IntimacyIntimacy is often defined as arising from a close acquaintance,association, or familiarity. This definition would definitely describe therelationship I have with my sister, Catherine. We share just about everythingthat goes on in our lives and know each other like the back of our hands.
Weare so close, in fact, that rarely do we hear what another is feeling before wealready know. We can tell each other’s mood by the body language we are using. I plan to give a brief summary of this relationship and the intimacy involved init. There are many possible reasons why some people are attracted to eachother and form relationships. Some of these reasons are personality, physicallooks, intellectual stimulation, things in common, and differences.
My sisterand I developed our relationship differently than the way you would with someonewho you just randomly meet on the street. We shared common parents, household,schedules, and heritage. Therefore, we were naturally inclined to develop somesort of relationship and intimacy. If we hadn’t, our living conditions wouldhave become understandably tenuous. The development of relationships andintimacy has some very definitive steps. The first step is initiating which ismaking contact with the other person and showing that you are the kind of personworth talking to.
Our relationship was initiated as soon as I was brought intothis world and facilitated by the fact that we were brother and sister. Thenext step is experimenting which is deciding whether we want to pursue arelationship further by using small talk and the like. Since I was unable totalk at the time, my sister and I dismissed this step. Next comes the step ofintensifying when the expression of feelings become more common. This camequite naturally to the two of us.
People were always asking my sister to showhow much she loved me which often led to hugs, kisses, hand holding, and othercommon expressions of love people often demonstrate in a sibling relationship. The next step is integrating which is when we give up characteristics of our oldselves and become different people. This has not happened to me because thisrelationship has always been with me. My sister was not always a sister anddefinitely changed when I became her brother. Bonding is the next step which iswhen the parties make symbolic public gestures to show the world that arelationship exists. My sister and I have always been very public about ourrelationship.
Next is the differentiating stage where the parties separatesomewhat. We are always going through this at this point in our relationship. One day we can be the best of friends and the next day we can be mortal enemies. Circumscribing comes next and is when the level of communication decreases inquantity and quality. Again, this seems to come and go in our relationship. The stagnating stage is when the relationship becomes overly familiar and losesthe feeling.
We have not hit this. We can always find a new way to keep therelationship exciting. Avoiding is the stage in which the parties createdistance between one another. We have not reached this stage either. We arestill as close as we have ever been, if not closer.
The final stage isterminating which is when the relationship is declared over. This has not beenreached in my relationship. These stages do not have to be in this ordernecessarily and some can be skipped altogether. My sister and I developed ourrelationship out of necessity.
Brothers and sisters often do this because theyshare so much in common. Our relationship is sometimes good and sometimes bad,but it is always solid. It could stand to be a little more positive on bothsides at some points. We share an intellectual and emotional intimacy that mostsiblings do. The commonality between the two of us facilitates this.
Relationaldevelopment and maintenance have some very distinct characteristics. First, notall relationships move through all ten steps. This has definitely been the casein my relationship. My sister and I did not have to go through the initiatingstage that most people do, nor have we avoided each other. Intimacy is not theonly goal of relationships. Even though my relationship involved some intimacythis is not always the reason we are there.
Sometimes it is just to reach acommon goal. Movement occurs within stages. Our relationship has definitelyprogressed through stages even though sometimes they become blurred. My sisterand I experienced the integrating and intensifying stage at one point and Isuspect they occurred around the same time although two definitive steps. Movement between steps is generally sequential.
My relationship has definitelyhad a pattern of development to it. Relationships are constantly changing. Even though we have a solid relationship, my sister and I definitely have ourups and downs. Movement is always to a new place. We are always trying out newways of behaving towards each other and this makes movement mandatory. Sometimes we even go back a step or two before we return to the point we werebefore.
The relationship my sister and I share involves a high level of self-disclosure. We are always intentionally revealing information to one anotherthat is important and would not always be known. Our breadth is wide as we candiscuss anything from sex to politics. The depth is great because we do notpull any punches. When we are discussing something we are as personal as youcan get.
Neither of us hides much and when one does it is easily caught by theother. Our conversations often include facts, opinions, and feelings. Lyingdoes not come across good and it is rarely attempted by either of us. There aremany reasons for this self-disclosure but it is mainly “just to get it off ofour chest” or catharsis. A brother-sister relationship is definitely a uniqueone as evidenced here.
Although it can reach some of the later and nastierstages, I don’t see this as being the case in our relationship.