Intimacy Issues

I never thought that I would be amongst those who had a problem with intimacy. Taking a gander around me, all things considered, it looked like I was a pretty good catch. I was self-supporting, un-fettered by a lingering ex, and un-encumbered by accidental offspring. Nor did I sport reproductive issues in the form of a ticking time bomb known during the 80’s as the infamous “Biological Clock.” Yep, I figured that I’d pretty much had all the biggies covered.

Or so I’d thought….

With real life come real events and issues that blindside you if you’re not paying attentionAbout three thousand years ago, after a relatively uneventful courtship, I got married. I had just turned 27 and was comparatively naive at the time. I had this pre-conceived fairytale notion of how everything is supposed to unfold in a relationship and subsequent marriage. All mapped out nice and pretty, right? What I hadn’t counted on was real life setting in. With real life come real events and issues that blindside you if you’re not paying attention. These sort of occurrences can manifest a prominent wedge, not to mention drive the final stake into your marriage if you are not in total synch with your significant other. The marriage essentially falls to pieces like a house of cards. This was, of course, the case with my marriage. In hindsight, when boiling it down to basics, the ultimate failure of the marriage was a lack of true intimacy. At the time, I can honestly say that I didn’t even know what true intimacy was, let alone be capable of it.

The truth of the matter is that I’m not talking about sex. Anyone can have sex. Anyone can have sexual intimacy for that matter. I mean, let’s face it, Jerry Springer doesn’t host a cooking show. Some people make a career of sexual conquests, thinking that sexual intimacy and true intimacy are one and the same. Actually, the two go hand-in-hand, often operating concurrently at varying degrees during the life of an intimate relationship. But each are very separate in where and how they originate, as well as how they determine strength (and weakness) in that same relationship.

For example, quite often you’ll come across a couple on the street walking together, both sporting a bit of snow on the roof — and they’ll emanate a sort of exclusivity between them. They’re friendly enough to other people, of course. But these are the type of people that make it through thick and thin, for decades, and still finish each other’s sentences. Long after the physical relationship has more than likely diminished over the years, there’s a psychic and mental intimacy that is prevalent to a degree that most folks are unfamiliar with in this modern day.

It’s been my experience, given the time period in which I grew up, where any type of vulnerability as a woman was frowned upon. I was just as good as a man in terms of my “keeping it together.” I refused to let anyone into my psyche, lest I reveal my deepest fears and expose my extremely soft underbelly. Remarkably, back when I was married, this tendency was at its strongest. And judging from the multitudes of divorces I hear about every day, I’m guessing that I’m not alone.

Everything I said, did, as well as my facial expressions were being held up to a light and examinedThis brings me to my recent epiphany, which stemmed from the relationship that I’m in right now. It started out normally enough, with all the fanfare (and great sex!) that go with a budding relationship. However, as it evolved, there seemed to be an underlying, yet unfamiliar characteristic that kept manifesting itself in our interactions. Things would be going smoothly when suddenly this facet would rear its then-ugly head, interfering with my relationship — and drop me like a wrench across the knees. At the time, I had no idea what I was dealing with, but I would soon find out.

I was being closely observed — and no, not through my window at night by some creep. This uncomfortably close observation was by a man with whom I was very seriously involved. Everything I said, did, as well as my facial expressions were being held up to a light and examined. This sounded like obsessive behavior to me, not to mention a bit intimidating. I mean, let’s face it, no one likes having a mirror held up to them, let alone often and without warning.

I fought this new territory tooth and nail. This was weird. I didn’t like being read like an open book. This meant that I could hide nothing. Scared is such a small word for how I felt. I didn’t quite understand this at first, but what had been the norm for my partner through his entire life, truly getting to know what makes someone tick, was a means of intimacy — something I apparently had to learn from scratch. The actual characteristics that I was afraid to reveal, my vulnerabilities and imperfections, were the very traits that were ultimately making me more endearing to him.

Then I began to realize that this is what a real relationship is all about. All of that pre-programmed, self-protective nonsense that I’ve been living with up to this point had prevented me from reaching this higher level. I had been creating my own glass ceiling in terms of my level of intimacy by virtue of building that tough exoskeleton that I’m so proud of. I had been protecting myself from everyone that ever wanted to be close to me. I’m just fortunate that I came across this individual that cared enough about me to hang in there until I came around. It’s still a work in progress, but what relationship that’s worth having isn’t?

So, I guess you’ll have to ask yourself what’s more important to you right now. Sure, there’s that pesky “Biological Clock” to contend with because of the choices we’ve made in our lives. But, more importantly, can we afford to ignore the intimacy “conception” potential that seems to be so rare these days. Is it possible to allow our intended into our oh-so-resilient forcefield in order to give him a real lap around our race track?

Only you can know if this is the right person to let into your life for real. But, ask yourself, if this is the right one, why cheat yourself out of the one thing that can turn your life into a three-dimensional experience as opposed to two? Of course, the risks are great, but the rewards are perpetual as well as infinite.

Andrea See all posts by Andrea
is a BADASSCHICK Magazine™ contributor
  • vanessa

    wow, did you ever hit the nail on the head! this is exactly my problem. thanks for the perspective.

    v

  • Melba

    I couldnt agree more with Vanessa. I never even really knew the true meaning of intimacy. Ive been married for 8 years and here i thought i was close to my husband….Boy here i go back to therapy. Thanks for the enlightment.

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