Self Esteem – While some people seem content to go through life with a few close friends, most of us seek a special relationship with one particular person. It is in intimate relationships that we open ourselves most deeply and have the chance to discover the most about ourselves. Such relationships help overcome a certain loneliness that most of us would eventually feel – no matter how self-sufficient and strong we may be – without intimacy. The sense of belonging that we gain from intimate relationships contributes substantially to our feelings of self-worth. I want to reemphasize, however, that self esteem cannot be derived entirely from someone else. A health intimate relationship simply reinforces your own self-acceptance, and belief in yourself.
Here is a list of some ingredients that contribute to lasting intimate relationships:
Common interests, especially leisure time and recreational interests
A sense of romance or “magic” between you and your partner. This is an intangible quality of attraction that goes well beyond the physical level. It’s usually very strong and steady in the first three to six months of a relationship. The relationship then requires the ability to renew, refresh, and rediscover this magic as it mutures.
Mutual acceptance and support of each other’s personal growth and change. It is well known that when only one person is growing in a relationship, or feels invalidated in their growth by the other, the relationship often ends.
Mutual acceptance of each other’s faults and weaknesses. After the initial romantic months of a relationship are over, each partner must find enough good in the other to tolerate and accept the other’s faults and weaknesses.
Sharing of feelings. Genuine closeness between two people requires emotional vulnerability and a willingness to open up and share your deepest feelings.