Discovering intimacy


Diana Berindei, a dedicated psychologist with a real interest in intimacy, opens the conversation around all types of intimacy that we are going to discover together.

︎What is intimacy? Why do we need to talk about it?

Diana Berindei
~ psychologist

“Intimacy is one's own ability to express feelings, opinions, wants, and needs as they are unfolding. It is important to talk about intimacy or to draw attention to it because it is one of the essential elements of a fulfilling friendship or love relationship. We are often interested in intimacy when we notice its absence.
Brene Brown talks about the courage to be vulnerable - which means being able to be with ourselves and with the other person at the same time. It is as if each of us has an inner child, who sometimes needs to be seen, to be hugged, to feel loved. This inner child needs an inner parent to meet all these needs. We can be vulnerable with the others as long as we learn to understand ourselves first.
In tango, the partners touch the upper body and keep their legs apart. In fact, in order to be able to dance, the partners learn to rely on their own feet and then to be able to maintain balance, when the chests of the two touch.
Intimacy is learned. Like any art, it first starts with clumsiness and emotions, but by rehearsing we can become masters. And how could we leave such art without a museum of it?”

︎A new universe

Diana Berindei
~ psychologist

“Each one of us is a separate universe.
Intimacy is getting to know a new universe and learning new things about our own universe through the eyes of the other. In this way, we enrich and fill our lives. We feel alive.
We seek intimacy in close relationships. We seek it through what we tell, through what we do together with the other. We want to be seen and to be able to show as many parts of ourselves as possible. Of course, this primary human need also awakens the fear that, if we let ourselves be seen, the other will judge us, or worse, will leave us. However, as long as we do not let ourselves be dominated by fear, openness to the other is like a portal that enhances us.
The keywords here are openness, curiosity, compassion. Another important word is two - intimacy happens in two. Thus, we seek intimacy because it is the way we can assert ourselves, we feel seen and these two feelings together bring us fulfillment.”

︎Our search for intimacy

Diana Berindei
~ psychologist

“Our search for intimacy begins early. Very early. Before we take our first tiny gasp of air. Before our very first glimpse of the world around us, the process has already begun. Intimacy does, in fact, begin in the womb. That close physical and emotional relationship with the mother that very few of us actually remember, sets the stage for all of our future life relationships that will follow. We are hardwired to rely on this complete and total dependency.
But to become autonomous and healthy functioning adults we must learn to evolve out of this fusional relationship. Winnicott, the British psychoanalyst, pointed out that in a healthy mother-child relationship, the two develop healthy boundaries and can grow apart. Both learn that care for the self and each other is important.  
The relationship with the primary caregiver is the one that establishes the “tone” of other close relationships. We are brought to life inside our mother's womb and in the first years of life we have a close (physically and emotionally) relationship with her. We are wired to depend and to evolve from this total dependency. If the primary relationship lacks the capacity to sustain healthy boundaries and the fulfilment of the child's needs, this can lead into difficulty in relationships later in life, like fear of intimacy. An example of that is the fantasy bond, when two adults unconsciously try to recreate the ideal relationship between a parent and a child. Unfortunately, this is a very unsatisfying situation where both partners are not engaging in actual intimacy. Somehow, they expect the other to be the great parent for the wounded inner child.
The actual intimacy is the ability to be aware of your partner`s and your feelings, thoughts, behaviours. Real intimacy makes it easier to be curious, to spontaneously react to the on going relationship that you have. You have this feeling of a flow in your connection. Otherwise, in fantasy bonds, people feel stuck, drained by routine and monotony.”