Regardless of how long you've been together or how happy you are in your relationship, every couple can find ways to get closer. The good news is, it doesn't even have to be that difficult. Because according to experts, if you want to feel closer to your partner, all you have to do is be OK with saying some seemingly awkward things to them.
Saying whatever is on your mind doesn't come easy for some people. But as Sarah E. Clark, LMFT, co-founder of the relationship building app Idealationship, tells Bustle, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone can help build a deeper bond with your partner.
"The things that help you get closer to your partner are often the most difficult to say because it requires you to open yourself up to some vulnerability," Clark says. So if you want more closeness and intimacy in your relationship, allowing yourself to be vulnerable is key. It's something that can't be avoided if you really want to connect, she says.
One great way to show your vulnerability is to say things to your partner that you wouldn't normally say. So if you want to feel closer to your significant other, here are some seemingly awkward things you can say to them right now that may go over better than expected.
1. "How Can I Support You Today?"
Approaching your partner like a customer service rep may not seem like the thing that will bring you and your partner closer together. However, Clark says it really can. "Instead of offering to help with things or just listening to your partner vent about their busy schedule, ask 'How can I support you today?'" she says. "It may feel strange at first, but asking what your partner needs most from you at any given time increases your connection, and it takes away the guesswork."
2. "I Like Your Face"
It's easy to tell your partner that you think they're sexy. But for some, it can feel awkward and kind of cheesy to openly gush over their smile or the way their eyes light up when they're excited about something. As Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle, complimenting your partner’s looks in a non-sexual way is a great way to build a deeper connection. "Instead of just appreciating their erotic beauty, it’s important to communicate that you love the low-key things that are unique to them, just as much," Backe says. So don't be afraid to get a little specific and mushy with the compliments, especially if it's not really your thing.
3. "Hug Me"
If you're looking for more intimacy and affection, don't hint at it, beat around the bush, or wait for your partner to make a move. Say it out loud. For instance, if you're having a bad day and you need a hug, tell your partner you want a hug. If you're in the mood, be bold and ask for what you want. It can seem awkward at first, especially if you're used to dropping hints or letting your partner take the lead. But as Clark says, "Being direct gives your partner the chance to give you exactly what you want, which will bring you closer together." Just make sure it's something you're both comfortable with.
4. "Smell Me. How Gross Is It?"
Try being your "true self" around your partner by being open about your bodily functions. "You'll feel so close to your partner once you've reached that point where you're openly farting in front of them," Bethany Ricciardi, sex educator and relationship expert with Too Timid tells Bustle. "We all experience the stinky and 'yucky' normal functions that come along with the human body, so your partner should love all sides of it." If you're planning to be together forever, they're going to get well acquainted with that side of you at some point.
5. "I Appreciate The Way You ..."
A 2015 study found that showing gratitude and saying "Thank you," is the secret to a happy marriage. But if you really want to get closer to your partner, Clark wants you to take it a step further. Instead of saying a simple, "Thanks," get specific. Tell your partner what you really appreciate about them. "It may feel really awkward at first but it means so much more than a simple thank you or compliment," she says. "You can say something like, 'I really appreciate how thoughtful you are,' or 'I love the way you do that.'" The good news is, it gets a lot less awkward the more you do it.
6. "My Ex Used To Do This"
If you want to get closer to your partner, open up about your last relationship. Talking about the past can help your partner better understand why you react to certain things in your current relationship. "Once you let that guarded wall down, piece by piece, you can become much closer to your partner," Ricciardi says. "They'll also start to immediately feel closer to you because you're trusting them with a piece of you no one else has been able to tap into, and that means a lot." Keep in mind however, this shouldn't be an everyday thing. Nobody ever really wants to hear their current partner go on and on about their ex. But it's something that can help you bond when you're looking to take your relationship to a deeper level.
7. "Coming Home To You Is The Best Part Of My Day"
"This sweet phrase is a surefire way to express a deep sense of care for your partner," Backe says. If you're not a really affectionate or expressive type, this phrase can come off super cheesy. But as awkward as saying this may be, it lets your partner know that they're an important part of your life and being able to come home to them means a lot to you. Who wouldn't want to hear that from the person they love?
Saying any of these seemingly awkward things to your partner can be super uncomfortable. But you can't truly get close to someone unless you allow yourself to be vulnerable and open with who you really are. So forget about the momentary awkwardness and just go for it. If anything, you can always have a good laugh together afterwards.