Especially in the fast moving modern society there are seemingly enough good reasons to avoid intimacy and closeness. In fact, time is money and not love. Some people try to rebuild closeness and intimacy on special occasions. The best example is Valentine’s Day. On this day many people go crazy and declare that this day is the proof for intimacy. They go out for a romantic dinner, offer the beloved person roses and think that this closeness and intimacy. However, take into consideration that this is nothing else but an illusion of intimacy. It is the attempt to compensate for the missing intimacy over the year by focusing on the outside (romantic dinner, roses, presents) on this very day. It is a little bit like x-mas: 1 day a year everything has to match the perfect picture.
In order to create fulfilling relationship, it is however important to be attentive and constantly create moments of intimacy. Yet, before you can actually start to create more intimacy and closeness in your relationship, it is important to put the spotlight first of all on how you have been avoiding intimacy. If you don’t have clarity about your conscious and unconscious strategies for avoiding intimacy, it is difficult to create more intimacy and bring your relationship to a different level.
STEP 1: The Question HOW?
There are different strategies people use to avoid intimacy (remark: intimacy does not only include sex, but actually nourishing, deep being with each other). In the following you find some examples. Be radically honest and check for yourself which aspects apply for you. How do you avoid closeness and intimacy?
- You work long
Your job is one of the most obvious strategies to avoid intimacy. How often have you returned home after a long work day and were so tired or exhausted that the only thing you wanted to do was sleep or watch TV? Or the other way round, your partner came home completely worn out and was no longer open for closeness and intimacy. Maybe you even bring home some work stuff?
- You are ongoing busy
Another common strategy is to be busy even when you are at home. For example, while being at home with your partner, it occurs to you that:
- The bathroom still has to be cleaned
- The garbage has to be taken out
- The things are still sitting in the basement that you wanted to bring to the buyback center
- The lawn has to be cut (if you are living in a house with a garden, it is actually very easy to find possibilities for avoiding intimacy, because there are at any time enough things to do in, outside and around the house you can use to escape from intimacy.
In this case you are going through your to-do list in your mind and thus miss the precious moments, where intimacy could occur.
- You watch TV / read the newspaper / check your mobile / sit in front of your computer
Another strategy to avoid intimacy is to watch TV or read the newspaper even though your partner is at home and probably even sitting with you on the couch. Probably you feel this urge to quickly look at your mobile to check the latest posts on facebook or your latest emails. Have you actually done this, while your partner was sharing something important? Another version of this is that you sit in front of your computer for hours surfing the web or playing computer games.
- You drink alcohol or take other drugs to seemingly relax
This is oftentimes closely related with a long work day. For many people alcohol is a possibility to seemingly relax. However, if you do it regularly, it can be part of the strategy to not allow intimacy, “forget” things and suppress feeling that would in fact be a doorway to more closeness. The same applies when you go outside to smoke a cigarette or take other drugs the moment when the door for deeper conversations or a higher degree of intensity opens up.
- You constantly invite friends at home or meet people elsewhere
There are also couples that keep inviting friends at home, go out for dinner with them or meet them in a bar several times a week. This is a perfect possibility to get lost in the outside and destroy the space for intimacy. When other people are around you, it is easy to stay in superficial contact with your partner.
- Your attention is only on the kids
If you have children, it can be a very clever strategy to avoid intimacy with your partner by putting all of your attention on the kids. Kids in fact need attention, right?! At the same time it is very easy – and for the one or the other a welcomed possibility – to get lost in the kids and lose sight of the relationship with the partner.
- It is only about logistics
A trap with regard to intimacy is that you only talk with your partner about daily logistics. When you come home after a long work day, it is probably just about who brings the car to the garage, the kids to the hiking excursion and the mother in law to the doctor. The mean thing about this is that you might think that these things are actually really important and need to be clarified. This kind of talking to each other might even feel like and intimate moment (at least you talk to each other). However, take into consideration that there might be a point in the conversation where the logistics are actually clear and another door opens up that you don’t use. Instead it is more secure to stick to logistical stuff.
- You burn for a project / You both burn for a project
Maybe you are surprised right now. Why do you avoid intimacy, when you burn for a project? Well, the risk is the following: When you really burn for a project and you give all your power and energy into this project, because it actually nourishes you, then it can easily happen that the project prepossesses you. Then it might feel as if you cannot stop working for it. Then you keep thinking of it ongoing, talk just about this project and get absorbed in a kind of energetic project cloud.
This can also happen, when you burn together with your partner for a project and even work on it together. In this case it can easily happen that you mistake the common work for intimacy, especially when you do not create other relationship spaces outside this project and go e. g. together on holiday and let the project be project.
- You talk too much
You can also avoid intimacy by constantly talking. You talk about everything and nothing, about other people, the job, the latest rumors in town, gossip, politics, you blame your partner and complain, etc. You talk so that silence cannot occur and thus the level of intensity cannot grow.
- You do extreme sports
Another strategy to avoid intimacy is to do a lot of sports, maybe even sports that require a lot of time (e. g. you constantly train for one marathon after the other, go to fitness studio 3 hours each day etc.).
- You keep the harmony and collect resentment
When you try to keep up the harmony in your relationship and do not address things that are dear to your heart or that might even annoy you in your relationship, then you also avoid intimacy and closeness. Then you live in the illusion of peace-joy-everything-is fine all-the-time, but do not get to a higher degree of intimacy through possibly intensive conversations. It can also happen that you swallow resentment to not disturb the harmony at home. The crux is that each resentment point you collect destroys closeness and intimacy, no matter how big the resentment point is.
- You simply do too many things at once
If you start with too many things at the same time, then it can easily happen that you get somewhat shimmy and in your speed and all the hustle and bustle forget that there are spaces for intimacy and love that have a completely different pace. This can especially be a trap when all the things you do are really fun, because then you might actually feel alive during all these activities.
There are many more strategies to avoid closeness and intimacy. I invite you to write down what your strategies are. Also ask your partner, which strategy you have (this can actually open a very interesting door for a deep conversation that creates more closeness and intimacy).
STEP 2: The Question WHY?
After having a picture of how easy it is in daily life to avoid closeness and intimacy, the second question is: WHY do you do this? What exactly is it that you avoid? What’s behind it?
Really think about why you use these strategies for avoiding intimacy. Maybe you would like push aside that your relationship does not fulfill you. Another reason could be that you run away from your own emotions, feelings and old wounds or from those of your partner. When you keep avoiding closeness and intimacy, it might be that a part of you does not want to be with what is. You rather prefer to keep distance instead of using these feelings and emotions as a doorway to more intimacy.
The crux is that many people wish for more closeness and intimacy, but at the same time cannot or don’t want to ‚endure‘ the intensity that comes along with more closeness. As soon as you become present here and now with your partner, you become silent and simply are with your partner in an authentic and vulnerable way so that the door for more intimacy opens up (which is not necessarily sex), then feeling can arise in you. At first you might just feel a little bit uncomfortable. However, behind each uneasiness there are mostly suppressed feelings like anger, joy, sadness or fear.
When you would like to open up spaces for intimacy and closeness, it is about allowing the vulnerable part in you to show up. With the assumption that feelings are not okay (that’s what we often learn) it can also be painful or feel dangerous to show this part. Maybe you are afraid, because you don’t know how your partner will react, when you let him know that you would like to make a new experiment regarding sexuality. Or anger or resentment can come up, because there are things in your relationship that are not okay for you, but which you haven’t addressed yet. The reason for your uneasiness might also be self-doubts (“I am not good enough, not beautiful enough, not thin enough, not strong enough…”). Or your feel fear or are sad about your own insecurity and weakness. Be radically honest with yourself. It is really valuable to take a close look at why you avoid intimacy. The WHY is actually the key to more intimacy.
In order to create intimacy and closeness in your relationship, it is essential, to become present here and now, become aware of what is (including the feelings) and use what is to open the door towards nourishing being with.
Here is an experiment that allows you to create more intimacy and closeness in your relationship.
Experiment of intimacy
Agree on a relationship-time, i. e. time for the two of you, without children, without friends, without logistics or to-do lists. Sit across from each other (for more intensity it is advisable to have no table between you). Start with looking each other in the eyes for 3 to 5 minutes. Let yourself be seen. It is not about who laughs first or who can endure it longer. That’s a different purpose. The purpose of this exercise is to be with each other and reconnect to each other.
After sitting in silence for 3 to 5 minutes, you shift into a sharing space. You start sharing authentically and sincerely how you are in this very moment. What do you feel? What touches you? What is going on for you? Your partner just listens and says NOTHING at all. They ideally do not even show any kind of gesture or facial expression that could manipulate you to keep talking about a specific topic (i. e. no nodding, no smiling…). You sincerely and vulnerably share from your heart how you are. When you have finished, it the turn of your partner and your job is to just listen.
It is not about discussing, analyzing or psychologizing. It is about sharing authentically and vulnerably. Here and now. Only this moment counts. No tomorrow, no yesterday. This kind of sharing will already make a huge difference in your relationship. If you feel fear, this is totally appropriate. You enter unknown territory. You might not know how it goes. Trust this fear. Trust the feelings inside of you and share them (you can even share the fear of not knowing how it goes). Feelings are neutral energy and information that serve you and they are a great key to spaces full of closeness and intimacy.
Intimacy and closeness are not something that you create once in your relationship and then you have it forever. This would be nice, wouldn’t it? Instead, it is however essential to be attentive and keep creating theses spaces consciously over and over again, from moment to moment, so that you relationship can blossom. Are you ready to take responsibility for creating more intimacy and closeness in your relationship?
Have fun experimenting.