The 'three Cs' of intimate relationships

Intimate, enduring relationships play a vital role in our development and general well-being throughout our lives. If we find that our ability to connect and experience intimacy is blocked, this can create an obstacle on our path to well-being and fulfilment, as even the most independent minded of us need some level of intimate human contact.

Our ability to experience intimacy has been connected to having strengths in three areas. These three areas make up 'the three Cs'.

1. Closeness - This refers to an individuals ability and willingness to let another person see them as they really are, to let down barriers and defences and feel comfortable and confident to let others or an other see you 'warts and all' without excessive fear of rejection.

2. Communication - To be able to communicate in an intimate way we need to feel able to articulate how we feel, and attend to and understand how others feel. We need to be able to express our emotions - even more difficult feelings such as anger or frustration without becoming aggressive and be ready and willing to hear other peoples frustrations or disappointments empathically and without becoming defensive. This does not mean avoiding conflict, but rather approaching it with compassion and openness.

3. Commitment - This involves feeling able to commit to our relationships through difficult times as well as pleasant ones. While this may not be done in a formal or traditional way a commitment to attend to our relationships is an important part of intimacy.

Whether you are in an intimate, romantic relationship at present or not, the ability to think about and engage in 'the thee Cs' can improve the potential for enjoying and experiencing real intimacy.


Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

Share this article with a friend

Written by a listed counsellor/therapist

Show comments

Find a counsellor or psychotherapist dealing with relationship issues

All therapists are verified professionals.

Real Stories

More stories

Related Articles

More articles