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Intimacy and Vulnerability in the Relationship

Updated: Jul 31, 2022

In my couple work we explore intimacy in terms of physical closeness and sexual interaction, however, it it not always the case as intimacy is often regarded as such, couples can also view it as one of the fundamental bases of their own interactions and personal dynamics within their relationship: Self Disclosure.

Self-disclosure is present when two persons grows as they reveal private thoughts, feelings, and memories to their partner, who responds with acceptance and empathy. Self-disclosure is based on foundations of trust, it encourages each partner to talk with openness and intensity, at times encouraging them to reveal more as their rapport stabilise, while being a fundamental component of healthy relationships, it promotes mental and physical health, theorists agree that intimacy increases when individuals’ vulnerable disclosures are met with your partner supportive responses.

Another theory is referring to Attachment styles. Attachment refers the way in which you relate to other people. Your style of attachment was formed at the very beginning of your life, during your first two years. If that caregiver or significant other provides us with a secure base, we feel confident in interacting with the world. Once established, it is a style that stays with you and plays out today, how you relate in intimate relationships and how you parent your children, it also clarifies ways that you are emotionally limited as an adult and what you need to change to improve your close relationships.

Couples are seeking my professional counsel when their relationship is on the rocking side, when they feel their communication is breaking down, their intimacy is no longer. Their Attachment style also plays a significant role in their interaction and how they feel about each other, their responses, and reactions. Vulnerable disclosures function differently and can either support or hinder the process.

The empathetic and supportive response of one of the partners following a disclosure will reinforce the couple's dynamics, re proposing the safe base experienced in childhood, however, when the person doesn't offer support the attachment style is triggered particularly whereby those behaviours of defensiveness may be activated provoking to distance ourselves from our partner, shutting down the intimate relationship.

Exploring those reactions and interactions each individual partner can change the directions of those dynamics, reflect on their behaviours, while establish a new pathway to intimacy.

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