Intimacy

Hickey girls

Intimacy = private, trusting, truthful and no-reprisal.

Intimacy with travelers I never met before was the very best aspect of my years  traveling. I couldn’t get enough! It was heaven. Why is it easy to be intimate with people we don’t know and so hard with people we do?

They have no axe to grind!

Several years ago I indulged in an informational survey, asking women with a significant other if they felt their man had intimacy in his life. They invariably responded thus: “Oh, he has lots of friends.” When I asked her who he spoke to if he had a problem with their relationship she invariably reflected a moment and said with concern, “I’ve been telling him to get a friend he can talk to.”

I like the intimacy Shirley McLaine had with her daughter in Terms of Endearment – each individual overcoming the age barrier to expose private thoughts, trusting the other would listen without reprisal.  Let’s compare that to my friend that said, “I abhor the dishonesty in hiding what I really feel, but hate the conflict that results from exposing my inner feelings.” Intimacy is not conflict.

Why let someone into our private world if s/he is going to slam us? Unresolved issues, criticism, and arguments kill intimacy! And let’s face it, without practice intimacy decreases over time. For example, he’s a saver; she throws away. As time passes, comments about that difference becomes toxic, one of many toxic habits that cause fights. Keats probably said, “Beauty is truth. Truth is beauty,” because truth is so hard to maintain, and without it you can’t sustain intimacy.

Early in relationships, private, trusting, truthful and no reprisal are usually strongest. Occasionally, a life-shattering event, like serious illness or certain sexual behavior spurs intimacy. How many relationships could be saved if the offended party in a sex-based crisis asked: “Why did you do it?” Then discussed the answer without judgement? You mean, take out ego! Yes!! My business partner listened to and discussed my issues, trusting they were valid. Truth was beauty!

One day a fellow traveler I met in Uganda discussed with me her impending marriage. She said she had three serious issues, but didn’t discuss them with him because it would take away from the romance. Wanna bet those three issues will follow them through life.

The truth is there nothing more intimate and liberating than open discussion with  a trusting, truthful and no-reprisal attitude.You want intimacy, go to someone you trust and talk about their latest issue with you with an open mind.

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