childhood and as providing a context for “existential meaning” in adult relationships (p. 24). Again there is the parallel between survival and emotionality, as well as a connection to emotion as a conduit to meaning. These authors discuss the need for emotional attachment in coping with trauma, underscoring the importance of affiliation with others as a means of coping (McFarlane & Van Der Kolk, 1999). This need for affiliation is significant: It is crucial to understanding the devastation of loss in an injury to an attachment bond.
Johnson and Sims (2000) note that the need for emotional attachment during stressful periods is basic to the notions of attachment theory. Emotion is key to expressing need for attachment, requesting behaviors that facilitate the attachment bond, and communicating distress at injured attachment bonds.
In summary, emotion is experienced both individually and in relationships. Similar to attachment, it is a survival tool, used in conveying and understanding meaning and expressing attachment needs.
Trust and Intimacy
Attachment needs and bonds call for examining these constructs within a context trust and relational satisfaction, the quality of which is assessed through feelings of intimacy.
Mikulincer (1998) considers attachment working models and the sense of trust, concluding that “…intimacy attainment was the main trust-related goal for all the attachment (styles)… (p. 1209). Mikulincer notes that others describe trust as one of the most sought after qualities in a love relationship, and is a prerequisite for developing a sense of commitment and security (1998, citing Holmes and Rempel, 1989); further, trust helps to define intimacy in love relationships (citing Sternberg, 1986). Mikulincer holds that trust is related to secure attachment, so that one depends on the significant other to meet and understand one’s attachment needs.
Intimacy is a systemic concept that, like attachment, is achieved symbiotically, but experienced individually. Prager (1995) notes two types of intimacy: interactional and relationship. She sees intimate relationships as dependent upon continued interactions over time. The key to intimacy in Prager’s definition is dyadic sharing with the other.
Waring (1981) links intimacy to self-disclosure, which is defined as emotional expression, statements of need, sharing of one’s beliefs and fantasies, and self-awareness. Intimacy is a multifaceted construct that includes affection, expressiveness, compatibility, cohesion, sexuality, conflict resolution, autonomy, and “the couple’s level of self- confidence and self-esteem” (p. 34). These describe individuals who attain intimacy in a relationship in the context of self-knowledge and self-acceptance.
Similarly, Wynne and Wynne (1986) tie intimacy to “…trusting self-disclosure to which the response is communicated empathy” (p. 384). The authors emphasize that intimacy is only present in self-disclosure when one expects and believes that the other will “emotionally comprehend,” be accepting and will neither betray nor exploit the disclosing partner, (p. 384).