The other day I re read Doctors by Erich Segal. The book is about two friends, Barney Livingston and Laura Castellano, who grew up together and studied together. The two shared their deepest thoughts and their insecurities with each other. The intimacy that Barney shares with Laura, makes his lovers jealous and hence he is not able to maintain his relationship with them. This made me think about intimacy and its impact affect on relationships. I feel intimacy is reflection of trust which comes from how well two people know and understand each other. Like Trust, intimacy can be at different levels, depending on the comfort level of the people involved. For example, no one would like a stranger to pat his/her back. So how much access a person allows (to his mind or body) to another person depends on how intimate they are, that is, how much they know, understand/accept and trust each other. For example, Sex can be an intimate act or it can be a very physical act, depending on how a person takes it. For me, even the simple act of shampooing each other (which may not always lead to sex) or patting thigh of a person in public or whispering to each other in public or sharing thoughts with each other denote intimacy. Intimacy also describes why people feel jealous or why extra marital affairs cause such distress. People ascribe different levels of intimacy to different types of relationships and grade relationships in that level. It is expected that the most intimate relationship is that of husband and wife. People feel jealous, when they realise that other person is more intimate with someone else than the relationship warrants. So a husband may feel jealous of his in laws, if he feels that his wife is more intimate with her mother or with her sister than with him. Even though there is no physical relationship involved, a sibling feels jealous of other when the other slides on lap of mother, or a friend when his/her best friend starts dating someone. Intimacy or lack of it defines the way relationship will go. Sometimes the mathematician in me wonders, if love can be defined with intimacy as variable. Is love directly proportional to intimacy, i.e. more intimate the two people are, more they love each other. What do you think?