Some thoughts on Intimacy in Virus Time

One of my basic beliefs about humanity is that we crave an experience we share with another, or others, which we call intimacy. I also believe that as much as we crave it, we fear it and flee from it.

Yes, I know, there is that small group within the mass of humanity who prefer isolation, but they are few. Most of us need intimacy in order to thrive. And as we all know by now, there is a virus loose in the world that is the greatest threat to intimacy we have ever known.

A reader may be thinking, ‘Hmmm…but, my partner and I have been quarantined together for weeks now…isn’t that what you’re talking about-intimacy?’

The curious thing about intimacy is that it is not simply all about togetherness, being physically together in the same space. Rather, intimacy is really a state of being, when the ego and its aggression and defensiveness is somewhat at rest, the boundaries between you and I and the parts of ourselves we so often choose to not share come to the surface and are available for interaction. Vulnerability, we might say.

How to protect and even enhance this ephemeral experience? Oddly and counterintuitively, in order to enhance togetherness, we must allow for separateness.

In the same way that music is sound AND silence, art is light AND shadow, poetry is words and the spaces in between, human intimacy springs from togetherness and separateness.

When I allow you to withdraw from me, I am saying ‘I trust you will return’, and thus make myself vulnerable to what I cannot control, which is you and your actions, choices, feelings, etc. And it is that freedom then that slowly over time allows for me to be whoever and whatever I am with you, and for you to do the same.

So in this time of virus, make sure your quarantine partner, and you as well, have plenty of time to get out for that walk alone, go in a room and shut the door and do yoga, go upstairs and read a book. Whatever, protect your time apart as much you protect your time together.

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