Intimacy in Couples and Couples Therapy


Intimacy is an issue that comes up for many couples in couples therapy.  How intimate should a couple be with one another?  That is not a question that the therapist has an answer to, but rather one that the couple works out, and they may need a therapist to help them work it out.  Couples will always work out how intimate they are going to be with each other, just as they will always work out how much time they spend together.  But are couples good at figuring out how much intimacy (or time) they need with one another?  It takes work, hard work, to be in an intimate relationship.  There is the issue of conflict and disagreeing, and is the couple willing to face some conflict?  Many couples, in working on issues that are important to them (issues that are at least somewhat intimate) have faced difficulties with each other that lead to conflict and have not been very successful with conflict.  Some avoid conflict quite often, and that usually builds tension.  Some launch right into conflict, but do not know how to get to resolutions, don’t know how to compromise, or don’t know how to accept divergent opinions, so they end up having conflict that is very bothersome. This kind of conflict festers, and the longer it goes unresolved, the more contempt that individuals in a relationship may have for one another.

You, as a couple, will decide how much intimacy you are going to have.  If you are both happy where you are in regard to your intimacy, then that usually works well.  If one of you wants more intimacy, then you may have some work to do to figure out how you will be more intimate or how you will deal with the partner that wants more and is not getting it.  You may have conflicts about intimacy.  You may use conflicts to avoid intimacy also.  Can you talk about your intimacy needs?  Can you ask your partner about his/her intimacy needs?  Can you talk about important issues, even argue about important and intimate issues with each other and reach a resolution most of the time?  If not, it might be time to consider seeking out an experienced couples therapist for help.

About Robert Kraft Ph.D.

Robert G. Kraft, Ph.D., is a career psychologist in Omaha, NE. He earned his doctorate, as well as his bachelors and masters before that, from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and has practiced in Nebraska ever since. As well as maintaining his practice, Dr. Kraft is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Creighton University School of Medicine, where he teaches residents about psychotherapy. He served on the Executive Committee of The Center for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis for five years, consulted with Richard Young Memorial Hospital for over 11 years and worked as a psychologist for over a dozen years before branching out into consulting and starting private practice. Outside of his work as a therapist in Omaha, he built a website about Vintage Martin guitars and developed software that helps mental health professionals with billing.