Untidy Towns


I’ve been reading about emotional intimacy all night in various ways, scrolling through Reddit and Quora and diving through the experiences and stories of others when I came across this study, which basically says that it doesn’t matter how intimate you are with your partner as long as it’s as intimate as you want to be. And I thought: well, duh. Yet as obvious as it seems it made me realize something. We aren’t as intimate as I want us to be, but only because I don’t spend enough time alone.

His friend is staying the weekend and true to form he has said and done things we’ve fought about a thousand times, but he can’t stop because that’s who he is. I got tired of listening and being exposed to it and hurting, so I came into the bedroom and closed the door and dimmed the lights. I put headphones on and discovered that Google Music has radio stations. Of course, I went for sad piano radio (which as it turns out is just relaxing music, mostly pianos but sometimes rain). Piano is my go-to comfort; it’s the only guarantee. Then I started reading all these memories and worries because reaching out and connecting is also a comfort, especially when it comes to social issues. I don’t usually have anything to compare against and I don’t like bothering my friend Amanda too much with series of texts drenched with panic and confusion. Reading other worlds helps me see that what I’m feeling is human. Sometimes it also helps me put words to it.

What we lack is emotional intimacy, and I can see two ways to fix this: 1) Gain emotional intimacy, or 2) Hang out less and lead more separate, individual lives. Right now we’re stuck in the middle and I’m not getting enough of either one. You see, I didn’t realize it until tonight, but that’s where the balance exists. My life of late (give or take the last 10 years) has been tasked to find the balance in every circumstance. I’ve found the balance for home/work, creating/consuming, play/rest, friends/boyfriend, etc. I’m still working on a few (a lot, actually), like writing/reading, music/news, and obviously solitude/companionship. I don’t always know what the balance is between until I find it, and what I seek to balance isn’t always what needs balancing, but when I find it, it integrates itself into my life, routine, and becomes a part of me. I am at peace with those things. Maybe this is what growing up is, I don’t know.

However when it comes to social balance it has always been very difficult, because unless the other person is willing to play their role exactly as I need, I can’t control that balance. And of course I don’t expect anyone to do that (in fact I rarely even tell anyone about this), so I factor impulsivity and chaos into the balance (where possible). I tried to do that with this relationship but it doesn’t work. It’s too physically close and has a much too large impact on my daily comfort and anxieties.

But then I read this ‘well, duh’ article, and it’s food for thought. The less our lives are entwined, the less I notice the lack of emotional intimacy. The more we find ourselves daily bonded, the more I need and therefore the more I expect (and therefore the more it hurts).

Asking for more intimacy has never worked. He seems happy with the level that’s there, and I suppose that’s why he doesn’t understand why I need more. Or less. I wonder what would happen if I lessened my end, down to the level that would be more ideal for me. Would he feel as absolutely shitty as I have felt the last 2.5 years, begging for the type of intimacy we had the first six months?

He tricked me.