Intimacy in Committed Relationships
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Intimacy in Committed Relationships
During the Serious Dating phase, the Baby-Boomer couple begins to look at deepening their level of intimacy, spending more time together, and doing more activities where they can assess whether their potential partner has and can demonstrate compassion, cooperation and compromise—necessary qualities in which to get along with others. Participating in more varied situations and all the major holidays, and observing how your potential partner conducts themselves in these varied settings should be evaluated before making a commitment. This stage too should take between six and twelve months. (I’m sure Baby-Boomers would say that this is too long, but this is just a guide, and for the older crowd, maybe this time frame could be halved.)
“Kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly, and forgive quickly”
~ Paulo Coelho
In The Prophet, Khalil Gibran writes, ‘let there be spaces in your togetherness.’ He also says,
stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.’
Intimacy is a dance—just as with music there must be spaces between the notes, so too does there need to be spaces between the individuals within a relationship.
Everyone has a psychological need for space, especially right after a deeply intimate moment—it seems most people just don’t know how to handle the nakedness and vulnerability of being intimate; this is just part of the dance of intimacy.
There are healthy ways to create space, and there are unhealthy ways.
I was always puzzled by my former fiancé’s behaviour. It seemed to me that every time there was something good happening in our relationship he’d get angry about something within forty-eight hours. I remember one time he bought me a computer with all the bells and whistles—this was on a Thursday, before the weekend was over he’d had a blow-up that I was ignoring him by not sitting watching TV with him; I was doing homework for a night class I was taking at the kitchen table. I couldn’t believe it. And his anger raged for twenty-four hours. That was our first disagreement.
There were three times when I noticed that we’d just spent a wonderful time together and shortly thereafter he’d have an emotional outburst—even two days after we became engaged! I and my daughter both brought this to his attention and asked him if he was trying to sabotage the relationship because he didn’t feel worthy of that much goodness. He denied that.
Now I suspect that this was just his way of getting space in the relationship.
Just as a building needs support on the four corners, so too does a relationship; the four corners of a relationship should be Spirit, self, partner, and others. Each couple, and the individuals, will have to discuss and decide on how much togetherness they desire and need in their relationship.
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