I have been asked to write a series on spousal relationships to help people understand how to enjoy awesome intimacy without any the drama. In future columns, we’ll look at how clinginess, narcissism, and being a control freak can get in the way of romance. We’ll also address why individuals end up with partners who aren’t right for them and why some individuals just can’t devote.
These subjects might not sound enjoyable, but the good news is that grasping more about how things go wrong in romantic relationships can show us how we can make things right. In this first column, we’ll take into account why intimacy can be so appealing– and so distressing. Then we’ll grasp some guidelines for approaching intimacy in present or future intimate relationships.
What Is Affection?
What Affection Really Means.
Is intimacy love? Is it terrific intimacy? Is it simply feeling comfy with other people? A few claim it’s about physicality; some claim it’s about emotions; some claim it’s regarding “clicking” intellectually. Mental health specialists generally work from the meaning posed by developing psychologist Erik Erikson, who explained intimacy as “openness, sharing, shared trust, self-abandon, and devotion … [with] a way of shared identities.” Shakespeare took a more poetic approach (not surprisingly), describing affection as a bud transformed into a “beauteous flower.”.
What ever affection is, it’s clear that it’s complicated. And it’s something we crave. Take a casual look around and you’ll find individuals seeking intimacy. We watch buddies having heart-to-heart chats, partners kissing, old married people looking after each other. Intimacy is in our songs, the films we watch, and the books we read. For many of us (perhaps even those who love to be single), one thing in the back of our thoughts is often on the hunt for that very special relationship.
It can be helpful to think of intimacy as a “Field” of sorts. When people are “outside” the Field (in other words, when they do not feel intimate), they can discuss, have fun, argue, or make love without much mental investment. Sex without affection is nice, but forgettable. A disagreement without affection stings, but is fairly easy to let go. A good time without having intimacy is merely another delightful day– and not much more.
Intimacy, Meet Vulnerability.
When a person enters the Field of Affection, things change. Their significant other becomes incredibly important. The intimacy is more meaningful. The fun has magic. And the arguments hurt– a lot. Although it’s fascinating and desirable, authentic intimacy has a strange disadvantage: It can be distressing, and it can lead to people doing things they probably would not “usually” do, from obsessing over a disagreement to really feeling rejected if a significant other fails to respond to a message.
As Shakespeare also claimed, “The course of genuine love never did run hassle-free.” The (sort of) good news is this: We’ve all been there. And we can learn from one another’s experiences.
Digging Much deeper.
What Affection Really Implies.
In coming articles, we’ll get an even more in-depth look at problems of affection and vulnerability, including anger, clinginess, narcissism, and commit-phobia. Even though the meaning of “affection” is widely varied, there are some aspects to affection that are authentic across the board. I advise people always keep these things in mind as they consider the affectionate relationships in their lives:.
Intimacy is mental and physiological. As intimacy cultivates, the body releases strong hormones like oxytocin and endorphins. It’s a chemical high that opens individuals up.
The Field of Affection can trigger people to remember (and perhaps even re-live) previous encounters of closeness. If a person was poorly treated by a loved one or spouse in the past, they may be afraid this pain will come up all over again. In some scenarios, this unconscious anxiety can make anybody clingy or controlling.
Maturity is demanded to make affection work. While great lovemaking and deep bonding can transpire to everybody when we’re young, these aspects alone aren’t enough to make things last. So as to make it, spouses need to accept that they will, at times, let down, disrespect, or irritate each other. This is simply the way it is.
Generally, individuals are attracted to the very person who will hurt or deny them. Individuals usually ask me, “Why do I date such idiots all the time?” The reply is that the non-jerks (a.k.a. good guys or women) don’t fascinate them– at least not yet.
Intimacy is tough. It tests us. It asks us to surrender our feelings of being in control. It is also, very usually, worth it. In the midst of relationship drama, there are lessons for making things all work. Stay tuned.