Love, Intimacy & Other Affairs of the Heart

We Were Made to be Loved

We were made to be loved, all of us were. I’m not talking about the modern conventional love or the once or twice a year, buy a Valentines Day or Happy Anniversary card kind of love. The kind of love I’m talking about here is the I love you no matter what, soul connection affectionate love.

The concept that we’re only allowed to love one soul is antiquated and out of touch with reality at best. There are many different forms of love, each with their own qualities and selling points and degrees of attachment. We are not entitled to be loved, however. Real, true lasting love will be earned, tested, and proven to be true. It comes in many forms and is shown in many different ways.

What’s Love Got to Do With It

It can come in the form of a lasting bond of friendship, in which both people would do anything to avoid the others suffering. It can come in the form of best friends, it can be found in a family bond, it can be adopted into our lives, or the most recognized of all, romantic love.

So how do we tell the difference? Obviously, we love our family. That family bond of love can come in many forms as well, and is not limited to blood relations. We adopt many people to love over our lifetimes. My parents adopted me when I was a baby and chose to love me for a lifetime. In turn, I love them for giving me the life that I most likely never would have had if they hadn’t.

I’ve adopted big brothers & sisters and little brothers & sisters over the course of my life as they have proven that our bond was stronger than mere friendship. I’ve adopted those who’ve shown a lasting bond that has been tried, tested, and found to hold together when most would turn away. These chosen bonds are a special love that is to be cherished for all time.

We can adopt our spouses or lover’s children if the relationship matures to that point. From my first marriage, I adopted my step-daughter, Patience. I vowed to raise her to the best of my ability and love her the same as my own daughter Corina, and while her mother is no longer in my life, if Patience or Corina were to call for help I’d do whatever I could to help them.

It’s true, we are given many loves of a platonic or family bond. But, what of the most recognized form of love? Romantic love as well is not limited to one or two in a lifetime. We can be given many chances to love in our lifetime. While some of us prefer one lover at a time, others prefer to love many, and depending on your viewpoint, none are wrong.

While the differences between monogamous and polyamorous are many, we will reserve judgment here as it’s not the place of this article to critique anyone’s choice for whom they love. Monogamy is the act of loving one and is in no way, shape, or form better than Polyamory or having many loves. It simply is a matter of opinion and in some instances spirituality.

In another not so far ago time, it was taboo and forbidden to romantically love someone of the same sex, but that traditional belief has been challenged and is more widely accepted than ever. We should celebrate this fact as everyone should be free to love whom their heart tells them to love.

Intimacy: Into Me, See

Intimacy can be simply defined as Into me, see. When we are intimate with someone we invite them to see deeper into our person. We’ve all had that feeling of seeing or sharing our souls with another. Intimacy is a vulnerable offering to another of trust and invitation to connect deeply.

When we speak of intimacy, most of us instantly think of romantic love. While intimacy in romantic love is the most widely recognized form and is usually sexual in nature. Intimacy is not intrinsically tied to sexual contact. In our other forms of loving bonds, intimacy can materialize as hugging and also consolation. It can be actualized as a caring touch of the shoulder, or holding someone’s hand through a tough time.

Intimacy can be realized in many forms. It can be a caring word, a deep loving glance or in a deep gaze of understanding. Intimacy feels good to us, and some may argue that it is a part of human interaction that is not only desired but needed. Those intimate bonds are essential to our survival.

How often have you yourself had an intimate moment or moments with someone and there never be another? Call it a one night stand, call it playing the field, call it ho-ing around if you’re more close-minded, but sometimes it just feels good to be held or touched or held.

Intimacy is not intrinsically tied to sex or love. However, it requires an openness and emotional IQ high enough to register that the connection between two or more people is imminent and also required. Cuddling, touching, caressing, and kissing are all forms of intimate interaction. Physical touch is vital to our happiness and well-being.

The Powers of Touch

Human contact and touch have amazing abilities to not only convey unspoken emotion, but also to soothe, calm, and even heal or mend emotional and physical wounds. When we are not feeling well, our mothers would often rub our back or head and we felt calmer, almost instantaneously better, right?

Our fathers, at times to reassure us would put their hand on our shoulder as a sign of encouragement. And the holding of a hand by a friend or family member can ease our troubles and worries, in some instances totally soothe our fears and ease our minds. The healing power of touch is well-documented for both emotional and physical pain.

Touch is so vital to our existence that its absence can actually slow or stunt growth in infants, and may severely impede social and emotional growth when absent as well. In one study, the touch of a mother rat licking her young had an astounding effect of reducing the levels of Beta-endorphins present in the baby. When the mother was removed from the child levels went up and growth stunted. However, upon return to the mothers attention and touch, the baby rats beta-endorphin levels again dropped and growth and metabolism rates increased again.

Love & Intimacy & the Online Phenomena

Some people would argue that the internet and our increasing reliance on digital communication are alienating us and causing us to have less intimate connections with each other. Others argue the contrary. Some say that internet friends could never supply the emotional bonds we require as people. But, your online friends are real friends.

Our lives are increasingly remotely lived and digitized. We spend more time than ever attached to our phones, tablets, and laptop. A greater portion of our life is spent online on websites like Facebook and Tumblr. Social media websites have made it even easier to connect with people that once upon a time would have been long since forgotten.

So how does the internet affect intimacy and our relationships? Most studies show that the old belief of segregating and discerning between our online and offline lives has relaxed. It is far more accepted now more than ever, having a friendship that began online and at some point crossed over to the physical world.

With the advent of dating sites on the web such as Tinder and P.O.F. increasingly, we find ourselves more willing to accept a date with someone we’ve never met. We are less reluctant to put ourselves and our lives and images online for all to see. Yet, there is still some stigma to online relations, that negative view is quickly being effaced and replaced by a more widely accepted view in which the internet plays a more impacting role in our lives.

Regardless of personal views, the internet is here to stay. And, like our ancestors who adapted and reshaped their lives from a solitary lifestyle to one of community we will have to again adapt and reshape our views to include this new paradigm. However, one thing still remains true- we human beings require love and intimacy in order to live, thrive, and be happy.

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