So I’m gonna write about something that I have only really briefly spoken about before. I have been debating this subject for a while for a few different reasons but I think I am now ready to go into detail about relationships and their effects. I’m gonna start off with intimacy.
I’ve been single now for over 3 years and I have absolutely no problem with that at all as my previous relationships have shown me what I want from my next relationship (so thank you to my ex’s for that) but my previous relationships have made me wary of my future relationships. I am wary to let my guard down. I am wary of anyone who shows any interest in me. Relationships with a partner are different from relationships with friends or family members. Relationships with your significant other require intimacy and it’s that intimacy that I now fear.
You share intimacy with your partner. They see you in ways family and friends don’t. They know you in ways others don’t and that was hard for me to break away from. It was hard to let go of someone who knew me like no one else did and he knew that. I would be told that nobody else would understand me like he did, nobody else would love me like he did or that nobody else would put up with me like he had and that shit really got to me. Back then I was terrified of being on my own. I hated being home alone, I hated my own company and I hated being alone without him. I struggled to fight against my dark thoughts when I was on my own. He knew that, I had told him. There were times where I had been on my own and he came back to find me passed out drunk as a skunk and strangled by my depression. Deep down I knew I deserved better and I knew I could do better, but he knew me on an intimate level and I thought he understood me. The fear of leaving him and not being able to find someone who would understand why I acted the way I did or said certain things terrified me because that would result in me being alone for the rest of my life, which back then, was my biggest fear.
To allow yourself to be intimate with someone means you allow them to see you at your best and worst. You allow them to see all your insecurities, you let them into your mind and I feel (I could be wrong) that you will either find someone who will respect that or someone who simply just won’t. You bring your barriers down specifically for that one person which can be a big fucking deal for you. It was for me and it was far from easy. A lot of tears came with it, a lot of me trying to explain why it was so difficult for me to do so and them not really understanding. I suppose it could be different for those who just want that extra intimacy from their partner rather than those who are trying to be more intimate…
My barriers were like steel walls which required 6 passwords, a finger print, an eye scan and a secret code word to access. No one could break through them unless I allowed them but even I struggled to get through them myself because honestly, I didn’t have a fucking clue what was going on in my head which was extremely frustrating because I knew he wasn’t understanding how or why it was so difficult for me to do and I didn’t want to piss him off or even risk pushing him away (which could result in me being on my own) but I didn’t really know why I would feel the way I did, do the things I did or say the things I did. At the time I didn’t know I had a few mental illnesses. My brain was frazzled throughout my teenage years and early twenties, I hadn’t known any different. I knew it wasn’t really normal to be like I was and I knew I had issues but I just didn’t know what issues so trying to explain that to someone was hard, especially because they couldn’t understand…and they didn’t really listen to what I was saying (or trying to say).
Behind your barriers are possibly emotions, thoughts, experiences or traumas that you might have suppressed a long time ago, so to bring those back up to someone who you might not be 100% certain will be in your life for the long run is absolutely terrifying and not always the best solution for yourself either (I’ve now realised that releasing everything that was bottled up to my counsellor was waayy better than releasing it to my partners/friends/family). You’re digging up real personal, deep shit just for one person to try and feel closer to you who could then turn around and say “Yeah, fuck that, bye!”. That’s a big move and it was a move I didn’t like but I never got any respect for that. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that they probably just wanted to be closer to me or understand/know me more but as soon as pressure is put on me, I panic. Anxiety sets in and I go into panic mode and it’s even worse when I feel backed into a corner. In the end I spoke fairly briefly about my troubles and opened up about my past which at the time I wasn’t ready for. So I had released all these feelings that had been bottled up for more than 10 years and I couldn’t regain control. They were out in the open and I had no control over them which then played a big part in my last relationship. I became so depressed and it was visible to him and he didn’t know what to do and neither did I. My depression had a huge impact on our intimacy and everything then to me seemed dull which led to our first break up.
Intimacy allows you to connect with someone. It forms a bond which can be so strong it seems unbreakable, but when cracks start to appear in that bond it can feel like the end of the world. The lead up to a relationship break up can be so painful that you try whatever you can to rescue the relationship because you know that if you manage to save the relationship, the heartache will go away but if you don’t, then that heartache can hang around for a while and I couldn’t deal with the heartache. We tried to salvage the relationship before I decided to end things and move back home (I was living with him and his family) but I really struggled to see any light. The relationship ended, I was back home, unemployed, depression was on the loose and I was going through the heart ache of a break up. It was a dark time for me and a time I don’t think I’m ever going to forget. I felt so alone and it was scary for me. I didn’t want to go back to self-harming so I used to just punch myself on my legs, belly or arms. I just wanted to actually physically feel the pain that I was feeling emotionally. I reached a point where I associated happiness with him. I wanted that back. I remember he told me the only way we could work things out is if I moved back to his home town (but not back in with him) so I searched for jobs. I found nothing but I messaged a yard which was about 10 minutes away from him and offered to do volunteer work for them. Sorted. I moved back down 2.5 hours from my home in Manchester and tried to get that happiness back but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
Being down there near him was harder than I thought it would be. My depression was very visible. I’d cry at work, I’d cry with my work colleague after work, I’d cry with him, I’d cry in my room and I’d cry when I went home on my days off. We used to meet up in the evenings. I usually went with the mindset of we would meet up, go out for tea or ya know actually do something other than sex but I guess he had a different idea. I just wanted him back, I wanted to feel that happiness that I felt 6 months prior when we were happily together so I tried my best to keep him happy, thinking it would get him back. It didn’t (it wasn’t until I began to try and find my own happiness that he tried to get me back…which he succeeded in but a couple more break ups soon followed). At the time I had a great work colleague who honestly helped me out more than I realised back then. To cut a long story short (I might go into more detail another time) she helped me realise my self-worth (thank you L).
For us, the intimacy had disappeared a long time ago and no matter what we did to try and save the relationship, we couldn’t get that intimacy back, I didn’t want that intimacy back. Throughout the relationship and the break ups I had learnt how big of a deal it was for me to just even attempt to be intimate with him and I realised the poor effort he made to understand/respect that.
Intimacy is a beautiful thing to be able to share with someone but it shouldn’t be forced. Whether it be physical or emotional intimacy. If it feels forced, something isn’t right.
I want to thank you for not only reading this article but for allowing me to reach a point where I feel comfortable enough to begin writing about this subject. It means a lot to me.
Sending my love to you all,