Tara #3 Intimacy is Squishy

Q to Tara from TinaO

A naturopath I once saw said to me that the definition of intimacy is not knowing what is on the other side of this very moment, and sharing that with someone else. How do you define intimacy and why is being comfortable with it so important to our well-being?

There are so many ways to look at intimacy—that’s one of the things I really love about it. It can be as deep as the fondness and trust we feel with the people closest to us, and it can be a glimmer of “we’re in this together” among strangers who are all stuck on the same elevator.

In my world, intimacy all comes down to one word: Connection.

What I know for sure is that we are not meant to exist only on the surface. It would be like only ever talking about the weather. Forever. Right? That very thought makes me want to jab a fork into my own eye and twist it around like I’m swirling spaghetti.

Intimacy is a leap—knowing the deepest, darkest places of ourselves, and then trusting our fellow humans to hold those pieces and not hurt us with them. A client said it beautifully: “It was like he asked to see the most awful, dark and scary parts of me so that he could hold them for me and love them, and give them back in a way that didn’t hurt me as badly. No matter what I threw at him from my dark spaces, it never scared him away.”

In my world, intimacy all comes down to one word: Connection.

I cannot stress enough: when we are intimate with other human beings, it makes our life and our existence take up more space. We are here to touch and be touched and to reach new levels of knowing ourselves through others. And yes, it’s difficult sometimes, so let’s get that out on the table. It’s not always easy, but I promise it’s worth it.

Tara intimacy

I remember a few years ago I ventured up to my hometown and attended my 20th high school reunion. It was interesting in many ways. As I sat with people who no longer knew me in the day-to-day, I felt the most known I had in a long time: these were the people who watched me grow up and knew the very essence of me. There was no hiding, in the best possible way. Later in the weekend, when I had a meltdown about still being single when all the others seemed to be happy and attached and raising families, I landed at my friends’ home, where I was staying.

…knowing the deepest, darkest places of ourselves, and then trusting our fellow humans to hold those pieces and not hurt us with them.

My best friend of more than 20+ years was actually out of town at a funeral, and her husband was holding down the fort and caring for the four kids. And me, apparently. I have known him just as long as his lovely wife, and he greeted me with a hug and said all the right things. He then invited me to lie on the trampoline, in the dark, to look at the stars. He brought out the iPad, and we identified all the constellations, and it struck me: without it being at all about sex, it was perhaps one of the most intimate moments of my life. I cracked open, he held my broken bits, and squeezed them back together as we looked at the sky, side-by-side in the dark.

And this is what I want people to know and for our kids to grow up watching: intimacy and connection. Seeing people around us, and having what they say matter deeply to us.

When kids see and know the adults in their lives more intimately, including the failings and joys, they are given permission to enjoy a similar connection as they grow with everyone around them. We get to change how the world works, starting with our children. If that isn’t exciting, I don’t know what is.

Intimate connection can be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be too hard to even start. The first step is to be curious and interested. I invite you to try it tonight. Instead of asking your partner or the kids “How was your day?” (to which they will probably reply, “good”), pose a different sort of question:

What was your favourite part of today?

How did you know that I love you today?

How can this day end end in the best possible way?

Yes, it will feel weird at the beginning, but try. And if you get an “I dunno” in response, do what I do with clients and tell them to make something up and then see where it goes.

And I would invite you to branch out and try this with other people in your life, too. Get curious and interested about people who interact with you each day; challenge yourself to relate on a slightly more intimate level with one person at a time and pretty soon you too, will be bored by surface talk about the weather, and crave to know more.

Tara Cafelle Where

Get Real, like sexy real, Tara





Tara Caffelle is a Relationship and Communication coach.  She is passionate about creating connected, almost-uncomfortable-to-watch relationships that are based in Sexy Communication and Big Lives worth rolling around in.

Tara is based in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver and offers custom-designed coaching programs. To claim your free 90+ minutes and see what might be possible for your own super coupledom (or persondom), find a time here.

Have a question for Tara?  Have an idea for a Hump Day conversation?   How about just some thoughts about this thing called life? Let us know here.  We’ll answer back.  We promise.