What does it mean to be intimate with someone?
What does it feel like? How do you know and how do you get there?
People often describe intimacy in terms of the physical which I believe is so limited. For me intimacy is defined way beyond the physical. It represents a true private, personal, close connection that comes about from sharing a unique bond, a deep sort of friendship. I’m still learning about what it entails but I feel like I have struck gold.
A while back my partner and I were having a conversation about what makes relationships special- I think it’s what first made us both start talking about what intimacy meant to us both. There were a lot of things that had to happen before we were that comfortable. The most important thing I think was opening ourselves up to vulnerability.
Being vulnerable is a scary thing. It’s opening yourself up to the possibility of being hurt and most people would rather not go through that, but there’s also so much power in vulnerability, if you shield yourself from the the probability of hurt you also shield yourself from experiencing a powerful bond with another human being. We had both experienced hurt in different dimensions so making a decision to be honest and transparent toward each other wasn’t easy and we had a lot of rocky moments where our trust for one another was shaky. As we continued to slowly build our trust in each other we were able to be more vulnerable.
I can’t say the moment in which it changed but I can tell you that the first time I felt truly intimate with my partner was one day when I had a huge problem. I was at my wits end and completely lost as to what to do. As I had the courage to tell him what had happened, he quietly said “let’s pray”. At that point I was already in tears and even if I wanted to protest I couldn’t. He began to pray and I was truly moved, because every word that came out of his mouth sounded like it was coming out of my heart. It’s a moment i’ll never forget for the rest of my life.
The second time was walking into church one Sunday, we were walking in front of my mum, hands linked. I’m not sure if I’ve talked about my spirituality here before (post for another day maybe) but mostly I’ve had a rather shaky journey and to me it was such a big deal for someone not only to allow me to grow in my own pace but also be concerned and offer help along the way. I guess it was all symbolic.
I’ve watched my parents find intimacy again and it’s just beautiful. I saw them watching television on mute one day, sitting on the couch holding hands, I knew in that moment they were connected to each other, I quietly left the room and I’m sure they didn’t notice. Their relationship has been a difficult one, but somehow they are finding what they once lost.
It’s one of my favorite things about relationships (everything I’ve said and I’m saying can be applied to non-romantic relationships, just using mine as an example). Intimacy seems to be lost in a lot of relationships these days, since I’ve only recently discovered it I can’t really give many pointers, but its so powerful, it’s the thing that still makes me feel so close when I’m over 10,000km away. I’ll say this though; be honest, be honest about what you want and who you are, don’t be afraid to let it all show, be honest about your fears, your dreams, even the silly ones. Be true to the person you are.