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Trevor E. S. Smith | Lack of Intimacy

Published:Monday | July 17, 2017 | 12:00 AMTrevor E. S. Smith

Lack of intimacy in a relationship is an issue that resonates with many people.

Today, we go deep into the issue. We apply the body of knowledge that underpins our 'DISCerning Communication' principles, to the issue of intimacy.

Remember the framework:

We have four toolkits to navigate through life. We have a preference for using some tools and other tools require more energy and concentration when we use them. We can also think of the toolkits as strategies or approaches. They are descriptors of behaviour, not people.

- Dominance (D) - Direct, driven, decisive.

- Inducement/Influence (I) - Influential, interconnected, innovative.

- Steadiness (S) - Sensitive, supportive, sentimental

- Conscientiousness (C) - Compliant, cautious, controlled.


Intimacy and Dominance


From the dominance domain, life can be viewed like an exercise routine in which you walk for a bit then go flat out, then walk again before the next round of flat out sprinting.

During the sprint phase, whatever goal is in view gets attention. This could be perceived as being 'sometime-ish' (fickle) and even inattentive.

Intimacy and inducement intimacy is seen. It is expressed verbally and supported by physical contact. Constant reinforcement is required and extended.


Intimacy and Steadiness


Intimacy is all-encompassing. It is a 24/7/365 endeavour. An action in any given minute can enhance or impair intimacy for significant periods.

Intimacy and conscientiousness intimacy is almost contractual. There are commitments that are made and with those agreements come responsibilities. Those responsibilities should be honoured.

Intimacy can also be subjected to bartering. If I do A, then I expect B in return. If I don't get B, then I am pulling A and maybe C and D off the table.


Potentially Helpful Insights


- D to D: Relationships work on synchronising walk phases so that intimacy periods are more closely aligned. Better yet, schedule intimate sprint sessions.

- D to I: Intimacy on overdrive. Great for a while, difficult to sustain. Work to get the message across that walk time is not an indication of waning interest. Life demands the allocation of some sprint time to other activities.

- D to S: You are always on duty. Usain Bolt, warming up for the 100 metres does not preclude choosing which dress is most suitable for the event.

- D to C: Pray. Study Job. Focus on the big picture. Develop the patience and skill to offer answers that present a comprehensive picture. Expect more questions.

No. Raising your dominance is not the solution. If you do that then you lose E, F and G.

- I to D: Works best if you are willing to follow the D-lead. Use your flexibility to avoid being frustrated and upset. Identify appropriate distractions to channel your need for interaction.

- I to I: Avoid burn out! There is another world outside.

- I to S: They are not really stiff - just not as adventurous and somewhat conservative. Caring is shown in more subtle actions.

- I to C: Don't resort to drug or alcohol abuse! You can work this out. However, you will lose some of your spontaneity and your full out excitement might get what you think is a lukewarm response.

- S to D: Add layers of skin, you will need them. Work on losing your memory because carrying forward hurt is not helpful. Accept that a lack of attention is not the same as not caring.

- S to I: Lighten up! It's cool.

- S to S: Could get monotonous but who cares? The routine is reassuring.

- S to C: Convert the guidelines and the dos and don'ts into routines and you are good to go.

- C to D: Win-win might be a stretch. See how well you can come out of a negotiated compromise. Sticking to your guns and thinking that your position is logical and just is driving fast into a dead end.

- C to I: Choose whether you prefer to be flexible and relax some rules or pay counselling fees for your partner. Learn to shake your head and let some things pass. The constant badgering will wear out both of you.

- C to S: Give up the poker playing and show genuine emotions and you will be on track.

- C to C: Life is a never-ending game of chess. Neither party even wants to lose a single piece let alone lose a game. There is a need for arbitration to settle issues in which both of you are dead right and you can't see why the other one is stubbornly holding a clearly untenable position. The cycle continues unless the parties commit to a higher calling and see the bigger picture or the relationship collapses.

- Trevor E. S. Smith has published two relationship books. He is a director of the Success with People Academy A SHRM Preferred Provider and home the SHRM-accredited 3-D team leader certification: leading difficult, dominant and diverse personalities.