Intimacy, Identity and Lust.
I have always thought that intimacy is a skill like most other relational skills. Something that can be easily acquired by anybody. But like true contentment and love it requires surrender and a good sense of self. It also seems some really hard work on yourself.
I never anticipated that having a good sense of self should impact so much on the things we require for a fulfilling relationship. If there are issues with boundaries and abuse or a history of abuse and isolation, it becomes difficult for the self to find itself ( no pun intended). It is like a small dog that was kicked and mishandled as a puppy, it always will cower at the slightest sign of danger or provocation.
Being intimate and surrendering to someone for intimacy to take place takes courage, but courage is born from experience and knowledge that the self is capable and skilled to deal with adversity. It will make it through this situation irrespective (resilience). In cases of abuse and of violence the self becomes fluid, so that in cases of anger, aggression it can then withdraw into non-confrontational nothingness that wont anger irritate or cause incidences that might lead to abuse. In situations like that it becomes difficult for the self to develop a sense of identity. The self becomes a pacifier of and for the aggressor. Boundaries are violated continuously so that they become almost permeable, unable to contain the self. Self for me needs decent boundaries to develop, something to contain it, to give its expression limits.
In level 6 of Erikson’s developmental stage he says the following.
“6. Intimacy vs. Isolation
Occurring in young adulthood (ages 18 to 40 yrs), we begin to share ourselves more intimately with others. We explore relationships leading toward longer term commitments with someone other than a family member.
Successful completion of this stage can lead to comfortable relationships and a sense of commitment, safety, and care within a relationship. Avoiding intimacy, fearing commitment and relationships can lead to isolation, loneliness, and sometimes depression. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of love.” http://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html
Although I am not a big supporter of Freud this developmental stages linked to psycho social development in the realms of relationships make sense.
In another article they identify the three things necessary for and to create that sense of intimacy in one’s relationships.
- Closeness. Allowing someone into your personal and private space.
- Communication. Having the ability to identify your own and your partner’s emotions and being able to communicate and talk about them in a safe and comforting space. Active and empathetic.
- Commitment. Attaching yourself to your partner and believing in the possibility of a future.
For me trust is built by the above mentioned three elements. And at some level its a package deal with decent orgasms. For me to develop orgasms above the average it is important to be able to surrender your body and experience to the partner you sharing your body mind and spirit with. I can just hear people say, I have had awesome orgasms without all the above. Yes we all have surrendered to lust and in most of those instances it has been with a short term and some instances a one night stand without any intimacy. That is exactly why, the lack of consequence for the behaviour creates a bubble of total and immediate surrender and intimacy that in long term relationships need to be built upon and worked at.
Intimacy and orgasm and sex is not the same thing or necessarily interdependent. , although it makes it better. Intimacy might be the sharing of a look across a room, the smile shared when success is achieved. It’s a connection, a sharing of sameness of space and time. Its like the add says,” a sense of knowing” of knowledge of the other that only the other knows and appreciates.
For me it is difficult to go into an intimate relationship with someone that is not at least adequately emotional intelligent. For me a long term relationship must be at some level intimate It should be a space that can be reached and achieved by both parties. If it is not then we exist as Erikson says in Isolation but together. It becomes a partnership not a relationship. I must hasten to say, if that is ok for you then its ok. Me and it seems most romantics in life yearn for the connection, the surrender, the transcendence of the self within the realms and arms of another. From experience I know it is tiring its engrossing and demanding and that’s exactly why its worthwhile. Therefore its not a constant state but an event that makes it worthwhile to tolerate a lot of other things in our connection and togetherness that might otherwise not make our connection work. Its an event that needs to be worked towards.
I am finding and seeing more and more couples isolated but together, yearning for connection, closeness, intimacy. It is with this yearning that we go into relationships, it manifests itself in needs and demands, mostly uncommunicated. I will come out of my isolation if these needs are met. Allow you into my space if you look pretty, communicate with you when you have shown your worthiness, and so we stumble from one relationship to the next blaming the other for not meeting my extensive list of needs wants and high levels of self-importance. Living a life of uncommunicated and unmet needs and demands. Intimacy in most cases is almost a Zen kind of thing, only by giving up the self will you find the self in the other.
Like Imago therapy says and its the third phase in creating intimacy, Commitment is the bedrock of developing a long lasting and fulfilling relationship. Imago says we go into relationships so that we can grow and develop together. Create a third entity wherein we can grow and reach our full potential.
Relationships stand separate from us, it is not us. It is a creation of two beings that decide on a random whim to be together and create something beautiful and special. People can exist by themselves and most of us do it quite well, but life is as they say so much better shared.