About the Author

Honey's main interests are online dating, long distance dating, and long term relationships. She met her boyfriend on MySpace and they have been exclusive since their first date over three years ago. Currently they live in Tempe, Arizona. Honey graduated with her PhD in Composition and Rhetoric in May 2009. You can contact Honey via email here or online here.

Into-Me-See: A Couple’s Guide to Intimacy

Everyone catch that pop culture reference from the greatest tv show of all time?  SATC, bitchez!

All right then, moving on.  I was intrigued by Lance’s treatment of intimacy, what it means, why we crave it, and whether it is necessary.  This reminded me not only of the title of the fake book from Sex and the City when Samantha and her boyfriend go to couple’s counseling because he has a small dick, but also of the moment in that show where Miranda is describing to Carrie how her favorite thing to do on a Saturday night is her boyfriend’s laundry.  Then, in the next episode, their relationship is in jeopardy and when Carrie says,

“But things were going so well!?”

Miranda replies, “Maybe I mistook falling into a rut with intimacy.”

And this is where I have to start really thinking because when people start getting to know the “real you,” or embracing you, “warts and all,” well–that is all too often the time in the relationship when the sexual tension flies out the window (or, to make another SATC reference, the za-za-zoo is gone!).

For me, then, the real question about the meaning of intimacy becomes this:

How Can I Show This Person The “Real Me” And Still Maintain the Zing?

Because, let’s face it, the fact that my boyfriend tears his toenails off with his hands while watching television and then goes to bed forgetting to throw the little pile of skin and nails that he’s left on the coffee table into the trash doesn’t exactly make me want to jump his bones.

The key, I think, to true intimacy lies in some of the things that Lance pointed out–a) if you’re going to have a truly intimate romantic, sexual relationship with a significant other, then you can’t just have one type of intimacy.  Physical, good as it is, isn’t enough: you need the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual stuff, too.

Also key to achieving intimacy is the idea that you can only share something if it belongs solely to you.  This is vital to the idea of self-differentiation (and avoidance of co-dependency) that Lance mentions.  This is also how to maintain the zing:

  • The moments in your relationship that are reserved for the two of you alone belong to both of you; that is, they’re shared with no other.  This is vital, but I think it also means that you’re not technically sharing them with each other, either–you’re experiencing them together.
  • The things you share with your partner are the things you tell them that they don’t already know–your physical desires in a particular moment, your emotional needs as a result of the rough day at work, your intellectual take on the state of politics in our country…you get the idea.

If this definition of intimacy is true, at least for me (because I think everyone’s definitions are a little bit different) then in order to maintain an intimate relationship, you have to be constantly thinking new things, seeking out new experiences, living your life in such a way that you have new thoughts, aspirations, and accomplishments that your partner hasn’t heard before or can’t predict.  That is, to truly share, there have to be moments, issues, etc., when you are truly separate.  This ensures that not only will you always have things in your life to share, you will always be a surprise–and, therefore, a source of the zing!

Thoughts?

Dad’s House talked about the difference between physical intimacy and emotional intimacy, and Single Mom Seeking waded in with her own thoughts on sex and intimacy, be sure to check them out!

If this post made you want to zing Honey, you might enjoy the following:

  • http://20-forty.com/ lisaq

    I completely agree. It’s about truly sharing but opening up that part of you no one else sees. Nicely put!

    lisaq´s last blog post…Weekly Roundup

  • http://dadshouseblog.com dadshouse

    Great insights, Honey! Something that goes hand-in-hand with all that sharing – being present to your partner when they share! I can’t tell you how many of my “close” friends think I have the same thought patterns now that I did when I got divorced 9 years ago! It’s like they haven’t looked or listened for a decade.

    The same can happen in a relationship. Even if your partner changes, if you aren’t present and really watching and listening and noticing when they share their new awarenesses and thought patterns with you, then you resort to a stale image of them.

    dadshouse´s last blog post…Physical Intimacy

  • http://honeyandlance.com/contact Lance

    I like this stuff, I like what you’re talking about when you’re talking about sharing experiences (I touched on this) and experiencing new things and not falling into a rut.

    For me, intimacy is not strongly connected with maintaining zing or a vibrant sexual connection. IMO intimacy simply means knowing someone deeply, particularly on an emotional level.

    My question then is being an emotional intimate with someone the end goal of a good relationship? I mean, is that it? Let’s talk about our feelings after a rough day at the office? What are your hopes and dreams?

    I think a relationship is MOSTLY about experiencing things together. I think that’s why people get married (“yea, it’s our BIG day!”), have kids (“the joy of parenthood”), travel together, have sex in weird locations, go socialize together. I mean, if all you do is explore each other’s emotional terrain, that’s seems pretty mundane and not sustainable. Also, is my emotional terrain interesting enough to explore?? I guess that’s the issue I have with intimacy…and it may be the problem that many male players have with LTR’s. They’ve seen all the emotional terrain you can imagine because they’ve been with all the women. So intimacy is not very interesting to them.

    Not sure where I’m going with this argument, or even if it is an argument, and I have to admit I’ve had a couple of jack-and-cokes tonight so I might be a little more prickish than usual.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Lisaq, thanks!

    Good point, DM–a relationship should not only be about making sure that you constantly grow and change, but about being present and noticing and appreciating the fact that your partner is doing the same.

    Lance, the argument that I am making is that by defining intimacy simply as the trust necessary to share one’s emotional terrain, it becomes a finite process. Finite processes become less interesting the moment they are complete, because there is nothing else. This is part of the reason many couples have such a crappy relationship–it’s like a video game.

    The woman is like, “we achieved this final level, game over, let’s get married,” and the guy is like, “we achieved this final level, game over, let’s move on to the next relationship.”

    By defining intimacy in a way that makes it a living, evolving, ongoing process–by making it something we can never achieve once and for all–I am creating a relationship with the BF that is sustainable long-term. And that’s a wonderful thing.

    Honey´s last blog post…Into-Me-See: A Couple’s Guide to Intimacy

  • http://www.singlemomseeking.com/blog single mom seeking

    Lance, thanks for the inspiration! It’s really great to see this “side” of you. You’ve got me thinking — and I posted my thoughts….

    Honey, I love how you define intimacy: “a living, evolving, ongoing process.”

    Right on. I’m so there.

    single mom seeking´s last blog post…What does it really mean to be intimate?