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The Dance of Intimacy

Harriet Lerner

“Intimacy means that we can be who we are in a relationship, and allow the other person to do the same. ‘Being who we are’ requires that we can talk openly about things that are important to us, that we take a clear position on where we stand on important emotional issues, and that we clarify the limits of what is acceptable and tolerable to us in a relationship. ‘Allowing the other person to do the same’ means that we can stay emotionally connected to that other party who thinks, feels, and believes differently without needing to change, convince, or fix the other.

An intimate relationship is one in which neither party silences, sacrifices, or betrays the self and each party expresses strength and vulnerability, weakness and competence in a balanced way.”

—Harriet Lerner, The Dance of Intimacy