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Finding Ideal Closeness in Your Relationship
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD posted:
When partners are similar in their desires for closeness, they are able to meet each other's needs more naturally. There isn't the conflict that emerges when one partner wants to get closer and the other partner yearns for a bit more distance. One recent study, which used three yearly online surveys, supports this idea. It found that couples that were closer did not necessarily have a better quality of relationship. Instead, the difference between participants' ideal level of closeness and actual level of closeness was key; the less of a difference, the happier they were with their relationship.

You can do a similar experiment with yourself and your partner. Draw two pictures of overlapping circles. Make one to represent how close you feel to your partner now. Make the second one to represent how close you would like to be. Also, have your partner draw the same pictures. Then compare and discuss them. If there are differences in how you feel now or in what your ideal relationship would look like, it is important to discuss these differences; and to see how you can work on bridging them.

What are your experiences with similarities and differences with you and your partner in your desires for closeness?

If you try the experiment above with your partner, how did it go for you?

If you would like to read more in detail about this topic in my The Art of Relationships blog, click here .

Dr. Becker-Phelps's discussions and her responses in those discussions are for general educational purposes only. If you need help for an emotional or behavioral problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.


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