A healthy relationship is built on the foundation of true intimacy. True intimacy goes beyond lust and sex. True intimacy answers the question “are you there for me?” One must first feel safe. Safety in the relationship is essential for one to risk exposing vulnerability. That vulnerability must then be held sacred by the other.
Creating safety is a process and a journey. One that includes developing mutual trust and respect. Respect and trust are developed as the relationship grows. Automatic trust is unhealthy, even dangerous. Fear is often mistaken for trust and respect. One cannot be trusted simply because it is demanded by saying “trust me, I would never hurt you.” Respect can also not be demanded or required. Both are earned through experience and over time.
From time to time betrayal may occur even without intention. For example, one may make a commitment to the other, then not be able to, or not choose to fulfill it. This does not have to end the relationship. Betrayal can be healed, thereby re-establishing respect and trust. True intimacy is not absent of conflict. Conflict is not bad. When you have the tools to navigate the storm it takes you to a deeper level of relationship.
True intimacy is not reserved for romantic partnerships. It can be developed between friends of all genders and sexual orientations. In my practice I facilitate Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and Effective Communication skills to help my clients build the foundation of true intimacy.