Intimacy is a mysterious word in relationships.
Even now as you read this, you’ll be conjuring up an idea of what intimacy is. Which isn’t hard, we all know what intimacy means to us but rarely do we take the time to find out what it means to our partner.
After all there are many different “types” of intimacy. People usually think of sexual/ physical intimacy but the siblings of sexual intimacy are emotional, social and spiritual.
Regardless of the relationship, (therapist, co-worker, friend or lover), intimacy begins when we start to disclose personal information. We drill down to parts of our history or personality that we fear others will judge us for.
“I grew up in a country town” versus “I was very lonely as an only child”.
The goal many couples have around intimacy is an understanding that “I’m okay exactly as I am”. This validation is reflected back to them from their partner. So in essence, sex is a form of stripping bare and being accepted, wobbly bits and all.
But we humans are so much more complex than that. We want to know that ALL of us is acceptable. Our mind, our emotions, our inner world. Not just our physical body.
The often over looked part of intimacy involves a relationship with yourself as much as it does with your partner.
When you’re telling your partner something important and vulnerable but your partner can’t meet you and validate you in your moment of baring all, you need to meet yourself.
When a particular moment in time means the world to you, but it doesn’t impact your partner in the same way – you need to meet and validate yourself.
There’s nothing wrong with other validated intimacy, it’s just not sustainable and drains the relationship quickly when we rely on it.
If you’re fighting over “who’s opinion is right” then chances are you’re really fighting for your partner to validate you in order to feel better about yourself.
When I rely on the outside world to reflect back to me, who I am, I need it to also agree with what I think. Otherwise it will shatter my sense of reality and I will feel anxious.
Couples often struggle to understand that their partner is a separate person to them and will have opinions and feelings that differ to theirs.
And that’s okay!
The key is, you can still be in an intimate relationship with someone who has a different opinion. You can still hold onto the pieces that make up “you” AND have room spare for your partner too!
If this blog really speaks to you and you recognise that you need to work on being less reliant on your partners’ approval and agreement, you should check out my Intimacy Bootcamp. We discuss why this happens and more.