The Webster Dictionary describes intimacy as a close familiarity or friendship; closeness. Synonyms for the word are closeness, togetherness, affinity, rapport, attachment, familiarity, amity, affection or warmth. Sexual relations or lovemaking can be included as part of the definition as well.
Humans instinctively look for connection. We connect with our parents when we are young. We connect with friends in school. We connect and disconnect with relationship partners when hormones begin to rage in our teen years. As we become young adults we look for connection from people who have similar interests to validate who we are, what we think and how we feel. Humans want to connect.
Intimacy between two people connects them with a closeness that helps each person to understand the other and build friendship or closeness that in turn allows for attachment and connection. When a person is able to be vulnerable, open and accepting and these conditions are reciprocated, the feelings that erupt can bring forth intimacy. An important factor of a relationship is the ability to share the quiet space within without walls or guards. Children welcome vulnerability with their parents because they have not learned to build walls that can block the attachment. Siblings develop the close familiarity through shared experiences growing up in the same household. Can romantic partners also share in this level of intimacy?
Perhaps the connection we want begins and is maintained by the closeness of intimacy. In my view, it is like the glue the holds relationships together. I have wondered how some couples continuously promote intimacy in their relationships in excess of 50 years. I also find it curious that other couples are not successful maintaining a comfortable level of intimacy and proceed to divorce.
Is there a formula that everyone should know? Of course, if there was, then everyone would simply choose the partners with whom a certain level of intimacy and vulnerability can be achieved. Or is it possible to individually work towards one’s own personal vulnerability that allows openness, readiness and willingness for possible intimate connections? I tend to think that the latter is true. Vulnerability starts at home if you will.
Forgive me if this blog is a little like my thought process, but I am wondering if a person works to increase his own vulnerability then he can achieve greater intimacy in various relationships, including the romantic ones?