Healthy relationships require a soft side, a vulnerability that is often considered weak in our culture. Vulnerability is the ability to be totally human in front of another human. Boys and men are not expected to show any strong emotions that are typical of their counterparts. Unfortunately what this causes is for a mask to go up and often for a complete life time. When young men and adult males are encouraged to hide their emotions they often get shoved away so far they aren’t retrievable. When I ask my male students what they feel most of the time, many of them have trouble naming their feelings.
Without an understanding of what and how to be intimate in a relationship, many partners become frustrated and unfulfilled. When I talk about intimacy, I am not talking about sexual intimacy. Although it’s very difficult to have true sexual intimacy without emotional intimacy. Most of us have to work consciously to master the skills necessary to make relationships flourish. A genuine intimate relationship has to be built over time. Intimate expressions include gentle touching, honest open communication with a desire to make the most profound part of what it means to be human a priority.