What Is Love Without Intimacy?

What does love mean in a romantic relationship? Is love a simple word to make someone happy? Is it a word to make someone believe? Is real love about romance or intimacy?

Illustration by Gabriel Gatica.

There’s a big difference between romance and intimacy. While romance may lead to some intimacy or vice versa, romance in and of itself, does not create a truly intimate connection with someone. Many might be quick to say that love, of course, is about romance.

Romance is about the gestures, compliments and gifts that may often give your partner butterflies. Although these are important in a healthy relationship, much more is needed. Intimacy is about the real, profound connection you create with your partner—a closeness that brings two people together in a powerful way.

Without intimacy in a relationship, it becomes difficult to build a strong bond and establish trust.  

Some may be quick to assume that intimacy relates to sex and physical affection with a partner. However, there is much more to intimacy than that. Intimacy is a feeling that one has when they trust and love someone like no other. It is the ability to let someone in.

But why is this an important issue in this day and age?

According to clinical psychologist, Hal Shorey, “fearing intimacy and avoiding closeness in relationships is the norm for about 17% of adults in Western cultures.” Dr. Shorey states that the tendency of individuals to shut off their emotions and become detached from a person or situation may stem from how that person was raised as a child.

Because so many individuals struggle with intimacy, they may often feel hesitant to let someone in and truly open up.  

In my opinion, love is nothing without intimacy. Rather than solely being romantic, relationships should have an element of friendship and familiarity. In a meaningful relationship, one should be willing to swallow their pride, say they are sorry, and stop pointing fingers. Not only that, but it is crucial for one to open up, be vulnerable and not dismissive. 

Still, this may not work for some and a couple may need to seek spiritual growth and learn more from one another, whether that be learning about their partner’s past or how their mind works. 

Not everyone knows what intimacy means and the first thing people may think of is sex and hooking up. Real intimacy is about communication and trust. Like anything, there are many types of love. But at the root of it all is intimacy and having a deeper connection with an individual.