Intimacy: How Much Do I Share?

IntimacyThis blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s Clinical Director, Elana Clark-Faler, LCSW, CSAT-S, CGP.

Intimacy is an act of getting close to others physically, emotionally, or spiritually. These acts can be expressed verbally or non-verbally. Some ways to grow greater intimacy is through sharing openly with another person. It’s difficult to determine how much to share with your partner. What’s too much and what’s not enough? How do you get the right balance of sharing yourself and keeping some things private?

Oprah came up with the definition of intimacy as “in to me you see.” How much do I show and what should be kept private? I think it’s important to communicate with your partner. It’s important to negotiate the balance. Some individuals want to know more than others. The most important thing is to be honest. In the 12-step program there’s a saying that if the information is damaging then it’s important to be mindful how you share with the individual. It’s difficult to figure out on your own. I think it’s important to process this information with a trained professional, so you understand your intention and the impact it may have on the other person.

I do believe as a society we are tolerating the ability to hear from our partners and understand that it’s not all about me. My partner comes from his or her own history and experiences. These issues and experiences aren’t necessarily related to me. It’s important to remember this when listening to your partner.

We can allow others to see our vulnerabilities and insecurities in all areas of our lives. It’s a huge risk to share this openly. That is why it’s important you know the person well enough that he or she wouldn’t bail on the first sign of vulnerability. Sometimes vulnerabilities scare others. When individuals get scared they can usually respond by fight or flight. This can cause the individual who took the risk to feel shame or hurt if he or she felt abandoned or criticized. Getting to know someone is essential before you open up deeply. It takes time to grow intimacy between two people, because you must establish trust and security. This is the only way we let go of our outer skin. Intimacy is an act of being naked.

Elana Clark-Faler
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