Sealed section iQ Winter 2013

Relationships love close conflict friendship sex support relationship partnership support support loving understanding needs needs care care communication partnership Most people with diabetes worry about the effect the condition has on their bodies. But what about the effect it has on their relationship?

The negative effects can impact every area of our lives, both physically and mentally – our support systems can become strained, our self-confidence may fade, and our ability to daily manage diabetes can be ignored. Unfortunately, as important as this area of our lives is to our overall health, very few people with relationship and

intimacy issues seek help. We’ve sat down with Relationships Australia Queensland to find out more about just what we can do to better intimacy in our relationships, debunk some myths about what makes an intimate bond, and explore ways of making your relationship happier and more fulfilling.

Differences in intimacy needs can mean that some of us have difficulty reaching a level that is comfortable for both parties. What this means is couples may need to try to develop an understanding of each other’s intimacy needs, and this may take time. One myth surrounding intimacy is that we need to give all of ourself to the relationship. A close relationship can provide cosiness at times, but it does not ensure lifelong happiness. Neglecting ourselves down the track can lead to losing a sense of ourselves, and impede personal and relationship growth. The balance of creating a partnership, where we are interdependent rather than dependant, can allow intimacy to flourish in the relationship. Another myth surrounding intimacy is that sex provides true intimacy. Sex does provide some intimacy to the relationship as it takes trust to unveil your body to your partner. However, physical appearance only makes up part of what we are; we all have other characteristics, such as personality and values and the same is for intimacy in a relationship. There is a misconception that everyone

is having fabulous sex and you are not. This can make you question your love life. The reality is sex is not enough to develop mutually sustaining intimacy just as physical appearance is not all there is to a person. The belief that intimacy will extinguish all conflict in the relationship is yet another myth that some people may have. Though disagreements are something we do not necessarily wish for, they are important in relationships. If we work long and hard at understanding and getting behind the root/cause of the conflict, this can help us understand our partner’s world and can lead to greater intimacy. Getting to the source of the argument may not mean there will never be another argument. Conflicts will arise, but each time couples engage in conflict, it can lead to a healthy outcome if there is a greater understanding between them. The final myth about intimacy is that if you bare all to your partner, it will lead to intimacy. Sharing things with your partner is important to developing true intimacy but even in the longest of relationships, blurting out whatever

comes to your mind without thinking can become destructive. When we are starting a relationship it is also tempting to tell your entire life story, but early disclosure can be disastrous. Telling a little and allowing both to process it, can allow each other to develop better understanding. Regardless of whether the relationship is young or mature, taking time to reflect and integrate thoughts and feelings will assist the development of intimacy. It is only by working through the issues of life and facing challenges together as a couple that the relationship will deepen and intimacy will grow. Though it would be nice to develop deep intimacy in a relationship instantaneously, sometimes having to do things the long hard way can make success just that bit sweeter. For further information on ways to develop a healthier relationship, call 1300 364 277 to find your nearest Relationships Australia branch.

This article has been edited using content supplied by Relationships Australia Queensland.

SE X Diabetes iQ – Autumn 2013

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