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Thread: Intimacy Issues

  1. #1
    Ciao for now jamesgold's Avatar
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    Intimacy Issues

    I have intimacy issues. My relationships are sex contracts. I feel like divulging my innermost thoughts and feelings is to give a piece of myself away. I struggle with empathy. I hate feeling vulnerable.

    I can imagine what it's like to not feel this way; to be open and bare to another person, and likewise them to you. And it seems lovely, if scary.

    Who else?

    Do you think it's a problem?

    It affords a sense of autonomy, independence. But at what cost?

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    At the cost of never truly being understood? That seems an impossibility, anyway. – If anything, youre doing it right. More often than not, rational as well as emotional confessions will be used against you sooner or later, be it deliberately, in jest or simply because of carelessness. This goes for relationships just as much as for friendships (though the latter seem to be more stable overall).

    Schopenhauer springs to mind:

    On a cold winter’s day, a number of porcupines huddled together quite closely in order through their mutual warmth to prevent themselves from being frozen. But they soon felt the effect of their quills on one another, which made them again move apart. Now when the need for warmth once more brought them together, the drawback of the quills was repeated so that they were tossed between two evils, until they discovered the proper distance from which they could best tolerate one another. Thus the need for society, which springs from the emptiness and monotony of men’s lives, drives them together; but their many unpleasant and repulsive qualities and insufferable drawbacks once more drive them apart. The mean distance which they finally discover, and which enables them to endure being together, is politeness and good manners. Whoever does not keep to this, is told in England to ‘keep his distance.’ By virtue thereof, it is true that the need for mutual warmth will be only imperfectly satisfied, but, on the other hand, the prick of the quills will not be felt. Yet whoever has a great deal of internal warmth of his own will prefer to keep away from society in order to avoid giving or receiving trouble and annoyance.
    And aptly mentioned in the same article, Sigmund Freud:

    The evidence of psycho-analysis shows that almost every intimate emotional relation between two people which lasts for some time—marriage, friendship, the relations between parents and children—contains a sediment of feelings of aversion and hostility, which only escapes perception as a result of repression.
    Trading off one's emotional autarchy for this just seems to be a really bad deal. At some point, complacence and ennui will set in, and even if you have a strong enough grip on yourself to not let yourself go in a negative sense, most other people will. – Of course I might be mistaken, but have yet to experience otherwise.

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    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    i think it's a problem if you find yourself unable to be intimate when you really want to, and are never satisfied.

    intimacy is good when it's the right thing for the relationship. personally i highly enjoy and prioritize it, when it's right. it's wrong if the other person is using you against yourself or if you're purposefully hurting them and being an asshole. if you're with somebody and giving more of yourself than they can/will give back, it's wrong. that's when you get hurt.

    part of vulnerability is being in the position to really hurt somebody, but you choose not to. you instead choose tact, patience and compassion, which goes both ways. that's where trust comes in, and that's how relationships sorta become about more than the sex you're having. initially, though, putting yourself in that vulnerable position is scary. nobody wants to get hurt.

    this is basic stuff, though. this is always gonna sound stupid but maybe you haven't met the right person yet, and by that i mean you haven't met somebody who can or is willing to match you in desire for and ability to handle intimacy. it's one part of overall compatibility.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesgold View Post
    Who else?
    The level of intimacy that I'm willing to develop is dependent on the other person. Easy example (that doesn't apply to me): Say you've murdered someone and have them preserved and stored in your crawl space. How long until you share this aspect of yourself with a new partner? You're not going to put "I'm looking for a chill girl who can talk with me about my inclination to murder people, preserve and store them in my home" into your OkCupid profile. Relationships are in some ways a continuation of dating in that you continue feeling someone out and negotiating what you can and cannot share with them, and whether or not you can handle keeping parts of yourself to yourself. You'll likely never share all of yourself with someone and be completely understood, as Sappho said.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesgold View Post
    Do you think it's a problem?
    Depends on the situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesgold
    It affords a sense of autonomy, independence. But at what cost?
    Depends on the person, but in general I think it becomes a mental health issue. People with more intimate friendships and relationships probably live longer. In my own case, I think I get bored if I don't have a certain level of intimacy in my life. It's stimulating. This is why I keep pen pals*.

    * Means of communication seems important. When my current partner is away, I prefer e-mails, but we recently set up Google Drive so that we can have a collaborative space to share stuff. In person, chat, text, phone and video all have their place, but I've found that I'm most comfortable sharing what may be very nuanced thoughts and feelings when I can just write it out, and edit it. Video chat and the phone are the two worst things for me. Actually, even when we're seeing each other daily we'll still write each other e-mails.

    I think I would've been very comfortable in the olden days when people wrote a lot of letters.

  5. #5
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sappho View Post
    Schopenhauer springs to mind:
    The mean distance which they finally discover, and which enables them to endure being together, is politeness and good manners.
    Oh hell no. I cannot stand politeness and good manners. Everyone thinks I'm some kind of diplomat until they have a meaningful discussion with me. Then they either stay the hell away or we become friends. And I like it like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesgold View Post
    Who else?

    Do you think it's a problem?
    A lot of what we think we're hiding isn't really that much of a secret. To the perceptive mind, we betray a lot more about ourselves than we like to think. I'm not sure this is a consolation or a threat, lol. It just is. When you have an intimate relationship with someone, you don't necessarily have to verbalize these things, even though it may seem like a huge challenge to say them. Of course, if you spend long periods of time with people who don't have the intelligence to understand you, then you're going to feel like you have intimacy issues. And I have given a lot of thought to this question and concluded it does boil down to intelligence.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    Of course, if you spend long periods of time with people who don't have the intelligence to understand you, then you're going to feel like you have intimacy issues. And I have given a lot of thought to this question and concluded it does boil down to intelligence.
    Mmm. This isn't necessarily true in my experience. I guess it's true in a very, very general sense, i.e. if you're a smart person surrounded by average people.

    I've spent the past two years getting close to some exceptionally intelligent people. What I've discovered is that while they're better equipped to understand me in a general sense, they also extrapolate and make guesses and can get things horribly wrong, a lot, and they're likely to trust these incorrect evaluations and run with them, maybe not even sharing that they've done so, and maybe not even changing their stance if told that they're wrong.

    But, still, more likely to be right than other people. But if jamesgold is attending Berkeley, then I don't think that finding people smart enough to understand him is an issue, at all.

  7. #7
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notdavidlynch View Post
    I've spent the past two years getting close to some exceptionally intelligent people. What I've discovered is that while they're better equipped to understand me in a general sense, they also extrapolate and make guesses and can get things horribly wrong, a lot, and they're likely to trust these incorrect evaluations and run with them, maybe not even sharing that they've done so, and maybe not even changing their stance if told that they're wrong.
    I'm obviously not exceptionally intelligent, I'm just average, but holy shit do I do this. Once I believe something, there is just no fuckin way you're gonna get that out of my head. It's kind of unfortunate, and sometimes dangerous (mostly for me since I'll be smashing my head against the wall multiple times before a new thought sinks in).
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    but holy shit do I do this.
    Yeah, everyone does it to some degree, but smarties seem to do it to a much greater and potentially annoying degree.

  9. #9
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notdavidlynch View Post
    Yeah, everyone does it to some degree, but smarties seem to do it to a much greater and potentially annoying degree.
    Thanks, now I have this in my head.

    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

  10. #10
    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    A lot of what we think we're hiding isn't really that much of a secret. To the perceptive mind, we betray a lot more about ourselves than we like to think. I'm not sure this is a consolation or a threat, lol. It just is. When you have an intimate relationship with someone, you don't necessarily have to verbalize these things, even though it may seem like a huge challenge to say them. Of course, if you spend long periods of time with people who don't have the intelligence to understand you, then you're going to feel like you have intimacy issues. And I have given a lot of thought to this question and concluded it does boil down to intelligence.
    this is true to my experience.

    once in a while you'll inevitably have somebody making the wrong guess at what you're getting at, but it doesn't have to stop there. the whole process of clarifying oneself, listening and getting on the same page is an expression of intimacy of mind, especially if you're able to get to the end of that process with that person. if it hurts to do it, though... maybe it's best to rethink the entire relationship.

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