Interpersonal relationships are a part of everyday human life. Many aspects in any sphere depend on such relationships, including work relationships, friends and romantic attraction. It is imperative to keep in mind that intimacy plays an important role in any type of relationship and becomes a turning point between people when it comes to trust and productivity.
In order to closer understand intimacy, it is necessary to explain the steps that lead to such exchange of emotions. Everything begins with a connection between two people, which eventually leads to friendship or a romantic relationship. Both can have intimate connection as it does not only include the physical process of being intimate, but also the mental or psychological closeness to the other person. Physical closeness is based on appearance and the romantic desire, and it appears almost immediately when two people meet. The emotional relationship starts to develop later. This is a process where people learn about each other’s goals, dreams and the general way of thinking and beliefs (Dwyer, 2000). Familiarity is a great part of any relationship; it results in people sharing their deep thoughts and desires. This part constitutes an enormous portion of intimacy because mental connection between people is just as important, if not more, as physical. When one person tells another one secrets and discloses their inner parts of the soul and heart, it would be safe to assume that the relationship is developing and there is a certain level of attraction between these two people.
How much information one individual knows about another, determines the strength of a relationship. The more a person knows, the better they will be able to adjust themselves to the needs and wants of their friend or partner (Weiner, 2010). The strongest relationships between two people are based on similarity. The common goals, interests and hobbies make the communication much easier. It was thought that opposites attract; this might seem true, but only for a short period of time, whereas people who are similar in the shared outlooks on life and dreams will create stronger and more lasting relationships. In both cases, intimacy can be present, but it is mostly physical because individuals will not usually share intimate information if they are in a quick and/or physical relation. Even when considering friendship, people who have much to talk about and judge things in a same way will be spending more time together naturally, which, in turn, will only develop the relationship. There is also a theory that suggests that people who are physically alike will attract others. This is based not only on the way someone is proportioned, but also on how they dress and groom themselves (Kalbfleisch, 1993).
Another part of the attraction in a relationship which leads to intimacy is reciprocity. This is when a person who is liked by the other person responds well to that person simply out of the fact that they are liked and given attention. This is a sort of thankful attitude, where a person appreciates the fact that someone is interested in them and wants to learn more about that person. However, there are many things that are unknown about the laws of attraction and intimacy. Sometimes people can be attracted to chemical qualities (smells) or certain patterns in the behavior, which are almost impossible to quantify and describe. This leads to an increase in intimacy, making people more attracted to each other. Sometimes that attraction starts only because of the fact that people are together at one place for an extended period of time. This is called the exposure effect, which supposes that people who see each other constantly and for long periods of time will eventually develop some form of an intimate relationship. While the relationship is developing, people become so interconnected in their thoughts and feelings that they become able to predict the wants and needs of another person (Gilbert, 2010). An interesting fact is that the time in which people learn abour each other and develop a relationship greatly differs. Sometimes, it takes several days for people to realize that they need each other, and other times, people date for several months or even years to realize that they must be together. As a result, this also determines their level of intimacy, both physical and mental. However, it is mostly mental intimacy that allows the relationship to continue and flourish into a lifelong connection.
There is no doubt that a romantic relationship between two people is seen as the most desired way of life where intimacy will be a constant and steady force, increasing over time. Intimacy is a form of an indicator of where the relationship is going. It can describe a seemingly unreasonable relationship between a famous person and a simple individual who leads a quiet life. The relationship develops into more than friendship, and romantic feelings will follow because it is difficult to avoid attraction once it begins and takes hold of the two people. There are many articles and books that analyze marriage and relationships, and all of them specify that the amount and level of intimacy is critical in the health of the partnership. Everything that leads to a relationship and intimacy begins from childhood, when a person has certain and unique set of habits and attitudes in understanding relationships. These relate to person’s preferences in life and tastes, influencing the kind of people they make friends with and those they can romantically date. When people seem different and incompatible from one perspective, it can change if attraction and intimate feelings are present. One’s predisposition towards intimate feelings, sharing of emotions is majorly based on trust and attitude. First intimate emotional relationship begins within one’s family, so, in case a person is closed in themselves and does not have any particular example of trust, it will be more difficult for them to become intimate with another person later in life.
It must be noted that a relationship would not develop because of the secrecy and determinations that are one-sided. For example, when a person has a slightest change of heart, something as little as having a lack of courage to admit a small mistake, another person will subconsciously feel that. Intimacy will be affected because an individual will feel that their partner is hiding something. Even though the reasons for hiding or being afraid to share the information might be reasonable and innocent, another person does not know them, so they will assume the worst. This is human nature. However, the majority of healthy relationships will enable an individual to support their partner, thus providing courage and the necessary outlet for their doubt or any other problems. Love and its intimacy is such a powerful force that it can separate and safe keep people from all kinds of negative deeds that society or other individuals can do. Love is a concept that has been a center of humanity for a very long time; yet, it is difficult to fully understand its mechanism. Many things in the world depend on personal views and opinions, and also, on the qualities and circumstances as one thing can be seen differently by a number of people. Usually, the feeling comes first, and then, a person transforms their feelings into words and actions. It is directly and undeniably possible to assume that one will be ready to become intimate when they are fully consumed by love, so actions and words are all dictated by the feeling and its purity.
An important criterion to keep in mind is that one must have sufficient understanding of love and how people treat it. A person may acknowledge that sometimes, people might think something bad or allow doubt to take over, but as long as these thoughts are not acted upon, the person should not be thought of as guilty of ill will. This will only strengthen the relationship and lead to more intimacy. Another great analysis of love and feelings that accompany affection is “Socrates’ Second Speech”. It can be seen as a separate entity in relation to his previous reasoning as it distinctly talks about love and the unique qualities that it exhibits. His line of thinking is very evident here as he logically examines the qualities that love has and what they lead to. As people do not produce love consciously, they are met with the fact that it exists and that they have it inside them. This leaves one option – contemplation and logical reasoning about the feeling that one possesses and about what sort of characteristics it entails. Socrates makes a link between love and “madness” (Nichols, 2009). As both are so unordinary, there is a connection between them and it is not necessarily a negative one. Socrates confirms that many things in the world take their origin in the madness, and what comes out is often great and divine. This is a true example of love, which will result in intimacy on all levels. The presented fact supposes that love is not a human creation, but people are given a chance to experience it.
As this concept is so enormous and overtaking, Socrates allows for a certain length of discussion, as to clearly express what he thinks and feels about it. In reality, almost all, if not everything, in life is ordered and framed by love and intimate relationship. It might be love towards an object, a concept or a person. People tend to do things they like and receive pleasure from, and love and affection are based on these characteristics. Thus, Socrates says that love must be pure, and people should cherish the fact that they have it, and only then intimacy will be the end result. It is not a toy that can be played with, but at the same time, it is not a self-functioning mechanism that can be left without care and development. When one has intimacy, it must be treated with respect and honor. If two people give in to evil urges and lose track of the divine nature of love and intimacy, taking them to the side of evil, it will become a destructive and negative force. It is a fact that Socrates was a great philosopher, and it is possible to see that he based his thoughts and actions on the feeling that came from his character and unique individuality.
In conclusion, it has been shown that intimacy and love consist of an entity that is closely tied with humans, and yet, is somehow separate in its origins. One thing stays fixed under any circumstances: emotions must be treated with honesty and respect because any diversion from morality or truth will destroy intimate love and make it the worst detriment.