Have You Had An Intimacy Comedown?

It’s not what you think

I think this is a thing.

I think it’s something I’ve experienced today. And, as I think about it, relatively often after spending time with certain people.

Let me explain what I mean…

Do you have someone in your life who you love spending time with, who you can tell ANYTHING to? Your go-to person for talking about the things you’re most passionate about, for support, a pick-me-up? Someone who sees how amazing you are, and probably sees it far more often than you see it in yourself. Someone who just gets you. Who you can talk to for hours and forget where the time went and just connect on a level that’s different to other people in your life?

My hope is that you do.

For a lot of you, it might be your partner, or your very best friend, it might even be your parent. For some of you, there might be more than one person who does this.

How amazing does it feel to spend time with these people?

It’s awesome, right? You feel safe, listened to, loved. You are present. You laugh, you might challenge each other in a way that is kind. You know you can cry in front of them without feeling like a total mess, and tell them the most ridiculous things about yourself. You feel lighter just for being with them. You walk out of the conversation with a new perspective, and knowing someone else believes in you.

I spent time with one of the humans who does this for me yesterday. One of the very few people who I let see the deepest, darkest inner working of my brain. Who makes me feel safe enough to share even the stuff I think but don’t want to say out loud, and who sees everything that makes me who I am (including the not so great stuff) and reminds me of how awesome that makes me, regularly.

The thing I’ve realised is: that spending time with these people feels amazing at the time. It gives me what I need - whether it’s to be energised, or to feel lighter, calmer, empowered. I feel full of love and appreciation.

But that afterwards, I have this slump. I feel drained, needy, flat and a little bit lonely... It’s somewhere between a hangover and withdrawal, where I’m craving a return of the intimacy, connection and conversation that we created.

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Because that’s what it is, right? It’s emotional intimacy. And what I’m realising is: that we are conditioned to associate intimacy with only romantic / sexual relationships, and if they aren’t present, well we’re just waiting until they are to create this amazing feeling of connection to another human.

And yet, we all need intimacy. To feel heard, seen, loved. To feel like we belong.

But we’re not that great at demonstrating it on a platonic level, sometimes even on a romantic level. Because it’s not the done thing, particularly in Britain where our stiff upper lip attitude still pulses through our veins and strikes fear in our hearts whenever the idea of having to share how we really feel about someone or something rears its head.

Wouldn’t it be great, though, if we could cultivate more intimacy in our everyday relationships? If we could share more parts of ourselves with more people in our life so we felt those amazing feelings more of the time? So we felt seen and heard and like we belong more of the time. Wouldn’t society be a kinder place, if we all understood each other a little better?

So it’s no wonder I feel low and needy today. Because this deep and raw intimacy and connection is absent in my life more than it’s present. But it’s also within my control to try to cultivate more of the intimacy I seek in the relationships I hold in my life, and it’s in your power too.

Steph Slack