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Increase the Feeling of Closeness

Learn how to increase the feeling of closeness in your relationship
  • 11 May 2023
  • 5min

The feeling of closeness in a relationship

A strong feeling of closeness in the relationship is something that most people associate with a happy romantic relationship. However, it is common to feel less close to one's partner over time or to experience that the feeling of closeness varies. What should you do if you don't feel as close to your partner as you would like? Can you regain the feeling of closeness?

It is common to feel a lack of closeness in a relationship, even if the basic love is still there! Although most couples say that they love and appreciate each other, it is not a given that they actually show it. "I know that my partner loves me, but I don't FEEL it in everyday life" is a common statement. One explanation may be that there are not enough positive or loving actions in the relationship.

At the beginning of a relationship, we are infatuated, giddy, in love. Hormones are flowing, and we do everything we can to show how special and amazing we think our partner is. For most people, this changes as the relationship becomes more established. The ratio of positive to neutral (or even negative) actions often decreases over time.

20:1 - the magic ratio for passion and strong feelings of love

Many people are familiar with the concept of "five times more love." It refers to the idea that it takes five times more positive, loving actions to effectively communicate critical messages and handle conflicts well. However, studies by John Gottman at The Gottman Institute shows  that an even higher proportion of positive actions may be needed to continue feeling passion and strong closeness in a romantic relationship. John Gottman is one of the leading researchers on romantic relationships and he is the author to the book Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

One common issue that leads to a lack of closeness is a decrease in positive or loving actions in the relationship. According to John Gottman's research, a ratio of 20 positive actions for every negative action is needed to continue feeling passion and strong closeness in a romantic relationship. So, for every time you act grumpy, irritated, or inattentive when your partner tries to tell you something, you need to balance it out with 20 positive actions for your partner to continue feeling loved. And this often contributes to a greater mutual feeling of closeness, attraction, and passion in the long run.

How to increase the feeling of closeness in the relationship

Emotional closeness is vital for a healthy relationship, and it can be achieved by incorporating some of the following techniques into your daily life. To increase the feeling of closeness, try to notice and appreciate the things your partner does for you. Say "thank you," give compliments, and show that you're thinking about them throughout the day. Physical closeness, such as hugs or a pat on the arm, can also help foster a sense of closeness. By incorporating these small but significant actions into your daily routine, you can start to build and strengthen the emotional connection between you and your partner.


Increase the feeling of closeness with more positive and loving actions

Notice something your partner does that you like or appreciate

It's easy to take each other for granted when we have divided responsibilities in a daily routine that just keeps going. Say "thank you for dinner," "oh, how great that you emptied the dishwasher," or "I'm glad that you took out the trash" even though you actually see it as a given (and would have been annoyed if it wasn't done).

Be physically close in a way that you know your partner likes

A hug, a stroke on the arm as you pass by. To curl up close to your partner on the couch or give a back massage.

Give your partner a genuine compliment

What qualities do you appreciate about your partner? Even if you think your partner already knows that you think they're funny, generous, or smart - tell them! And if you catch yourself thinking something nice about your partner, say it right away. Who wouldn't be happy to hear "I just thought about how lovely your smile is" Or "today at lunch I thought about how much I was looking forward to seeing you after work."

Show that you're thinking about your partner in everyday life

Buy their favorite juice. Send an encouraging text before a challenge at work. Plan a Saturday based on what you know your partner likes to do. All small actions count!

Get started on building a stronger and closer relationship

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