Monday, March 7, 2016

Types of Intimacy

As I settle down and am more at peace with being single, it's easier to see things that is beyond the black-and-white.

Some people often refer to their partners as their "all and everything". Partners share everything with each other - their interests, their desires and their hopes and dreams. It's an intimate partnership that is built on trust. However, there is also an inherent assumption that your partner has to also understand and some what empathise with your interests, hopes and dreams. I think the act of love is to still embrace the person in spite of your (un)derstanding of your partner's interests/intellectual leanings. That is, we come to have faith and still love the thing we do not understand.

Ultimately, that's accepting the person for who they are. Of course it is easy to accept someone because you fully understand where they're coming from and furthermore, you're also able to add on to the discussion and have your own point of view. It becomes a melding of the minds - and an intellectual intimacy develops that is layered upon the emotional bond that both of the partners already have. However, it takes a special kind of courage to still accept someone despite not knowing what theories/insights that the person is spouting, and have the faith to still embrace the individual.

Love is about being brave. Above all, intellectual acumen without heart is ultimately a soulless world.

So I've come to a realisation that there are multiple intimacies. That we can love individuals differently and the person whom we may choose to spend our lives with, need not embody all the intimacies we are seeking. For instance, there is a sense of survivalist bond amongst ex-addicts that huddle in their weekly meetings that their wives/husbands have no privy to. It's a closeness that is amongst people who have gone through and triumphed against their addiction. For the academically inclined, exchange of ideas and theories, discursive deconstructions and debates is an intellectually charged atmosphere that is rarely experienced by individuals outside of the ivory tower. It is an intimacy shared only because both parties understand each other by understanding their respective fields well. Because it is so rare to find people who understand abstract philosophies and principles, individuals who do become treasures (or enemies!).

Then there is a type of emotional link between parents and their children that no one (in a functional) family can undo. Be it adopted or not, god children or not, the link between parents and children is something that goes beyond words. There's something to be said when these are the people who have seen you at your worst and best - and still stand by you no matter what.

Lastly, the physical and emotional bond between lovers. The warm kisses and hot caresses at night is both private and intimate. The sense of a stranger, not family nor relative, to see you naked and vulnerable is both exhilarating and fascinating. With each phase of the relationship, the melding of 2 unrelated families (mostly, unless of course you have to marry within a particular social circle) into 1 through the love of 2 complete strangers. How girlfriends become part of a weekly social affair for the family and boy friends help out their partner's family when they have a renovation. It's the willing sacrifice that is not born out of familial or national duty but affection that becomes binding.

So in the past, while I've been hard pressed to find someone who can share all forms of intimacies. I need to check my ego and understand that intimacies are also multi-faceted. There are friends or individuals in general, who like me, are looking for someone to share their full and rich lives with. However, let us also take 2 steps back and understand, whether if what we're asking of our partners is something that we can live with, when our partners ask the same of us? I for once, can never understand sports and can never share that joy and jubilation when someone scores a goal. It's an intimacy that I can never have access to. However, it doesn't mean I love my father any less. It doesn't mean we don't still share a strong father-child bond.

We cannot ask of our partners, to fill the gap. This is not shopping - we're not here for someone to love us just because they fill a need in their lives. Love is a choice, and we choose to love someone because they share an intimacy - they compel us. It is not a rational choice, it is a choice made for us by us, for reasons we do not yet know. So while we may want our lovers to have everything our hearts desire, it will be a missed opportunity if we are so fixated with this goal. We fail to love if we are looking for a match. While no doubt it is important to find someone of the same wave length to have healthy communications, to demand that our lovers share our every intimacy will foreclose us to the other intimacies we can have in any relationship.

Ultimately, friends, intellectual equals, family and all that form as large a part of our lives as our lovers. It is therefore okay, if your need for intellectual intimacy marries you to publish journals rather than having a family or partner. It is perfectly acceptable to want to be with family all the time because you treasure that bond way more than any other. Ultimately, we are complex beings and as life shifts and the rivers of fate twists, we will change and our priorities may change.

In the mean time, being happy is being exactly where you want to at this point in life. Don't let anyone tell you differently.