Intimacy & space: Proxemics

Relationship ages just like everything else in nature and as it ages it tends to lose its original spark and elasticity. When a relationship is in its infancy, the newness of intimacy fuels it with a wave of excitement, but as it ages this wave of excitement begins to wane and oftentimes grow stale. Even though intimacy is one of the cornerstones of a relationship, we should never put all the weight of our relationship upon it, because in doing so we will fracture the foundation of our relationship. We’re advised by a Chinese proverb that “a thing turns into its opposite if push too far.” Although intimacy brings us closer together, when it’s a push to its extreme, we can feel suffocated by this closeness; everything needs space to grow in life and this is also true of intimacy. Proxemics is the study of how we interact with each other within physical space: public, social, personal, and intimate space, and how we transition in and out of these four spatial zones. It’s important for us to learn how to artfully transition in and out of the intimate, personal, and social space within our relationships. Look at the relationship between the sun and moon, for instance, they exert just the right amount of gravitational pull on each other so that they can maintain the perfect balance between their personal and intimate space. The sun gives the moon enough space to be her own entity so that she can display all of her majestic phases; sometimes the sun moves closer to her but he knows that at a certain distance he has to retreat so that he doesn’t smother her with his overpowering rays. And just as how our bodies are riddled with space so that we could breathe, eat, speak and make love; our relationship should also be riddle with different dimensions of social, personal, and intimate space so that we do not feel smothered. Space is an intangible element of life that permeates everything, nothing in life can function without this unappreciated element — not even our relationship. It oxygenates intimacy and gives it the right amount of room to grow and renew itself. And though relationship experts warned us about the harm that lack of finance and communication have on our relationships, they have failed to mention that many relationships have suffered and some have even died from a lack of physical, emotional, and mental space. We, humans, have an innate fear of losing our freedom, and this fear is not limited to just our physical freedom. Anything that threatens our freedom, whether it’s being in physical confinement or the feeling of being trapped within a relationship will cause us anxiety and impel us to look for a way out of such a situation.

We, humans, are very complex and complicated beings that are constantly changing mentally, emotionally, and physically. And sometimes being in a relationship can feel like being in a midst of a sea change while at the same time trying to have a stable relationship with a chameleon. But regardless of the mental, emotional, and physical changes in life, almost all of us want to feel and be free within our relationships and welcome pleasant and refreshing changes in our normally monotonous lives. People who are committed to being lifelong learners are always learning something new about life and themselves, and in doing so they’re constantly reintroducing themselves to their significant other. When we become lifelong learners, we are always making ourselves anew mental and emotional, and this reignites the original spark, curiosity, and wave of excitement that we had had in the infancy phase of our relationship. Because we’re once again giving our partner something new to discover and desire about us, which reignite his or her curiosity about us. Nothing in nature stays in the same state for too long; we should mirror nature, particularly, the moon in this matter. The moon never stays in one phase for too long, she is always reintroducing herself through all of her eight phases, which allows the rays of the sun to touch her differently in all of these different phases. The relationship is a delicate dance between two completely different people who are constantly changing their mental and emotional attitudes about life; so for us to dance to the same rhythm that we were dancing to at the beginning of our relationship would most likely mean that we are dancing out of step with reality.  

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