Defining IntimacyFreshly off reading a story and a comment thread by my friend LaoTzu ("Let Me Pose a Question") and it got me thinking... how do we define intimacy? by acts, by attitude, by a feeling?
I have known so little intimacy in my marriage -- yes, sex, but also just simple closeness. My X had so many strategies to put distance between us when I would want to be close. Pick fights, refuse sex or conversation, have a chore to do, point out my faults, tell me something one of the kids did that needed dealing with so I would forget that I was seeking to connect with him, a video game that needed finishing/winning, come home late from work so we had no alone time, make fun of me, tell me I'm too "everything" (needy, talkative, open) and basically all sorts of strategies to close down any intimacy we could have had. Looking back I see it much more clearly. He really couldn't give anyone what I so craved, not just me. In fairness I wasn't so great at giving it or receiving it when we first got together either. My emotional growth wasn't there. So it kind of worked at first. I think I thought he wanted it too but like me hadn't gotten there yet and that we would grow together to reach there. Instead I wanted something he feared. So I spent my marriage making him feel I wanted something he was terrified of and me sad and empty. We were incompatible. We literally and simply wanted different things.
I know it when I feel it. I know it when I am simply in the moment, nothing else in the world in my awareness in that moment except the connection between you and me. Knowing it when I feel it is easy for me. It only requires self-awareness and a willingness to accept what is present.
After the moment that is so intimate I find myself wanting to reality-check it. Did that really happen? I felt that deep connection and it felt more fulfilling than I imagined it would, so could it be real? He didn't pick a fight or make fun of me to get away from it. If anything he had the same contented little sighs I made and wrapped himself around me in the same way I felt. I am so used to feeling like someone does NOT feel the way I feel and that closeness is something you have to push for that I ask myself "is this a dream?" Is there actually someone I am deeply invested in who is deeply invested in me and wants the same thing I desire, so we are creating it together?
The answer is yes. It takes some effort on my part not to wonder if/when the other shoe may drop. But that lingering doubt takes place when we are apart. In the moment I am entirely just in the moment and it actually is what I always thought I wanted plus a bit more fulfilling even. It seems to fill such a soul place for me that doing anything but just being there would be so hurtful to my own self that I couldn't imagine it.
No wonder I was so sad in my marriage. It really didn't meet my most basic needs.