We all dream of finding the ‘one’ who we can share our deepest feelings with; connect on a emotional, spiritual, and physical level; and thrive in each other’s company. But how intimate can we really be? How deep can two people really go with each other?
Intimacy is the theme of humanity. We all thrive when we connect with each other. Everyone loves a feel good story about people connecting in a crisis or in random acts of kindness. Teamwork is about connecting and sharing together. It makes life better.
In Matthew Kelly’s book The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved, he talks about legitimate needs and illegitimate needs:
“There is a restlessness within each of us that wants to be calmed, tamed. This restlessness is our heart’s yearning for intimacy. In our efforts to feel complete, worthy, fulfilled, and contended, we often chase pleasure, amass enough possessions, or attain certain accomplishments.”
We don’t recognize what a real legitimate need is as opposed to an illegitimate need. Kelly says when we identify our legitimate needs, we”…journey through the seven levels…from the shallow to the deep, from irrelevant to the relevant, from illegitimate desires to legitimate needs, from judgement to acceptance, from fear to courage, from false self to true self, from loneliness to profound companionship, and from isolation to unity.”
That is deep stuff! What we all dream of, right? But journeying through the seven levels might be akin to Dante’s Inferno and the nine circles of hell if you are doing it with someone who is resistant to intimacy! What if you want intimacy, but your partner can’t get through the second level?
Are what if you know the real you, understand your legitimate needs and can’t find a matching partner out there in the singles’ world?
Intimacy in the twenty-first century should be at its pinnacle. With thousands of relationship books, seminars and relationship focused therapists in the marketplace, what’s a person or couple’s excuse for not being successfully intimate?
It starts with you. How intimate can you be with yourself? How willing are you to be vulnerable? To be real about your resistance in going deeper?
It also starts with a clear purpose. So many of us date aimlessly. We think we are playing the field, seeing who might fit in a very unintentional way.
Would you build a house without a blueprint? Would you decide to take a vacation, get in your car and just drive without a clear destination or a map?
I know when I go grocery shopping, if I don’t have a list or at least a good idea of what I need to buy, it can be dangerous and an hour later, I have things in my cart that I had no intention of buying!
I have gone out with a lot of men. And I have done it with no real clear idea of what I need and what would help me become a better version of myself in a relationship. Now, I do. Now I am more selective.
I think we as single women, who are in a older age bracket, believe we can’t be selective. We can be. We can be selective, not unrealistic.
Defining what a real relationship looks like to you is the first step. What do you want? Who is your ideal partner? Here’s a list of Kelly’s to get you started. Write down the questions and your answers:
- What would the physical traits and the level of health of your ideal partner?
- What are some of the emotional qualities that your ideal partner would possess?
- What intellectual characteristics would your ideal partner display?
- What spiritual beliefs and practices would your ideal partner have?
- What would the professional life of your ideal partner involve?
- What are his or her hobbies, interests, passions, values, and beliefs?
I have a few of my own I’d like to add:
- How does it feel when you are around your ideal partner? What feelings come up that you desire?
- How do you want to be in a relationship with your ideal partner? What qualities do you want to bring to the relationship?
- What do you need for yourself in a relationship to thrive? What environment, what freedoms and flexibility (such as a space, a hobby, time with friends) are important to you?
How Intimate Can You Be? As intimate as you are willing to work on it. I for one am excited about the journey!