When we commit to a relationship, we often expect our partner to match our level of emotional involvement. Many of us dream of finding a soulmate who can deeply understand and share our feelings. Others prefer maintaining personal privacy within a relationship with clear boundaries. Conflicts can arise when partners have differing expectations of emotional closeness. One may feel emotionally abandoned and crave more intimacy, while the other may feel overwhelmed by the demand for emotional availability.

The Path to Emotional Intimacy in Relationships

The trajectory of a relationship typically follows a predictable path. The early stages are marked by intense togetherness, where partners revel in their similarities. This period often leads to a desire for a more committed relationship. The subsequent stage involves establishing boundaries, focusing on differences, and maintaining individuality. Successfully navigating both stages is crucial for long-term commitment.

A healthy relationship balances emotional sharing and individual identities. However, discrepancies in emotional availability often occur. When one partner is emotionally expressive and the other is not, the former usually experiences more pain. Consider the classic example of an intense courtship: one partner showers the other with affection, making it seem like a dream come true. But as the relationship progresses, the emotionally unavailable partner withdraws, leading to confusion and hurt for the other.

Upon reflection, you might realize that the focus was always on you, and you knew little about your partner. This discrepancy highlights the importance of reciprocal emotional involvement. You learn that successful relationships require mutual self-disclosure and sharing.

Dr.Baya Mebarek, Psy.D.,LMFT

www.sandiegofamilytherapy.net