Intimacy is more than sex and bedroom. It is as much emotional as physical. It is said that the intimacy stage starts from the beginning of a relationship and it can take up to five years to reach the ultimate stage of love. Although it might seem in a relationship that the intimacy is starting to burn out, necessary care and sticking it out maybe some of the ways to deal with it.
Some people believe that the physical intimacy is temporary and what ultimately remains is the psychological bonding that gives rise to the togetherness that couples experience in the long-term. But love and intimacy go through stages and physical and emotional intimacy are connected.
There is no denying the fact that the physical and psychological are interconnected and couples who enjoy physical intimacy often are emotionally more sound and happier.
The Five Stages Of Intimacy
But you don’t achieve bonding and intimacy in a single day, or even a week or a month. It’s a process that you go through, and there are stages of intimacy in which you would find yourself while going through your relationship. Here are stages that you might want to familiarise yourself with, to know where you and your partner stand in the stages of intimacy.
1. First comes infatuation
This is the sweet syrupy beginning of every relationship. Everything is butterflies and heavenly. The wonderful feeling of closeness, thinking about the partner, checking the phone every five minutes, gabbing on the phone for hours and buying sexy stuff. People at this stage, indulge in sex frequently as proof of intimacy. Sometimes the sex is good, and sometimes, it is not up to the mark. The dopamine levels are raging, and nothing feels bad. It is the beginning of the relationship where we go like, “She is so perfect”, “I am going to marry him and have beautiful kids with him”, “We have so much in common, OMG!”
The high dopamine level makes the body crave for sex over and over again; the euphoria is unmatchable. Infatuation is like a free fall, and we never seem to land. This stage is all about poetry, about gifting peaches and hot and heavy romance in the heat of the afternoon – it is a beautiful feeling.
Did she love him, or was it just lust and an exciting midlife romance?
2. The bittersweet landing
After the marvellous flight through heavenly emotions, comes the dreaded landing. The smoke of incessant sex and cheerful emotions clear up to give a deeper understanding of the relationship.
We can think about other things and are often caught thinking if everything in our relationship is okay since you are not always thinking about your partner. This is where the real understanding of life begins.
At this stage, lying around in bed is not as tempting as life has to resume, and partners start to realise this. You might love the person but, unlike the previous stage, you do get mad at a few things they do. We see our partners in a newer light. There might be rifts at this stage. It is a make it or break it time for relationships. The landing can be a bit rocky and unstable, and a lot of work is needed to move past this stage. The key is not to give up.
In other words, this is the stage of awakening when the heartbeat starts slowing down a bit, and you have to get out of bed and think of the groceries and bills to take care of. It’s the stage when you can find out how compatible you are, in every way, physically and emotionally.
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The name is apt as the relationship is often buried under responsibilities – like grocery, things to do, the in-laws, work, and life creeps in the island of relationship. It is a realistic stage as it is a reminder that while we are vacationing in utopia, life still goes on.
Burying channels the relationship into mainstream life and the relationship becomes more real. It will be easy to leave the relationship to take its course and take up life like before, but it is advisable to work on both simultaneously.
Un-burying your self is crucial but nothing elaborate. Buy sex toys, relive your first date and get a little rough sometimes. This is very much like the first part of the relationship, except, that now you know each other so much better. So it is the right time to kick-start the sexual acts to initiate a rekindling of your relationship.
This un-burying part of the relationship is the crucial part because this is the stage when things can start to get a bit boring. You will know the things your partner will do in bed and the ways you will respond. So keeping the surprise alive is very important. Read up, try different positions, go for sexcations and try it in the shower and on the kitchen table. This is a stage when emotionally, you might be a bit distracted because of your responsibilities, but it is equally important to give time to each other. Going out for movies, dinners and walks are important or you could just Netflix. Whatever works make sure you are spending time with each other and not buried.
How you deal with this physical relationship stage and bond emotionally will have a long-term impact on your relationship.
The resurfacing of older emotions ushers in at this stage. Like “I nearly forgot how drop-dead- gorgeous she looks in a saree” or “He is so weird, but I love my weirdo”. The earlier stages of monkey romance followed by the realisation of the real person you are with might scare a few. A few might run away before getting to this stage.
This stage is about accepting the person, loving them and nostalgic passion. This is like infatuation but with more maturity and responsibility.
Resurfacing is like poetry, a movie in animated colours, deep-sea diving or really looking at the night stars after a long time. It is the rejuvenation of the relationship in all its brilliance.
This is a wonderful stage. You are more secure in this stage of your relationship, you know your partner well, and you are willing to re-invent the relationship and take it forward. This is the stage when couples love to explore more. They travel together, take up new hobbies or experiment together in the kitchen. They often overhaul the interior of their home or even think of taking up new career opportunities and settling down in a different place. This is the stage when the physical relationship has given that bonding that matters.
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Most couples burn out before reaching this stage. The light at the end of the tunnel, the actual oasis on a sandy desert, the powerful feeling of love is the ultimate stage of intimacy. The feeling of blissful love is the reward, and the feeling is generous for we thank ourselves (and our lucky stars) for making through it all. “I am so blessed to have her”, “I never knew what love was, until I found him”- these are the thoughts that come easily at this stage.
You appreciate the other for who they are with warts and all. In the stages of intimacy in a relationship, this is the stage where love really blooms cementing and fortifying the relationship with its aura. It takes time to get to this stage, and when people reach this stage, they realise the permanence of a relationship. This stage is more about holding hands and resting her head on his shoulders, but physical intimacy should be a part of this stage to ensure the bonding stays intact.