The Wisdom of WaitingIn this blog, my advice on relationships is about to make me extremely unpopular by making the case for postponing physical intimacy. When desire is the expression of love is the best time to experience increasing degrees of intimacy. And love needs time and care in order to grow. Who here has had the experience of having an explosive first few weeks of a romance only to watch it flame out? Can we talk?
When Lance met Lara
When Lance first met Lara, he thought he was instantly in love. Within a few dates they were feeling and acting like soul mates. Lance would call twice a day. They spent every weekend together. They talked about the future. Lance had never felt so passionate. Lara was swept off her feet.
After three weeks Lance stopped calling. Lara couldn’t understand why. She thought that something was wrong and when she called him at work he was friendly, but definitely different. He didn’t even make plans to see her. Lara was hurt that he talked to her as if she were just a friend.
After a few more days when he didn’t call, Lara called again and let him know how she felt. After one uncomfortable conversation, they ended their relationship. She felt hurt, resentful and he felt bad for hurting her.
He hadn’t meant to lead her on. He had thought that she was the one. All he knew was that one morning he woke up next to her and felt that she wasn’t and an urge to get away. As suddenly as he had fallen in love, he was now no longer in love with her. He didn’t know what to do so he didn’t do anything. When she called again and he heard how much he hurt her, he agreed to end the relationship. He couldn’t change his feelings and he definitely didn’t want to keep hurting her.
After some reflection and reading (on this blog?) Lance learned that as a man gets close to a woman he experiences the need to take some distance. While he was pulling away, she shared her pain. He couldn’t reassure her of his feelings for her because he was not feeling them. He assumed that she was just the wrong person for him. He wondered what would have happened if they had taken more time to get to know each other, instead of rushing intimacy.
Although he wasn’t feeling a deep need to be with Lara, Lance missed her. He called her with the intention of explaining his thoughts on what happened and they went to dinner. They continued to date, although this time, they dialled it right back and took things slowly. When they finally reached the stage of being ready for intimacy, Lance again felt his need to pull away. This time however it was not as intense as they had taken the time to develop their relationship. He took his distance for a few days and then started to miss her a lot. After about a year, they married and are very happy together.
What is Intimacy?
There are four levels of connecting with a partner. They are:
Physical – creating desire and arousal
Emotional – creating affection, caring and trust
Mental – creating interest and receptivity
Spiritual – opening our hearts, creating appreciation; overcoming judgements
When we are turned on to a partner on all four levels, we experience true intimacy. By taking your time in the earlier stages of the relationship, you are able to discover these different levels and how much love you feel for someone.
We do not create chemistry. It just is. What we can do is create the right conditions for people to discover how much they love us or how much they find us truly interesting or how much they want to make us happy. We can make sure we have the opportunity to feel chemistry to the degree it exists.
With enough love in your heart, you are prepared to experience the worst of your partner and still come back to a loving connection. Even if our hearts temporarily close down, we can more easily find our way back to that love with the solid foundation of many loving and positive experiences. When we rush into a physical relationship we have not built the foundation required to weather any storm. When conflicts arise, and they will, the relationship doesn’t have the band-width to cope.
So what’s the best advice on relationships related to the wisdom of waiting? Intimacy in mid-life does not have to be all or nothing. Enjoy each other’s company, hold hands, hug, laugh and cry, lighten up, share your music, take the time it takes to build a loving and lasting relationship.
From my advice on relationships to you …