An important key of emotional intimacy is Sharing Your True Self. Remember, the false self has no soul. It can't give and receive love. So sharing a false self, or sharing with a mask on, doesn't do diddlyjack (that's a technical term) for the deeper parts of your soul.
Do you know who your true self is? Who are you? If you don’t know you, spend a little time with you getting to know you. This is what we have done and it has paid great dividends in our couple relationship. If co-dependency or people pleasing has been a part of your false self or mask this will feel selfish. Focusing on the self isn't always selfish. Think Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride. How'd she like her eggs at first. She liked them just like her fiance did. All four of her fiances. Then one day she went off by herself, cooked eggs every which way and figured out which way she really liked them.
A challenging part of affair recovery is that the person who had the affair often does learn something important about his or her true self. That is one reason it is important to come up with a shared definition of the meaning of the affair. What did the unfaithful one get out of the affair? Ann remembered, relearned so to speak, that she liked to have fun. She's a playful person but sometimes she can get caught up in the details of life. I had become Mr. Serious Christian. A part of her affair was playful banter. I had to swallow my pride and own the fact that this was really missing from our marriage and be intentional about bringing it back in. Because I like to have fun too.
On the flip side of knowing and sharing your true self is learning to LISTEN. Really listen. Being heard is intoxicating. We all have a desire to be heard and understood. Mark and Deb Laaser say, "Good listeners are those who don’t try and talk you out of your feelings. They also do not judge you, nor do they try and fix your feelings or your situation."
Check out the scene below from When a Man Loves a Woman. Meg Ryan is an alcoholic. Alex Garcia is her husband who knew how to have fun, but didn't know how to go deeper. Their journey leads them to separation. It also leads to learning to live a life of reflection and individually discovering more about their true selves. Meg has just shared a brief talk at her AA meeting to celebrate six months sobriety. She has shattered her denial and shared authentically from her true self. She didn't know Andy was there listening.Some video difficulty. Let's try this one where you get the speech included.
Meg Ryan - When a Man loves A Woman (The End) by goldrausch