Experiencing a deep, loving connection is one of the most meaningful aspects of a healthy relationship. But achieving and maintaining this connection isn't always easy. You (or your partner) can have a strong desire for closeness and yet inadvertently push each other away at times. This is actually more common than you might think. Let's see why this might be the case.

Are you being held back by these 3 intimacy-blockers?:

1. Feeling unworthy of love

We all know the old adage: In order to love someone you have to love yourself first. I would add self-acceptance to the requirement for you and your partner to develop a deep and fulfilling emotional connection. When you feel unworthy of love, you have no choice but to close parts of yourself off to your partner. Intimacy is a two-way street that will suffer when one of you cannot give and receive love. Your rejection of love (and intimacy) may not be immediately apparent or it can be obvious--either way, your relationship will not reach its full potential.

2. Losing yourself within the relationship

There are three parts to your relationship: You, your partner (each of you bring unique identities to the union), and the relationship itself (the "we" that intimacy and commitment create). For some, intimacy (and the responsibilities of a long-term committed relationship) can lead to a sense of feeling lost.

When you cannot hold onto the boundaries that define you, you will feel entangled in your partner's needs and unable to protect what's most important to you. It can feel like you're constantly sacrificing for the sake of the relationship--fighting to stay afloat in the undercurrents of the "we." A lack of confidence in your ability to set limits with your partner can add to your weakened sense of self.

3. Fear of loss

Often our greatest fears arise out of the possibility of losing what is most important to us. Some people never become completely open to the gift of intimacy because they are trapped by the fear that it can be taken away at any moment. Giving yourself permission to love and share all of yourself is the hallmark of a meaningful emotional connection. When intimacy is funneled through the fear that your partner may abandon you unexpectedly, you will guard your deepest longings for connection--never allowing yourself the openness required for intimacy to grow.

Any one of these intimacy-blockers can have a profound effect on your marriage or relationship. Your first step is to note how you feel and react whenever your partner makes attempts to become emotionally closer to you. If you become uncomfortable or behave in ways that undermine intimacy, work toward becoming more mindful of your reactions.

To discover other ways to create a deep emotional connection with your partner, visit Dr. Nicastro’s website at http://StrengthenYourRelationship.com/ and sign up for his FREE Relationship Toolbox Newsletter. As a bonus, you will also receive two free reports that can help you build the relationship of your dreams.

Author's Bio: 

Richard Nicastro, Ph.D. is a psychologist and relationship coach who is passionate about helping couples protect the sanctuary of their relationship. Rich and his wife Lucia founded LifeTalk Coaching, an internet-based coaching business that helps couples strengthen their relationships.