Intimacy flows when we are open, kind, interested, supportive and self-revealing with each other.
Most of us say we want a close, connected intimate relationship, but this doesn't just happen. It is made up of two essential parts: revealing yourself and accepting your partner. While this might sound easy, it is generally quite challenging for two reasons:
- In order to reveal yourself, you need to know yourself.
- In order to accept your partner, you need to accept yourself.
Intimacy occurs when we each share ourselves with our partner — revealing our feelings of love for our partner, as well as our fears, vulnerabilities, hopes, desires, and needs. It's the sharing of feelings that creates intimacy.
Sharing Yourself With Your Partner
In order to share your feelings, you need to know your feelings, and this is where it can get tricky. How often are you aware of what you feel? Do you avoid your feelings by focusing in your head rather than in your body where your feelings are? Do you avoid your feelings by judging them or by turning to various addictions to numb them out?
When you learn to accept your own feelings and learn from them rather than avoid them or judge them, then you can share your feelings and your learning with your partner.
Another tricky aspect of sharing your feelings with your partner is why you are sharing them. Are you sharing them to make your partner responsible for them or are you sharing them as a way of revealing yourself to your partner — a way of creating connection with your partner? Understanding your intent in sharing your feelings is vital to creating intimacy. When you are taking responsibility for your own feelings and learning from them, then sharing them with your partner will deepen your intimacy.
Accepting Your Partner
In order to fully accept your partner when he or she reveals themselves to you, you need to be accepting of yourself. Judging yourself can lead to judging your partner, which creates an unsafe space for your partner to share themselves with you. If your partner is afraid of your judgment, then he or she will likely withhold information about themselves, which creates walls rather than intimacy.
Intimacy flows naturally when each person takes responsibility for accepting and valuing themselves, so they can then accept and value their partner. When you do not accept and value yourself, you will then make your partner responsible for giving you the acceptance and valuing that you are not giving to yourself. This creates a problem, in that intimacy flows when you are sharing your love with your partner, rather than trying to get love. Intimacy is thwarted when one or both partners are trying to get love instead of share love.
In order to share love, you need to have love to share. You will have love to share when you are loving and valuing yourself — not when you are abandoning yourself. When you are abandoning yourself by judging yourself or by focusing in your head rather than your heart or by turning to addictions, you cut yourself off from your source of love, which creates an inner emptiness. When you try to connect with your partner from an empty place, your partner will feel a pull from you to give you the love you are not giving to yourself. Your partner might try to fill you or your partner might resist that responsibility, but in either case, loving feelings will not flow between you.
Intimacy flows when we are each open, kind, interested, supportive, and self-revealing with each other. It flows when we each feel safe to reveal our deepest fears and secrets and receive acceptance in return. In order to give this wonderful safe space to each, we each need to give it to ourselves as well. This is where our inner work comes in — the work we each need to do to learn to love, value and accept ourselves.
We feel intimate and connected with our partner when we know that we have each other's back — that we can each, at times, fall apart and receive warm, loving comfort and acceptance from each other. This is one of the greatest values of a loving relationship — to see and be seen, to hear and be heard, to understand and be understood, to give and receive love.
Nothing in life ever comes close to the joy of sharing this kind of love with your beloved.