The blog is a little late this time as it was a public holiday and long weekend and I spent it with my partner, catching up with mates and relaxing. The relaxing included reading a book that was not for uni, "The seven levels of intimacy" and it prompted me with this week's topic.
So often when people talk about intimacy they are often talking about sex, it is certainly part of it but there is so much more. For me, intimacy is the 'knowing' of another person, their likes, dislikes dreams, goals, deepest thoughts and fears. And this is also what the book talks about, what the seven levels are and how to create and even recreate this in your relationships.
We start with small talk (1) and facts (2), the first 2 levels, you know the conversations you have when you are first getting to know someone, pleasantries, what did they do today, what music, film, hobbies they like etc.
You then move along to their opinions (3) and their hopes and dreams (4), the intimacy is building as you delve deeper into the person, this is when you start to realise that you do or don't have things in common on a much deeper level. Many relationships falter at this stage, you may have surface things in common but nothing else, there is not enough intimacy to maintain a relationship, you either move this person to being an acquaintance rather than a friend, or you walk away. It is also a time when some people, those who get swept up on the moment, those who have unrealistic expectations or are lonely and desperate, may ignore the fact that they dont really have anything in common, or think they can change the person, these relationships falter in time or go very pear shaped.
From there intimacy moves forward and we discover each other's feelings (5) and then their faults, fears and failures (6). This is where we bare our souls to each other, we have now moved to an even deeper level, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and exposed, this has taken a great deal of trust in each other.
Finally we move to the seventh level, legitimate needs (7), the needs of the soul and where we work together to meet each other's needs, where we come to support each other to be the best version of ourselves.
As this intimacy develops so does love, it can be companionate and result in life long friends, or it can be romantic and be the start of blossoming partnership. All of this takes quality time together to achieve, for some the sharing and common ground is found quite early, but for most it takes 3-12 months to achieve.
And for many in long term relationship some of this can get lost along the way, life gets busy, we think we know all there is to know about each other, we get stuck in a rut......but it can be resurrected. We cam take the time to explore these seven levels and see where we are at now and see where we both want the relationship to go.
So watch this space for a workshop aimed at building the seven levels of intimacy and getting you back on track and working in partnership to achieve your joint relationship as well as individual vision.
Richelle has had a passion for sexuality and sexual health since 2001. She has worked in the field since 2006, providing sexuality education in schools, and adult education in the topics of diverse sexualities and gender identities, LGBT health issues, sexual health and LGBT relationships.
This is a space for me to share with you my journey as a Sexologist, the things I learn and the people I meet and what I think and feel along the way.