Levels of Intimacy

How comfortable are you when your partner is with the opposite sex?

Acquaintances - We have many acquaintances. The number could be in the hundreds. We share greetings with them.

Friends - About a third of the number of acquaintances we can call friends. With friends we share greetings and common activities.

Good Friends - Again, about a third of our friends are good friends. We share greetings, common activities, and we have common values and beliefs with them.

Best Friends - Here we only have one to three best friends. We share greetings, common activities, we have common values and beliefs, and we share our emotions and our feelings.


Intimate Friend - We have one intimate friend. We share greetings, common values and beliefs, and we share our deepest emotions and secrets and sex.

So, in figuring out how safe we are when our partner is out with the opposite sex, we need to find out how open or intimate they are with them. Another factor is: Is your partner trustworthy? Have they cheated on you or prior partners? Also, have you been cheated on in prior relationships? These are the factors that couples need to discuss. Most couples are comfortable with their partner being with aquaintances and friends and even good friends. The hurts and fears begin to mount when we discover that our partner is sharing feelings and emotions that should be reserved for their intimate friend. I use the chart above for each partner to evaluate how comfortable they are with the opposite sex and how comfortable they are with their partner and the opposite sex. Depending on their past and present trust levels, each can decide their own comfort levels with their partner and the opposite sex.

It seems that the greatest hurt comes from knowing that our partner has given to another, something that is reserved for only you, their intimate friend. Why did they let someone else over "the wall" to share in intimate secrets or sex? What was lacking in the relationship for them to choose to devalue such a sacred trust? Healing can happen, with help, to understand these questions and more.

A final thought So many people find themselves caught in a relationship that is toxic or just plain not working. They can't believe that the person they are sleeping with is so different in values and beliefs and does not think like them at all. At first, it seemed like everything was perfect. They had great chemistry. Both loved the same things. He/she was so caring and conscientious. My question is: How long did you wait to start having sex? 2 weeks? 2 months? How long did it take to get to know your best friends? It takes a lot longer than 2 months. For some it took years, with hours of sharing. Building a relationship takes time! Shouldn't your most important and intimate relationship be built over time. Sex, in a practical sense, should come after you have invested much time in really getting to know someone. There is wisdom in building a relationship layer upon layer, taking advantage of the benefits built-in with each level of intimacy. It seems that when we jump right over "the wall", we sacrifice the benefits from each level of intimacy and the focus becomes strictly physical. Communication many times drops off and so does real intimacy.