Intimacy requires two crucial elements, honesty and selflessness, both of which take effort, awareness, and a degree of loss. For this reason we are often not prepared to do the work of intimacy, it requires too much of us, so we try to get away with artificial substitutes, that usually end in tears.
We need to be totally honest both with ourselves and our partner. Complete honesty is not an attribute that is highly valued in our society. The vast majority of people believe that at least a little bit of dishonesty is not only desirable but necessary, without realizing deceit of any degree is an obstacle to the ability to ground a relationship in true love and intimacy. We all say we are looking for true love, but when we base our relationships around dishonesty, what we really mean is we are looking for the love that is fake enough to fit our projections and fantasies.
Then we construct our lives around our lies, which become the structural beams and struts that support and prop up our fantastic existence. We manipulate our hearts, minds and bodies to fit our fantasies to avoid the potential spiritual and/or psychological collapse, evidenced in physical or mental breakdown, that is caused by such emotional and mental dissonance. As the psychoanalysts say, the body is truth. Our body eventually forces us to face the truth that our minds cannot, or will not, accept.
Time and experience slowly peels away the veils of fantasy and projection until we come to the point where we feel soulless. We are forced to confront the fact that our life is empty and devoid of real meaning.
Without complete honesty we are not truly present in the relationship. We are not really even in the relationship. We are just a projected image, a constructed personae, that only has the appearance of reality. True love eludes us because the bodies and minds in the bed are mere constructions and true love can only exist in reality, in truth.
Intimacy also involves wholehearted, unconditional giving. We cannot be truly intimate without being willing to give of ourselves with an open heart, to want to give as much as we receive. We so often focus only on what the other person can give us, and give scant thought to what we need to be giving them so love can flourish.
Relationship is an important way we heal the unhealed parts of ourselves. That's why they are painful and feel like plain hard work. But until we understand that relationships are not just a way of getting all the things we don't feel we can get otherwise, we will not know intimacy or true love.
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