I have been challenged to publish a series on spousal relationships to assist individuals understand how to enjoy amazing intimacy without having the drama. In future posts, we’ll look at how clinginess, narcissism, and being a control freak can get in the way of romance. We’ll also address why people end up with companions who aren’t right for them and why some people just can’t devote.
These matters might not sound positive, but the good news is that learning more regarding how things go wrong in romantic relationships can educate us how we can make things right. In this first column, we’ll take into account why intimacy can be so desirable– and so unpleasant. Then we’ll understand some pointers for approaching intimacy in ongoing or future relationships.
What Is Intimacy?
What Intimacy Really Implies.
Is affection love? Is it great lovemaking? Is it just feeling comfortable with another person? Some say it’s about physicality; some say it’s about emotions; some claim it’s about “clicking” intellectually. Mental health experts typically work from the definition posed by developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, who described affection as “openness, discussing, mutual trust, self-abandon, and devotion … [with] a sense of mutual identities.” Shakespeare took a more poetic approach (not surprisingly), describing affection as a bud turned into a “beauteous flower.”.
Regardless of what affection is, it’s clear that it’s complicated. And it’s something we crave. Take a casual look around and you’ll find people seeking affection. We witness buddies having heart-to-heart chats, partners kissing, old married individuals looking after each other. Intimacy is in our songs, the movies we watch, and the books we read. For many of us (even those who love to be single), one thing in the back of our minds is often on the search for that very special romantic relationship.
It can be beneficial to think of affection as a “Field” of sorts. When individuals are “outside” the Field (in other words, whenever they do not feel affectionate), they can chat, have fun, argue, or have lovemaking without any much emotional investment. Intimacy without having affection is nice, but forgettable. An argument without any intimacy stings, but is pretty easy to let go. A good time without having affection is just one more good day– and not much more.
Affection, Meet Vulnerability.
When a man or woman enters the Field of Intimacy, things change. Their partner becomes incredibly important. The intimacy is more meaningful. The fun has magic. And the arguments hurt– a lot. Although it’s delightful and worthwhile, real affection has a peculiar downside: It can be very painful, and it can lead to individuals doing things they probably would not “normally” do, from obsessing over a disagreement to really feeling rejected if a companion fails to respond to a text message.
As Shakespeare also said, “The course of genuine love certainly never did run smooth.” The (sort of) good news is this: We’ve all been there. And we can learn from each other’s prior experiences.
Digging Much deeper.
What Affection Really Means.
In coming articles, we’ll get an even more in-depth look at challenges of intimacy and vulnerability, including anger, clinginess, narcissism, and commit-phobia. Even though the definition of “affection” is largely varied, there are some components to intimacy that are true throughout the board. I advise individuals keep these points in mind as they consider the intimate relationships in their lives:.
Affection is emotional and physiological. As affection cultivates, the body releases powerful hormones like oxytocin and endorphins. It’s a chemical high that opens individuals up.
The Field of Affection can cause people to remember (and perhaps even re-live) previous sensations of closeness. If a particular person was poorly treated by a family member or partner in the past, they may be afraid of this suffering will happen all over again. In some scenarios, this unconscious worry can make someone clingy or controlling.
Maturescence is required to make affection work. While great lovemaking and deep bonding can transpire to everybody when we’re young, these aspects alone aren’t sufficient to make things last. In order to make it, spouses need to acknowledge that they will, at times, disappoint, insult, or annoy each other. This is simply the way it is.
On many occasions, individuals are attracted to the very individual who will hurt or deny them. Patients often ask, “Why is it that I date such fools all the damn time?” The reply is that the non-jerks (a.k.a. good guys or gals) do not appeal to them– at least not yet.
Intimacy is difficult. It challenges us. It asks us to surrender our feelings of being in command. It is also, very frequently, worth it. In the midst of relationship drama, there are lessons for making it all work. Stay tuned.