Relationships

6 Myths About Intimacy

It's time to address these common misconceptions.

Posted Mar 25, 2015

Barsik/Bigstock Photos
Source: Barsik/Bigstock Photos

Both men and women have myths about intimacy. Myths that are just that—fairytales, fabrications. They have a hint of truth but seldom hold up to close scrutiny. The problem with these myths is that when believed, they can result in dysfunctional relationships.

Let’s take a look at these common myths with the hopes of dispelling them, and shining light on what true, healthy relationships look like.

  1. You need to be a mind reader. Nothing is further from the truth. Intimacy is not a mind game. It's about honesty and openness. The greatest thrill comes when you and another person begin to honestly share your selves with each other.
  2. I can treat you anyway I wish. No one has the right to treat another person as he or she wishes. Perhaps this is what has happened to you in the past, and you have equated past hurts with intimacy. This is emotional abuse, pure and simple. Regard it as such.
  3. Give me a minute, and I can fix you. We don’t need handyman relationships. It’s neither our job nor our privilege to fix people or their problems. Most lasting results will come about from openness and honesty, rather than from manipulation and looking for what’s wrong so we can fix it.
  4. Caring is a feeling. If this is true, then when you stop caring, the relationship, by definition, must come to an end. When you reach out to a friend or colleague, you do it because that person is your friend, and you reach out whether or not you feel anything.  Feelings are nice but they are not the material of which great relationships are made.
  5. You’ve got to spill all your guts. This is probably one of the greatest myths of all. The most vibrant relationships are often the quiet ones—walking together on a beach, going to a concert, having a cup of coffee together, or enjoying a simple conversation. There are no have to’s in a relationship of true intimacy. If anything, should’s and must’s will dampen the growth of your friendships quicker than anything else.
  6. It’s got to be a good relationship all the time. This myth is what out-of-touch-with-reality movies are made of. You live in the real world, and that means you, your friends, and your relationships will be flawed. Nothing in this life of hills and valleys will be good all the time.  Your relationships must simply be allowed to be. What you see is what you get. Openness, honesty, and intimacy need to be unconditional, for this is the only brand of caring that will bring health and growth to your relationships.

A true intimate relationship is one in which there is emotional safety, when you feel understood, accepted, and affirmed. You allow yourself to be vulnerable without the fear that the other person will misuse your trust to hurt you. In this kind of a relationship, both you and your partner can grow individually and together.

Gregory L. Jantz, PhD is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and an internationally recognized best selling author of over 28 books related to mental wellness and holistic recovery treatment.