Image courtesy of Getty Images/Christopher Polk

When you think of the word, “intimacy”, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Closeness?
Sex?
Romance?

What if I told you that the meaning of intimacy goes deeper than all of those.

Let’s look at Webster’s definition of intimacy…
the state of being intimate; a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group; a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history, etc.

Intimacy is openness, transparency, acceptance, being candid and honest, and sharing all of yourself beyond the physical. Intimacy is also self-revelation and being comfortable with sharing those revelations with your partner. To openly share your thoughts, your attitudes, and your feelings without feeling like you’ll be judged says a lot about how mature your relationship is.

Kendrick Lamar is the perfect example of a man who displays that kind of maturity. In a 2015 interview with ‘Billboard’, he had this to say about his fiance, Whitney Alford.

billboard

 

Kendrick perfectly illustrates what goes down in the truest form of intimacy; vulnerability, transparency, and obviously not being afraid to be any of that with his woman….his best friend ūüôā

 

We have to distinguish the difference between true intimacy and false intimacy, as well.

False intimacy is lust, physical attraction and admiring the exterior of a person without truly knowing who they are on the inside. False intimacy can be tricky and it can lead situationships, as opposed to a healthy relationships.

 

Intimacy is about being emotionally close to your partner, not just physically. Allowing your partner to let their guard down is the best feeling in the world, because they are showing you that they’re trusting you with their inner most secrets and desires. That’s the kind of intimacy that will keep a relationship solid. A relationship without true intimacy can be boring and uninspiring.

 

 

 

 

 

When we are in a fresh relationship, we tend to stop doing the things we were doing for ourselves before we become in one. Our main goal once we commit is keeping our mate happy, by all means necessary. We don’t mean to put ourselves on the back-burner, but it feels so good to be in a relationship, we shift our priorities, because we feel that our significant others are important. We forget that to keep a healthy relationship, we must, sometimes, put ourselves first.

The moment we make our relationship official, we tend to make decisions revolving around our mates. That’s totally normal, except we’ve forgotten about our plans, our goals, our LIFE.

Here are 3 ways we lose ourselves in a relationship.

 

Dimming your light– What I mean by this is¬†if you have an opportunity to be greater than you already are, then take it. Don’t try to spare your mate’s feelings or ego by turning down any opportunity that would involve more travel, more success, or provide you with more financial stability. You would also turn down these opportunities for fear of losing him/her. Don’t do yourself the disservice.

Not honoring your commitments to yourself– Before going into a relationship, you had all kinds of goals that you wanted to accomplish. Now that you have a significant other, your personal goals are no longer a priority. It’s my belief that a goal-oriented person has one of the qualities that men/women find attractive. So, why stop your personal goals and your life plans because you have a “boo”?

Neglecting your feelings– When our significant other does something we don’t agree with, we keep our thoughts and/or opinions to ourselves to spare an argument. As a result, we neglect our feelings to keep them satisfied. Disregarding how we truly feel about situations is never a good thing. Like a pipe, when there’s enough pressure, that pipe will bust. All of the feelings you’re holding in, will eventually make you bust…just like that pipe! Express to your significant other about how you really feel about things. Sharing what you like and dislike with your partner may lessen the chances for an argument.

 

By now, you’ve seen images of a couple whose proposal and wedding transpired all in one day and the tear-jerking union went viral all over social media. If you click on the hashtag, #ForeverDuncan” it takes you to a timeline of events between Alfred Duncan and his new wife, Sherrell, and their captured moments of the day’s memorable events.

On Oct. 1st, Alfred proposed to his long-time girlfriend, Sherell Woodward, at noon. Unbeknownst to Sherrell, a wedding ceremony was about to take place by 5pm. The bride-to-be was overcome with emotion as she arrived at the venue.

Learn more about their love story here

Since their love story broke, it’s been proven that folks have a hard time doing a couple of things when they witness something “out of the norm”, yet, extraordinary.

I’ve witnessed people (particularly men) have a hard time giving props where props are due, and the rest (women) using the Duncans’ relationship as a template for their own love life¬†or lack thereof.

While¬†I admit to ALMOST calling somebody to order the “Forever Duncan special”, I am clearly aware that I should create my own journey to true love, instead of following the love story of someone else. I think it’s safe to say that we all should focus on creating our own love story.

We forget that, perhaps, these folks went through hell and back to get where they are right now. Getting into a relationship is relatively easy, but it’s staying in it that could be a whole other challenge. Relationships take¬†work, and everyone’s journey to true love is different.

This couple’s story has revealed the true colors of folks on social media. Since their story broke, I’ve witnessed more of a division in the dynamic between men and women in the black communities. Men have been doing more criticizing than congratulating the brotha¬†on doing what he wanted to¬†do with his queen.¬†I’ve seen women publicly criticize the men they’ve dated for not being a “real man” like Alfred. I’ve also seen women criticize the new bride for waiting nine years.

I need y’all to cut it……..

Fellahs…don’t judge a brotha for leveling up on what you haven’t had the courage¬†to do.

Ladies…Stop comparing your significant others (past & present) to a dude you don’t even know. A healthy¬†relationship requires a 50/50 partnership, so stop judging like it’s ALL their fault you’re single and struggling.

The story of the Duncans reveals the problem we have and that’s the huge ass gap between men and women that need¬†to be bridged.¬†There’s also an obvious need for better understanding and communication when¬†it comes to love and relationships.

Let’s stop judging and commend this couple for sharing their beautiful love story, and we should definitely¬†commend Alfred for stepping up and showing the world the love he has for his woman.

love

We live in a world where folks are fascinated with the dating life of others, especially when they, themselves, don’t have a dating life. Those people like to either live vicariously through you¬†or look to others for¬†the latest TEA on who you’re involved with.

We also live in a world where lovers of love can’t wait to show off their significant other. You log on to your Facebook or Instagram, because apparently, this person you’re seeing has made you feel what you’ve never felt before. It could be at least three weeks into this union, but so, what?! You’re gonna show him/her off because you’re “in love”.

Most of us who are reading this has been guilty of this at some point in our lives. We don’t often see how huge a mistake it is until you realize you and him/her wasn’t meant to be.

Status updates that were once about dates you were on and “liking the road ahead”, are now words from venting and other stuff that clearly needs to be written in a diary(do people still use those?). We also notice the obvious disappearance of photos of the two of you that you’ve just posted a month ago.

It could all be a humiliating experience and will give the nosey folks more to talk about.

This is why dating privately and keeping who you date off social media is important. Not only does it keep you from embarrassing yourself, but as much as we want things to work out, we don’t know what the future holds. Dating privately gives you the opportunity to strengthen your relationship…something we should take the time to do, instead of jumping in head first into exclusivity. A lot of us tend to do that without realizing it. It’s all a part of the excitement of experiencing something new.

Awhile ago, I wrote a piece called The Best Sign Of a Healthy Relationship is No Sign Of it on Facebook. It‚Äôs difficult for me to believe that NO sign of a relationship on Facebook means that it‚Äôs healthy. Additionally, this piece is about the distinction between private and secret among established couples; pinpointing the obvious discretion. I just wanted to put that out there for those who ¬†thinks I’m contradicting myself.

Same issue, different circumstance

Anyway…

I urge¬†my ladies to wait until the both of you establish something genuine…you know, like an actual COMITTMENT before you go public. Nothing screams premature actions and preconceived notions than moving too quickly with your social media friends as witnesses. Don’t be the one who cannot wait to show¬†off your mate, only to do a “post and delete” weeks later.

 

 

 

It’s never good to force a committed relationship¬†because you’re setting up your own heart to be broken during the process. No one wants to be forced to do anything they’re not ready for, no matter how much they care about you.

Sometimes, we forget to appreciate the nature of the relationship at its’ current state, because we’re too focused on exclusivity. These 4 reasons are reminders of why it’s important to stay single, rather than forcing a commitment.

 

Delaying exclusivity gives you more time to know who you’re dealing with

Folks are on their best behavior in the beginning of a new relationship, because the need to continually impress their mate solidifies any doubts their mates might’ve had about them. That’s what we like to call “the honeymoon phase”. Folks start to show their true colors after the honeymoon phase fades away. You’ll know who you’re truly dealing with at that point.

 

A true mate likes to take their time

Only a mate who is dedicated to learning all about you and wanting to keep you happy is someone who truly cares about a potential relationship with you. These folks are emotionally healthy and capable of being a great spouse in the future. Don’t get quickly caught up in your feelings at the first sign of attention, flirting, etc., because you’ll be blinded from the possible reality that (s)he’s not that into you, as you are of him/her.

 

Recognize your true fear before jumping into a relationship

Why rush into a committed relationship?

Why can’t you just enjoy the moment with your mate for what it is?

Is it because you’re acting out of fear of being alone?

If you feel like you have to push your mate into a committed relationship, you don’t need to be in one. There’s a deep-rooted issue that making you focus too much on not repeating the past and becoming too anxious about the future. Just enjoy the NOW!

 

Appreciate what’s going on between you now

The joys of appreciating what you two currently have is not being bothered by the pressures of being committed. When you focus less on being exclusive, you give yourself a chance to have fun with this person. You also get to experience emotional freedom and acceptance with how things are going.

It’s been over a year and you and your man has been kickin’ it. It’s just enough for you to consider the idea of you two being in a relationship¬†because you fell in love with him and you think he’s the perfect guy for you. You don’t need any other man in your life because you’ve found “the one”. It’s a beautiful thing when someone gives their all to only one person. However, there’s an issue that’s¬†arisen and actually has six months into the relationship. The issue is neither one of you have discussed being committed to one another.

Guys who are not looking to commit to a woman will do the biggest trick in the book by doing just enough to make you think y’all are a real couple without saying y’all are a real couple.

Why?

Because when things go south, he can easily say that he didn’t cheat because y’all were never committed to one another.

You’ve become bamboozled by the quality time, the dates, the plane trips, and the dick so much, you’ve never taken into consideration that you are still an option. You hoped the few discussions y’all have had about “keeping things¬†100” has resonated with him, but the words you spewed at him went in one ear and out the other.

Why?

He actually kept it 100 since the day y’all have met. You were just too in love to see things for what it really was. You’ve yearned for the attention you were getting from him and because of the attention you were finally getting, you focused on nothing else but the idea of being together officially. You’ve assumed the few talks about taking things further would motivate him enough to give you a title as his girlfriend he is committed to.

You’ve developed the idea of being committed, even after catching him being messy a few times.

Why?

Because for you, getting him to say “I’m yours, and you’re mine” is a challenge for you that you’re willing to take. You’re subconsciously in competition with another chick or two, which makes you feel more in love with him. It doesn’t make sense… but it makes sense. You’re trying to prove to him that despite his setbacks with a few other chicks, you’re willing to turn the other cheek and fight for all of his attention and his love…because you’re in love with him. As a result, you continue to wait….and wait….and wait, until he claims you. According to your biological clock and the fact that you’re getting older, he’s doing everything right. You just want him to claim you as you have of him already.

Distinguishing the difference between what you want and what you need is important. You want a committed relationship and that’s okay. What’s not okay is waiting around for him to change his mind. While he’s exploring his options, you’re sitting around, treating him as your priority. Keep in mind that you could be blocking your true blessing of a man who has surpassed you with a few chapters from the same book and wants what you want, while you’re waiting for your guy to join you on the same page. ¬†It’s not fair to neither one of you.

Think about that the next time you suggest to him about keeping things “100“.

 

 

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