elegant, intimate relating

Elegant, Intimate Relating is the key

Syn­op­sis: Ele­gant, Inti­mate Relat­ing is the struc­ture behind excel­lent partnerships.

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elegant, intimate relating

Steps for Ele­gant, Inti­mate Relating

Last arti­cle, I made a com­ment or two about relat­ing, and men­tioned that this time I’d explore com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Then, I thought, it might be fun to share with you the ground floor for build­ing a cre­ative and func­tion­ing relationship.

As it turns out, I wrote a book about this not so long ago, so I decid­ed to share a chap­ter with you, enti­tled, Ele­gant, Inti­mate Relat­ing (EIR). Tak­en from my book, The. Best. Rela­tion­ship. Ever., which is avail­able as a paper­back and as an e‑book from online booksellers.

EIR is a structure for living deeply and fully with others

With EIR, noth­ing is tak­en for grant­ed. Ele­gant, Inti­mate Relat­ing requires the active par­tic­i­pa­tion of two sep­a­rate and dis­tinct beings, both of whom are ded­i­cat­ed to rig­or­ous self-explo­ration. Each is using the rela­tion­ship to gain depth and breadth of knowl­edge about the only thing each can know: themselves.

Ele­gant, Inti­mate Relat­ing is enact­ed at the direct meet­ing of two whole per­sons. I call this “meet­ing at the bound­ary” – I am still I, you are still you, and we meet to explore, to reveal, to be open and vul­ner­a­ble through hon­est revelation.

The revelation has to be authentic

In EIR, you are choos­ing to be trans­par­ent with your partner. 

EIR is not about say­ing nice things, not about manip­u­lat­ing your part­ner to see or do things your way. Nor is it about hid­ing the fact that you have a range of feel­ings and emo­tions “in there.” Trans­par­ent authen­tic­i­ty is choos­ing to let your­self be seen – as you are, and how you are.

Elegant, Intimate Relating happens only in the Here and Now

It’s about true vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty. Vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty hap­pens as I choose to reveal my inter­nal expe­ri­ence and inten­tions, as opposed to using them as a basis for manipulation.

Vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty is expressed by let­ting out what is going on for you, right now, with no excus­es. This is me, right now. And part of “me, right now,” is the emo­tion that is hap­pen­ing inside of me. Not descrip­tions of the emo­tions, not blam­ing some­one for the emo­tions, but rather the emo­tions themselves.

Once you “get this,” you’ll also notice that emo­tions are fleet­ing. I can be sad, then bored, then weepy, then laugh-filled, then have the feel­ing of “noth­ing much,” but only if I do not cling to my sto­ry, a.k.a. think­ing too much.

Being unguarded

Un-guard­ing your­self means being will­ing to own and share your in-the-moment real­i­ty, with­out fil­ter­ing. Being un-guard­ed means speak­ing your truth – the truth that comes from “Here is what is so for me…”

The point of Ele­gant, Inti­mate Relat­ing is to clear the decks so that you can shift what is not work­ing. Let­ting go of guard­ed­ness gives us the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see how we are struc­tur­ing our sto­ries to stay stuck. 

From there, you choose to do some­thing new and refresh­ing. It’s not meant as an exer­cise in self-aggran­dize­ment, and emphat­i­cal­ly is not a game to stay stuck, while pre­tend­ing to “get it.”

Un-guard­ing means loos­en­ing the fil­ters, and express­ing your­self as you are, with focus and clarity.

The Beginning of Elegant, Intimate Relating

The Tools sec­tion of the book describes the “how” of an EIR. Here’s the “what.” The fol­low­ing is from my book, The. Best. Rela­tion­ship. Ever.

Engaged Inti­ma­cy, first of all, requires a dia­logue agreement

Let me whip out my crys­tal ball and declare that your past rela­tion­ship fail­ures were caused by poor, faulty, or non-exis­tent ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Oth­er prob­lems were: non-ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion, mag­i­cal think­ing, lack of phys­i­cal inti­ma­cy, and lack of self-responsibility.We are going to estab­lish a dia­logue agree­ment, and then dis­cuss how to enact it.

The Dia­logue Agreement

I have decid­ed to com­mit myself to open, hon­est, and vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ca­tion. I will use a Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Mod­el, self-respon­si­ble lan­guage, and will keep my bound­aries open and flex­i­ble. I will be in dia­logue with you for no less than 30 min­utes per day, and when issues can­not be resolved with­in that time-frame, I agree to make as much time as nec­es­sary to resolve the issue, with no com­pro­mise. I com­mit to keep you total­ly informed about what is going on for me: my sto­ries, my games, my eva­sions. I will keep you com­plete­ly informed about my feel­ings, my attrac­tions, and my oth­er rela­tion­ships. I do so not for per­mis­sion, but to facil­i­tate clarity.”

The Phys­i­cal Con­tact Agreement

Giv­en that we’re dis­cussing your Pri­ma­ry Rela­tion­ship, phys­i­cal con­tact is a giv­en. We’ve not­ed that Engaged Inti­ma­cy is also avail­able for oth­er rela­tion­ships. I think it’s impor­tant to estab­lish phys­i­cal para­me­ters, even with­in the Pri­ma­ry Rela­tion­ship. Thus:

I com­mit to using phys­i­cal con­tact as anoth­er way of explor­ing my emo­tions, block­ages, and my con­nec­tion with you. I accept that phys­i­cal con­tact is an end unto itself – that it is not pri­mar­i­ly a means to hav­ing sex. I will be open and hon­est about my need for emo­tion­al expres­sion, and will use safe meth­ods of express­ing my emo­tions thor­ough­ly. I will ask for what I want as regards phys­i­cal con­tact, rec­og­niz­ing that what I want “now,” may not be what I want “lat­er.” I am open to express­ing what­ev­er feel­ings arise through phys­i­cal con­tact, will stay focussed on myself, and will feel my feel­ings fully.”

This becomes the frame­work for Engaged Intimacy

From this base­line, which you are free to add to, but not reduce, we begin the process of build­ing inti­ma­cy and presence. 

I would sug­gest that you look care­ful­ly at the above Agree­ments, and then read through the “Tools” chap­ters to fol­low. Once you have a grasp on how this all fits togeth­er, sit with your part­ner, begin right here with the Agree­ments, and struc­ture your own agreements.

You will want to write out what you are agree­ing to, and then sign it. Remem­ber: all you can agree to is what you will do. This is not a con­di­tion­al, “If you do this, then I’ll do that” kind of agree­ment. You are mak­ing the com­mit­ment to your­self to act in a cer­tain way, while in your partner’s pres­ence. I’ll be remind­ing you of that as we go along.

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