Online dating is fun. Staying single is also awesome. Being in relationship (for me) has usually ended up being too hard. One of my fellow online daters and Followers over at BackInStilettosAgain commented on my last post Episode 5 HERE that she didn’t know if she’d ever actually experienced true intimacy, or even knew what it was. That got me thinking…
She was married for 12 years, with 2 children; I have one beautiful son ‘Almost17’, and have lived with 6 different partners since I was 19. Yet she and I both feel like we still haven’t experienced true intimacy- how can this be??
Intimacy is defined by various webpages as:
“… The experience of emotional closeness. It occurs when two people are able to be open with one another, and reveal their true feelings, thoughts, fears and desires. This can only occur when both people are able to genuinely trust one another, and feel able to take the risk of being vulnerable.” [MensLine Australia]
“… About being emotionally close to your partner, about being able to let your guard down, and let him or her know how you really feel.” [Relationships Australia]
“…Denoting mutual vulnerability, openness, and sharing. … Intimacy is sometimes used to denote sexual interactions because of the closeness these interactions usually involve. Intimacy in a relationship is usually something that is built over time.” [GoodTherapy.org]
OK, now I’m not bragging, but I’ve had some fine sexual intimacy in my time so far, which I’m sure most of us can agree on, after 40+ years on the planet? So how have I gotten to 50, yet still feel somehow ‘unknown’ to an Other?
Well, partly cos I’m a Cancerian Crab, with a tough outer shell. I’m also actually an Introvert, albeit an extroverted one. I’m also kinda private (hilarious I know, seeing as I’m Blogging about all this now). But I’ve got to go back to that Attached book again, and admit that I have been a hugely-Avoidant person, sailing through life mainly dodging too much depth, demands, or revelations.
It’s basically Trust isn’t it? Somewhere in my early childhood, I worked out that the best way for me to feel safe and secure was to shut down a part of me that was tender and ‘needy’, and just take care of myself. I’m sure many of you have done the same thing. It’s quite sensible really, in the face of various distresses/wounds/misunderstandings etc, even if your parental home is loving and kind. The best Mum and Dad in the world are still going to miss approx 50% of their children’s cues for attention [Johnson 2008], and the experience of that lack of ‘attunement’ has to be dealt with somehow…
Attachment Theory posits that all our adult behaviour is a function of trying to avoid, replicate, or heal those wounds.
Hands up the Avoiders? Me! And quite happy about it too thanks. Such an effective way to stay safe.
But then, along with a few other factors, like multiple wise exes & friends, therapy and Chiron the Comet, I watched this TED talk by Brené Brown, one of the Top 5 most watched talks, with almost 29 million views (at least 10 of which are mine); please please watch it, she’s super funny + smart:
And my world has never been the same. But I sense the search for true intimacy has only just begun…