Thursday 23 September 2010

Intimacy and the art of patience

Being an incoming partner in an already established relationship, there is something that might be forgotten in the drive towards feeling secure about your place within the relationship and that is intimacy, if you are in a comparatively new relationship with two (or more) partners who have had years to build up their intimacy levels over time, it is easy to lose perspective of this reality when faced with the evidence of this imbalance, it might easily get mixed up with general insecurity.

So what do I mean about intimacy?

Well firstly it isn’t about sex, another common mistake.

According to Wiki, ‘Intimacy, generally refers to the feeling of being in a close personal association and belonging together. It is a familiar and very close affective connection with another as a result of a bond that is formed through knowledge and experience of the other. Genuine intimacy in human relationships requires dialogue, transparency, vulnerability and reciprocity. As a verb "intimate" means "to state or make known".

In addition I would add that Intimacy is feeling free to be yourself 100% and the total safety and security in being accepted as yourself, warts and all. It is the lack of self consciousness that only comes in a long term relationship when you cease trying to keep up the pretence that you are flawless (and flawlessly beautiful) and amazingly hygienic without any effort at all…it is the intimacy of being able to be the occasionally spotty, farty, sicky, smelly selves. It is feeling comfortable enough to use the toilet in front of one another, not dying of embarrassment if you happen to have a bad evening of wind etc, these are not (unless you are unselfconscious to a fault) the kinds of things you feel totally comfortable with after a week, perhaps not even a few months or a year, but sometimes many years until you totally let your guard down.

You have to keep in mind that the intimacy level of your dyads are in the right place for the length of time of your relationships, if you were in a mono relationship you would not notice any difference, you shouldn't (though I appreciate that it is difficult not to) compare it to the dyads your partners have with each other, because the dyads you have are just fine the way they are and will develop at their own pace.

Intimacy takes time, it just does, you can’t rush it, though it can possibly be helped along by open and honest communication, you can’t possibly compare the intimacy levels between a relationship that is a year old, than one that is twenty years old.


  1. Very true and to some extent true in mono. In my case trying to compare to past relationships and current friendships. Great post x x

  2. Thank you very much, I hope it was useful!!!

    Hello again Cat.


  3. very true. and one topic that DW and I have been discussing recently. it's weird because we both know how to be in a relationship and how we wish our hearts would be but there's just no rushing the natural release of trust.

    we've lived too long to not have been fucked over at least a few times by people very close to us whom we had trusted deeply. making it just a little bit harder to be able to enjoy the sweet release of genuine intimacy as rapidly as we would like. when you can be with another and truly be naked and unashamed with them. completely free to be who you actually are at all times. not just when it's pretty.

    but as you said, and i agree, these things take time. and we are where we are at right now. not that it isn't wonderful. but we're both still prone too easily to "fears of the unknown" and other such nonsense that don't accompany a more established and healthy relationship. i'm sure we'll get there.

    every other day at a time. ;)

    very cool and thought provoking post. :)

  4. You’re very welcome ML.
    You know, I came from to this article from a very different vantage point than your own but I am so glad it got you thinking and consequently your comment has got me thinking on your vantage point about trust.

    I wonder where the crossover between trust and intimacy happens and I suppose you just have to trust that your partner/s will still love/want you when they know the ‘real’ you!

    I am lucky enough to feel that trust and my comfort level grows daily on allowing myself to be more naked and vulnerable with my partners and you’re right, you will get there, it just takes time, the problem is being patient waiting for it to happen! ;o))

    Take care,

  5. Coming into this late. I've been working pretty much non stop the past few days.

    Very good post.

    ML & I have been growing leaps and bounds in the past week. Our moments alone have been intense, deeply emotional (in a good way) and I can feel barriers coming down each time we break an intimate moment with a kiss, tears, and more often than not laughter.

    I had a lot of insecurity (and still do) coming into an already established relationship. I felt like an intruder at times, like a toy, or just a visitor. I found it difficult to have moments of intimacy with ML. I felt torn between building our emotional bond and our sexual one when we finally had those few precious hours of alone time. I had a very difficult time asking for more time with ML. I felt guilty that I was having these feelings.
    I can honestly say that this is getting better. While I still have challenges being the secondary...I am learning to let go, and let love.

  6. >>being the secondary...I am learning to let go, and let love.

    You are new, NOT 'the secondary'. Words are important and even if you mean it in relation to your being the 'second' wife/partner. In Polyamory terms the word 'Secondary' is usually used for a part time, non domestic, less important to the marital (called 'Primary') relationship. I am pretty sure that is not how ML and TB view you.

    This is one of the reasons we are called a 'Primary triad' because we are all equal (primary) partners to each other, even though I am the newest member of the relationship.

    Your relationship from what I understand, is a primary vee.
    It does help to think in more positive terms.

    Good luck!!

  7. I totally agree with your definition of intimacy. I remember when I first made a committment to be apart of my family many years ago that I constantly kept comparing my individual relationships with both Leah and Jacob to their relationship with one another, I felt so secondary. To me, they had this strong relationship, and I could never catch up.

    Thankfully, I grew past these feelings, and realized that my relationships with them were exactly where they needed to be. I began to enjoy the building of these relationships, and I stopped altogether comparing myself to theirs. I find joy in my relationships at last and in each stage of development.