Relationships Develop in Stages, Emotional Intimacy and Boundaries
1) Superficial Level; This involves conversation generally referred to as “small talk.” How are you? Where are you from? The weather or the news. A very natural way for relationships to begin.
2) “Still Safe” Level’ This is an exchange of no-risk facts. Where did you go on vacation last year? What sights did you see? Openings or “gates” not yet present in the boundaries. First dates may occur at this level, you will find fun articles with ideas and humor. There is more content to the conversations without a high level of self-disclosure or sharing of personal information.
3) Judgmental Level; Here, we begin to risk a few statements about our opinions on politics, religion, or other matters about which our new friend might disagree with us. We allow more “gates” in our Boundaries. Kind of testing each other out, to see if our thoughts and feelings are accepted, and to learn the thoughts and feelings of the other person.
4) Emotional Level; We begin sharing how we feel about life, ourselves, and others. We are sad, glad, worried, depressed, etc. If the other person is experienced as critical, we strengthen our Boundaries and go back a step. This step involves sharing of self.
5) Disclosure Level; Takes place on a continuum. We begin to reveal our private thoughts and feelings to another person, confessing secret dreams as well as painful failures. This stage involves an honesty and vulnerability that lead to true intimacy. As we experience the other person as safe, we disclose at a deeper level, creating more emotional intimacy. Most of us only have a few people in our lives with whom we share at this level. Some people have no one to share emotionally intimate information with.
Developing healthy boundaries is important for married couples as well;
For help with Emotional Intimacy and Boundaries call now for an appointment; 949-697-4332