Does the idea of having someone know the real you make you feel uncomfortable? Some people actually abhor the possibility of someone getting close enough to find out what they’re really like and how they really feel.
Fear of intimacy can make you want to avoid becoming too close to other people. Those who fear intimacy often behave in such a way that makes them cold, distant, and emotionally unavailable. If you think you’re always avoiding intimacy and want to know why you’re doing so, continue reading.
Fear of Intimacy
It’s a subconscious fear. People who fear intimacy are not always aware that they’re actually afraid of becoming too emotionally connected with other people. They may just brush it off by saying they’re too busy or that it’s not important. In truth, however, there’s a subconscious fear that makes them behave that way.
Those who fear emotional intimacy tend to develop an avoidant attachment style. It’s a particular way of forming attachments with other people wherein the person tends to avoid emotional closeness and intimacy.
How Does Fear of Intimacy Affect Relationships?
When you’re in a romantic relationship, your partner may have certain expectations of you in terms of how you interact with each other. For instance, your partner may rely on you for emotional support. She may want you to show that you understand her as she expresses her feelings, and she may also want you to share your feelings as well.
However, when you fear and avoid intimacy, you may not be able to live up to those expectations. Someone who fears intimacy tends to put up an emotional barrier as a means to distance himself from his partner. This emotional barrier can prevent you from being able to share your feelings with your partner.
If your partner doesn’t understand where your fear of intimacy comes from and why you avoid emotional closeness, it can make her feel unwanted or unloved. When you avoid intimacy, it can also cause misunderstandings and lead to relationship problems.
If you and your partner don’t get to talk about it in-depth, your avoidance of intimacy may ultimately cause the relationship to deteriorate. And if you continue to avoid intimacy and any other form of emotional connectedness, you may end up isolating yourself. In fact, self-imposed social isolation is common among those who fear intimacy.
Those who avoid intimacy may end up sabotaging their relationships. Because of this, they also tend to have a series of short-term and unstable relationships. Some are unable to enter into a committed relationship at all, so they just stick to casual relationships.
What Causes Fear of Intimacy?
The way we relate with other people and form attachments is greatly influenced by our early childhood experiences. Normally, a child’s first attachment is to a parent, usually the mother.
However, when the parent is dismissive or unresponsive and the child is always scolded or rejected whenever he expresses his needs, which can cause the child to develop an avoidant attachment style.
The child will learn to do things and take care of his needs on his own in order to avoid the parent’s rejection. Because of the parent’s unresponsiveness or emotional unavailability, the child will also learn to suppress his feelings and never voice out his needs. If crying will only earn you a scolding, you’ll eventually learn to suppress your tears.
This is why many of those who fear and avoid intimacy tend to be very self-reliant and independent. They also tend to hide their emotions and are reluctant to talk about their true feelings.
Your avoidance of intimacy may also be rooted in your fears of being rejected or abandoned. The fear of rejection may be attributed to low self-esteem or the feeling of being deficient, which is actually common among those who fear intimacy. Because you think you’re not good enough, you believe that you will be rejected when you profess your feelings to the person you like.
Another reason why some people tend to avoid intimacy is that they actually fear abandonment. When you’re afraid that your partner will leave you anyway, you may feel like there’s really no reason why you should emotionally invest in your relationship or really get close to your partner.
Sexual trauma, a history of physical or verbal abuse, and parental neglect are also possible causes of fear of intimacy. It’s common for victims of sexual abuse to avoid both physical and emotional intimacy.
How Do You Overcome Fear of Intimacy?
In order to overcome your fear of intimacy, you must first acknowledge your fear. Once you can honestly say to yourself that you’re afraid of becoming emotionally intimate with someone that’s why you avoid intimacy, you can then start to figure out what caused you to become afraid in the first place.
Finding out and understanding where your fear is rooted is an essential step towards overcoming your fear of intimacy. However, understanding the reasons why you avoid intimacy is not enough.
You also need to be able to identify how your fear of intimacy is manifested in your behavior. For instance, do you often walk out whenever you have an argument with your partner?
Do you always ask for space whenever your partner tries to find out what your feelings are? Do you pull away every time you’re asked to commit to a relationship? These are all distancing behaviors, and someone who avoids intimacy tends to engage in these behaviors as a means to remain emotionally unavailable.
In order for you to stop avoiding intimacy, you also need to learn how to express your feelings and emotional needs. Allow your partner to become physically and emotionally close to you. And allow yourself to be emotionally present and connected during sex.
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