When building intimacy in relationships, there is no tool more powerful than the language of the eyes. Just by looking at each other, couples can express a range of emotions and feelings that would be difficult to put into words. 1
Eye contact can convey love, admiration, passion, comfort, and security. In this article, we will explore the power of eye contact and how it can be used to build a stronger bond between partners.
Are communication problems getting in the way of your relationship? Learn how effective communication can help create and maintain a strong bond with your partner.
Understanding the power of eye contact
The eyes are the windows to the soul, reflecting our innermost feelings and emotions. Eye contact involves looking directly into another person’s eyes, and it is a powerful way to communicate with someone because you’re signaling that you’re paying close attention to them. 2
It is believed that making eye contact releases “love hormones” like oxytocin and endorphins. This helps promote mutual trust and understanding between two people, which can lead to a stronger emotional connection. 3
Direct eye contact is also important in identifying and understanding other people’s emotions. Think of how happy you are when your partner looks at you even when they have their phone in their hand. 4
Making eye contact for long periods is also associated with perceived high intelligence and respect. This is because direct gaze can be distracting and intimidating, so people tend to think that the person making eye contact is more intelligent and trustworthy. 5 6
Discover the hidden messages of body language in relationships. Learn how to interpret nonverbal cues and understand what your partner's body language reveals about your relationship dynamics.
Techniques for building intimacy through eye contact
Building intimacy through eye contact requires patience and practice. Here are some techniques you can use to make it easier:
1. Create a safe space for meaningful eye contact
Before making eye contact with your partner, ensure you feel comfortable and secure. Make sure the environment is free from distractions like loud music or TV.
Phones, especially, should be kept away because it can be difficult to focus on someone when you are constantly scrolling through your device. Create a space that is conducive to meaningful conversations and eye contact. 7
Creating a safe space begins with open communication, allowing you to build a deeper connection with your partner. Explore the transformative power of open communication in fostering trust and emotional intimacy within your relationship.
2. Use “soft eyes”
Soft eyes are when you look at someone gently and lovingly, without judgment or criticism. This kind of gaze communicates that you are in tune with your partner’s feelings and are open to receiving whatever they feel.
Soft eyes also create a sense of safety and security, showing your partner that you will not judge them no matter what. Showing your partner you care about them is a great way to build intimacy.
3. Prolong eye contact
Start by making brief eye contact and then gradually increase the length of your gaze. This will help you become comfortable looking into someone’s eyes for long periods.
Prolonged eye contact can also deepen your understanding of each other’s emotions and feelings. It can also help build trust and connection. If you’re feeling shy or awkward, focus on your partner’s eyes instead of yours.
4. Practice mindful eye contact during difficult conversations
Just eye contact alone can’t magically solve all of your problems. Being mindful of your partner’s body language and expressions during difficult conversations can help you better understand their thoughts and feelings. 8
Mindful eye contact can help create a space of understanding and empathy, essential for building intimacy in any relationship. Try to keep your gaze soft and non-judgmental, even during difficult times.
Mindfulness is part of nurturing empathy in relationships, as it allows you to be fully present and attuned to your partner’s emotions. Exploring the importance of empathy in relationships and how it contributes to emotional connection and understanding.
5. Experiment with playful eye contact
Eye contact doesn’t have to be serious all the time. You can also use eye contact as a playful expression and engagement.
Wink, smile or raise your eyebrows during conversations. This kind of playful communication can be fun and creates an opportunity to learn about each other in a more lighthearted manner.
6. Explore eye contact during intimate moments
Spending time together doesn’t have to be complicated. Try exploring prolonged eye contact during intimate moments like cuddling or holding hands.
During sex, try to stay connected through eye contact and focus on each other’s pleasure. This can help create a deeper sense of connection and understanding.
7. Mirror your partner’s eye contact patterns and expressions
Mirroring your partner’s eye contact patterns and expressions can also help create a stronger bond. For example, if they give you soft eyes, try to reciprocate by giving them the same gentle gaze.
Mirroring is a great way to show your partner you are in tune with their feelings and emotions. It is also a great way to show your partner that you understand and accept them for who they are.
The language of the eyes is an important tool for building intimacy in relationships. Through eye contact, couples can express various emotions and feelings and create a deeper connection
Exercises and tips for daily practice
Practicing eye contact daily can help you become more comfortable making and sustaining intimate connections. Here are some exercises that will help you get started:
1. Practice meeting someone’s gaze for at least 10 seconds
Find a person to practice with and take turns looking into each other’s eyes for 10 seconds. This exercise will help you become comfortable making and sustaining eye contact.
If you’re uncomfortable, try focusing on a specific point in their eyes. This will help you maintain your gaze and break the awkwardness.
Want to improve your communication as a couple even more? Dive into these powerful communication exercises designed to strengthen your bond and understanding.
2. Take a break from screens
This exercise is about taking a break from your phone and other electronic devices. Spend at least 15 minutes without looking into your device and look around instead.
Make eye contact with the people you interact with, whether it is someone at the grocery store or a friend. This will help you break the habit of constantly looking down at your device and instead focus on connecting with people around you.
3. Create a diary
Keep a daily log of your eye contact experiences. Write down how it felt, what emotions it evoked, and how you felt afterward. This can help you track your progress and become more comfortable with making eye contact.
Of course, keeping a diary shouldn’t be high-pressure. Make it fun and lighthearted by asking yourself questions like “What color were the other person’s eyes?” or “Did I feel any different after the eye contact?”
Maintaining eye contact is an important skill that can help you build intimacy in relationships. With practice and patience, you can learn to make meaningful eye contact with your partner.
Master the art of communication in relationships with these essential techniques. Get started today!
The best relationship books to help you survive and thrive
Whether single or in a relationship, it can be tough to navigate the waters of love. These books offer advice and guidance from experts and real-life couples alike, giving you the tools you need to make your relationship work. These books will surely provide some valuable insights if you are looking for a way to spice up your love life or simply learn how to better communicate with your partner.
- Love: The Psychology of Attraction: A Practical Guide to Successful Dating and a Happy Relationship
- Single, Dating, Engaged, Married: Navigating Life and Love in the Modern Age
- The Power of Four Bases for Relationships: Can You Hit a Home Run in a Relationship?
- Communication and Relationship: A Guide to Deeper Connection, Trust and Intimacy to Improve Communication and Strengthen Your Bond as a Couple
- Couple's Bucket List: 101 Fun, Engaging Dating Ideas
Goldstein, M. A., Kilroy, M. C., & Van de Voort, D. (1976). Gaze as a function of conversation and degree of love. The Journal of Psychology, 92(2), 227-234. ↩︎
Rupp, H. A., & Wallen, K. (2007). Sex differences in viewing sexual stimuli: An eye-tracking study in men and women. Hormones and behavior, 51(4), 524-533. ↩︎
Auyeung, B., Lombardo, M. V., Heinrichs, M., Chakrabarti, B., Sule, A., Deakin, J. B., Bethlehem, R. A., Dickens, L., Mooney, N., Sipple, J. A., Thiemann, P., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2015). Oxytocin increases eye contact during a real-time, naturalistic social interaction in males with and without autism. Translational psychiatry, 5(2), e507. doi.org ↩︎
Schuman-Olivier, Z., Trombka, M., Lovas, D. A., Brewer, J. A., Vago, D. R., Gawande, R., Dunne, J. P., Lazar, S. W., Loucks, E. B., & Fulwiler, C. (2020). Mindfulness and Behavior Change. Harvard review of psychiatry, 28(6), 371–394. doi.org ↩︎