Can you really say you’re in a successful relationship if you’re lacking in emotional intimacy with your partner? An equally important question is, can you say you’re really having good sex if you don’t have emotional intimacy? The answer, folks, is no.

Emotional intimacy is the ability to connect with someone on a deeper level. It allows you to open up with your spouse and display vulnerability in both body and mind. A lack of emotional intimacy can branch out into many different aspects of your relationship, such as your ability to trust your partner or have a truly fulfilling sex life.

Don’t let a lack of emotional intimacy hold you back from the most amazing romance ever. Here are six tips for improving your emotional intimacy!

1. Find New Ways to Communicate

Studies reveal that couples who regularly communicate have higher relationship satisfaction rates. Greater amounts of sexual communication have also been strongly associated with increased orgasm frequency and sexual satisfaction. What’s not to love?

If you’re uncomfortable communicating verbally, why not find easier ways to start off? Many people find it easier to express themselves through text, voicemails, even written letters or shared couples journaling.

2. Hone in on Physical Connection

The oxytocin released during acts of sexual intimacy is responsible for promoting bonding between partners. It also reduces stress and increases trust. This makes physical intimacy with your spouse an important part of overcoming the fear of emotional intimacy. Maintaining eye-contact is another great way to deepen your connection to your spouse since studies show it creates a healthy sense of self-awareness and deepens intimacy between partners.

This is very important because research shows that sexual satisfaction often leads to heightened emotional intimacy. Research also shows that the more physically intimate you are with your spouse, the more likely you are to verbalize your love.

3. Turn Your Phone Off

If you want to deepen your connection to your partner, one simple way you can do this is by turning your phones off. Studies show that playing on your phone while you’re with your spouse can lead to lower relationship satisfaction and even depression.

Show your spouse you’re open to the conversation by silencing your electronics while you’re together. Or, at the very least, take thirty minutes a day to give bae your undivided attention without your phone buzzing or the television blaring in the background.

4. Boost Your Self-Esteem

Emotional intimacy issues often have very little to do with who you are dating and everything to do with your own sense of self-worth or esteem.

You can beat your fear of emotional intimacy by practicing self-love. Start by taking care of yourself by getting the right amount of sleep, exercising daily, and drinking plenty of water. It can also be helpful to dress up and pamper yourself physically. Next, make it a point to focus on your good qualities. It can also be beneficial to practice hobbies and pursue interests that you love.

5. Take a Relationship or Marriage Course

These courses are designed for couples who feel disconnected and frustrated about their level of intimacy and communication. A marriage course is all about self-discovery, communication, and learning the tools you need to build a happy relationship. You will learn to develop compassion, create shared goals, and boost both emotional and physical intimacy.

However, many people hear ‘marriage course’ and automatically think ‘therapy’. The thought of opening up to a complete stranger about your emotional issues, especially when you have a fear of emotional intimacy, might be the last thing you want to do. If you’re feeling unsure about traditional therapy, consider taking an online course instead. Taking an online relationship class allows you to work on your fear of intimacy at your own pace, not to mention, in private!

6. Practice Vulnerability

To those with a fear of emotional intimacy, practicing vulnerability is the equivalent of hearing nails on a chalkboard. It’s awkward and sometimes painful. However, if you want to build a strong relationship and overcome your emotional roadblocks, you must practice opening up to your partner.

Start simple. Play ‘The Question Game’ with your spouse. Ask and answer simple questions back and forth such as: What’s your favorite food? Who was your first crush? What is your best childhood memory?

By asking such questions, you will slowly build up your ability to share your life and to be vulnerable with your partner. The more comfortable you will get with them, the deeper your answers will become.

Intimacy can seem scary, but if you want to make your relationship stronger, it’s something you’ll want to work on.  These methods are simple ways that you can introduce a new level of connection to you and your partner.