I attended a men's workshop on intimacy and commitment in which quotes on what intimacy was were handed out and men split into small groups and discussed those quotes. Then the men assembled into a large group and a representative each group summarized the discussion. The general idea of the quotes was that:
Intimacy is a relationship in which both partners can be open to each other and and still be accepted and loved by the other partner.
In the discussion group that I was a part of a man told me how he was afraid to reveal negative things about himself to his partner because he was afraid she would lose respect for him and be less accepting. I pointed out that there was a catch 22 situation here. To be accepted one had to reveal oneself yet if one revealed oneself one might be less accepted. When we assembled in the large group a man said that he thought that if a woman doesn't accept you for what you are it wasn't meant to be and you should move on and that you are not being true to yourself if you hide who you are. A number of men bought up the issue of the pace at which you reveal who you are and that it should be like peeling the layers off of an onion. In otherwords as the relationship progresses you reveal more to each other. They discussed how if you reveal a lot you make yourself vulnerable and lose control of the relationship and I think there was a fear of losing control by revealing too much. I piped up that revealing too much too fast was a bad thing and mentioned how a woman had told me how on a date a man told her all about his divorce and that she didn't want to here it and didn't go out with him again. Although partners should be able to reveal their deep dark secrets it's not helpful to a relationship if it's done all at once.
In my experience there are barriers to revealing everything because I am afraid of hurting the other person. I am afraid to reveal to her things about her that turn me off because I'm afraid she'll be hurt.
One person pointed out that the quotes are something to strive for the idea being that we should strive for a relationship where we can reveal ourselves and our deep dark secrets and be accepted and loved dark secrets and all.
There is more about intimacy on the Fear of Intimacy page of this web site.
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