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It Doesn't Look Like Intimacy (But it is!)

On the other side of things that look like intimacy are 5 behaviors that don't readily appear to be attempts at intimacy but are:

  • Giving you space when you are in a bad mood

  • Complaining

  • Pressuring you to try new things

  • Doting or fussing over you

  • Wanting sex soon after an argument

Couples whose relationships are a bit strained often overlook these efforts by their partner at caring and intimacy. What often happens is that one person's attempt at closeness just doesn't show up on the other partner's radar—or worse, the well-meaning attempt is downright annoying. If your partner does any of the following, view them as subtle but genuine efforts at achieving intimacy.

Giving space: The typical guy is an expert at giving a woman time to herself when she is in a bad mood. That's because when men are in a bad mood they want to be left alone, so they think women deserve the same courtesy. However, it comes across to many women as indifference or withdrawal. In these moments, if you want his company, you must ask for it.

Complaining. How can complaining be remotely connected to intimacy? First, a complaint is not an attack. It is a statement of dissatisfaction made to improve the situation. Women complain more frequently than men, on average. That is because women have a better handle on the state of the relationship and are more alert to potential problems.

It may be annoying when your mate tries to talk you into activities you really don't enjoy. ("Hey hon, I know you're not fond of heights but wouldn't it be fun to try out or the new roller coaster at the amusement park?") He or she just wants a little adventure or change of pace. Don't always be a party pooper. Besides, you might enjoy it more than you think. If your mate reminds you to wear a coat because its cold outside, is she being a nag and acting like you mother or is she simply demonstrating that she cares? Often behaving "motherly" or fatherly" is not a put down or an attempt to control. It's a way to express concern and love.

Finally, men more than women will seek sex as a way to repair a rift in the relationship. Women think, "How can you think of such a things?" and men think "When did I ever stop thinking of such a thing?" The bottom line is if you're not interested in sex after an argument, fine. But if your beloved other is interested it is probably because he is trying to mend fences through physical intimacy, not simply to fulfill an urge.

Excerpt from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Intimacy by Dr. Paul Coleman.


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