Love and Intimacy: What Everyone Wants but Few Can Sustain

I have been a practicing clinical psychologist for many years and in that time I have seen clients from many countries and all walks of life. Despite their diverse backgrounds if I were asked what is the one common, elusive aspect of life that all humans, regardless of circumstance long for, I would have to say sustained intimacy.

Most people can create intimacy initially but few are able to create rich intimacy with a spouse, friends, children and colleagues that is lasting. Regardless of wealth and professional success, in the end if intimacy is missing one’s soul is devoid of the richness closeness provides. When this occurs it creates a desperate sense, a growing uneasiness inside that prevents calmness and ongoing joy.

People start to feel more restless and begin to look for ways to ease the emotional pain caused by the ongoing yearning for love. This state of mind can lead to addictions, depression, anxiety and an persistent sense that life has lost its meaning.

I can always discern the quality of a person’s internal life once I understand the degree of intimacy a particular individual has been able to create and foster. Our self-voice is a critical factor in how we relate to others. Negativity inside usually produces negativity outside in one form or another. Internal doubt can drive people to achieve and over achieve, but no matter how competent individuals are in other areas of life if intimacy is lacking, the spirit of the individual will falter and grow weak over time.

The Formula

What are the ways you can begin to foster the kind of closeness you desire and deserve?

First of all remember your self-care is an important factor in your ability to be present. If you’re eating poorly, not exercising, abusing alcohol, and not sleeping adequate hours you are probably not in a position to maintain intimacy. If you’re not feeling alive it is hard to listen to those close to you in a manner that conveys interest, patience and a willingness to go beyond the surface of relating.

You need to establish good self-care habits as this allows you to be in a position to listen and respond on a deeper level that goes beyond the surface to the heart of those you love. Knowing how to listen and express empathy are also critical keys to fostering closeness. Listening from an empathic position requires a willingness to enter the world of the other person, while leaving your own preoccupations, biases, and judgments behind. This ability needs to be practiced and improved regularly. It is an art that makes another person feel heard and deeply understood. It is an ability that allows you to truly understand the heart and soul of the person you love.  It is not enough to understand, you must be willing to put your understanding into action, into words and behaviors. Nothing is more powerful in establishing a close bond as being able to listen and respond in the manner I am describing. I have worked with couples on the brink of divorce, and once they have followed this formula consistently they often create a degree of sustained intimacy they have never experienced in their lives.

In a romantic relationship you also have to develop a mature understanding of sexuality. In my book the Power of Empathy, we stated that:

“ We touch bodies when we have sex, but we can only touch hearts and souls with empathy guiding the way………what we seek in the sexual experience is not simply the release of tension but the momentary merger of two souls that simultaneously confirms and expands the relationship between us. This is ultimate intimacy, the moment when two hearts and two souls join together as one”.

This powerful experience allows us to feel and be more affectionate as we age, regardless of how our appearances and those of others close to us change.  This occurs as empathy leads us from superficial connections to deep, heart-felt relationships that accept the whole person, imperfections and all. As we learn to accept those we love through expanding our empathic range, we also learn to accept ourselves with our limitations and shortcomings. This process benefits both partners, as living realistically rather than idealistically becomes the norm.

Being able to recognize the emotions of those we love, tuning in to their thoughts and feelings, listening carefully to the words spoken as well as to the silences that accompany the words, observing body movements and facial expressions, while calming oneself so that you can express your own feelings with clarity and tact. These truthful, kindhearted interactions are the basic building blocks that create and sustain friendship, intimacy and love.

This is just a brief overview of how to essentially grow love and intimacy. I welcome your questions and comments, which will hopefully contribute to future articles and discussions that will deepen our understanding of the complexities of love.

I hope you liked  my post on sustaining intimacy and love, today. If so, please let me know by selecting the Like icon that immediately follows. You can also Tweet and Google+1 today’s post to let your friends know about it. Best, Dr. Arthur.

Note: You can also find Dr. Arthur Ciaramicoli’s articles, books, and workbook programs for managing anxiety, stress, and enhancing performance at



About Arthur Ciaramicoli

Dr. Ciaramicoli is a Clinical Psychologist with 35 years of practice, research, and publishing in the areas of human development and performance. He is author of the books Author of The Curse of the Capable, Performance Addiction, The Power of Empathy, and Treatment of Abuse and Addiction:A Holistic Approach. Also, in collaboration with, Dr. Ciaramicoli has developed several internet-based therapy programs for treating mental health conditions that includes an Anxiety Therapy Program and a program for Managing the Stress of Success. These programs are specifically designed to take advantage of the latest Internet technologies available to help people to manage and control their symptoms and to effectively cope with stressful situations. They include an online workbook, videos, a daily journal, a mobile app and supporting content to help people to access the best therapeutic practices for managing mental health. Presently, he is Chief Medical Director of; an innovative company that provides people with the latest in online and mobile on-demand mental health services that includes mental health diagnostic tools and self-administered screening tests, online treatment programs and self-help tools including online videos and workbooks, progress trackers to evaluate mental health symptoms, moods and activities, an extensive online database including over 50,000 Therapists worldwide complete with user reviews and rankings to help you find the very Best Therapists and Doctors, internet-based therapy services, and an extensive Mental Health Medications database, that includes ratings of the various drugs. To find out more about Dr. Ciaramicoli's work and professional background, please go to his professional website ( or his author page at Also, he regularly authors articles for under their mental health blog section (

4 Responses to “Love and Intimacy: What Everyone Wants but Few Can Sustain”

  1. avatar aziza says:

    Dear Sir,

    It’s a wonderful article that you have written and shared with us. Thank you very much! It is very helpful and I got to learn so many new approaches to life. Cheers to all your hard work and the great effort to help people.

    Best Wishes!

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello Aziza, I will forward your very nice comment to Dr. Arthur. Ciaramicoli. Happy New Year and Warm regards Deborah!

  2. avatar lm says:

    “Knowing how to listen and express empathy are also critical keys to fostering closeness. “

    I wish more men were told this by their mentors, counselors, and guides in a way they could understand it (because after much looking into it, I do understand our brains are different).

    It’s almost as if they’ve been brainwashed that such things are NOT MANLY behavior … and if I’ve learned anything about men, it’s that if they have the slightest whiff in their psyche that something they’re thinking about — which is otherwise extremely beneficial to their professional or personal life, mind you! — is considered by their peers to be NOT MANLY, they won’t do it. Nothing on earth can make them.

    I really don’t understand, as a woman, how we’re supposed to be able to foster positive intimate heterosexual relationships in such a toxic cultural environment.

    (Not without completely sacrificing ourselves, of course … which is the other side of what the culture seems to dicate.)

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello, thank you for your thoughtful comment on Dr. Arthur’s post. There are many differences between men and women that each gender needs to cultivate to become wholly functional beings. So, I agree with you very much that just because there are brain and socialization differences, it does not mean that there is no need to cultivate characteristics, like empathy. Thank you again. Warm regards Deborah.


Leave a Reply

Meet Dr. Deborah Khoshaba

She Has A Gift For You.

Psychology in Everyday Life on Facebook

Getting to Oz: The personal journey to your true self

So You Want To Date A Narcissist?

Sacrifices You Must Make, To Do So!

What behaviors are taking you hostage?

Make a choice to live freely, fully and creatively.

Love is Being Present

How To Get More Love Into Your Life

Our Sponsors and Support Mental Health Sites


All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. This blog is not meant to professionally treat people psychologically. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at anytime and without notice.

PIEL is PayPal Verified

Official PayPal Seal