What is Intimacy?
Intimacy is about being emotionally close to your partner
Why is it so important?
To be able to share our 'inner-world' with a partner we love, and to be able to share our partner's experiences, is one of the most rewarding aspects of a relationship making intimacy important part of an relationship.

Attraction and intimacy are described as being on a continuum. Attraction is what initiates a relationship and the level of intimacy determines the depth and importance of the relationship. Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary describes intimacy as "something of a personal or private nature." Intimate relationships are close relationships and are not necessarily sexual in nature.
Individuals who are highly intimate like, love, and trust each other. As two people become more and more intimate they become more interdependent. This does not mean that they become dependent and give up their individuality. For example, at some wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom each take a lighted candle and together light a "unity" candle that represents the creation of a third entity - a married relationship. Neither individual flame is extinguished or diminished by the union and when each separate flame is taken away it shines as brightly as before.

The following quotation illustrates the difference between interdependency and dependency. "The best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other." Intimate partners assume some responsibility for the satisfaction and wellbeing of the other person. Self-disclosure becomes more personal. You let your intimate partner into the personal world of your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and aspirations and even space. According to anthropologist Edward Hall, people carry a bubble of privacy around them. This intimate zone of communication is eighteen inches. With few exceptions, the only people with whom we feel comfortable within that zone are members of our immediate family, relatives, close friends, and lovers. There are many different opportunities for intimacy.

Erik Erikson Theory of Psychosocial Development
Erik Erikson's theory of Psychosocial Development has 8 different stages. During each of these stages there is a conflict that a person has to overcome and they will either gain an attribute or if they don't overcome it never have that attribute. During the 6th Stage, around the time of young adulthood (19-40), the major conflict is about forming relationships. The major question is, "Will I be loved?." Erikson believed it was vital that people develop close, committed relationships with other people. Success leads to strong relationships, while failure results in loneliness and isolation. Therefore, the major conflict is, Intimacy vs. Isolation.

Gender and Intimacy
Research indicates that women, as a group, are more willing and adept at sharing their thoughts and feelings. Women develop close personal friendships with other women by personal talk, while men grow close to one another by doing things. Adler, a well-known psychologist, explains that, for men, practical help is regarded as a measure of caring.

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Culture and Intimacy

Different cultures have different rules regarding intimacy. The following
actions show some of the ways cultural differences can be seen.
  • showing emotions
  • expressing affection in public
  • engaging in sexual activity
  • respecting privacy

10 Dating Tips for Dumbies:
  • Be realistic: If you’re looking for the perfect date or mate or state, you’re in trouble for two reasons: First, perfection is unlikely, if not impossible. Second, if a perfect person were to exist, he or she would most likely be looking for a perfect person, too.
    So ask yourself about your expectations: Are you being reasonable? Are you asking too much of yourself, too much of your date, or too much of the situation? Best friends are really helpful in the reality check department, so when in doubt, it’s okay to say, “Am I being realistic here, or have I overdosed on romance pills?”
  • Be specific: Often, when people talk about the opposite sex, they either go all gooey and soft focus or become harsh and judgmental. Neither stance is particularly helpful. Look carefully at the details. Being specific is one of the best ways not only to problem-solve but to be realistic as well.
  • Take responsibility: All of us make mistakes — sometimes because we’re thoughtless, sometimes because we’re clueless, often out of ignorance. But when it’s clear you blew it, even though every instinct is saying play dumb, accept responsibility.
  • Be active: Don’t wait for someone to call you. Either make the call, take a walk, scrub the floor, scrape gum off your shoes, or jog. Don’t wait for someone else to make your day or make you happy or get the ball rolling. This is your life, not a dress rehearsal.
  • Don’t settle: A life is a series of compromises — going left when you wanted to go right because the taxi cut you off, taking the chicken on the buffet table because the prime rib was all gone, going to the prom with your best friend because you thought your dream date would turn you down.
    There’s nothing bad or wrong about being flexible. The trick is knowing when to compromise and when to go for it.
    To do that, you have to know what’s really important to you, and once you know that, don’t settle. If you don’t have what you want, make sure you do know what you want — being both realistic and specific — and then go for it. You can always reevaluate. What most people regret is not the mistakes they made but the chances they didn’t take.
  • Reevaluate often: Something that made you happy or behavior that pleased you or someone who rang your chimes once may or may not be in for the long haul. The only way of knowing the short term from the long term is to be willing to take your own emotional pulse from time to time.
  • Write stuff down: A log (not a Captain James T. Kirk kind of log, but a feelings log) can be really useful and helpful to pinpoint important times, beginnings of issues, and changes in the relationship.
    It’s a great way to keep us honest and focused, and as long as you don’t leave it around for someone to find and read, there is no downside here. A log also is a way of taking responsibility privately so we can practice before we take it publicly.
  • Be creative: You’re not like anybody else on the planet, and neither is your date, so why do the two of you have to follow anybody else’s rules or precedents about what you want, how you act, where you go, or how you communicate? If it’s okay with the two of you — and it’s not illegal — then why not?
  • Be aware: Pay attention to your date and to your own responses. You don’t have to constantly monitor as though your date were in dating ICU and liable to expire at any moment, but be willing every once in a while to step out a bit and see what’s going on.

8 reasons to date:

1. Dating can be a fun source of enjoyment. Couples often relax and enjoy some form of entertainment together.
2. Dating is a big part in the socialization process. In other words can help one establish self confidence. You can learn great social skills such as making conversation, considering others, manners and cooperation are just a few.
3. Dating help personality development. When we have a successful dating experience it can help build our personality.
4. Dating can also allow people to try out gender roles. We need to discover the kids of roles we find fulfilling in a close relationship.
5.Dating involves learning about intimacy and serves as an opportunity to establish a unique meaningful relationship with a person. God never intended man to live alone we all need companions. One who we can be really close to rather then just having a large group of friends.
6.Dating can provide companionship which was discussed a little in #5. Loneliness is one of the things many people in this world are faced with today, we all need a companion.
7.Dating helps you find the right mate. When choosing a mate people need to remember that this mate is someone who should be with you as your partner for the rest of your life. We need to choose carefully!
8.Dating can help prepare for marriage. Dating can help us know if the person we are seeing is someone you could spend the rest of your life. Everyone has flaws so dating can help us see the flaws in a potential partner but if we truly love them and could live with them for the rest of our life then we will love them for who they are! Dating can help us understand a person better. There are also going to be things you and your partner do not agree on, dating is a great time to see if you and your partner can work through obstacles and understand where the other partner is coming from. If not your relationship probably isn't going to last long.

What is love? It's the most searched question on google, but what's the answer?

Love means different things to different people in different situations. Make a list of the different people you love. Love can assume many forms, including love of one's parents, brothers or sisters, child, friend, sexual partner, or community. People make a clear distinction between loving someone and being "in love." The latter has a romantic connotation and sexual overtones. Psychologist Sternberg proposes a triangular model of love. The three points or sections (commitment, intimacy, passion) of the triangle represent the three dimensions or components of all types of love relationships.

1. INTIMACY = feelings of closeness and connection. Use of higher levels of communication.
2. PASSION = physical attraction and sexual attraction. The drives that lead to romance.
Involves a high degree of physical arousal and an intense desire to be with the loved one.
Passion develops rapidly and then slows down
3. COMMITMENT = a decision that one cares for another and wishes to maintain a relationship.

Intimacy, passion and commitment are the warm, hot and cold vertices of Sternberg’s love triangle.
Alone and in combination they give rise to 8 possible kinds of love relationships:

Non love: Is the absence of all three components. This is a large majority of our relationships.

Liking: Intimacy feelings experienced in true friendship. Liking includes such things as closeness and warmth but not the intense feelings of passion.

Infatuation: Passion. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. It involves a high degree of physiological arousal.

Empty love: Commitment without intimacy or passion. They used to be passionate but it died out.

Romantic love: It is liking with the added excitement of physical attraction but without commitment

Fatuous love: Commitment plus passion. This type of love rarely works. The emotional core is missing which is necessary to sustain the intimacy.

Companionate love: Intimacy plus commitment. It’s a long-term friendship.

Consummate love: Also known as complete love. It’s when all three elements of the triangle come together in a relationship. This is difficult but not impossible to achieve

What people think is love: Many believe love is a sensation that magically generates when Mr. or Ms. Right appears.
How do we know if were in love? or just in lust/puppylove?
  • Sees the other person as perfect
  • Wants to get own needs met; selfish
  • Spends all time with the other person
  • Quickly “falls” for the other person
  • Other relationships and friendships deteriorate
  • Dependence on the other person causes jealousy frequently
  • Lasts for a short period of time
  • Distance strains and often puts an end to the relationship
  • Quarrels are serious and common
  • Quarrels can seriously damage the relationship

  • Sees the other person’s flaws and still loves them
  • Wants to serve the other person; selfless
  • Still spends time with others
  • Takes time to build the relationship
  • Other relationships and friendships grow stronger
  • Trust and understanding results in less severe and less frequent jealousy
  • Encompasses a long-term commitment
  • Survives and sometimes is strengthened because of distance
  • Quarrels are less serious and less often
  • Quarrels can strengthen the relationship

The Five Love Languages argues that people express love in different ways, and people feel loved in different ways. These five types of expression and perception are the five “love languages.” According to Chapman, people feel loved when a partner expresses love in the language that is natural to the recipient. If love is expressed in a different language, that message of love isn’t received.

The five “languages” are:
Words of Affirmation
Quality Time
Receiving Gifts
Acts of Service
Physical Touch (not the same as sex)

Words of Affirmation

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
Verbal compliments or words of appreciation are powerful communicators of love.
Encouraging words: All of us have areas in which we feel insecure. We lack courage, which often hinders us from accomplishing the positive things that we would like to do. Perhaps you or your spouse has untapped potential in one or more areas of life. That potential may be awaiting encouraging words from you or from him.
Kind words: If we’re to communicate love verbally, we must use kind words. That has to do with the way we speak. The statement “I love you”, when said with kindness and tenderness, can be a genuine expression of love.

TIP: If this is your partner’s love language: Set a goal to give your spouse a different compliment each day for a month.

Quality Time

Nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
This means giving someone your undivided attention. I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching television together. What I mean is taking a walk, just the two of you, or going out to eat and looking at each other while talking. Time is a strong communicator of love. The love language of quality time has many dialects. One of the most common is that of quality conversation – two individuals sharing their thoughts and feelings. A relationship calls for sympathetic listening with a view to understanding the other person’s desires. We must be willing to give advice, but only when it’s requested.

Here are some practical listening tips:
❤ Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking.
❤ Don’t do something else at the same time.
❤ Listen for feelings and confirm them. Ask yourself, “What emotion is my spouse experiencing?”
❤ Observe body language.
❤ Refuse to interrupt. Such interruptions indicate, “I don’t care what you are saying; listen to me.”
❤ Quality conversation also calls for self-revelation. In order for your partner to feel loved, you must reveal some of yourself, too.

TIP: If this is your partner’s love language: Ask your partner for a list of five activities that he/she would enjoy doing with you. Make plans to do one of them each month for the next five months.


Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

Almost everything ever written on the subject of love indicates that at the heart of love is the spirit of giving. All five love languages challenge us to give to our spouse, but for some, receiving gifts, visible symbols of love, speaks the loudest. A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or, “She remembered me.” A gift is a symbol of that thought. Gifts come in all sizes, colours and shapes. Some are expensive and others are free. To the individual whose primary love language is receiving gifts, the cost will matter little.

There is also an intangible gift that can speak more loudly than something that can be held in one’s hand. Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give. Your body becomes the symbol of your love.

TIP: If this is your partner’s love language: Keep a “gift idea” notebook. Every time you hear your spouse say, “I really like that,” write it down. Select gifts you feel comfortable purchasing, making or finding, and don’t wait for a special occasion. Becoming a proficient gift giver is an easy language to learn.

Acts of Service

Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

People who speak this love language seek to please their partners by serving them; to express their love for them by doing things for them. Actions such as cooking a meal, setting a table, washing the dishes, sorting the bills, walking the dog or dealing with landlords are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, effort and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love. I’m not saying become a doormat to your partner and do these things out of guilt or resentment. No person should ever be a doormat. Do these things as a lover.

TIP: If this is your partner’s love language: What one act of service has your spouse nagged you about consistently? Why not decide to see the nag as a tag? Your spouse is tagging this particular task as a really important thing to him or her.

Physical Touch

This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.*

Holding hands, kissing, hugging and sex – all of these are lifelines for the person for whom physical touch is the primary love language. With it, they feel secure in their partner’s love. “Love touches” don’t take much time, but they do require a little thought, especially if this isn’t your primary love language or you didn’t grow up in a “touching” family. Sitting close to each other as you watch TV requires no additional time, but communicates your love loudly. Touching each other when you leave the house and when you return may involve only a brief kiss, but speaks volumes.

TIP: If this is your partner’s love language: While eating together let your knee or foot drift over and touch your partner.

Numerous studies have been done to ascertain why some marriages last while others break up. Following is a list of characteristics that respondents in a Canadian study, conducted by Benjamin Schlesinger, identified as being important in helping marriages to last.
  • respect
  • trust
  • loyalty
  • love
  • reliability
  • consideration and caring
  • emotional support
  • commitment
  • fidelity
  • give and take
  • sense of humour
  • friendship
  • companionship
  • honesty
  • sexual satisfaction
  • intimacy
  • bonding
  • share values
Are there any other characteristics you would add to the list? Did you think of patience, understanding, shared religious beliefs, or good communication skills? These are factors that other researchers have identified as being important components of marital success.
Honesty and Dishonesty

You may remember that honesty is one of the characteristics that contributes to lasting marriages. In fact, honesty is essential to any
meaningful and lasting relationship. Deception destroys relationships. If you cannot trust a friend or partner, then the relationship is almost certainly headed for failure. Honesty is one of the cornerstones of our society and a guide in determining what is moral and socially acceptable behaviour.
Why do people lie to others or to themselves? Psychologists generally agree that there are five major reasons for lying.
• to save face
• to avoid embarrassment
• to avoid conflict
• to promote or diminish a relationship
• to gain power
Looking at the reasons why a person lies may help a person to find more ethical and socially acceptable alternative methods of achieving the same goals.
Consider the following questions concerning honesty.
• Is honesty always the best policy?
• Are there some situations where lies are "excusable?"
• Is exaggeration dishonest?
• What is your reaction to the statement "a half truth is a whole lie?"
• Is honesty more important between friends and spouses than between social acquaintances?

The Color Wheel Model of Love Theory
In 1973 John Lee composed a book called The Colour of Love, which compared styles of love to the colour wheel. Just like there are three primary colours, Lee suggested that there are three primary styles of love. The first is Eros; the second is Ludos, and the final one being Storge. He proposed that just as the primary colors can be combined to create complimentary colours, these three primary styles of love could be combined to create different secondary love styles.


Fun Facts
1. It takes a fifth of a second for you to fall in love.
2. Kissing helps people choose their partners-and keep them. Kissing isn't just important in the start of a relationship, but it also has a role in maintaining a relationship.
3. People who live together for 25 years or more may develop similar facial features. This may be because of similarities in diet, environment, and personality.
4. Long distance relationships can work. Two factors that can help keep long distance relationships alive are that these couples: tell each other more intimate information, have a more idealised view of their partner.
5. Four things that kill a relationship stone dead are: repeated criticism, lots of expressions of contempt like sarcasm, being defensive, and stonewalling.
6. Today more than ever people expect marriage to be more of a journey towards self-fulfillment and self-actualization. Unfortunately in the face of these demands, couples are not investing sufficient time and effort to achieve this growth.
7. If your relationship needs a little TLC, then there may be no need to go into therapy-watching a few movies together could do the trick. A new three year study finds that divorce rates were more than halved by watching movies about relationships and then discussing them afterwards.
8. In love, it's the small things that can make a difference.

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The Attachment Theory
This theory was developed by the psychologist John Bowlby, in 1969. He describes the attachment as “ lasting psychological connected-ness between human beings”. Bowlby believed that the earliest bonds formed between mother and child have a tremendous impact that carries on through life. The characteristics of attachment are safe haven, secure base, proximity maintenance, and separation distress.
Safe Haven : when a child can return to the caregiver for comfort and soothing if they feel threatened or afraid.
Secure Base: the caregiver provides a secure and dependable base for the child to explore the world.
Proximity Maintenance: the child strives to stay near the cargiver, thus keeping the child safe.
Separation Distress: when separated from the caregiver the child becomes upset and distressed.
The attachment you experience through your childhood years and the kind you experience through your adult romantic life are very different. In fact, there are three main types of attachment.
Secure Attachment:
As Children :
· Able to separate from parents
· Seek comfort from parents when frightened
· Return of parents is met with positive emotions
· Prefers parents to strangers

As Adults :
· Having trusting, lasting relationships
· Tend to have good self esteem
· Comfortable sharing feelings with friends and partners
· Seek out social support
Ambivalent Attachment:
As Children :
· May be wary of strangers
· Become greatly distressed when the parent leaves
· Do not appear to be comforted by the return of the parent
As Adults:
· Reluctant to become close to others
· Worry that their partner does not love them
· Become very distraught when a relationship ends.
Avoidant Attachment:
As Children :
· May avoid parents
· Does not seek must comfort or contact from parents
· Shows little or no preference between parent and stranger
As Adults :
· May have problems with intimacy
· Invest little emotion in social and romantic relationships
· Unable or unwilling to share thoughts and feelings with others

Rubin's Scale of Liking and Loving

Social psychologist Zick Rubin was one of the first researchers to come up with a way to actually "measure" love. He said Romantic Love was made up of three elements:

  1. Attachment:The need to be cared for and be with the other person. Physical contact and approval are also important components of attachment.
  2. Caring:Valuing the other persons happiness and needs as much as your own.
  3. Intimacy: Sharing private thoughts, feelings, and desires with the other person

Based on these three elements, he came up with two different questionnaires to measure these three things. He came up with 13 questions for "liking" and 13 questions for "loving." He found that when people did the liking questionnaire about their close friend they scored high, and the loving questionnaire about a significant partner they scored high. This helped support his theory.

Here is an example of the two questionnaires:
Love Scale
Subjects are asked to answer the following questions concerning theirattitudes towards the loved one.
1. If [loved one] were feeling badly, my first duty would be to cheer him/her up.
2. I feel that I can confide in [loved one] about virtually everything.
3. I find it easy to ignore [loved one]’s faults.
4. I would do almost anything for [loved one].
5. I feel very possessive toward [loved one].
6. If I could never be with [loved one], I would feel miserable.
7. If I were lonely, my first thought would be to seek [loved one] out.
8. One of my primary concerns is [loved one]’s welfare.
9. I would forgive [loved one] for practically anything.
10. I feel responsible for [loved one]’s well being.
11. When I am with [loved one], I spend a good deal of time just looking at him/her.
12. I would greatly enjoy being confided in by [loved one].
13. It would be hard for me to get along without [loved one].
Like Scale
Subjects are asked to answer the flowing questions regarding a close friend.
1. When I am with [friend], we are almost always in the same mood.
2. I think that [friend] is unusually well adjusted.
3. I would highly recommend [friend] for a responsible job.
4. In my opinion, [friend] is an exceptionally mature person.
5. I have great confidence in [friend]’s good judgment.
6. Most people would react very favorably to [friend] after a brief acquaintance.
7. I think that [friend] and I are quite similar to each other.
8. I would vote for [friend] in a class or group election.
9. I think that [friend] is one of those people who quickly wins respect.
10. I feel that [friend] is an extremely intelligent person.
11. [Friend] is one of the most likeable people I know.
12. [Friend] is the sort of person whom I myself would like to be.
13. It seems to me that it is very easy for [friend] to gain admiration.

Answers are on a 9-point Likert scale from “Not True” to “Definitely True” for each scale.

How Does Culture Impact on Love?

Earlier in this course we learned about individualistic and collectivist culture. The cultural background in which people learn about love is important in shaping their concept about it. In individualistic cultures, where greater emphasis is placed on personal achievement and self-reliance, individuals assume they have the right to seek a relationship with a person of their choice that will bring individual satisfaction. Romantic notions of love and marriage focus narrowly on the needs of the individuals in the relationship. Marriage is seen as the culmination of a loving relationship. In collectivist societies where priority is placed on the welfare and unity of the group, individuals have a more extended self-concept or more people to consider. An individual within a collectivist society has a deep interactive dependence with family. The individual in this setting must carefully consider how a prospective partner will complement this relationship. Love and marriage is not considered exclusively in terms of the narrow interests of the couple. Love is not a pre-requisite for marriage. Arranged marriages are common. Marriages have a practical value to the family and are the framework in which a couple can explore a loving relationship. In Western individualistic cultures, love is a motive for marriage. In collectivist cultures, love is an expected outcome of a marriage relationship

Additional Resources

Love Theories