Table 3

Emotional intimacy: subthemes and direct quotations

Emotional intimacy
2.1 Pressure to perform ‘It’s like, … with the tiredness side and with the chest side, … you sort of do have to think about it a lot more and … feel under pressure yourself that you need to perform’ (ID6/M/45)
2.2 Self preservation ‘Honestly, I’ve even said, “(male name), if you want to go out, … and find yourself someone just for… one night and just enjoy yourself I will give you the permission to”, because I feel really guilty’ (ID10/F/46)
2.3 A problem shared ‘Like a massive weight was lifted for me, so yeah! Because I was trying to hide things from her and make excuses about going to bed early and so on and I didn’t have to. She fully understood then, and she was by my side …and its something we’ve grown to live with together’ (ID1/M/34)