The ways in which we navigate emotional intimacy can be gauged and affected by the degrees of physical closeness that we feel comforted by and comfortable with. I'm not talking about La Grand Seduction. I am talking about family closeness.
Biologists and psychologists and animal behaviourists all tell us that hugs can be healing and affirming, that without enough of them small babies can grow into damaged people.
People do have widely varying needs for the reassurance of physical touches such as hugs, and often there can be a mismatch in the need for hugs in a relationship. Negotiating this potential minefield may involve a trip to a furniture store!
With friends, our lounge room functions adequately for positive social exchanges: we can face each other, make eye contact and we do not have to shout. We can engage.
Yet, I can hardly wait until our new lounge furniture arrives. Our two beautiful Norwegian single chairs do all that their brochure says BUT they do not allow for the physical closeness of a shared couch. Hugs are difficult to exchange without severe contortions so they have lessened dramatically. This impacts on a relationship in subtle, but significant ways.
Small dogs struggle to share space and a lap without being squished. So often, the little dog on the bottom rung of the status ladder trots up eagerly,assesses the available space left, then gives up and trots back to her bed. It breaks my heart!
Important 'people' to take into account in the matter of sharing closeness are children and animals. They won't understand your decision to allow inanimate objects to dictate their feelings of acceptance and closeness and security. A couch that allows the whole family to snuggle up to read a good book or watch a movie or just talk, need not be expensive. It just needs to be!