriage survive without intimacy? It is possible but it requires both partners to be committed to working on the relationship. Intimacy is an important part of any relationship. Lack of intimacy can have a negative impact on marriage. Here’s how to get it back.
The New York Times reported that 15% of couples have not had physical intimacy together in the past six months.
If you’re struggling with intimacy in your marriage, you’re not alone. A lack of intimacy can be frustrating and hurtful for both spouses. But the good news is that there are steps you can take to get your relationship back on track. This is part of our series titled, Can A Marriage Survive.
Can A Marriage Survive Without Intimacy?
Most people think of intimacy as sex, but that’s not all there is to it. Intimacy can be super romantic and sexy without any physical contact at all. A big part of intimacy is feeling connected to your partner on a deeper level than just a physical connection.
To have an intimate relationship with your partner, you need to be able to communicate openly with them and share your feelings with them in a safe way.
If you’re comfortable enough with someone that you can tell them when things are bothering you or when something makes you happy or sad then that’s likely a good sign that the two of you are connected on an emotional level as well.
Intimacy Refers To The Feeling Of Being In A Close, Personal Association And Belonging Together.
It is a type of deep connection that involves self-disclosure, mutual understanding, and trust. When we are intimate with someone, we usually feel that person’s presence as well as their love for us.
Intimacy is often thought of as an emotional feeling but it can also be physical intimacy between two people who care deeply about each other.
If emotional intimacy is lacking, [one or both of you] may feel a lack of safety, love, support, overall connection, and it also will most likely affect the physical intimacy in a romantic relationship. It’s not sustainable long-term to have a romantic relationship without emotional intimacy. If you think about emotional intimacy as the foundation of any relationship, it really becomes a no-brainer to invest your resources (time, money and energy) into building it and continuing to nurture it.Rachel Wright
Emotional intimacy is the foundation for a healthy relationship.
Also Read: How To Create Emotional Safety In Marriage
A Lack Of Intimacy Is A Problem Many Long-Term Relationships Face, And It Is Often The Cause Of Breakups
When we think about what we need to be happy in our relationship, sex is usually one of the top things on the list. But that doesn’t mean your partner feels the same way. Many people say they want more sex than they get in their relationship.
For example, if you ask couples how often they have sex and then follow up with how happy they are with their current levels of intimacy (including kissing, cuddling, and other forms), studies show the level of physical intimacy often relates to their level of marriage satisfaction.
In a sample study done by the Flourishing Families Project, 355 couples discussed the impact of emotional and sexual intimacy on relationship satisfaction. The results showed that a satisfying sex life significantly predicted heightened emotional intimacy between partners.Source
Lack of intimacy (sexless marriage) can cause you to feel distant from your partner, unattracted to them, and even resentful toward them. A lack of intimacy can be a symptom of other problems in your relationship. Lack of physical attraction can be a reason for a lack of intimacy. It can lead to a lack of emotional connection.
It’s Normal For People In Long-Term Relationships To Become Lazy About Grooming, But This Can Discourage Intimacy If It Gets To Be Too Much
I wince as I even write this. It should not have to be stated, yet the more I talk with couples about issues that impact their marriage, the more I realize many couples fail to take into consideration the most basic concepts.
Grooming is one of those ‘we should know this’ topics. Yet it affects many marriages.
If you are in a long-term relationship, it’s normal to get lazy. Even lazy about grooming. After all, you’ve seen your partner naked thousands of times and they’ve probably seen you naked too. But if one or both of you start letting yourself go in terms of personal hygiene (e.g., not showering regularly), it can be discouraging for intimacy if things get too far out of hand.
Is this trivial? I don’t think so. How we present ourselves to our spouse is a reflection of how we value our relationship.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t be comfortable enough around your spouse to wear ‘comfy clothes.’ It’s not about dressing up, wearing makeup, or donning a suit. Proper grooming simply means being your best for the situation.
You wouldn’t expect a girl to wear makeup to the swimming pool. At least, I wouldn’t. That’s not inappropriate. It’s just not necessary.
The bottom line: Proper grooming (being clean and well kept) tells your partner you want to be your best for them.
Grooming often has an impact on your physical intimacy.
If your partner isn’t interested in sex anymore, there may be underlying issues that need to be identified and addressed before the situation can improve.
Every marriage has its ups and downs; that includes how much time you and your partner spend between the sheets. Although not every relationship should be solely based on sex, it is an essential part of your connection to your partner . If you haven’t been feeling connected to your partner or valued in your relationship lately, there are some steps you can use to revive the passion and save your marriage.Jennifer Conerly |Updated July 12, 2022 Medically Reviewed By Karen Devlin, LPC
Physical Changes Are Another Reason For A Lack Of Intimacy In Long-Term Relationships
Another reason for a lack of intimacy in long-term relationships is physical changes.
As you get older, your body will change. You may be experiencing symptoms like hot flashes or joint pain that can make sex uncomfortable or painful.
You may also lose interest in sex altogether, due to some of the things we’ve already mentioned (fatigue, depression) and other factors like medications and hormone replacement therapy.
Physical changes are part of life. There are several medical conditions that impair physical intimacy. But they don’t have to control you. There are many paths (many natural and medication free) that can help you balance hormones, lose weight, and have more energy.
Your Insecurity Issues Might Be Causing You To Struggle With Intimacy In Your Relationship
Many of us don’t feel comfortable talking about sex, and the topic can be especially hard to broach when a partner is struggling with sexual problems. If you’re insecure about sex, body image, or your partner’s feelings toward you, these feelings can affect your ability to enjoy intimacy together.
You may also be struggling because of past trauma, such as sexual abuse or assault. If this is the case for you and your partner’s relationship struggles have not been resolved yet, it might be time for both of you to seek out counseling so that each person can heal from their past experiences and move forward into a healthier future together.
Stress Affects Every Aspect Of Your Life, So It’s No Surprise That It Can Make You Feel Too Drained Or Anxious To Be Intimate
Stress is a normal response to negative situations, but when it becomes chronic, it can have a major impact on your mental and physical health. Chronic stress can lead to physical changes like weight gain or hair loss, as well as mental issues like depression or anxiety. It’s no surprise then that chronic stress would affect your relationship, too!
When you’re under a lot of pressure at work or home, it’s easy to forget about the things that bring you joy. And if intimacy is already low on your priority list anyway because life gets in the way so often—or because there are other problems in your relationship—then adding yet another layer of stress might do nothing but make matters worse by further reducing intimacy between two people who already struggle with being close enough together most days anyway.”
Also Read: 16 Tips On How To Deal With Marriage Stress
Using Alcohol Or Drugs May Make You Feel More Relaxed At First, But They Will Make You Less Interested In Sex Later On
If your partner is using substances to manage his/her depression, it may be possible for you to help him/her get the treatment he/she needs so that both of you can feel better about yourselves and have a healthy sexual relationship.
Any substance abuse can (and will) damage your relationship.
The most common type of addiction is to alcohol, but there are many other substances that people use in excess and become addicted to. Addiction is a disease that affects the brain. It’s important to understand how addictions work and why they can be detrimental to your relationships.
If you or your spouse is struggling with addiction issues, it’s vital to get help. You can start your journey to healing today. We recommend Sobriety Success as a starting place.
There Are Many Reasons For An Absence Of Intimacy In A Marriage But It Doesn’t Have To Mean The End Of The Marriage If Changes Are Made
Here are some possible causes of lack of intimacy:
- Too busy with work, family, and other responsibilities
- Both partners are unhappy with their bodies and don’t want to be intimate
- The couple has grown apart due to differences in financial status, interests, or lifestyle choices
To improve communication, couples should talk about what makes them feel loved by their partner and how they would like their partner to show their love for them (this includes talking about sexual needs). If fear is keeping you from talking about this issue, then perhaps finding a counselor could help you open up more. Work on listening without judging each other’s needs or preferences so that everyone feels heard and respected.
Although there are many reasons why a lack of intimacy can occur in a marriage, it doesn’t have to mean that the end is near. There are ways to make changes in your life and relationship so that you can overcome this issue. By treating your spouse as an equal partner in your life, taking care of yourself, and being more open with them about how you feel, a marriage can survive.
- Intimacy Refers To The Feeling Of Being In A Close, Personal Association And Belonging Together.
- A Lack Of Intimacy Is A Problem Many Long-Term Relationships Face, And It Is Often The Cause Of Breakups
- It’s Normal For People In Long-Term Relationships To Become Lazy About Grooming, But This Can Discourage Intimacy If It Gets To Be Too Much
- Physical Changes Are Another Reason For A Lack Of Intimacy In Long-Term Relationships
- Your Insecurity Issues Might Be Causing You To Struggle With Intimacy In Your Relationship
- Stress Affects Every Aspect Of Your Life, So It’s No Surprise That It Can Make You Feel Too Drained Or Anxious To Be Intimate
- Using Alcohol Or Drugs May Make You Feel More Relaxed At First, But They Will Make You Less Interested In Sex Later On
- There Are Many Reasons For An Absence Of Intimacy In A Marriage But It Doesn’t Have To Mean The End Of The Marriage If Changes Are Made