Recovery Nation

Personal Development Forum
It is currently Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:15 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 51 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Intimacy - A Discussion
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 3:07 pm 
Offline
General Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 3957
One of the core values that is damaged, sometimes permanently, in the wake of discovery of sexual addiction in our partners, is Intimacy. It is natural for us to view sexual intimacy as the most damaging because there is a physical violation, whether or not our partners actually physically acted out with another woman does not matter in most instances. Its as real for those who's partners look at porn and mb as it is for those that visit a prostitute, thought the intensity may have different levels. SO when trying to reestablish intimacy a lot of emphasis is put on the sexual aspect. Though this is neither right or wrong there is an argument that what needs to be addressed first is the non-sexual intimacy, which may include physical but not sexual. The emotional intimacy that is usually present first early in the relationship which leads to the physica and then the sexuall. Or in the case where physical intimacy is introduced first, the emotional that develops to transition the relationship into a more permanent stage.

With this in mind lets look at the following explanation on Human Intimacy as it has been studied.


Quote:
In human relationships, the meaning and level of intimacy varies within and between relationships. In anthropological research, intimacy is considered the product of a successful seduction, a process of rapport building that enables parties to confidently disclose previously hidden thoughts and feelings. Intimate conversations become the basis for 'confidences' (secret knowledge) that bind people together. Developing an intimate relationship typically takes a considerable amount of time (months and years, rather than days or weeks).

To sustain intimacy for any length of time requires well developed emotional and interpersonal awareness. Intimacy requires an ability to be both separate and together participants in an intimate relationship. This is called self-differentiation. It results in a connection in which there is an emotional range involving both robust conflict, and intense loyalty.

From a centre of self knowledge and self differentiation intimate behaviour joins family, close friends as well as those with whom one is in love. It evolves through reciprocal self-disclosure and candour.



And this as it pertains specifically to Intimate Relationships between couples.

Quote:
An intimate relationship is a particularly close interpersonal relationship. It is a relationship in which the participants know or trust one another very well or are confidants of one another, or a relationship in which there is physical or emotional intimacy.

Intimate relationships play a central role in the overall human experience. Humans have a universal need to belong which is satisfied when intimate relationships are formed. Intimate relationships consist of the people that we are attracted to, whom we like and love, romantic and sexual relationships, and those who we marry and provide emotional and personal support. Intimate relationships provide people with a social network of people that provide strong emotional attachments and fulfill our universal needs of belongingness and the need to be cared for.


So if we are looking to rebuild intimacy or looking for our partners to take the lead to rebuild the emotional intimacy as a prerequisite to allowing trust to be reestablished and/or physical intimacy and finally sexual to be resumed what does that look like to us as it pertains to the quotes above? What needs to happen and how can it be achieved?

Keep in mind that as SA's the learning curve is much steeper so patience is most likely an important component in any plan or strategy to rebuild.

Quote:
Poor skills in developing of intimacy can lead to getting too close too quickly; struggling to find the boundary and to sustain connection; being poorly skilled as a friend, rejecting self-disclosure or even rejecting friendships and those who have them.



Some of you that are taking the couples workshop will have some solid ideas as they were presented in the lessons. Let's not focus on those. Let's focus on what we know from past experience or from a view of understanding ourselves and knowing what we would need. And even further into what we are not sure of so therefore need to explore.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 3:16 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:09 pm
Posts: 703
Thank you for starting this discussion, CoachCheryl. I am anxious to see where it goes and what I learn as I feel like my ideas of intimacy have been totally skewed and I have no idea what it is or feels like.

Patty


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: ...
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 4:35 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:19 pm
Posts: 184
i like how that was all put. thanks.

i have realized with my counsellor that my h and i have never had an intimate relationship (as defined here). that was really sad to realize.

i am fortunate that i have had other intimate relationships, though, so i do know the difference, and that's why i always 'knew' there was something wrong with our marriage. no matter what strides i made in the marriage it was never returned by my h and so intimacy was impossible.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 4:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 7:13 pm
Posts: 470
Quote:
So if we are looking to rebuild intimacy or looking for our partners to take the lead to rebuild the emotional intimacy as a prerequisite to allowing trust to be reestablished and/or physical intimacy and finally sexual to be resumed what does that look like to us as it pertains to the quotes above?


I'm having a hard time understanding the question (sorry!)... can you rephrase it?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:26 am 
Offline
General Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 3957
In other words. If your husband is to try to get back or create emotional intimacy or at least participate in introducing intimacy back into the relationship as a means to build trust, what would that look like to you? What would need to be done. Draw from your past experiences or if you don't feel you have been apart of that experience explore what you think it might look like. Then from there what would the next step have to look like that would lead to physical intimacy being brought back. Ultimately in theory if both these were accomplished then sexual intimacy should be a natural progression (and therefore not a major stresser). Using the quotes above as a guideline, we are trying to take the focus off of sexual intimacy having to be overcome and putting it on the emotional and then physical to rebuild trust, become closer than before, leading to a mature relationship.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:13 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 9:21 am
Posts: 31
I once learned that a way to think of intimacy is "In--to--me--you--see"
This would coincide with the quotes you posted, Coach Cheryl, in that intimacy . . .

Quote:
enables parties to confidently disclose previously hidden thoughts and feelings. Intimate conversations become the basis for 'confidences' (secret knowledge) that bind people together. Developing an intimate relationship typically takes a considerable amount of time . . .


So, for me, I need for my husband to learn to talk about his hidden thoughts and feelings. In the past (at its worst), we have gotten into a pattern of talking about *him* (his job, this thoughts)--but not his feelings. I would try to share some things with him about me and often it was like he couldn't even focus on any issue of importance to me (very selfish / one-sided). Lately it has chanced in that he has really been "present" and very willing to stay on a topic that relates to me (e.g. work issues). But, we haven't gotten to a point where we are able to talk a lot about *feeligs*. I'd like to think I am better at doing this that my husband but I'm not really sure I am. But anyway, it seems to me that step one in the intimacy process is learning to identify feelings and then learning and being willing to share those (be vulnerable!).

My two cents,
Esparanza

P.S. One more thing that jumped out at me from Cheryl's quote is that developing an intimate relationship takes a considerable amount of time. Therefore, there must be a willingness to invest the time!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:19 am 
Offline
General Coach

Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 4:10 pm
Posts: 826
I'm just chipping in here with thoughts - not a broad and deep description of what intimacy looks like, but an aspect of it.

Cheryl mentions, quite rightly, a 'mature' relationship. So, just to muddy the waters, I think one of the ways intimacy is expressed is by being able to be childlike together. There is a difference between childish and childlike, by the way, and I think most of us know that difference beteen being childlike and the drive for immediate gratification, which is its dark side.

Being childlike involves, I think, a sense of wonder about the other person, a lack of rigid preconceptions, a freedom to explore - not only exploration of each other as a whole being, but exploring life's little things, the little things that make up our larger life, and doing that together. It means being able to laugh together - not necessarily at jokes but with pleasure, joy and gentle humour. It is delighting together in the freshness of new experiences and in old experiences seen with fresh eyes.

For us adults, though, I think this childlike quality must be underpinned by values and the willingness to accept responsibility for our actions - so paradoxically this quality of childlikeness is a manifestation of emotional maturity!

For some of us whose relationship has been damaged by a sex or love addiction (either our own, or our partner's), I think to experience this childlike aspect of intimacy needs a conscious putting aside of old hurts and habits - just for an hour, or an afternoon to begin with. We may need a focus - it might be something simple like strolling along a beach eating icecream and playing skipstones, playing paper, scissors, stone, or learning a new, slightly frivolous skill together. Eventually this childlike aspect of intimacy will become something that is spontaneous and appropriate to the moment.

I hope this has added something useful to the discussion


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:28 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:09 pm
Posts: 703
Thanks again for starting this discussion, Cheryl.

My husband and I talked a bit about it last night, and like Esparanza, I focused in on this:

Quote:
enables parties to confidently disclose previously hidden thoughts and feelings. Intimate conversations become the basis for 'confidences' (secret knowledge) that bind people together. Developing an intimate relationship typically takes a considerable amount of time . . .


Obviously, this was totally missing in our relationship, however I thought we had intimacy. I think intimacy is impossible while one is keeping secrets that directly affect the other. And while I know the behaviors my husband was involved in, he continues to keep secrets with these other women that he will always keep - ie: conversations, how they felt, etc.

So, I am wondering if what I felt was intimacy at all. I told my husband everything about me and what I was feeling, and that felt safe at the time.

We also talked about how skewed both our values and boundaries had become as a result of his addiction. I know I need to reclaim those things for myself before I can jump into learning intimacy again. Intimacy also involves a tremendous amount of trust and vulnerability, and right now I have a brick wall around me.

Am I right to think intimacy is impossible without trust and willingness to be vulnerable? I believe those things will take me a long time to rebuild.

Thanks again.

Patty


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:18 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 7:13 pm
Posts: 470
I do think that there is a bit of vulnerability in true intimacy.

And because of that, complete trust is absolutely necessary for me.

I have NO trust in my husband. None.

This is the list I came up with for things that I need before I can start building intimacy with him again. I know that these aren't necessarily things that others may need, but I really don't see myself having a relationship with him again until these things have started. #9 doesn't need to be solidly in place, but I want to see evidence that he's heading there.

So, to me, here is the progression that I need to see:

1.) I need for him to actually start pursuing recovery.
2.) I need for him to move past the blame-shifting and anger stage and take responsibility for his actions.
3.) I need to see real remorse... not empty words, but REAL remorse... broken-hearted remorse.
4.) I need to see attentiveness to me and what's going on in my life.
5.) I need to feel that he respects me as a person with thoughts and feelings and not just a housekeeper, cook, babysitter and object for free sex whenever he wants.
6.) I need for him to respect my boundaries and not pressure me into a sexual relationship before I'm ready.
7.) I need for him to want to learn about me... to want to spend time with me... to want to talk to me. I need him to make an effort... to fight for me.
8.) I need for him to stop keeping secrets. I need full disclosure.
9.) I need for him to be the spiritual leader of our home. I need for him to initiate praying together. I need for him to bring me scriptures that he's found and encourage me in my spiritual life.
10.) I need for him to compliment me. On Valentine's Day, I dropped my son off with a friend. Her husband told me I looked great. My husband never said anything until I point blank asked him if I looked okay. That should never happen. I shouldn't have to beg for compliments from my husband. It makes me feel like I'm not even in his radar.

I think that once all of these things are in place, we can start to rebuild trust and have a good platonic relationship again. When that friendship is re-established and we are having regular conversations about meaningful topics, I think the physical can be introduced once more (hugs, touches, kisses). Then, once that is in place and I'm comfortable, we can move on to a sexual relationship again.

Wow... reading this, it makes me feel like it will be a LONG time before I'm ready for anything sexual.

Honestly, I think this might just be the deal breaker. This is where DH and I will fight more than anything else, I think. He hasn't begun pursuing recovery, so he's not nearly "mature" enough to be able to do what I need when HIS "needs" aren't being met. I honestly think he may just leave me over this. But, if he does, I know I'll be better off enforcing my boundaries. I can't just keep giving in to HIS needs while completely ignoring mine.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:40 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:06 am
Posts: 111
"One of the core values that is damaged, sometimes permanently, in the wake of discovery of sexual addiction in our partners, is Intimacy."
I view the topic of intimacy slightly differently as I donot see the absence of intimacy as a result of SA but the the fundemental defeciency & cause that results in SA and other addictions as well. For a multiple set of escalating defeciencies in childhood & young adulthood the socialization and formation of the capabilty to sustain intimacy .Physical,emotional and/or sexual abuse causes flawed self-acceptence with a resulting inability to attach/bond/connect to form, relate and feel safe with intimacy in relationship. Cause rather than effect...
The same need to feel connected /belong is a foundational need for human but without the ability to trust and relate with intimacy..the basic need is precieved as scary/threating.trapping...something to feel as fear in rather than comforted by. Stress manifested within rather than stress reduction and modulation. Sustainable relationship is doomed with the players of opposing needs. Whatever substance is abusing is a safer option than relationship with intimacy. Jon would correctly view this as emotional immaturity .I would hope correctable ..a redo in the ways & means found here @RN but it is also something to consider if a redo is possible when the damage to the core ego is beyond any safe reconstruct.
I believe that when in a relationship it is normal to need .want, desire for increasing intimacy and at some point in that realtionship the addict can no longer keep up pretense of intimacy and the partner demands for intimacy over ride the controls and the acting out begins to occur ..sometimes perhaps just to push other the demands for intimacy from someone incapable of responding with something or someone with no demands .
This viewpoint begs strongly for preventive stratgies in the emotional health of our children and protection from exposures of not only overt abuses but the tolerance of bullying ,power-over and other non-acceptance behaviors in childhood and formative years to substances with potential for abuses not only sex.Give some thoughts to the current childhood obesity epidemic as a predromal to the SA numbers in the very near future.. Sorry to sound so negative...

_________________
"Be still ..I AM"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Just another thought
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 10:31 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:06 am
Posts: 111
"enables parties to confidently disclose previously hidden thoughts and feelings. Intimate conversations become the basis for 'confidences' (secret knowledge) that bind people together."
In retrospect, 2 warning signs are mentioned here
1. building false illusions & family history of self vs real sharing of a very different reality
2. seeking behaviors- being sought out ,seduced for the very qualities that that the sa doesn't possess,desires and eventually resents and is threatened by.
The dance begins without even hearing the music..without the capability for intimacy the choices for survival of the woundee only can result in wounding. The drive and need for human connection persists just without the skills and capability of will. Fear blocks both. Stress generated only can intensify because the basic tents of relationship and self are in conflicting value. The core value lost is truth.---the fear i have is that real intimacy does not need secrets just the opposite is needed : openess & honesty. Being REal! We often can be confused by confidences when in reality they are excuses for false intimacy.Confidence can be distortions, deception ,denial and means for shifting blame ,shame & personal responsibily. Of course distret sharing ,creating and maintaing safe enviroment is necessary but I respectfully disagree in tolerating anything less than absolute honesty for anything less becomes a slippery slope especially with a person incapable of intimacy! :w:

_________________
"Be still ..I AM"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:20 am 
Offline
General Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 3957
Quote:
but I respectfully disagree in tolerating anything less than absolute honesty for anything less becomes a slippery slope especially with a person incapable of intimacy!


I'm not sure what you are disagreeing with. The statement is saying that disclosure is happening. And you can look at these statements in 2 different ways which is why I chose them. The first would be for new relationships this is the natural progression. So the hidden and unknown have not had the chance to be brought out yet but are apart of the initial intimacy being established. Second is from established relationships that have been damaged and we are looking for ways to start over or reintroduce the basic fundamentals of establishing intimacy, therefore we are looking at how that can be accomplished in the order that suggests the greater chance of success. Emotional Intimacy, Physical Intimacy, and then Sexual Intimacy being a natural progression if the first 2 are accomplished.

Quote:
I view the topic of intimacy slightly differently as I donot see the absence of intimacy as a result of SA but the the fundemental defeciency & cause that results in SA and other addictions as well. For a multiple set of escalating defeciencies in childhood & young adulthood the socialization and formation of the capabilty to sustain intimacy .Physical,emotional and/or sexual abuse causes flawed self-acceptence with a resulting inability to attach/bond/connect to form, relate and feel safe with intimacy in relationship. Cause rather than effect...
The same need to feel connected /belong is a foundational need for human but without the ability to trust and relate with intimacy..the basic need is precieved as scary/threating.trapping...something to feel as fear in rather than comforted by.


No argument here, but again we are looking for ways to form or reform the intimacy that was or should have been present. Even if our partners were deficient we must have had some thought that intimacy was involved in the relationship. And maybe by reading the material above some have found there wasn't any. And in that case we are still looking at how do we create the intimacy that needs to be there to build trust.

Quote:
I think that once all of these things are in place, we can start to rebuild trust and have a good platonic relationship again. When that friendship is re-established and we are having regular conversations about meaningful topics, I think the physical can be introduced once more (hugs, touches, kisses). Then, once that is in place and I'm comfortable, we can move on to a sexual relationship again.

Wow... reading this, it makes me feel like it will be a LONG time before I'm ready for anything sexual.


Exactly the point. Taking the focus off of being sexual and putting it on building trust by introducing emotional intimacy.

Quote:
Intimacy also involves a tremendous amount of trust and vulnerability, and right now I have a brick wall around me. Am I right to think intimacy is impossible without trust and willingness to be vulnerable? I believe those things will take me a long time to rebuild.


Well if we go by what is written above it's the acts of initial emotional intimacy that build trust and the ability to show vulnerability. So if we are looking to have a plan or for our partners to have a plan maybe step one is to take baby steps. So what would the baby steps consist of?

Quote:
For some of us whose relationship has been damaged by a sex or love addiction (either our own, or our partner's), I think to experience this childlike aspect of intimacy needs a conscious putting aside of old hurts and habits - just for an hour, or an afternoon to begin with. We may need a focus - it might be something simple like strolling along a beach eating icecream and playing skipstones, playing paper, scissors, stone, or learning a new, slightly frivolous skill together. Eventually this childlike aspect of intimacy will become something that is spontaneous and appropriate to the moment.


So in this example the baby step could be putting aside an hour to focus on something childlike or fun/frivolous to just be together and enjoy something for that short period of time, not thinking of anything else but focusing on the here and now. What other baby steps are realistic?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:14 pm 
Offline
Partner's Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5200
When my husband and I went to counseling together, some ways in which to create intimacy were discussed. Something simple that struck me as it had never previously occurred to me was that sitting in the same room, either reading, watching television etc actually creates intimacy. It is the fact that you are in each others presence that has the intimacy be created. Sitting down to a meal together creates intimacy. Sharing a bed creates intimacy. There are many ways that you bond with people that requires little forced effort~you just have to be willing to be in each others presence!

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:17 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:09 pm
Posts: 703
Thank you for your responses, Coach Cheryl.

I see where you say that intimacy is required to rebuild trust, but I don't see where the quotes you used say that (or perhaps I'm misunderstanding.)

Quote:
It is a relationship in which the participants know or trust one another very well or are confidants of one another, or a relationship in which there is physical or emotional intimacy.


From this part of one of your quotes, I interpret that trust needs to be present for an intimate relationship to exist.

I am thinking of the difference between my willingness to be vulnerable and trust my husband when we first met as opposed to now. Back then I had no reason not to trust him and was willing to be vulnerable. However, now that he has violated both so completely, I don't think I'm willing to share myself in an emotionally intimate way until I can trust him again and am willing to be vulnerable - neither of which I'm willing to do.

I REALLY want to know and feel intimacy, but I thought I had it for all these years only to find out I was tricked and deceived. It's been a whole year since d-day and the wall around me is more solid than ever. I am so totally afraid of getting tricked again, and it will take lots of time for me to ever trust my husband again and give him the gift of my vulnerability again. He had them and tromped all over them for years.

Don't get me wrong - I'm in wait and see mode. But trust and vulnerability (and as I understand it - intimacy) are a long way off for me.

Sincerely,

Patty


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:35 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:02 am
Posts: 65
Quote:
So if we are looking to rebuild intimacy or looking for our partners to take the lead to rebuild the emotional intimacy as a prerequisite to allowing trust to be reestablished and/or physical intimacy and finally sexual to be resumed what does that look like to us as it pertains to the quotes above? What needs to happen and how can it be achieved?


I feel that rebuilding intimacy needs to happen in small steps.

We began by looking at the messages we carried from our childhoods. We each took time to think about the frameworks we were given as children. Then we talked to each other about our findings.

Here is a list of the sort of things we looked at:
    • As a child, when did I feel loved?
    • As a child, how did my family celebrate special occasions eg. birthdays and Christmas?
    • As a child, did I always feel safe and secure?
    • As a child, how did I see that my parents sorted out their disagreements?
    • Did I see them arguing and making up too?
    • How did my mother talk about my father when he was not around? And vice versa?
    • How much time did my parents spend together and what did they do with that time?

Sharing the answers to these questions gave us an opportunity to talk about our feelings, without any contention or potential for arguments. It helped to create a greater awareness of the different messages we had each brought with us to our marriage.

For example, I realized my partner had not been able to trust as a child, so his learning to trust as an adult is a major undertaking. I realized that my parents never had an argument near me so I had poor understanding of how to argue well.

By looking at these messages, we were able to decide whether we wanted to stick with them or not. These unconscious messages had previously been part of us, without our knowing it. Now we are more open to change and we have also taken another small step towards an intimate relationship.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 51 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group