The chances are that at some point, you too will hit a period of trials and tribulations in your intimacy. Why? Because so much of your life calls for your attention, you will leave aside what works ”just fine” and focus on what doesn’t.
Usually, intimacy works okay for most people and few actively look to expand it while it’s okay. So, naturally, at some point, it will hit a rough patch.
Here are four early signs of trouble for committed couples, as far as I’ve seen them in my practice:
1.You rush into it (usually ”it” = penetration):
We all do that in our intimate lives at some point. However, in the long run, rushing into penetration causes the partners being penetrated to experience pain. It starts with mild pain (as the body isn’t ready) and, over time, it turns into a lot of it.
No body part relaxes or warms up by using penetration over and over. You don’t warm up for a workout with the actual workout, do you? Why would the physical aspect of intimacy be any different? Warming up your body for sexual intimacy is very much the same. Learn about warming up the body (included in foreplay). Many people skip this; they don’t have the patience, especially as the relationship evolves and familiarity sets in. But not having a warm-up for sexual intimacy is as detrimental as doing workouts without a warmup or cool down.
2. You don’t say when something isn’t pleasurable.
It’s tiresome or downright irritating to say what you don’t like, especially if there are more things. Intimacy is still a frail space where you too might not yet have the habit of sharing details with or hearing feedback from your partner without taking it a bit worse than it was intended. You shut up out of fear—the fear of overwhelming someone, turn them off or having them dumping you.
You need to know that when you shut up about things, they will still come out at some point. And they will do so with more power because they’ve accrued it over time. All things come out stronger if they’ve been bottled up. But they don’t come out victorious or harmonious; they come out destructive and vengeful. So why not bring something up sooner, in a beautiful talk, than later in a crushing argument?
3.You never explore outside your routines and habits
The unknown is scary to many people; this is true. And ”scary” is not a turn-on for most. But that reluctance might show up later in the form of regret of not putting in an effort at least once. Regret hurts the most when our path with someone is over and we go through the laborious process of purging out the emotions in the aftermath.
Or it might show up as an attraction for others while we are in a relationship with our partners. Partners rarely bring this up among themselves. Either for fear of not putting or adding more pressure to the relationship. And thus, what is not dealt with, comes back to collect ”payment” later on.
Or it might show up one day as the request to try things with others, so go outside the relationship or open it. While this might not seem like such a problem, especially nowadays when the mainstream message focuses a lot on polyamory or non-monogamy, in actuality, it can be a huge predicament. One partner isn’t satisfied with what is happening in the relationship, while the other is stuck in fear or turmoil. If you were reluctant to try out things just with your partner, you find yourself with a threefold increase in challenge, emotions, and potential triggers when other people are brought in. That’s no joke. It becomes a situation to look at by this time, and you have less fertile space to do so.
By fertile space I mean the tranquility and reassurance that your relationship is there for you, your partner is there for you, and not looking elsewhere to meet their needs.
4. You don’t seek help when trouble starts showing up
This is the most subtle one of all. As long as you are human, you don’t know everything. And you certainly can’t solve all problems on your own. Avoiding help because you should have this covered is one of the most detrimental approaches ever. Intimacy is an area of our lives where we get easily triggered, flustered, threatened, especially if we haven’t done any work on ourselves here. Many don’t realize that a coaching or therapy session is the ideal place to purge all those inner dragons.
If any approach is worth looking into, it’s this one: look for help when you see the early signs of challenges in intimacy. No shame in that! Quite the contrary! Also, because these are early signs and you take action at this inception point, the chances to get them fixed are so much greater.
Remember that all of these are early signs of potential displeasure or unease in your intimate relationship. As such, you have the power to work on them while in the initial stages. Working on it is the absolute best thing to do! And the easiest! So I root for you to do it.