The Four Key Factors to Healthy, Intimate Relationships
1. Know and Like Yourself
Some social scientists suggest that the initial step toward intimacy with others is getting to know and like yourself. By coming to know and value yourself, you identify your innermost feelings and needs and develop the security to share them with others.
2. Trust and Care
Two of the most important components of an intimate relationship are trust and caring. When trust exists, partners feel secure that disclosing intimate feelings will not lead to ridicule, rejection, or other harm. Research shows that trust builds gradually as people come to see the other person has made a sincere investment in the relationship, such as by making compromises. Caring is an emotional bond that allows intimacy to develop. When people care about each other, they seek to fulfill each other's needs and interests, and if necessary, to sometimes make sacrifices for the other person.
Honesty is also a core feature of intimacy. People however, make individual choices about how much information to share with current partners on a variety of subjects, including, for example, details about previous relationships.
4. Clear Communication
Communication is a two-way street that embraces sending and receiving messages. The clear communicator must therefore learn to also be a good listener. It is important when communicating with someone to listen not only to their words, but also to their non-verbal cues. Nonverbal communication provides valuable clues to feelings. Tone of voice, gestures, body posture, and facial expressions not only accentuate the spoken word but can also express emotion directly.
Clear communication can take the guesswork out of relationships, avert misunderstanding, relieve resentments and frustrations, and increase general (and sexual) satisfaction within the relationship.
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