Rethinking closeness and distance in intimate relationships: Are they really two opposites?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, the author presents a theoretical scheme focusing on the relation between closeness and distance in intimate relationships. This challenges a commonly held notion, which maintains that the two constructs are opposite poles on a single continuum. The authors present an alternative conceptualization employing dialectical and reflective thinking, resulting in a multidimensional conceptual model. Accordingly, apparent opposites at preliminary dimensions of experience may be unified into a shared construction of dyadic closeness and distance, when reflected on through a higher systemic mode of thinking. This process leads to a second-order level of dyadic closeness, which is indicative of the quality of the intimate relationship. The relevance of the model to different cultural contexts, as well as its implications for theory, research, and practice, are elaborated and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-412
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported by Israel Science Foundation Grant 808-01.


  • closeness
  • conceptual model
  • dialectics
  • distance
  • intimate relationships
  • reflexivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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