eye contact

To See and Be Seen: Creating Relational Intimacy with Eye Contact

  Category: Intimacy

Is eye contact really necessary to achieve intimacy in relationships?

It has been said by many a partner…“Why don’t you look at me when you talk to me?” And often the person to whom the question is asked doesn’t realize that he/she is avoiding eye contact, does realize it but doesn’t know why, or recognizes that eye contact causes discomfort but doesn’t know how to change. This relational dynamic often leads to defensiveness, hurt feelings, anger and/or blame. Over time, worry that a partner isn’t actually present can feel abandoning and as though one isn’t being seen in a relationship. While this is most problematic in romantic relationships, it can certainly apply to relationships with other significant people including parents, children, siblings, friends and business associates.

While everyone longs to be seen, why is it so challenging to maintain eye contact? While everyone deep down longs for intimacy, why do people need to literally and figuratively “look away”? We want to be seen and known for who we are, but perhaps it is frightening for some of us to allow others to see “all” of us, because there are some parts of ourselves we may not find beautiful or lovable yet. Perhaps there is a fear that when we connect so intimately with others, we lose our individuation and sense of self. There is much to explore in this area, and we look forward to delving into this topic more with you.

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Happy viewing!

By Marnie Breecker, MFT, CSAT, CCPS,