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Saint Mary’s speaker addresses intimacy and dating

| Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Kerry Cronin, the associate director of The Lonergan Institute at Boston College, spoke at Saint Mary’s on Monday about the search for the other and the meaning of intimacy.

Cronin said that she was invited to Saint Mary’s to speak about sexuality in the dating and hookup culture on college campuses nationwide, through a Catholic lense.

Cronin said she sends her own students on dating assignments and uses the assignments as practices of intimacy and vulnerability then asks them to write reflections about their experience.

“Within the reflections, there were really important themes about intimacy; however, there tended to be a bit of a gender divide,” Cronin said.

Cronin said that when it comes to being intimate, it can be challenging. She said the reflections she received were full of regret for not being more open when they had the opportunity to create intimacy.

“We have very few ideas about how to go about finding intimacy,” Cronin said.

Even though it can be hard to find, Cronin said people have examples of intimacy within relationships throughout their lives in their relationships with family, friends, significant others and God.

Cronin said she defines intimacy as a certain type of closeness between two people in any relationship.  

“Intimacy is a type of closeness in which much of ourselves, both hidden and not, are clearly expressed and are received by another person,” she said. “It is where many parts of ourselves are being seen and are allowed to be articulated and valued.”

Cronin said people also must treat the other person the same way in order for intimacy to come about.

“We must be where we can see, allow and value all parts of the other,” she said. “What is stopping us from intimacy is our inability to let the other person be other.”

In order to achieve full intimacy, Cronin said that we must be aware of the high and low frequencies of intimacy. High frequency is the fast paced, new intimacy that overlooks the flaws and annoyances of a person one loves. She said the low frequency intimacy comes when everything has calmed down and a person sees the flaws of the other but loves them anyway.

“American culture makes us addicts of intensity: We only want the rush of intensity,” she said. “[However,] intimacy often has long stretches of road.”

Cronin said that intimacy is possible to achieve with anyone if people open their eyes to others.

“Intimacy is the ability to see who is right in front of us and to let ourselves be seen.”

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