We yearn to be touched. We seek it in relationships or casual encounters. We expect it from family and even pay for it if it can’t be attained any other way. Even in our language there’s so much touching going on. ‘He captured his audience.’ ‘Her story was gripping, it touched my heart.’ ‘ His words reached out to me.’

A baby in her mother’s womb is in a warm, comfortable, snugly place where she is getting all she needs and wanting nothing. Then she has to go through birth. Which is, come to think of it, the most devastating thing that a baby could go through. From womb to this big, spacious, and cold world, it is a shock to say the least. That’s why you usually find babies wrapped in blankets. We try to simulate the feeling of being in the womb, surrounded by warmth.

During infancy, a baby is totally dependent on her mother for everything. Food, warmth, getting cleaned etc. All she needs to do, is cry or be cute and she will get what she wanted. The message is ‘don’t ever leave me.’

Then as a toddler, she wants to explore her surroundings. She is less attached to the mother and wants to venture on her own to see what’s out there. She knows that mum is always close by to go to, if the tough gets going. The message now becomes ‘leave me alone, I need to explore.’

As a teen, things become a little different. She wants to be her own self. Pick her own clothes. Interference from her mother is not as welcome anymore. Goodbye kisses as she’s dropped off to school are no longer cool. The message now is ‘don’t come close to me, I need my space.’

Soon enough that baby is an adult and on her own. The world feels big, spacious and maybe cold. With parents out of the picture, now she will seek to have a relationship that in a way, duplicates the relationship with the parents. It is a process similar to what she went through as a baby.

At the beginning of the relationship, the couple is madly in love and inseparable. Having sex or being intimate is a daily thing. The unspoken message is ‘I can’t live without you, don’t ever leave me.’

Then, once this stage wears off, it becomes more like. I need sometime for myself or a weekend with my girlfriends. The togetherness starts to suffocate her and the message to her partner is ‘leave me alone, I need my space.’

The relationship continues and they move in together or get married. The sex becomes a thing for special occasions or an infrequent occurrence. With all the merging of free time, activities, friends, vacation, her personal identity starts to blur into the marriage identity and she eventually gets to a point where the message is ‘get away from me, don’t touch me, I’m leaving.’

She leaves, but the search starts again to find that special someone who will make up for the intimacy that we all need and crave for. For some, the cycle is repeated indefinitely, for others it doesn’t. It is all about finding someone who will meet the need.

You may relate to all this or to part of it. It is just the way things are. One thing I know for sure, is that it cannot be denied. Touch is a very important part of being human. So make sure you get yourself a hug today.

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