The view of intimacy may differ from a person to person. For some it takes trust, faith and closeness. These perspectives may also stop few people from being intimate. The over consciousness may result in fear of intimacy.
While many of us see intimacy as happiness and love in a relationship but some may just see it as a danger for their mental health. They may feel comfortable to keep distance from their partner rather than getting closer. This can affect the relationship and importantly an individual.
Agree that intimacy is not the base for happy living. But it is a significant segment to keep your relationship active and lively. Additionally, fear of intimacy can cause stress to a person. Thus, we advise you to deal with your intimacy fear by educating yourself with causes, signs and treatment.
What is Fear of Intimacy?
The fear is not just about physical closeness, romance or sex. It can be of various types based on an individual’s past experiences, mindset, circumstances. Generally, fear of intimacy is classified into different types which tells about the complexity of it. There are four types of fears when it comes to fear-
- Emotional- Expressing the deep feelings with someone
- Intellectual- You develop your bond over conversations and exchanges of ideas
- Experiential- Closeness comes when you something you love together
- Sexual- Opening up with sexual desires
Signs Your Suffering From Fear of Intimacy
Every negative impact may not be a sign of fear of intimacy. Also it doesn’t mean emotional weakness or fearful actions are not only the signs. It depends on person to person, how they show their fear.
The signs may look like a rigid action to safeguard themselves from being vulnerable. A few may not show but just hide it and appear normal but behave differently. So, we are try to give away the common signs to know if you are suffering from fear of intimacy-
History of short relationships
Yes. History of unstable relationships is one of the signs that shows intimacy fear. It may not be the same in all the cases. It depends on the reasons for breaking up the previous relationships. If the person is breaking up the relationships because of the differences in sexual interest and behavioral changes then you must consider past relationships as a sign of fear. A few people are rigid with their thoughts and become over conscious which may lead to separation.
Avoids physical contact
The people who suffer with intimacy fear stay away from physical contact. They are happy to share their feelings and to develop a spiritual bond but don’t not open for physical contact. This is one of the clear signs to notice in a person with fear of intimacy.
Low self esteem
The sense of self worth is important in relationships. Low self esteem raises problems like insecurity and jealousy. These problems seem invisible initially but may lead to toxicity in relationships.
People with low self esteem imprison their emotions and thoughts. They distance themselves from their partner with insecure feelings. Gradually, this becomes a barrier in relationships where it turns out to be a sign of fear of intimacy.
As they are distressed about getting closer to someone, they isolate most of the time. The people with intimacy fear cleverly escape from it by seeking privacy. In fact, they feel comfortable in their private space rather than surrounded by people. If you are noticing any such behaviour it can be the fear of intimacy.
It seems rude when someone don’t trust you. But how would you know it’s a fear?
A person with trust issues is terrified to rely on someone. Dependency on someone makes you closer to them. You may also tend to get intimate when you start to trust someone wholly. And people who value trust the key for relationships and fear trusting others easily. They feel better people to stay out of this and drown into trust issues. These trust issues keep the person far away from intimacy. You must not wonder when trusting someone sounds like a phobia for them.
The anger episodes tell a about fear of intimacy. You might just see the rudeness in the behavior but the fear is hidden behind it. The sudden outburst is the cause of bottling up the feelings, fears and emotions. When you choose to keep it yourself instead of sharing it with someone, it may result in sudden outburst. It happens when you finally lose control of your emotions after a threshold. You must notice if it’s often happening to work on it and sort out.
What has over thinking to do with fear or intimacy? Overthinking leads to over reasoning and confusion. When the mind is all knots, it contributes to over thinking. Fear of intimacy is an output of over thinking in various ways.
Few show the behavioral changes, few choose to outburst or keep distance from their partner. This will be a slow but depressing effect that comes out as intimacy fear.
Of course,when people create certain doubts and negative thoughts, they relate it to everything surrounding a relationship. And intimacy is part of the relationship. Therefore, you can consider over thinking as a clear sign of fear of intimacy.
Perfection is a concern
We try to draw the lines to escape from something or to limit it. Here, people with fear of intimacy do the same. They become particular about their appearance and behavior. They worry about how others see them. Their perfection will be the concern most of the time.
People with this sign get stuck with their partner’s views and expectations which can lead to clashes and conflicts. A couple may also lose their connection which leads one of them or both fear intimacy. This can be a possible sign of intimacy fear.
Causes for Fear of Intimacy
There are different causes for fear of intimacy. The old experiences, the real stories or imaginary scenarios fall into the causes that create fear of intimacy. We list here what all contributes to the fear in relationship-
The anxiety disorder that causes fear of intimacy is another way known as avoidant personality disorder. It likely starts in childhood. It is irrespective of gender so seen in men and women equally.
The common symptoms of avoidant personality are fear of judgement or humiliation, awkwardness, exaggeration of problems and self isolation.
Causes of this disorder are not well known yet. But it is associated with the genetic and environment. It is developed at a young age which affects the relationships as they grow up. They see intimacy as problematic or as vulnerability.
Fear of rejection
After the constant rejection from the close people, it registers the fear in mind. Some individuals have such a mindset and enclose themselves from others. It is to avoid facing any kind of relationship failures, rejections. So, they simply don’t want to be intimate and start over again with someone else. Probably, they need mental healing to restart an intimate relationship with others.
Fear of betrayal
A previous intimate relationship might fear the person about abandonment and betrayal. It is possibly after such experience which people develop this kind of fear. One of the ways they express or deal with to defend themselves is fearing intimacy. It is not an intentional decision but they tend to do it.
As they have gone through the bitterness once, they don’t want to be emotionally hurt by someone again.
Sexual abuse in childhood
It is natural to remember certain things that we experienced in childhood. It is not all good childhood memories that flashes a mind but also the bitter memories. If someone, has the experiences of sexual abuse in childhood then no wonder it grown to be a fear of intimacy.
The ones who faced childhood sexual abuse would experience a few symptoms which comes with the effect- sex seems like an obligation, discomfort to be touched, emotional detachment during sex, unusual behaviour during sex, sexual dysfuction in females.
Therapy For Fear of Intimacy
The best therapy to overcome the fear of intimacy is exposure about sex, relationships. Accompanied with sex education, you must make efforts to change your mind with peacefulness. It is not a cake walk to overcome the intimacy fear but it is possible with positive thoughts.
You must communicate about your fears which works like a therapy for fear of intimacy. You will be able to overcome it when you are playful. Above all, try to attain a peaceful mind. You can practice yoga, meditation to regulate your mind and thoughts. Try to know the reality and the action is to be practical.
Get into the process of healing your mind without any haste. Gradually, you will be able to come out of the fear. It’s important to know that neglecting the fear of intimacy can lead to various effects. It is found that lack of sexual intimacy in females causes early menopause. The timely therapy can avoid these effects.
Advice from doctors
If you are noticing any early and clear sign for fear of intimacy then you must treat it without further delay. Generally, fear of being touched or fear of getting closer physically may calm down over the time.
If the problem is continuing even after 6 months then must consult a psychotherapist. We stress not taking any medicines without the doctor’s prescription which may worsen the condition.
The Bottom line
While trying to get out of the fear of intimacy, remember that you are not alone. You must always be open to seek mental help, advice from your close people or get a professional treatment. As you experience a bit of positivity of intimacy, it helps you cope up. The foremost thing is to be open in letting the fear go. Hope this information can be a helping hand for your well being.