When most people think of intimacy in romantic relationships, they minds picture sex or physical contact between people. The dictionary also isn't very clear about what intimacy is. I'll try to explain what I understand, keep in mind that I may be completely wrong.
According to my understanding, intimacy is not one-dimensional. I feel that there are many aspects to being intimate which allow you to deeply know your partner and be deeply known (the same goes for platonic relationships). Here are the dimensions of intimacy I understand, there are probably more.
- Physical intimacy - This is not only sex but also any type of physical touch and affection which you give or receive from a person. Some examples include holding hands, kissing, eye contact, hugs and cuddling. This is the lowest level of intimacy.
- Emotional intimacy - This is how well you know someone's private life. You can develop emotional intimacy by doing things you love together, talking about dream, goals, failures and fears, knowing the little things about a person's life and building love maps if you are in a romantic relationship. Emotional intimacy needs no physical contact is stronger than physical intimacy. Without emotional intimacy relationships won't work, this is why some people who have been married for decades can get divorced and fall in love with someone they met online. Or other can chat to someone in a different country or province and know that the person they are chatting t0 is their soul mate.
- Spiritual intimacy - The spiritual dimension of intimacy is all about shared beliefs and values. It includes working on a shared relationship vision and discussing philosophies on important topics such as marriage, religion, parenting styles and family values. This is the strongest dimension of intimacy and without this relationships won't last. Creating shared meaning and purpose in your relationship is the key to mastering spiritual intimacy.
I think that spiritual intimacy and emotional intimacy is also closely tied to intuition, I'm not sure how true this is since I am a very intuitive person and I can't speak for people who aren't. I'm confident that if spiritual intimacy is constantly worked on, there will be a natural resilience when things aren't as strong in other dimensions and this will ultimately lead to a more peaceful and stress free life with better decision making.
I just got out of a two and a half year relationship so I may not be the right person to talk about intimacy, but that relationship taught me a lot and although Siya and I are no longer together I consider it a successful relationship. I realised what needed to be worked on and how we were both lacking in certain areas, and when I am in a new relationship I will be much better at communicating and making decisions, especially risky ones like leaving my job to start a business or firing clients who are unethical which I did in the past, because all these small decisions ultimately rob your peace.