Getting emotionally close to another and sharing your life with one special
person is called love. Emotional intimacy begins when your heart connects
with another, and involves a few basic beliefs which lead to attachment:
  •     An easiness of sharing.
  •     A spontaneity and comfort not shared with others.
  •     Feelings of being loved and accepted by another.
  •   Knowing you are the most special person in another's life.

Here, I'll discuss important aspects of intimacy, including signs of danger.

These three building blocks are formed after the wonderful feeling of love
sparks and an emotional bond begins developing. With these essential
blocks, relationships can flourish. Without them, a relationship can have no
true development and intimacy. Trust is essential.

  • Trust. Without a sense of trust, most of us would never progress to
    even a minor level of attachment.

  • Communication. The healthiest way to get your needs met in a
    relationship is by being willing to directly and honestly communicate.
    When there is a breakdown in intimacy, it usually can be traced back to
    a breakdown in communication.

  • Commitment. Most people who build their lives together want to know
    the other is committed. This usually means fidelity. People need a sense
    of emotional safety in a relationship. Within the structure of the
    relationship, we hope to share our deepest feelings and vulnerabilities.
    Commitment allows a relationship to mature, grow and further develop.

Hurt feelings, misunderstandings and
unresolved anger can destroy
intimacy. And the lack of intimacy can destroy a relationship. Even though
the three key building blocks, trust, commitment and communication are
present, there may be serious hidden barriers preventing intimacy from
growing. Here are five of the most common barriers to intimacy.

  • Low Self Esteem. If you or your partner suffer from low self esteem,
    chances are you  might think you are not worthy of love. Also, when
    feelings of shame, guilt, worthlessness are internalized, it takes
    emotional energy to keep these emotions buried. You  wear many
    'masks' in trying to keep these self defeating beliefs quiet. No energy
    left for love and true intimacy.

  • Unhealed Emotional Scars. Unresolved issues and conflicts from the
    past such as fear of abandonment, separation anxiety, jealousy and
    possessiveness are often related to wounds from childhood. Basic trust
    can be difficult to develop with these types of issues, and without trust,
    there can be no true intimacy.

  • Fear of Love. Lack of trust and fear of being vulnerable make it
    impossible to love or be loved. Some fears of love stem from childhood
    relationships, or wounds from adult relationships which ended poorly.
    Some people have been so hurt or victimized, it feels safer to never
    love again. These people are deeply scarred from their relationship
    experiences, and are often emotionally paralyzed in a world of  
    numbness when it comes to love. These people can often put on a 'good
    front', pretending to be available for love in the beginning, then bail as
    soon as feelings of love begin to develop

  • Unrealistic Expectations. Having predetermined ideas about how your
    partner "should" be, talk, dress, look or act will put them on the
    defensive. Not much room for intimacy when one is busy defending
    themselves. Intimacy has to do with accepting the 'real person' . . .  it's
    what most people want in a relationship. . .freedom to be who they are,
    and be free to love and be loved.

  • Hidden Anger. Anger expressed in destructive ways or holding anger in
    can create major roadblocks to love, trust and intimacy. It is difficult to
    love someone who is angry. And people who experience toxic anger
    generally don't let people too close. Remember, healthy, direct and
    prompt communication of all feelings can keep the road clear for
    intimacy to develop.    

Professional therapist agree the following ingredients are key to developing
a healthy, mature and intimate love relationship.

  •   Thou shalt always be honest.
  •   Thou shalt never hold on to anger.
  •   Thou shalt communicate your needs.
  •   Thou shalt remember, it's OK to disagree.
  •   Thou shalt learn acceptance of differences.
  •   Thou shalt resolve past relationship wounds.
  •   Thou shalt ask for clarification when confused.
  •   Thou shalt never confuse romance for intimacy.
  •  Thou shalt remember . . . trust develops slowly.
  •   Thou shalt disclose your life story slowly, as trust builds.
  •   Thou shalt not assume a commitment unless agreed upon.

In our fast-food, instant gratification, I-want-it-now-society, we ask the
question, "How does this way of living affect our relationship style?" Is your
first date the prelude to what you think as a potential marriage partner?
Are your first few dates about the 'opening', 'the pitch', and the 'close'?

Recognize this scenario? Hot and heavy flattery in the beginning . . . subtle
seduction soon follows . . . you can't resist the 'love' word . . . into the
bedroom you go . . .ooops . . . broken heart after only the third date? How
did they walk a way so easy, you ask? They told you that you were so
special. You felt certain it was love.

It takes time to build trust. It takes time to learn how to communicate with
one another. It takes time to determine if you want to make a commitment
with a person. Intimacy is a part of bonding and attachment. People love
because they feel attached.  It takes time to build attachment.

Learning to recognize the subtle art of seduction isn't difficult. But you do
have to be willing to see behind the 'smoke and mirrors.' Here are a few
pointers the next time you run into that dazzling person who tries to sweep
you off your feet on the first few dates.
  •      Be willing to have your eyes wide open.
  •    Don't be desperate for love.
  •    Don't be desperate for attention
  •    Listen to your instincts and gut feelings
  •    Listen to your friends if they think something 'isn't right'.
  •    Beware of flattery.
  •    Beware of a 'sad story' in the first few dates.
  •    Don't believe the 'riches to rags' story.
  •    Pay attention if they drink too much on your dates.
  •    Don't minimize if they drink and drive.

Here are a few warning signs to help you recognize those on the desperate
prowl to instantly gratify their needs. Hopefully, being fully aware will keep
you from being a victim of those who wear the mask of intimacy so well. Not
allowing yourself to be blinded by false flattery will help keep you from
dangerous liaisons.

  •   During the first date, two more dates are scheduled.
  •   You receive a call the next morning after the first date.
  •   They tell you their life story in detail the first two dates.
  •   They send cute cards daily during the second week.
  •   They push for romance on the first or second date.
  •   They send flowers (usually roses) after the second week.
  •   They ask who else you're seeing after the first date.
  •  They ask you details about your last relationship too soon.
  •  They want to know your 'schedule for the week'.

. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), a powerful and
often rapid technique can be used by a trained EMDR therapist to help you
effectively deal with problems which are interfering in your relationship.

EMDR can address problems of unresolved anger, guilt, unforgiveness,
and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as these are some
issues that often get in the way of a healthy relationship. EMDR information
can be found on this website

The key is to recognize when your relationship is in trouble, and not wait too
long to seek help. Many relationships can be saved with immediate
professional help.  Denying the problem makes it worse.

If you think your relationship is in trouble, and you don't know what to do,
you may want to schedule a
phone counseling session with Dr. Lynne to
obtain objective and professional support and clarification of what kind of
problems you are facing. There is hope and there is help. Remember the
first step: Recognize and admit there is a problem.

OFFICE Appointments Available in
          Pittsburgh, Monroeville & Upper St.Clair
Toll Free: 877-CALL-197
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