Like a hunger that gnaws at us, like a homesick longing for we’re-not-quite-sure-what, the possibility of real closeness with another human being can often seem just out of reach … tempting us on, but all-too-often slipping through our fingers.
Talk to Angela and Peter, and they’ll list their blessings: a 20-year marriage … two teenage daughters … good jobs … and a decent life in their small NZ town. They’ll also tell you what they HAVEN’T got: “Intimacy,” asserts Angela bluntly. “Close, loving communication. Shared feelings. Concern about the other person’s needs.
“There are lots of negatives in our marriage. Not slanging matches, just conflict. And I think, ‘Who needs this?’ I’m no longer prepared to go on.
“I really want to make a go of it, but Pete’s withdrawn from me. He gets in moods and shuts himself off. If I can’t handle it and cry, he just tells me to stop snivelling.
“I deserve better than that …”