Sternberg’s concept of intimacy

Robert Jeffrey Sternberg’s concept of intimacy comes from his triangular theory of love. The triangular theory of love, its graphic having a triangular shape, these corners, components are: intimacy, passion and commitment. Based in these components he creates the typology of love styles. Sternberg defines intimacy as closeness, connection, bond (bonding feelings). Intimacy in love relationships creates so-called warmth, whereas passion is described as bitter and commitment as cold component of this equation. In terms of intimacy it is very typical that its level rises significantly in the beginning of a relationship and than slowly decreases. Long side his colleague Barnes, Sternberg later defined the characteristics of intimacy in close relationship. According to them the intimacy is manifested by the effort of providing the basic living condition for the loved person, experiencing happiness in presence of the partner, mutual respect for each other etc. According to these authors intimacy lies in mutual understanding, sharing of self and property, receiving emotional support, intimate communication and admiration. Intimacy is an ideal to which the actual relationship is slowly working its way into. Intimacy is represented by psychical and mental tenderness that is not hampered by shyness or caution and fear of dependence or ridicule, or intellectual reasons of social conventions, or the possibility of regression to the infantile level of mutual dependence to infantile behavior in an erotic game. Characteristic is self-discovering, as well as the partner’s revealing, knowing the stong and weak point of one another. Intimacy is trust without reservations, mutual respect and esteem, respecting partners; chises and his/hers way of living his/hers own life journey. Intimacy means to love somebody with all of his/hers “defects”.


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