An Intimate Look at Intimacy
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LOVE, INTIMACY and
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.
On This Page . . .
- Key Building Blocks to True Intimacy
- Barriers to Intimacy
- 11 Commandments for Building Intimacy
- Recognizing the Masks of Intimacy
- 10 Distractions of Dating
- Warning Signs of Dangerous Liaisons
- Really Serious RED FLAG WARNINGS!!
- Can EMDR Help My Relationship?
Key Building Blocks to True Intimacy
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.
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.
Barriers to Intimacy
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.
11 Commandments for Building Intimacy
Professional therapists 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.
Masks of Intimacy
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.
10 Distractions of Dating
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.
Warning Signs of Dangerous Liaisons
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 (or emails) 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’.
Really Serious RED FLAGS!!!
(That You May Have Been Minimizing for Years!!!)
This list includes behaviors found in both men and women . . .
- They drink too much.
- They drink and drive.
- They invite you to do drugs.
- They flirt with others in front of you.
- They insinuate having sex in the dating phase.
- They insinuate having sex on the first date.
- If/when you do have sex, they refuse to wear a condom.
- They minimize anything about you or your life.
- They have looked at your cell phone and texts without your permission.
- They put you down in any way.
- They touch you too agressively….grab your arm, pull you on your clothing, etc.
- They won’t let you leave when you want to leave.
- They call you a name or make fun of you.
- They want to know every detail of where you’ve been, you’ve you talked to, and hold you accountable for every hour of your day.
- They leave you alone to get your own ride home.
- They talk non stop about how much they ‘hate’ their ex.
- Tell you they haven’t seen their minor children in years.
- Tell you they haven’t paid child support.
- Tell you about a time in prison or jail…and blames others for it.
- Tell you how much money they have but may need to borrow a little ‘cash’ until they get a check from a ‘big job’ they just finished.
- Tells you they don’t believe in ‘counseling’ or ‘therapy’.
- Tells you they had counseling for a while, but it didn’t help them.
- Tells you they have been out of work/job for a while and can’t “find anything”.
- Gives you what looks like an expensive piece of jewelery early in the dating.
- You find him on a dating site when you think you are in an exclusive relationship.
This is NOT an exhaustive list! These are only a few that should get your attention. DO NOT minimize any of the above behaviors . . . paying close attention could save you years of relationship pain and heartache.
Can EMDR Help With My Relationship?
Yes. 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, or help you grieve the loss of a relationship.
EMDR can address problems of unresolved anger, guilt, unforgiveness, codependency 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. Dr. Logan is EMDR Certified by EMDRIA.
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 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.