Intimacy is a key element in any meaningful relationship that you aspire to endure over time. But how does reciprocity influence the birth of this intimacy?
Last update: 24 March, 2022
Intimacy in relationships - whether it's a romantic, friendship, or business relationship - largely defines who we are and what we really feel. If we trust and are able to give, we will receive a lot in return. In this world dominated by superficiality, whoever manages to establish such a relationship is the winner.
When the lights go out, when no one is watching, the recipient has nothing to offer or say to himself. On the other hand, the giver is rich and has roots that blossom in the memories of one's life.
The important thing is that those looking for empty relationships do not empty others. There are still people who believe that giving is the only way to create intimacy. They understood that, in the end, it is the only thing left.
Reciprocity and intimacy in relationships
We have been told that to be loved "we must be respected". We must not give too much, we must keep something for ourselves. And in the name of that respect, many people will never know what it means to truly love.
In love, there are no such rules. Love is not planned nor is it always right. If so, it would have the quality of equity, the quid-pro-quo. But this is not true, because in love, or rather in the art of loving, numerous imbalances occur.
On the other hand, the opposite of love is greed, that is, the attitude of the person who takes greedily from others thinking only of himself. She plunders them, manipulates them. She knows exactly what she wants. His greed absorbs the energy and life of others for personal exaltation.
Greedy people continually ask themselves: "What can I get from others?". On the contrary, people who give love ask themselves: "How can I give more to others?".
Don't be afraid to show yourself vulnerable
Most people get married and hope to spend their life together with another person. Unfortunately, however, 40/50% of these marriages end.
Stable marriages also aren't necessarily the happiest - people get trapped in unsatisfactory relationships for a variety of reasons (e.g., children, money, religion).
The issue, therefore, is not one of mere stability, but also of quality. There are many emotional looters called "spouses".
How can we nurture intimacy in relationships?
Any relationship needs certain nutrients to survive. The amount will depend on who forms it, but also on the circumstances and the type of bond. Let's see then what we can offer to strengthen intimacy in relationships of any nature:
- Kindness is essential in any relationship, and reciprocity values kindness. Unpleasant behaviors weaken relationships, it is a fact.
- Engage in the relationship and do your best: Recent research supports the idea that actively engaging people make their relationships happy and lasting (Ogolsky & Bowers, 2013).
- Behaviors that reliably predict relationship success include: expressing positive emotions, being open, emotionally reassuring, supporting each other, and sharing the inherent responsibilities of a lasting relationship.
- If it's not important, it's best to let it go: In a recent study, researchers asked a sample of divorcees why their marriage had such an ending. Participants cited frequent discussions as a major cause, second only to infidelity (Scott, Rhoades, Stanley, Allen & Markman, 2013). They described how an initially unimportant discussion often ended up being the source of a cataclysm.
- Show your emotions to your partnerResearch shows that compliments, if sincere and meaningful, can have a surprisingly positive effect on the relationship (Marigold, Holmes & Ross, 2007).
- Make an effort every day. When people think of love, the emotional components of passion and intimacy are often the first to come to mind. But commitment is essential for a happy relationship, especially in the long term (Acker and Davis, 1992).
Romantic relationships are dyadic interactions and, as such, they are constantly evolving and are also very complex. The recipe for a successful marriage doesn't exist, but research indicates that the will and commitment on the part of both are fundamental to increase the intimacy in the relationship and, consequently, the chances of success.