A happy couple may not be emotionally intimate with each other

Maya Devi

Emotional intimacy is usually viewed as a critical factor for a fulfilling and lasting relationship. People view emotionally close partners as more stable couples than 'not so' emotionally close ones.

However, a study conducted by the Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health reported that a couple need not feel proximate to each other for a happy relationship. According to the study, partners who are 'as close as they want to be' will have a great relationship.

“If you want to experience your relationship as healthy and rewarding, it's important that you find a way to attain your idealized level of closeness with your partner." the study’s lead author, David M. Frost, shared.

He also added, "Our study found that people who yearn for a more intimate partnership and people who crave more distance are equally at risk for having a problematic relationship."

He emphasized the importance of attaining the idealized level of closeness with a partner for a “healthy and rewarding relationship.” This means that emotional intimacy is not compulsory for a happy and long-lasting relationship.

For the study, Frost and his team conducted three-yearly online surveys for 732 men and women living across the U.S. and Canada. They were asked questions about their breakup thoughts, closeness with partners, relationship satisfaction, symptoms of depression, and commitment.

57% of respondents reported feeling the excess distance between themselves and their partners, and 5% of them were feeling too close. And 37% of those surveyed were satisfied with how close they felt to their partners.

In some cases, interviewed couples attained their idealized closeness during the three years. Such couples experienced better mental health.

When that happens, i.e., partners attain ideal closeness, the quality of the relationship and their mental health improve. Couples who felt either “too close” or “too distant” were more likely to grow unhappy and break up.

Frost advised it’s best not to assume the constituents of a healthy relationship. He added, “We need to hear from people about how close they are in their relationships and how that compares to how close they'd ideally like to be.”

Further studies are digging deeper to analyze closeness discrepancies and their effect on their sex life.

Additionally, according to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, emotional intimacy didn’t profoundly affect sexual intimacy. On the contrary, sexual intimacy had a significant effect on emotional intimacy.

However, this doesn’t indicate that emotional closeness is a weaker determining factor of a relationship than sexual closeness. Different asexual actions can have positive effects on a relationship.

In fact, a study by Kinsey Institute Research & Institute News observed that physical contact, like stroking, decelerates the heart rate of those on the receiving end. This means that a partner who pats affectionately can soothe their spouse and relieve stress. This could provide emotional assurance and strengthen their bond.

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I have done my graduation in history and politics. I write unique and interesting articles focused on our day to day life.


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