Article details 4 comments
07/28 2011

Don’t Look! Into Me See…


Into Me See.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been asked by people very close to me – including my uber-successful (and competitive) sister with whom I’ve experienced major sibling rivalry – what makes me an “intimacy expert?”

She asked me this not because I’ve excelled in the romantic-relationships department.  She asked me because I have not.  (Did I mention that she’s competitive?)

And although I am the designated driver in many the intimacy car, I cannot say that I have ever been to the intimacy pump myself.

So, the question was out there, and (being the competitor I am) I wanted to answer it perfectly.  But first I had to perfectly understand the answer.

Allow me to begin my answer by defining the intimacy at which I am expert.  And how I can be a perfect conduit of intimacy for romantic relationships – whether or not I have a perfect, or even good, romantic relationship.

When most people think about intimacy, the first thing that comes to mind is sexual intimacy.  Sexual intimacy usually happens when a couple is “looking” at each other.  When we “look,” very often, what we are seeing in the other person is a reflection of our self (who we want to be) or who we want the other person to be.

As Chris Rock so profoundly implies: We are often duped into believing positive things about someone because what we’re looking at is their “representative.”  We may not “see” who the other person really is.  We may not even want to know.

That a couple has sexual intimacy doesn’t really give me much information about their relationship, other than the knowledge that they’re physically attracted to each other.   Or maybe they’re extremely successful at fantasizing…  Or perhaps giant genitalia are involved…  Whatever.

But these are typically not the goods upon which successful relationships are based (no… not even the giant genitalia, although they can go a long way!).

In fact, sexual intimacy can serve to hide major problems in the fundamental relationship of the couple.  As impossible as this may sound, even good sex can be a bad thing.

So, here’s where “seeing” INTO versus “looking” AT comes into play.  And where I become “expert” in the romantic-relationships department.

You see, seeing into someone, as opposed to looking at them, means that you connect to who they are without all of your personal stuff getting in the way.   You are truly seeing the other person.  They communicate to you their dreams, hopes, desires, values, priorities… and not only do you listen, you hear.  They do the same for you.

It’s kind of like great sex – but with emotions instead of genitalia.  And even the largest genitalia can’t hold a candle to big, authentic emotion.

Plus, the culmination of this type of intimacy can be equally orgasmic.  Moreso, even.

With respect to the questioning of my “expert” status by my peeps, I say: “Although there may not be that person in my life who’s “seeing” me the way I want to be seen, that doesn’t mean I can’t take other people to their state of intimacy.”  This holds true for individuals, as well as couples and families.

Remember, the shoemaker doesn’t need to wear the best shoes; she can get where she needs to go – even without her Manolos.

I see couples all the time – many together for decades – who don’t really know anything about the person with whom they’re traveling through life.   What the majority of these couples are looking for in their relationships is an intimate connection to each other.  They just don’t know how to get there.

Where I’m expert is in helping each person express the way in which they would like to be “seen.”  Each is saying to the other, “Into Me See.”

They need a designated driver…  And it’s helpful that I have their map.

I provide them with the awareness and hope that the connection they’re yearning for is entirely possible.

Then I help them arrive safely at their destination.









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  1. 07/29 2011

    I love this one. I completely understand. I agree, as “outsiders” it is easier to see the path for others. More difficult for the insiders.

  2. 08/8 2011

    There’s a going, and ever going, never an arrival. Then.

  3. David White
    08/10 2011

    Very good. A true read alright and you’re quite humble with your skills. That’s the trick in all relationships. True intimacy is hard to find and in my field of work even harder.. Love this. Well worded and I enjoyed it. Excellent stuff 😉

  4. Dr. Marla
    08/10 2011

    Thank you for your feedback, David! Yes, true intimacy is a struggle for many couples, and understanding its complexity is critical in all types of relationships – even business relationships. Thanks again…