Intimacy puts the reader inside the head of a man on the eve of the day he plans to leave his wife and two young sons. The story is told in this slim novel by interspersing flashbacks via the narrator's reminiscing and the his present thoughts. We gradually learn of the events, feelings, and outside influences which result in the protagonist's decision to leave.
The narrator acknowledges that he is selfish and that his planned actions will surely damage his sons, but because he states thoughts many of us feel but would never speak aloud it is impossible to judge him too harshly. Ultimately the reader is not left feeling hopeful because Kureishi shows that the cost of future happiness is often the misery of others.