The Two I's: Part 1

By Susan Deitz

January 8, 2020 3 min read

Intimacy versus individuality sounds like a choice ... as if maybe you will find one or the other in your love life, but you know for sure you can't have both of them in the same relationship! That's the (yawn) fiction that's been circling the single world for generations. But the truth is not only is it possible for the same relationship to nurture both partners' intimacy and individuality but those qualities are so tightly linked it's impossible to have one without the other. You must be undependent (whole) — able to stand alone — before you can find the delicious closeness we all yearn for. Write that down now!

At first reading, the message is shocking. ... But muse on it a bit and the words make great sense. How can a love partnership — which is the goal, after all — be strong and durable if its components are less than whole? (There's no room for dreamy romance in this equation!) OK, if you go along with me, just how does a person go about becoming whole? Is it genetic blessing? Stroke of luck? Not at all. There's work involved, work on oneself. And it must be done alone.

It's solitude as preparation, you could say. But it's not hermitude or alienation, simply the ability to be with yourself. Sounds simple, I know, but it's a burning issue for many single people. That's why the bars and discos are packed night after night. All those men and women are taking a trip to nowhere, rather than facing themselves. And the (sad) joke is on them, because the people they find on the trip are doing the same thing: running on empty. Enough said.

I'm not saying that being alone is the magic key to finding love. Not at all! But being comfortable in your own skin (as my mother used to say) is a major factor in a good life for yourself. Being more at ease (remember, this is a gradual process) will give you more confidence to stop waiting for your "real" life to start. This all happens slowly, little by little, but you'll feel the changes. Confidence is attractive; people will be drawn to you, and that builds on itself once you're feeling more comfortable with your life, your choices, yourself.

To be continued ...

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