Description and Mechanism of Development of Fear of Intimacy
The problem of fear of intimacy has become quite actual. The inability to establish close, trusting relationships both in own personal life and with other people, leads to isolation, a feeling of loneliness, the inability to take responsibility for a partner and oneself. Fear of emotional intimacy is associated with the reluctance to open their true “I” probably because a person suffered from this in the past. If a person has grown up in emotional and social isolation, then perhaps he or she will hardly open up in the future. This is how the fear of intimacy reveals in people. The problem is relatively little studied, but the main reasons are already clear.
What Causes Fear of Intimacy?
Intimacy is a long-term mutual positive emotional involvement and interaction. But when is it achieved? It happens that you spend the whole evening or several weeks intensively communicating with a person, receiving mutual pleasure from communication, but after that, you can’t feel anything special in the morning and understand, for example, that there is no place for this relationship in your daily life. This is because real intimacy, as well as concern and openness, come later. Scientists say that close relationships have such a positive effect on our life that they increase its duration. However, many people avoid intimate relationships, they are afraid of them. And this fear is often unconscious. Some may avoid close relationships because of negative experiences and traumatic memories – they think that new relationships can be dangerous in that sense.
For example, this behavior is typical for those who experienced violence in childhood from people they trusted. Fear of loss can also be the reason. If a child has survived the death in a family and hasn’t worked through this grief with anyone, he/she can have a fear of a lack of protection. Such a child thinks, “If I keep people away, I will lose nobody anymore.” But what else causes fear of intimacy?
- A huge number of internal complexes that prevent to get close to someone. A person is sure that if he/she refuses to share intimate things with a partner, this partner will not notice these shortcomings and will not want to break up.
- Unwillingness to become attached to others. Such fears may be associated with past experience. For example, a man or a woman was once left.
- Unwillingness to create a relationship because of the unwillingness to sacrifice their freedom. The image of a “strong and independent” person is popular now.
- Fear of responsibility to others. There is confidence that the creation of close ties will serve as the emergence of responsibilities.
- Some are shy of their own emotions. When it comes to showing love, care or tenderness, these people don’t want to show their emotions.
- Lack of confidence in people. Perhaps they were previously deceived, or they often tell a lie.
- A person has secrets and doesn’t want to tell them to society. The emergence of excessive secrecy triggered by psychological trauma.
Signs of Fear of Intimacy
The external and most obvious fear of intimacy symptoms are loneliness and a bad attitude towards the opposite sex. It equally concerns both men and women. But sometimes the other extreme is inherent in people – they can be oversexed, often get married but quickly divorced. This is due to the nature of the character, the irrepressible desire to find something special in a relationship.
Other visible fear of intimacy signs are:
- Problem with commitment
- Constant attempt to build a permanent relationship
- Frequent decision changes
- Fear of losing a partner
- Fear of physical intimacy
- Blame oneself for failures
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Avoid contact with people
- Rejection of dates
- Initiation of fleeting romances based solely on sex.
The manifestation of this fear depends on the age, status, temperament, upbringing, and gender of a person. What are the men’s fear of intimacy symptoms? By their nature, men are colder and less emotional than women. Even if a guy is deeply in love, there will be little space for pragmatism and cold calculation in his soul. This is necessary for a man to be able to support his family, build a career, and be the main one. The silence or the answer, “I’m sorry, I’m busy, I will call later” is not yet a sign of his fear of closeness in a relationship. But if a young man constantly keeps silent about personal information, shows aggression and anxiety, constantly criticizes everyone (including his woman), wants solitude – this is a reason to think whether he is okay.
It is also not easy with girls. Female modesty, shyness or deliberate manifestation of indifference to keep the intrigue can be confused with fear of intimacy. In addition to the above signs of fear of intimacy in men, similar symptoms are inherent in women – they also have nervousness at the sight of a partner, hysterics, inability to control one’s emotions, refusal of tactile or intimate contact, attempts to replace relationships with work or a hobby, and so on.
Dating Someone with a Fear of Intimacy
If you are dating someone with the fear of intimacy, you should know how to do it right.
1. Tame your ego
Focus on your partner, make him/her the center of attention, and a person will open the heart and mind to you. Selfish people are more often interested in achieving personal goals than general ones. But only common aspirations become the basis for qualitative interaction and reliable social ties. Therefore, meeting the needs of a loved one is the first step in getting rid of the fear of intimacy.
2. Don’t criticize
People don’t tend to trust those who look down on them. And this is logical – no one likes snobs. Respect the opinions and views of a partner even if they are different from your own. A person will feel free to express own thoughts, relax and show themselves from the best sides. Condemnation, on the contrary, will deprive your soulmate of any desire to trust you and make efforts to achieve common goals.
3. Try to understand the other person
This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with every opinion. But it is important to understand what makes a person think in this way. If you don’t agree with the point of view of your loved one, you can still stay friends with him or her. No one expects his/her every word to be accepted with approval, but everyone wants to be heard and understood. We were born with the sacred right to our own thoughts, and not with the desire to win others in verbal skirmishes. Mutual respect is a common ground to be shared by people who intend to overcome the fear of intimacy.
4. Give real reasons to trust you
Don’t seek to manipulate a person and convince him/her verbally in your decency. What good things will give you such a temporary relationship, if, as a result, you don’t find a friend or partner? Create a rational reason to open up to you. Beautiful phrases that are backed up by deeds will form the basis of a trusting relationship exactly before the first doubts arise. The results of specific actions have a much longer effect.
5. Be generous
Always give a little more than the minimum required. Generosity creates a feeling of attraction, intimacy, interest in a person, and not your own well-being.
If you manage to put into practice the implementation of these items, over time, your significant other will have no choice but stop experiencing the fear of intimacy. Living these principles in your life, you will become a real magnet of trust. The more intensely you focus on the values, preferences, and problems of a partner, show yourself as an accessible source for fulfilling desires and dreams, the more predictable the behavior of your soulmate is.
How to Overcome a Fear of Intimacy
In severe cases, you may need the help of a psychologist or psychotherapist who conducts the fear of intimacy test and other “treatments.” However, many people can deal with the problem by following the advice of experts. Of course, we shouldn’t forget that in each case, there are individual features. But the following steps may help cope with a fear of intimacy by yourself.
1. Understand the cause of the problem. Of course, in the first part of the article, it was said that the reason often lies in early childhood. However, in many cases, the main part of the problem is formed under the influence of factors at a more conscious age. Perhaps the impression of one episode forms the basis of distrust of other people.
2. Find positive moments. It will be very useful to recall the opposite, positive experience in the past or in the present life. The more you manage to give examples of when confidence was justified, the better. In most cases, if, of course, a person’s life is not influenced by some powerful factors, there will be much more positive examples than negative confirmations of the habit of being suspicious of everything.
3. Try to understand the motives of other people. Including those whom you didn't /don't trust for some reasons. It is possible that this feeling is the result of some unreasonable or high expectations.
4. Think real. How to get over a fear of intimacy? You shouldn’t have high hopes for others. Don’t make excessive demands. It is necessary to be able to soberly assess the abilities and personal qualities of people, so as not to subsequently experience frustration. This is especially true of own children. This refers to the cases when parents want to see a child as someone they didn’t become for any reason. And therefore, overcoming a fear of intimacy, it is necessary to understand in time when feelings and dreams prevail over a sober assessment of the situation.
5. Talk openly. Sometimes, to get rid of the fear of intimacy, it is worthwhile to openly discuss particularly controversial and incomprehensible moments with loved ones. After all, sometimes the basis of the current problem is just a different point of view and interpretation of certain facts and events. This also concerns the issue of how to overcome the fear of physical intimacy. If you have such a problem, then, first of all, you must talk to your partner about it. Don’t tolerate what you don’t like.
6. Change the environment. If there are always people with a positive attitude and thinking nearby, then there will be almost no reason for the emergence of fear of intimacy.
As you can understand from all that written above, it is very easy to begin to experience excessive distrust and fear of intimacy. And everything that is beyond measure is already abnormal and can harm. However, you can find a way out from any state if you want this and act consciously and decisively. Anyway, it is important to let go of the past and learn to live in the future.