Tolucan Times January 18, 2003
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Personal Space and Intimacy

How is it possible that our national average for marriage is only 7 years? Since 64% of marriages end, might it be our natural need for space? How do we create a marriage in which our need for intimacy, companionship and sexuality can be met? Is there a new dynamic that allows us to solve this dilemma? I believe that there is. I have discovered that fear and our breaking point during panic is the true cause of every separation. If we include personal space in our marriages will this make a difference?

Fear of losing ourselves in intimacy keeps us apart; keeps us from new connections and keep us from admitting our all-encompassing need for personal space. Is it possible to create a relationship that includes trust and respect and love and monogamy and space, too? If we examine the 36% of marriages that last, what percentage does not include infidelity, indifference or even hatred?

What if falling in love were the opposite of what we believed to be true? What if falling in love required maintaining personal space and the ability to be intensely close? Since this is the opposite of what we have been taught, wouldn’t it explain why 64% of our marriages end? What if each human being requires a certain distance, which may be physical, sexual or emotional? What if love, being intimacy, makes us hang back and that’s how a couple is formed; from one moving forwards, one stepping back, either in the physical, sexual or emotional domain? What if the space between two, divided by two, equaled the intimacy that each spouse allows? Could we call this space our true comfort zone and call real intimacy our discomfort zone? Then without blaming one another we would concentrate on building trust, respect and intimacy. If we look from this new perspective, can we begin to understand the true nature of intimacy?

For human beings is it this personal space, whether physical, emotional or energetic that gives us the safety to love so deeply?

Dear Divorce Coach©,

I felt like I was suffocating during marriage though I adored my wife. She wanted “more, more, more” love, attention and affection. Now my girlfriend does and so did the last one. Why?


Could she be the one?

Dear Could,

When we select partners, there is an internal meter judging intimacy. Therefore it is neither your desire for space nor your partners’ need for connection that is the “fault”. Instead, realize that the distance between both is the “safety zone”. When you find a partner with whom you can “walk the path” and connect and reconnect without disconnecting, you will have created a life that can fulfill both. In accordion relationships one starts and one stops. One is running towards and one is running away. Control may look like the need for personal space or the need for space may be misinterpreted as control. When you are willing to feel uncomfortable without distancing yourself; feel vulnerable without ending a relationship, that will produce growth and peace for both of you.

Sincerely yours,

Susan Allan, The Divorce Coach©

Dear Divorce Coach©,

I have found the perfect new father for my children; the perfect friend but we are not “in love”. Is this the basis for a magnificent future or am I kidding myself?


“Spaced” Out”

Dear “Spaced”,

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg in Intimate Relationships (see Recommended Reading at says that love is a combination of needs that are met. Therefore, if your partner can meet needs such as for communication, connection, intimate touch, mutuality, respect, trust etc. and vice versa, there will be a great possibility that friendship will develop into “in love”. Discuss the needs that each describe as love for it is not the same for all of us.

Sincerely yours,

Susan Allan, The Divorce Coach©

Have you ever been in a relationship where the clothes-on, day to day life is very intimate but the sexual connection isn’t? Have you ever experienced mind-altering sex but then slept alone? This is one way that we hold back from true intimacy. Have you ever loved a pet unconditionally? Did you ever think, “I wish my pet were more beautiful, younger or smarter?” Of course not. With pets, we experience the entire relationship with our heart, not our mind.

If we could measure the exact distance in physical, emotional and energetic space between a husband and his wife and between him and his mistress would the space be the same? In affairs, because the lovers are separated there is only limited but intense connection.

One solution is that practice does in fact make perfect. Since most of us have been raised by imperfect parents, doing the best or worst that they could, where would we learn a nurturing way of relating to one another? The more we practice intimacy with the consciousness that we are afraid, that we don’t feel safe, we may become more confident and successful. Little by little works with gaining the trust of a wild animal and I suggest that may work with us, too.

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