A lot of people are great “on paper” daters. What I mean by that is that they go on dates regularly. They’re attractive, attentive, have good jobs, interesting skills and hobbies. They do the dinner conversations, they laugh in the right places, they talk about their lives, their families, their careers, their aspirations, their dog’s strange bathroom habits. They nail everything and yet…
… nobody sticks around.
Eventually, the phone stops ringing, the lame excuses pop up, or the ubiquitous, “We should just be friends” comes out.
Ultimately, dating and finding a partner is an emotional process. People like this get the surface-level behaviors right, but they never engage the depth of their emotions and connect where the real life is. It’s like the difference between composing a concerto on piano and simply performing somebody else’s concerto.
Generating intimacy in a relationship requires emotional investment and vulnerability. That means you need to open up about yourself in ways that may not be completely comfortable. It means exposing yourself. It requires you to share opinions and values that may polarize people and generate rejections. It requires you to be bold and take risks in going after what you want.
To generate emotional intimacy with others, one must open up and discover the emotions within oneself. In our culture today, sexual/romantic relationships are objectified. They’re treated as boxes on a checklist or entries on a resume. They’re seen as an exchange of time, information and bodily fluids.
But intimacy is something that happens organically through the mutual expression of emotions and values. It’s a box that can’t be checked. It’s a resume that can’t be filled in. It’s unconscious and personal and unnameable. And one cannot generate that deep intimacy if one is not open to those deep emotions and values within oneself.