Saturday, August 16, 2014

thoughts on emotional intimacy

Going to share this this evening with the man I've been dating...
Thoughts for this nice man I'm dating. First off, I'm not angry, upset, or hurt. I've been thoroughly enjoying all our time spent together, including the virtual time. This isn't a passive reflection about hurt feelings that I didn't address at the time so much as it is about me becoming clearer about what I want/need and choosing to share that with you. Giving you my cards, so to speak. Because why not give them to each other?! It's not a game after all. It's only in giving them to you that I can gradually find out if what we have is great right now or for the much longer term as well.

The other day when we were coming out of the store and them again at BV, you made sweet comments about which side of me you should be on and opening the door. You so clearly think about all those acts of chivalry. And you know that I find that endearing. But here's the thing, I'm complicated. Those little acts are just sugar icing when it comes to winning my heart. They are sweet gestures that while they do certainly demonstrate care and make me feel like I'm treated with extra thoughtfulness, they pale in comparison to the bigger ways of demonstrating and creating real care and intimacy, which is what drives me more than anything, or to extend the metaphor, what really nourishes me.

What I yearn for is someone who wants to know all of me. It's funny that old joke about how "to know" someone in the Bible meant to sleep with them. And yet, it's so true. My emotional, spiritual, and intellectual intimacy are totally connected to my physical intimacy. (Not with every person of course, but with my romantic partner, the more the other forms of intimacy are there, the more amazing the physical is.)

I made a vision board last year at some point and put on it images of the things I want to bring into my life. One image was of a heart cradled in a pair of hands.  I liked that image specifically because it represented the idea that someone would cherish me and my heart, would treat me/it with genuine tenderness because he valued me.  For me, part of being valued is being fully known/understood.  And that's perhaps not easy because (I know) I'm more complicated in many ways then some other women.  Nonetheless, and perhaps all the more because of it, I yearn for someone who really wants to hold all of me, to know all my thoughts and feelings, who really gets me, from the trivial like how I take my tea to the deeply meaningful like WHY I love something and what I think about it and how it connects, contrasts or confirms what he thinks (a book or musical or workshop or whatever). My ideal partner will yearn to know me as much as I yearn to be known (and vice versa).

Now whether or not a relationship like that actually exists is a question I don't have an answer for yet. Maybe it's not possible at all with one person and life is about building a variety of relationships that can satisfy my need for this.  Maybe it's possible, but with someone else. Maybe it's possible and with you. That would be very exciting since I enjoy you in so many other ways.  Like I said, I don't know the answer yet. But I wanted to share this yearning with you to see how it affects how things unfold as we continue to explore each other.  

It gets more complicated because of my introvert-masking-as-an-extrovert nature.  I converse easily, I can gab away like anyone else, but the things that are most important to me, I don't necessarily feel like dumping out on the table.  I have to know that the person is really interested in them.  It makes a big difference to me whether or not I'm just spewing out my thoughts and feelings uninvited versus being encouraged to talk about things.  It's the difference between just sharing of myself without being asked versus someone really desiring to know me.  I don't know if this makes any sense.  And perhaps I have personal self-growth work to do in this area, but the first step is to know the pattern and I guess in relationship, the second step would be to let your partner know what you're feeling. 

Some of this you already do.  I've noticed how incredibly observant and thoughtful you are in a lot of ways.  Like bringing tea on our picnic.  Like asking me if I got a lot of work done when you know I was feeling stressed or asking me how I'm feeling.  You are definitely sensitive and thoughtful about the details, and I so enjoy that.  And yet, ego-centric human being that I am, I want more!  There have been many times when I've made comments or asked questions of you and found myself wishing that you had asked me back or responded more deeply or probed more, to really get to know me.  Now, like I said earlier, maybe that's too much to ask for from anyone.  Or maybe I'm just not going to get that from you.  Or maybe I might get that from you but you don't have the practice.  I can't every really know your history with Nannette.  Maybe things fell apart because she didn't feel like you cared about her on the deeper levels like that.  No amount of chivalry and superficial kisses on the way in or out the door is enough to sustain things. (I really hope that's not the story.)  It's also quite possible that she didn't need the level of emotional and intellectual intimacy that I demand.  I know plenty of women who aren't as complicated as I am, who don't need as much of that from their partners.  So, maybe you just haven't had the opportunity to practice that with someone yet, in which case, I'm really hoping you want to! 

In any event, I'll summarize by saying this.  I'm enjoying this relationship and these interactions and you.  For many reasons.  Enough so that I want to invest in any potential real future together by giving you my cards so to speak.  Here's how to play if you really want me to fall in love with you, should that interest you in the long run: If I ask you a question, definitely ask me back.  Ask me other questions.  Real and deep questions.  Catalog my thoughts and feelings so you start to see the patterns and form a 3D sense of who I am emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually.  If I say I like something or that it is meaningful to me, probe. Ask me more questions.  Figure out why.  And the ultimate… share how that connects with your own ideas.  Ah, bliss!  Maybe it sounds cheesy, but it's like having my soul being invited out to play.  It's not just dinner and movies or hikes or whatever fun thing I'm enjoying with you, but it becomes so much more then.  Anyhow, that's enough.  I think you get the idea.  J  You know how I fall apart when you run your fingers across my arm or side or wherever really, that throw all caution to the wind feeling you've seen me demonstrate? Let's just say, if you can invite ALL of me to be intimate with you, well, you haven't seen nothing yet!  ;)

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