Intimacy is the living material of which a love relationship is made of. Intimacy is not given it must be created. Some just know how to create intimacy while others struggle with it. It depends on how we were taught to love. Because, make no mistake, love is a never-ending lesson.
Love isn’t just what we feel, and it is also the projection of what we think in the outside world.
Love can generate love, just like it can create fear and rejection. And the scariest part of love is intimacy. A sexual act isn’t always intimate. Becoming intimate with someone means descending into someone’s most inner feelings and understandings of the world.
Intimacy is what makes people feel like they are one. Not love. Two people can love each other without never becoming intimate. Imagination can make it possible. We imagine what is hidden inside someone, and we become intimate with that projection.
It happens with people being a couple. They rely on what they imagine is there and become intimate with that fantasy. It is one of the most common reasons people don’t get along. When the fiction is contradicted by reality, people end up feeling betrayed. “You are not what I thought you were” is one of the most common reasons for separation.
People don’t understand the role of real intimacy. It’s hard to accept the other one’s weaknesses and fears and negative feelings. Sometimes, it is hard to take the positive ones when they don’t match ours. And that’s why people end up running away from intimacy. In the realm of imagination, where the other one can be whatever I need and want, it’s easier because I have the control. Or, at least, I believe I have it.
But being intimate with someone means losing control. Everything in the realm of intimacy is about giving up the control on what I believe and surrender to the reality of what the other one is. It might sound very philosophical, but it isn’t. Just like reality can be interpreted and become philosophical, but only in our imagination. The truth will remain faithful to what is real.
Love and intimacy during isolation
Intimacy can be learned, but not all of us are prepared to endure it. Those who are strong enough to face the other one’s reality can find love’s real power. Because that’s what intimacy is.
Being first of all, real, intimacy is also pure. It starts with the silence. One needs to hear the other one’s thoughts. When our partner says something as banal as “I am worried about a situation at work,” the first thing to do is to listen. Not to jump to the presumption that we know what or how the situation affects him, nor to give him advice he/she didn’t ask for. Just listen.
Maybe ask something as simple as “tell me about it.” This way, you ask him to become intimate with you, to share his feelings, his thoughts. You ask him to let you in.
No matter how well you feel we know our partner, don’t transform him/her into someone you know. This is how we get used to someone and how they stop being interesting for us because we choose to know instead of finding out.
Sometimes even empathy stands in our way of becoming intimate with one another. As good as empathy can be, it can stand in the form of reality. We assume what the other one feels based on what we think, and we get emotional. We start acting according to our feelings and not our partner’s. we become intimate with ourselves and not our partner.
So, if you want to experience real intimacy with your loved one, first learn to listen to him/her. Offer him/her the space for disclosure, and that space is your imagination. Put it aside and let your partner fill that space with the reality of his/her feelings. Being alive, intimacy will generate intimacy. And intimacy leads to commitment. The kind of commitment that isn’t declared, but it can be felt.