Can a relationship survive without intimacy?
Theoretically, intimacy is a fundamental component of a successful relationship. Without intimacy, a relationship that binds two people may not last long.
Personally, as a married person, I think that intimacy is very important for a relationship to survive. I am sure that many married couples out there would agree.
Can a relationship survive without intimacy? No. What I believe is that a relationship needs intimacy. The absence of either physical or emotional intimacy, a relationship will slowly die. However, these two basic types of intimacy co-exist. One cannot have emotional intimacy without the physical aspect of it.
People who have a chaotic relationship oftentimes struggle to establish intimacy. A relationship that is mainly based on passion (if it can be considered as relationship) is a sand castle. A small wave can wash it out.
The most common problem is that one partner may value more on one type of intimacy over the other. This creates conflict until both parties agree to compromise. Communication is key here. The worst scenario is when no one is willing to speak up. The conflict builds up until breakup is the only option.
No successful relationship that thrives without intimacy. The physical and emotional intimacy creates a strong bond between two parties which in turn allow the relationship to thrive even in challenging situations.
Simple intimacy acts such as hand-holding, hugs, cuddling, and kisses have a great impact on the relationship. These simple actions too indicate that your partner value you. Sometimes, if not most of the time, these non-verbal cues are stronger and more meaningful than words.
If these cues are absent in your relationship, you start to worry. Although it is not definitive, the absence of these micro-actions, in many cases, is a manifestation of a failing relationship.
It is worth reiterating that intimacy is very important for a relationship to thrive. It makes love stronger in tough times. Couples with good intimate foundation love each other even more during difficult times and become tougher in facing challenges in their lives.
In contrast, a relationship that is mainly based on passion alone will easily fall apart in tough times. I see many couples especially the young ones who struggle in their relationship. I see it among students and among my acquaintances too.
The problem is that most people enter a relationship with the wrong foundation. Many mistakenly feel they fall in love with a person without really knowing their feeling. Infatuation, for instance, feels like love but it’s not. As a result, young people who rush through engaging relationship soon realize that they really don’t feel in love with a certain person.
My personal thought is that if you are not sure what you’re doing, don’t do it. This applies in many things in life more so in a relationship. Try to be a rational person from time to time. Many of us think that, as human beings, we are rational. That’s not entirely true. In fact, most of our actions are governed by our emotion not our mind.
The modern society produces impatient people. I think the reason why most relationships among young adults are brittle is that they don’t have patience. The patience of knowing their true feelings. Before entering a relationship, make sure that you are sure what you are doing.
Intimacy can easily be developed if you are committed to establishing a long-term relationship. This is the reason why the psychological theory of love includes commitment as one of the fundamental components of a successful relationship.
Commitment allows the couple to develop intimacy along the way. If you are committed to a relationship, you will become more and more responsible for your actions. Your focus will be more on how you can give more to your relationship.
If you are committed to developing a long lasting relationship, it will be easy to develop intimacy too. If you have both, your relationship will get stronger.
Some may argue that a relationship can thrive without intimacy. Frankly, a relationship can exist without intimacy but only for a short period of time. If it lasts longer, it will most likely a burden to both parties rather than a source of bliss.
In the total absence of intimacy, a relationship is unstable. Because both parties are unhappy, they are more likely to become impatient than striving to make it work.
The good news though is that intimacy can be developed if the partners are willing to do so. It solely depends on both parties. But even one is willing while the other is not, the effort will be futile.
How important is physical intimacy in a relationship?
Intimacy is not all about sex. But sex is a part of it. As you might also know is that sex is an important ingredient of a happy and long-lasting relationship. It brings both parties closer to each other.
The absence of sex can be the reason or the result of having a lack of intimacy. In married life, the lack of intimate activity may indicate the fading passion toward a partner. The lack of intimacy may also the leading cause of the lack of sex.
Intimate times between two people is very important. But it shouldn’t be compulsory. You have to respect your partner. Consider your partner’s feelings. You can say no too. Building a long-lasting relationship also requires to give and take.
Remember that intimacy does not always mean sex. Intimacy also involves other acts such as kissing, cuddling, hugging, hand-holding, etc.
Different kinds of intimacy
Generally, there are three kinds of intimacy:
This intimacy aspect involves verbal communication, sharing of thoughts, emotions, dreams, and future plans.
As you guess, sexual intimacy involves intimate moments between two people. It also involves passion or attraction to a certain person.
This involves enjoying the quality time together. A face to face conversation is one of the great examples.
These three types of intimacy are very important. Thus, if you want to develop a long-thriving relationship, you need to nurture all intimacy aspects. Ultimately, you need to make sure that every need of each aspect is met. The failure to do so will certainly affect your relationship.
The possible effect of lack of intimacy
The following are a few things that will happen in your relationship if intimacy is lacking.
In the absence of intimacy, the communication between partners may suffer. The care and thoughtfulness may also struggle to thrive. Instead, both parties may not pay attention to each other’s needs thus become indifferent of one another.
This does not happen all the time. But, in many cases, when intimacy is absent, one might find it with another partner. Then, dishonesty will likely to follow.
3. Lack of communication
Indifference cuts off communication. You will not feel comfortable anymore sharing your thoughts and feelings with your partner.
4. Humiliating instead of appreciative
In the absence of intimacy, one may become critical of his/her partner instead of being affectionate and considerate.
Can a relationship survive without intimacy? My take is that a long-lasting relationship requires intimacy. Without it, a relationship cannot survive. If you want to have a happy and long lasting relationship, develop intimacy.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.