The Dance of Intimacy
Coming Back to Center in a Relationship
by Madisyn Taylor
In a long-term relationship it is often necessary to get back to basics and come back to center with each other.
Anyone in a long-term relationship knows that the dance of intimacy involves coming together and moving apart. Early in a relationship, intense periods of closeness are important in order to establish the ground of a new union. Just as a sapling needs a lot more attention than a full-grown tree, budding relationships demand time and attention if they are to fully take root. Once they become more established, the individuals in the union begin to turn their attention outward again, to the other parts of their lives that matter, such as work, family, and friendships. This is natural and healthy. Yet, if a long-term relationship is to last, turning towards one another recurrently, with the same curiosity, attention, and nurturance of earlier times, is essential.
In a busy and demanding world full of obligations and opportunities, we sometimes lose track of our primary relationships, thinking they will tend to themselves. We may have the best intentions when we think about how nice it would be to surprise our partner with a gift or establish a weekly date night. Yet somehow, life gets in the way. We may think that our love is strong enough to survive without attention. Yet even mature trees need water and care if they are to thrive.
One of the best ways to nourish a relationship is through communication. If you feel that a distance has grown between you and your partner, you may be able to bridge the gap by sharing how you feel. Do your best to avoid blame and regret. Focus instead on the positive, which is the fact that you want to grow closer together. Sometimes, just acknowledging that there is distance between you has the effect of bringing the relationship into balance. In other cases, more intense effort and attention may be required. You may want to set aside time to talk and come up with solutions together. Remember to have compassion for each other. You’re in the same boat together and trying to maintain the right balance of space and togetherness to keep your relationship healthy and thriving. Express faith and confidence in each other, and enjoy the slow dance of intimacy that can resume between the two of you.
A Relationship with Self
by Madisyn Taylor
By allowing ourselves to be comfortable with being alone, we can become the people with whom we want to have a relationship.
The most important relationship we have in our lives is with our selves. And even though we are the only ones who are present at every moment of our lives—from birth onward—this relationship can be the most difficult one to cultivate. This may be because society places such emphasis on the importance of being in a romantic partnership, even teaching us to set aside our own needs for the needs of another. Until we know ourselves, however, we cannot possibly choose the right relationship to support our mutual growth toward our highest potential. By allowing ourselves to be comfortable with being alone, we can become the people with whom we want to have a relationship.
Perhaps at no other time in history has it been possible for people to survive, and even thrive, while living alone. We can now support ourselves financially, socially, and emotionally without needing a spouse for survival in any of these realms. With this freedom, we can pursue our own interests and create fulfilling partnerships with friends, business partners, creative cohorts, and neighbors. Once we’ve satisfied our needs and created our support system, a mate then becomes someone with whom we can share the bounty of all we’ve created and the beauty we’ve discovered within ourselves.
As we move away from tradition and fall into more natural cycles of being in the world today, we may find that there are times where being alone nourishes us and other periods in which a partnership is best for our growth. We may need to learn to create spaces to be alone within relationships. When we can shift our expectations of our relationships with ourselves and others to opportunities for discovery, we open ourselves to forge new paths and encounter uncharted territory. Being willing to know and love ourselves, and to find what truly makes us feel deeply and strongly, gives us the advantage of being able to attract and choose the right people with whom to share ourselves, whether those relationships fall into recognizable roles or not. Choosing to enjoy being alone allows us to fully explore our most important relationship—the one with our true selves.