Levels of intimacy
Whether you are bachelor or a long-time married romantic, it is fair to say you might have experienced the ups and downs of couple relationships. Pursuing a romantic relationship usually comes with its magic or dare I say irresistible thrill that infects one with excitement and an unmistakable “high.” However, this surge of adrenaline seems to be an elusive fleet of emotions in the development of an intimate relationship. In fact, the dynamics change so dramatically and you just find yourself wondering what exactly went and how you survived the zigzag, up and down flow of emotions once everything has settled down and you have established a firm relationship or given up on it.
To understand these dynamics, the world of psychology provides us with five levels of intimacy that describe and explain how the development of intimacy is quite a natural course with its “highs” and “lows.”
The first stage in the development of intimacy is infatuation. It is the very intoxicating moment that you find yourself head-over-heels with your partner. You find them perfect and unbelievably so agreeable that you cannot stop thinking about them! The two of you are inseparable and you share so closely and intimately. However this level of intimacy is short-lived and dies soon after the infatuation is worn off.
The second level of intimacy which surfaces next is landing. This is like a wakeup call from the infatuation stage. At this stage you feel somewhat scared as if all the fantastic attractiveness and attraction towards your dream partner just flew out and disappeared into thin air. It is slightly sweet, but it feels like you were wearing a blindfold which you were not aware of and then it has suddenly been taken off for you to see. It prompts you to do a reality check and “still” the excitement to find a balance between your new found love and other parts of your life.
This stage is also short-lived where romance and a moderate level of intimacy thrive, but soon after it is taken over by burying.
Burying is the third level of intimacy. At this stage of a relationship, there are overwhelming changes in which little focus and attention is given to the relationship. In fact, there is really little intimacy exchange going on and it seems like daily duties and things-to-do have taken over or conspired to demolish your relationship. Life itself becomes a priority and intimacy takes the back seat as the other thing, which you do when time allows. In other words, intimacy is over-shadowed by other important things and it seems like it has been buried deep down a pile of things-to-do and sits at the bottom unnoticed and unattended.
The burying stage is followed by resurfacing. At this level, lost intimacy which has become a misplaced priority begins to come out again seeking attention. It is like a baby crying for attention. It is the baby’s way of saying “hey I am here; it is like you forgot I exist.” You actually, realize you have abandoned being intimate tendencies and it becomes like a new discovery although it is not. The resurfacing is a mix of what you have abandoned and cherishing it again. It is a way of being grateful and content and thus fuels the relationship with a new energy and excitement.
The last stage of a relationship is Love. At this stage it is very clear you up to your partner to cheer you up and you are happy being with them. It re-energizes the energy and it gets better than ever before that you have spontaneous bursts of happiness.