Intimacy and Scarcity

I see emotional neglect as a frequent problem in intimate relationships. One way this manifests is when there is not a feeling of secure intimacy. One partner finds themself craving for those few and far between moments where they feel loved, cherished, and validated by their partner. In a securely attached relationship, you should be floating in a sea of these moments. It should not be doled out to you one small tidbit at a time. I see so many people in relationships who feel totally starved of meaningful affection and intimacy. With this scarcity model, they ache and crave for those moments of real connection (Franklin Veaux writes more about the scarcity model of relationships, you can read his work here). They feel like they have to be constantly going out of their way to make sure they really “deserve” those moments. They feel like they need to do something really special or outstanding to be gifted that sweet kiss, or that tender touch, or those moving words. Their partner may act like it is a chore to show intimacy- or that showing intimacy is a “reward” for really going out of their way for them in some way.

This scarcity model of intimacy and affection is incredibly toxic. When you feel like they have to “earn” affection, you slowly lose power in your relationships- and your self worth begin to deplete. Humans thrive on open and full exchanges of affection. We feel fulfilled knowing that there is a foundation of intimacy and affection that we can depend on being there. But in our society we have become so merit based that in some ways we have lost the concept of unconditional love. We forget that it is okay to give love freely. We forget that the most healthy relationships and the most secure attachments occur when we can rely on consistently affectionate responses from our partners. If you don’t feel like you are floating on a river of affection- if you feel starved for closeness- you might want to consider if you and/or your partner are existing in a scarcity based model of intimacy.


My martyrdom is not medicine. It is not dazzling.

It is like a wound that continues to spread across my body until I am covered in it.

Some things I know are certain: the bees are sick, the wolves have fled north:

and the only cure is inside my pain.

My martyrdom is bland. It is the color of clay.

Until then I will remain alive, wearing these old hooks in my lips.

Some days the air will still taste delicious-

some days the moon is still bright enough to believe in.

When I think about the end there is no thrill. It will be as still and quiet as bones;

There will be no fairy tale- only a bird, and a tree, and a giant clam.