One component of relationships that is often overlooked, but is very important, is emotional intimacy.
Emotional intimacy is a form of intimacy where two people can comfortably share their feelings and experiences, empathize and be aware of the other person’s emotions, according to the University of Florida’s Counseling and Wellness Center.
Are there any risks involved with becoming emotionally intimate quickly, and are there any guidelines students can follow?
Aamie Anderson, a freshman majoring in general studies, said she thinks students move too fast in relationships and that they should go a lot slower.
“You have to build up a friendship before you build an entire relationship,” Anderson said.
Intimacy is more than just something physical. It involves mixing our life and soul with another’s, a sharing of hearts, according to Focus on the Family, a website designed to help families thrive
Michael Bolingbroke, a faculty member in the religion department, said that he had never heard the term “NCMO,” non-committal make-out, until he came to BYU-Idaho and that he could not understand how students could think that they can share intimacy in such non-intimate settings and not be emotionally confused.
“Why do you share all that information on the first, second or third date?” he said. “There’s got to be a stage where you gradually work into it. Can we not have a little space to get to know each other?”
He said that he wonders if students do not know how to just go out and have fun and if they think the first, second or third date means more than they do.
“We’re not throwing our heart out on the block to be chopped,” Bolingbroke said. “We’re just meeting people.”
Madison Titus, a senior studying recreation leadership, and Caleb Larsen, a freshman studying music education, said they met at BYU-I and are engaged.
Larsen said that becoming emotionally attached is the point of dating, but that it should not be forced or rushed.
“I think there needs to be a relationship first before you start being emotionally intimate,” Larsen said. “But if it doesn’t grow soon enough, then you break up because your relationship is shallow.”
Titus said she thinks that being emotionally intimate with another person means giving a part of one’s heart to the other.
“If it didn’t work out, I would feel like a part of me would be gone,” she said. “I would feel disappointed. Always be a friend first. It’s important to remember that you’re friends because the relationship is already there.”
Bolingbroke said that one of the risks of becoming emotionally intimate too fast is a heart break.
“We throw our whole self out on the block,” he said. “And when the person rejects you, which they probably would have after a couple dates anyway, then your heart is broken.”
But are there risks to not becoming emotionally attached soon enough in your relationship?
Larsen said that if emotional intimacy does not grow soon enough, then the couple breaks up because their relationship is too shallow.
Mikaela Black, a freshman studying English education, said she has a little different view of emotional intimacy.
She said that though she feels emotional intimacy should come naturally, she does not think it is OK to keep from opening up to the other person.
“I think we would be happier as a society if we were just open about the things that we do, past experiences and why we did it,” Black said. “If you told people why you did what you did, relationships would be a lot more stable and have less contention because you would understand each other.”
Black said she has never been in a long-term relationship, but her parents have been in several different marriages so she has had a lot of experience observing relationships.
Bolingbroke said he did not have all the answers but that these issues are worth thinking and talking about.
“We have to remember that even with commitment before marriage there is still no covenant,” he said. “We understand in the church that marriage is a covenant relationship between you, the individual and God.