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Unconscious Behaviors that Block Intimacy

You long for more intimacy and want your partner to share more of their inner world with you or really just anything.  There are likely many and complex reasons why your partner isn't sharing with you at a level of intimacy you would like.  All you can do is look at your own behavior and make sure you are doing what you can to create a safe and supportive environment for sharing.*  You can start by reflecting on unconscious behaviors that block intimate sharing.  Here are some behaviors I have observed in couples.  As you read through them, take time to reflect on your own behavior to see if there are any of these that you do.

  • When your partner shares something, you respond with ideas about how that view is flawed or how they could express that more clearly.  That is, you often hear what someone says as an invitation for a debate.

  • When your partner shares something, you are reminded of something about yourself and share that before your partner expresses more than a few sentences.

  • When your partner shares something, you diminish it because it's not what you value or give attention to, e.g., "How can you notice the cars when there are all these beautiful trees to notice?!"

  • You dismiss or push away your partner's feelings.   "Come on, don't be grumpy!  Snap out of it, it's a beautiful day."

  • You push your partner to speed up or slow down in his or her expression by finishing sentences or interrupting.

  • You multitask while  your partner is sharing.

  • You hear something your partner has said, but don't acknowledge that you have heard it.

  • You don't know about or attempt to create settings in which it would be easier for your partner to share.

  • You don't say to your partner:  "I really value hearing what you have to say and am here to listen."


In summary, an attitude and behavior that supports and embraces differences helps to create space for expression.  In the book, How to be an Adult in Relationships , by David Richo, this is called allowing.  This means allowing differences to be present without having to debate them, but it also means allowing your partner space to express and show up in a way that unique to them.


Today as you interact bring special attention to how you respond.  On the outside are you offering your kind attention?  On the inside, can you make space in yourself for your partner's sharing to land without any agenda or experience of your own vying for attention?  With this internal space a natural curiosity will arise and you will invite  your partner to share more.

*You can read about how to set up a safe space for sharing here:

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1 Response

  1. Sep 10, 2015

    Hi LaShelle, this is just what I was needing to hear today, thank you so much! I need to practice this. Multnomah Friends are starting a practice group this month. Blessings, Ruth

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