To develop and maintain a truly intimate relationship requires you to see the other person as different but equal. This is an on-going struggle in the best of relationships and reflects the nature of close relationships. Our society encourages judgement and labels about people based on all sorts of false information and erroneous beliefs.
Harriet Goldner Lerner gives us a clue to what intimacy means:
For starters, intimacy means that we can be who we are in a relationship, and allow the other person to do the same.
‘Being who we are’ requires that we can talk openly about things that are important to us, that we take a clear position on where we stand on important emotional issues, and that we clarify the limits of what is acceptable and tolerable to us in a relationship.
‘Allowing the other to do the same’ means that we can stay emotionally connected to that other party who thinks, feels and believes differently, without needing to change, convince, or fix the other.
An intimate relationship is one in which neither party silences, sacrifices, or betrays the self and each party expresses strength and vulnerability, weakness and competence in a balanced way.
The Dance of Intimacy, Harriet Goldner Lerner, p. 3
Take a look at the following checklist and have a think about…
An EQUALITY and RESPECT checklist for men
Ken McMaster (MSW Hons, CQSW, MANZASW) has a thirty year history working at the cutting edge of intervention work with men who are violent and who sexually abuse.
Suzi Hall (M.A. Psych) has a background of working in child protection and forensic interviewing of children with Child Youth and Family Services.
Matt Williams (BTcLn, NCALNE) has a 15 year history working within the social service and criminal justice sectors as a trainer and program developer.