This is a post I wrote to Tiny Buddha last week.
“Intimacy is not purely physical, It’s the act of connecting with someone so deeply, you feel like you see into their soul.” ~Unknown
When we’re feeling disconnected and unfulfilled in our relationships, we often believe that we need something more from the other person.
We think that in order for us to be happy, the other person needs to be or do something different. While it may be true that sometimes there are some changes we need to make, oftentimes being happy and getting what we desire has more to do with our own awareness.
The problem is that we don’t understand what intimacy really is, and how to experience it more in our relationships. We think that we have to spend a lot more time together and have long deep conversations to bring out the level of intimacy we truly desire.
We think back to the connection we felt in the beginning and wish it could feel like that again.
Why Things Are Different in the Beginning
In the beginning of my relationship I felt really close to my partner and we loved learning new things about each other.
We spent a lot of time together, walking hand in hand and fully enjoying each other’s company. I felt a deep connection just by looking in his eyes and not saying anything. Everything felt good, easy.
Then I couldn’t help but notice that something had changed. I didn’t feel as close to my partner as I’d felt in the beginning.
Soon I realized what had caused this disconnect.
What Makes Us Feel Disconnected
In the beginning of a relationship, we live more in the present moment. We appreciate our partners. We want to get to know each other and fully enjoy each other’s company. However, when we get used to the other person, we start to live more in our heads.
Instead of experiencing our relationship, we experience our thoughts of the relationship and the other person.
We start to think that we already know how the other person is, and we take them a bit for granted.
Instead of truly listening to our partners, we make our own assumptions about them and what they are telling us. We don’t realize that we are experiencing our own thinking and not the real relationship.
Especially in today’s world, we often get distracted. When almost everyone has their own smartphones and tablets, we often forget the art of listening. We might be too busy checking our emails or checking the Facebook to give the other our full attention.
“Okay darling… Sorry, what did you say?”
We think that we are able to do the two things at the same time: listen our partner and read our emails. This simple act stops us from feeling the closeness in our relationship.
What Intimacy Really Is
We experience intimacy when our mind is in a natural state—peaceful. Intimacy is simply being with each other with a clear and relaxed mind. It is all about having our focus on the other person and not thinking about anything else. It is about fully enjoying each other.
This means that we are not thinking about work or texting when we are together, but we are truly listening to each other.
It is all about the quality of the time we spend together. When your mind is calm and relaxed, you are able to take in life fully and appreciate your relationship more.
The Importance of Being Present
When I feel a lack of closeness in my relationship, I know that it is time for me to quiet down. It is time to calm my mind and start to listen to my partner again.
Am I really hearing what he is saying, or am I listening to my own thoughts and judgments about him?
For example last week I found myself dwelling on how he didn’t make enough time for me. I caught myself quickly and realized it was more of my mood than me talking.
In that particular week he had been exceptionally busy, and if I had been more present in the moment, I would have felt more compassion instead of judgment.
Taking a moment for myself and letting my mind relax helps me see the relationship and my partner in a whole new light again. Instead of feeling like I need something more from him, I am able to appreciate him and our time together.
I immediately experience more love and intimacy. This creates a positive spiral in the relationship.
Of course, there are times when the other person simply isn’t willing to reciprocate our attention, and sometimes you may realize the best decision is to walk away from a relationship. In those times, being fully present will also help and guide us to make the right decisions.
But oftentimes, simply quieting our mind and showing up fully opens the door to a deeper level of connection. It helps us to find, again, the closeness and intimacy we often innocently lose after being in a relationship for a longer time.
When we listen to and appreciate our partners, they can feel the appreciation we have toward the relationship. This will help their mind quiet down, which helps them feel close to us again. The upward spiral makes it possible for us to experience even more love in the relationship.
To bring out the best in each other and to experience more love and intimacy, we need to learn to come back to the present moment again. Even though we cannot change the other person, we can learn to bring out the best in them—and ourselves.