Intimacy and Solitude Interrupted: Why We're Weary and Worn Out

“What makes lovemaking and reading resemble each other most is that within both of them times and spaces open, different from measurable time and space.”

Italo Calvino

casais_black_and_white_couple_kiss_photography_love-3ba076b78db2dbd53f5b57b3ce3fa53c_h_largeIt had been a month since we sat legs touching on the couch. It had been a month since I last kissed him at the corners of his eyes. It had been too long since we  witnessed the light on each other’s  faces as our words danced in intimate conversation.

When was the last time intimacy opened you up and caused you to expand?

When was the last time you were alone with your thoughts and felt the presence of grace or oneness?

Coitus interruptus of being

I have friends who can’t close their bedroom door ever because they fear they may not be able to hear their children. I know others who use baby monitors black and white br doorwell past the toddler years. Both situations leave a couple wide open for interruption.

I thought we were free of intimacy policing once we stopped making-out in our parent’s basement. What are we teaching our children? That their every whim is more important than their parent’s sacred relationship? As parents we expect to take on the needs and dependence of children but there are boundaries.  There are boundaries that make the whole family stronger.

There should be space for pillow talk and sensual lovemaking.  There should be space for shutting out the world and becoming so blurred in oneness that it takes your breath away. In intimacy you are no longer rigid, defined and poised for action but tender, soft and at ease. Your heart is open and your body willing. In your vulnerability, intimacy flourishes. In intimacy you become an enhanced you, ready to give and receive.

Intimacy sacrificed is slow death to a relationship and a denial of your best self.

My life is not my own. Grrrrr.

Solitude also suffers when subjected to interruptions. Yet, we’ve built a world based on open door policies and technological servitude. Neither allow for privacy or full essence of being. Our lives our defined by schedules, work and relationships.  All of which are prone to intermittent and unplanned interruptions, putting us at their mercy. No one likes feeling as if their life is not their own. This makes us edgy,  irritable and resentful.

In my opinion, we all suffer when subjected to constant interruptions. Extroverts burnout from the lack of progress made. Electronic leashes (phones) and tight schedules keep them from leisurely socializing. Introverts pay an energy price because we are deep concentrators.  We dive deep into our work, dreams, daydreamingblackandwhiterelationships and thoughts.  Our focus heightens, our breathing slows, we immerse in the flow of freedom. Pulling us out of these depths is no easy feat.  Returning to the sweet sacredness we were immersed in before the interruption is like a pebble thrown into a calm pond.  It takes a while for the ripples to subside and smoothness to return.

I’ve had readers say they’ve been slaves to others for so long they don’t know how to spearhead their own thoughts and lives anymore.  Others say for every interruption to their solitude they need three times as much alone time to recover.  Being at the whim of others, society, and technology is self-limiting and self-sacrificing.

It makes us weary and worn out.

We need space.  We need recovery time.

Protect that which makes you better

Privacy is not selfish even if it is within your own home.

Close the door.

Turn off the phone.

Go for a walk by yourself.

Warmly tell your partners, family and friends that you will be available in two hours and then teach them how to honor that.  Admittedly, this will not be easy.  They like having you available to them. They may feel it as rejection. Help them understand your needs for inner nourishment. Show them how willing you are to engage AFTER your grace period. Let them see your renewed light. Let them see your productivity post-hiatus. Kiss the corners of their eyes and sit with them lovingly on the couch. They will feel space and time expand.

Have you been transformed by intimacy lately? By solitude? What if our inner worlds were as honored as our outward appearances? What if solitude and privacy were social norms? 

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17 Comments

  1. How Does Introversion Affect Your Sexuality?: The Results | space2live
    October 4, 2013

    […] Intimacy and Solitude Interrupted: Why We’re Weary and Worn Out […]

    Reply
  2. Jun Chen
    October 3, 2013

    I’m so glad I found this post! I’ve only recently found out about introverts and extroverts when one my friends mentioned a possibility of my boyfriend being an introvert. Being an extrovert, I see why I always crave for social settings and CAN’T STAND being alone. I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost a year and a half. I have my own apartment, but you know how the beginning of relationships you just want to spend all your time with the other person, so I began staying at his place more often. It led up to the point where I was practically living with him. We’ve had our handful of arguments and am now realizing why our simple arguments turn into large arguments. It’s always hard for me to understand him when he doesn’t tell me how he’s feeling or what he’s thinking. I would get frustrated and press him for answers. I’ve also done a couple things that questions his trust for me ( not cheated, i have never cheated on him and never will but the situations raised suspicion ) but he still accepted me. I’ve had a few friends telling me of both our trust issues, which I don’t know what to do about.I want to be able to trust him 100% and I even know that he’s not the type to cheat. It’s just that I’ve been cheated on before, and if I find something off, I just freak out and take it out on him. I wish I wasn’t like that. In June, I did something bad ( not cheat ) and I have not realized how much impact that mistake had made on him. He has told me he forgave me but hasn’t forgotten about. He seems more distant like he’s pulling away, and he’s less affectionate. Sometimes it’s like he doesn’t want to be touched by me at all.. and I’m scared he’s going to lose his feelings for me. I feel it and he feels it. I told him I feel the gap between us and we both don’t want it there. He also wants us to go back to the way we were, but I don’t either of us understands how to work with our personalities. Losing him is my worst fear. I want to do anything I can to fix it, but the only thing he said to me was time. He’s also asked for a few days apart every week which leads me back to my empty home. While I’m back here, my mind just starts going crazy, fearing that the time apart I give him will grow into losing feelings for me. I’m starting to understand his need for the time, but I also want to know what else are things I can do to fix the relationship. I poured my heart to him the other day, telling him how much he means to me and I would do anything to fix us but I didn’t really get anything out from him, so I felt rejected and unheard. It’s so hard to read him when he doesn’t express himself. Whenever I ask him something about his feelings or the relationship nowadays, he would get frustrated and his only answer would be ” I don’t know” and it hurts hearing it. Everytime he tells me, I just feel him pulling away and that he cares less and less. Somebody please help! I know my post is long but I want to understand everything, before I make our relationship fall apart even more.but doing something stupid.

    Reply
  3. mindthegapmotherhood
    September 17, 2013

    This made me think… I particularly loved ‘What if solitude and privacy were social norms?’ Yes. I wish they were, instead of seen as weird antisocial quirks! I think there are issues with expecting young children (as opposed to older ones) to understand the whole concept of ‘sanctity’ of the parents’ relationship…I would worry that they would simply feel the rejection and not understand why they’re being excluded from the family. But couples definitely have to be creative to keep that intimacy alive when there are children in the picture. I don’t think there are any easy answers, and sometimes we just have to accept and deal with others’ discomfort with us meeting our own needs, so that we can in turn, as you say, Brenda, be more available to them.

    Reply
  4. breaking
    September 16, 2013

    I am 5 years into a relationship and we have been living together for 4 years (it was out of necessity that we moved in together). I’ve discussed living separately with my boyfriend and he finds it extremely hurtful. I love him and want to continue being with him but I’ve reached a breaking point. I’m starting to fear that I am falling out of love with him also. I’m becoming very distant and I don’t want to be touched. I just want to be alone. I don’t know what to do. Please help.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      September 16, 2013

      I have been in your shoes. You may have to tell him that the only shot you have as a couple is if you are apart for a while. You sound like you are at the raw stage where you’ve been without solitude for too long. Too much stimulation and company has left you with a huge need to be alone. Your love for him could be strengthened if he respects your need for alone time. Make sure he understands it is not personal. It is how you are wired.
      You could show him a few articles on this site. I know many introverts have used the, Introverts Explained:Why We Love You But Need to Get Away from You, post as a discussion starter and explanation to their non-introvert partners.
      Give yourself every option. It is possible to fall out of love with someone. It is possible to love someone but just need space in the relationship. Listen deeply to your inner voice. Pay attention to how you feel.
      Hugs to you. Peace and strength too.

      Reply
  5. Ophelia's Dreaming
    September 13, 2013

    There should be space for pillow talk and sensuous lovemaking … YES, YES, YES.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      September 14, 2013

      I think we would all uncoil a little if there was more sensuous intimacy.;)

      Reply
  6. Doug Toft
    September 13, 2013

    I keep thinking your posts can’t get better. And then they do. The Calvino quote alone….

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      September 14, 2013

      Thank you. Isn’t that quote beautiful and true?:) I just ordered a David Deida book, The Enlightened Sex Manual. Thanks for the Deida recommendation.

      Reply
  7. kimberlyharding
    September 13, 2013

    Excellent point- that some place the whims of a child above the most sacred, intimate relationship

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      September 14, 2013

      In the U.S. particularly, it’s all about the children. I see that point but also have learned personally that a marriage is the cornerstone of a family. If the marriage is solid, the children are more content as well. A happy marriage shows the children what respect, love, sacrifice and commitment look like.

      Reply
      • kimberlyharding
        September 14, 2013

        Yes! Excellent post. My husband and I have worked on this issue. We used to let the children control the evening in such a way that our alone time became very limited. WE don’t allow it anymore and our marriage is so much better.

        Reply
  8. Persephone
    September 13, 2013

    Intimacy does wonders for the soul when you have the time and privacy! 🙂

    Reading your posts has been good for me. I forget to give myself leeway when it comes to being eccentric (introverted) in my living arrangements, and not being able to handle too much chaotic social situations, including family time. It is very easy to forget, and easy to put a negative spin on it: “not a good mom” or “lazy” or “anti-social”. I’m not really any of those, thank god, just different from others. I often don’t answer the phone if I need solitude, but I’ll call them later. I don’t do a lot of play-dates or after-school running around. I often need time in my cool, quiet room. And maybe having my own room is OK, although I can hear Dr. Laura chiding me on that one! ;P

    I too, wish we privacy as a social norm, and patience on behalf of the caller. Sort of Victorian style system with calling cards and being able to kindly ask the visitors to call again at another time. And I’ll take a nice clean parlor, separated from the rest of my house as well! Wouldn’t that be nice? Despite all that, I love people. Honest!

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      September 14, 2013

      In the U.S. the emphasis is on ‘family first’ or everything for the children. I see value in that definitely but I think introverts naturally start with what’s within. That is our innate way of being, then we use the energy gathered from our inner world and do our best to be participants/givers in the outer world.

      The social norms have been swayed by the outward doers for so long that our way seems wrong. That’s a tough form of prejudice to endure. Guilt and shame weigh heavy.

      Know that you are giving your children gifts in your own way. You are showing them it’s ok to retreat. It’s Ok to need alone time. I bet you’re a good listener too. I bet you focus on the meaningful and help them filter out extraneous life noise.

      Dr. Laura is always in the back of my head too.;) She has some beautiful ideals and some that just don’t play well with my nature.

      Thank you for your honest sharing. I, too, let the phone ring and return calls when I’m ready. I prefer emails.:)

      Reply
  9. Casey Sheridan
    September 13, 2013

    Privacy as a social norm. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
    To ask for some solitude and get it without the usual weird look would be heaven.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      September 14, 2013

      Agreed! We just have to keep spreading awareness about the need for quiet alone time to think, create and expand.:)

      Reply
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