love, Love + Dating, personal
Comments 13

Cracking shells

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]

And:

“… 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]

Or:

“…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.

BlogPicCrab

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:

Brené Brown TED Talk

And my world has never been the same. But I sense the search for true intimacy has only just begun…

13 Comments

  1. I can find times in my life where I have experienced true intimacy with a total stranger, when i have been in well contained workshop where the space has been held, I have sat with an openness that has happened with out anyone me or a facilitator doing any thing. From what I know in my own experience, I have a constant ongoing strategy using distractions to not be here, to not be intimate. it is automatic until I be deeply curious about it, the pain of not being intimate starts to call me to notice all of the ways I avoid it. this is what I have noticed so far. Thanks for inviting me into the share on intimacy.

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    • Wow, that is such a wonderfully sensitive and insightful comment, thank you so much for posting it. It sounds as though you have a softness that I am still only just beginning to identify, for even in workshops I know I hold myself back… I am going to follow your suggestion re being curious about distractions, that’s so smart! 🙂 xo

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  2. I love posts that make me stop and think deeply. Intimacy, trust and vulnerability are three things I struggle with but I didn’t Know that until now, so thank you for shinning a light into my life. I will check out the vid too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I’m so glad my post worked for you! That’s great: we’re all here to help each other aren’t we? And Brené Brown has certainly helped me, so do let me know what you thought of her talk- perhaps you could blog about it? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post… and I’m glad I sparked an idea for a post. 🙂

    I recently asked this question on a date (I’m pretty sure it was on date #1 with Professor Luke) and his response made me realize that I have experienced intimacy before. It was with a particular male friend from my distance past. Interestingly, I have not experienced true intimacy with any of my lovers. I wonder why. I think I need to examine this further – I suspect it’s because I don’t feel safe sharing deep thoughts with lovers or maybe it’s because we never established deep communication. Certainly food for thought!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s fascinating isn’t it, what we can learn from all this dating? I think ‘shame’ has a lot to do with not feeling safe to reveal deeper thoughts & needs… another post topic there for sure! I’m glad you enjoyed the post & commented- thanks for the inspiration 🙂

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      • True. I just wonder why I feel shame, though. ?? One thing I have learned is that I need to be more honest when expressing myself.

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        • Exactly: we’re often taught (as women, esp ones who have a healthy sex drive) to be ashamed of what we want & even need- hence our reluctance to initiate sex, & put up with unsatisfactory relationships for a long time… its complex! And definitely worth investigation

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, definitely complex. What I was thinking was more non-sexual but I do also have some hang-ups about initiating sex. I think that’s more of a preference, though. I want the man to initiate because I want to feel desired.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yes. Friendships, dating, sex, & relationships are all incredibly illuminating about how we feel about what we want, & the wounds or less healthy patterns we have. I’m enjoying my journey, as well as yours 😊

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Dating for Self-Discovery | Back in Stilettos Again

  5. Pingback: “Conflict is essential for emotional growth & development…” | bone&silver

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