Intimacy Definition

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In psychology, we usually define intimacy as mutual vulnerability in a relationship. We become vulnerable from openness, sharing our innermost secrets (dreams, hurts and fears).​ We develop intimacy in close, loving relationships such as marriages and friendships. Secure relationships honor vulnerability, cherishing the trust. Less scrupulous partners use vulnerability in manipulative games to gain control.

Diane Fosha explains that an intimate “involves not only authenticity and empathy, but active involvement of one’s self and active use of one’s emotional experience…the achievement of coordinated states through affective communication promotes knowing that we exist in the mind of our significant others, which is at the foundation of secure attachments that underlie our capacity to thrive” (2000).

Creating Intimacy Through Self Revelation

While intimacy is the goal. It isn’t always possible. Markedly, some partners are not safe. Accordingly, they use those our sacred self sharing as a means of power, pulling these sensitive topics to the surface with an intent to hurt. We achieve healthy intimacy incrementally, slowly sharing more and more as partners respect and honor our sacred revelations. Through this process of increased intimacy, we build trust.

Cynthis Lynn Wall wrote, “intimacy can be this safe place, but it isn’t created instantly. Mutual honesty and understanding are the foundations of real intimacy.” She continues “intimacy is strengthened every time differences are discussed and you take the risk to revisit difficult topics. The joy of steadfast intimacy comes after you have exposed deep truths and accept and understand each other” (

2000). The Transforming Power Of Affect: A Model For Accelerated Change. Basic Books. Retrieved from Kindle.

Wall, Cynthia Lynn (2005). The Courage to Trust: A Guide to Building Deep and Lasting Relationships. New Harbinger Publications; 1st edition.

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