“So what exactly is this elusive quality called intimacy? Why is it so difficult to find? Why is our longing for it so mixed with fear? My guru shrink Jim long ago gave me the best explanation of intimacy I’ve ever heard. If I’d actually paid attention to what he said, I never would have married Zeke, but I was desperate for a mate, and that trumped common sense. Basically, according to Jim, intimacy in marriage means nothing more than good, direct communication in the context of a sexual relationship. This sounds almost simplistic, but the problems in maintaining such communication can be formidable. ‘Intimacy is possible only between two people who have a strongly felt and accurate sense of who they are – people who intuitively feel okay about themselves,’ Jim told me.
“A real commitment based on intimacy involves an emotional bond rather than a legal one. Jim explains it as ‘a bond you don’t wish to dissolve because it’s simply too precious. That means being self-aware enough to know when you’re in a real relationship. It also means knowing that the next thing shared by people who have already shared a lot is much more precious than the first, even though that first thing seems precious always.’
“Did you ever have this kind of intimacy with your husband? I know I didn’t. A marriage can limp along for a long time without intimacy, but there will always be a sense of emptiness to it, a feeling that something important is missing. You can cover up the lack of intimacy by focusing on other things, like the kids, work, or even mutual interests, but eventually it will catch up with you.”
From “He’s History, You’re Not – Surviving Divorce After 40” by Erica Manfred.