Fear of intimacy in a relationship
There are different concepts surrounding romantic relationships and dating. Among them are some fears. Fear of intimacy is one of these fears many people suffer from as it is seen in many relationships.
Intimacy means sharing our feelings and deep experiences with others.
However, some people have trouble doing this or are scared to share their feelings. Eventually, they may deliberately destroy the relationship or avoid getting close to the person they love.
Throughout this article, we will explain the fear of intimacy, examine its causes and symptoms, and then discuss ways to cope with it and treat it.
Finally, we will provide recommendations for those dealing with people having this fear.
Besides reading this article, you might also find it interesting to read a brief article on relationships and their meaning. We suggest you visit the article “what is a relationship?”
It is critical to remember that the fear of intimacy differs from the fear of vulnerability. Even though these are similar, someone who fears intimacy might be more vulnerable.
What is fear of intimacy?
Intimacy means sharing one’s feelings, thoughts, or body and creating close and shared experiences with another. The fear of intimacy may also plague different types of intimacy. To better understand intimacy, we define its types below:
- Sexual intimacy: the ability and desire to have sex with another;
- Intellectual intimacy: the ability to share thoughts and ideas with another;
- Emotional intimacy: the ability to express various inner feelings with another person;
- Experiential intimacy: the ability to create and share life experiences with another.
Fear of intimacy may manifest in one or more of the above situations. In this type of fear, despite the inner desire for intimacy, a person avoids it and may even intentionally prevent intimacy from occurring. People who have just started dating or interacting socially often experience fear of intimacy. Still, the problem arises when fear overcomes the person and stops him from effective interaction.
Symptoms of fear of intimacy
Several signs may indicate that you are afraid of intimacy or that someone you know is. Pay close attention to these signs:
- Someone afraid of intimacy may sabotage their relationships with others.
- Some may refuse to maintain relationships.
- Some may withdraw from conflicts.
- Some may avoid emotional closeness to the other party.
- Some people may also react to situations as controlling or overly critical, using their partner’s feelings of guilt to express resentment or clinginess.
- After a few dates, some people refer to this type of relationship as a serial relationship because the other person loses interest after a few dates. A person who has lots of friends but no one knows them can be said to have this problem.
Also, perfectionism makes it difficult to create intimate relationships. They have a lot of demands on themselves and others. It’s critical to them how others see them. People in this group may also think their partner has impossible expectations, leading to anger and conflict.
Here are some other symptoms of intimacy fear:
- Low self-esteem
- Trust problem
- Experiencing anger in different situations
- Avoid any physical contact
- A history of unstable relationships
- Inability to express feelings and emotions
- Insatiable libido
- Social isolation
Effects of fear of intimacy on relationships
Fear of intimacy can significantly impact people’s lives, especially in romantic and emotional relationships. Research has demonstrated that anxiety disorders can damage people’s emotional relationships.
Fear of intimacy makes you avoid expressing your feelings or puts an obstacle in the way of your sexual and emotional feelings. If your partner doesn’t know the problem, they might think you don’t love them or that they’re not as good as they should be for you. Other effects that fear of intimacy has on the relationship include:
- Social isolation
- Risk of depression or drug abuse
- Making multiple romantic dates
- Having short-term relationships
- Ruining relationships with many criticisms and complaints from the partner
How do we treat fear of intimacy in relationships?
Relationships can be tough, and a fear of intimacy is more common than you’d think since few people admit it. A survey has shown that loneliness may be on the rise, with 42% of people saying that they have felt depressed because they felt alone.
As part of therapy, you can identify challenges and discuss issues. You can learn coping techniques from a therapist and understand the emotions behind your behavior. There are different types of useful treatments, as follows:
- Speech therapy
- Marriage counseling
- Cognitive therapy
We must challenge our negative attitudes to overcome our fear of intimacy. We must also not hurt the people we care about. It’s possible to defeat our resistance to love. We can combat negativity and increase our tolerance for a romantic relationship. We can overcome our fear of intimacy and enjoy more loving and intimate relationships.
Additionally, you have to accept the possibilities, care about yourself more than you did, look at your past, challenge yourself, and criticize and talk to yourself to figure out what’s causing this fear.
How to get close to someone with intimacy issues?
If you or your partner has this problem in your relationship, try to follow some tips and reach an understanding. Otherwise, the relationship will be challenged and may even lead to separation.
When you show your partner that you love them verbally and in action, you can significantly reduce their fear. In fact, by doing this, you can accompany them on the way to overcoming this fear.
In order to overcome this problem and cope with the fear of intimacy, you need a lot of patience and tolerance. After a while, you might get bored and stop following along. If the relationship is significant to you, be patient.
Don’t forget that a person afraid of intimacy doesn’t have personal enmity with anyone. Therefore, please do not take what happens personally and do not deal with them with anger. The first thing to know about these people is that they are afraid of being rejected by you and are exhibiting these behaviors.
The fear of intimacy is usually present in people who value their relationship and partner. Sometimes, people in the most positive state possible in a relationship, and when everything is fine, may show negative behaviors due to fear. This is because they believe the situation will only last for a short time, and they are afraid of them.
It’s going to take a concerted effort to get rid of this fear. You may be curious to know the roots of this fear in your partner, but this is not necessary for you and is considered a privacy issue. You don’t have to be curious. Give them support and listen to them.
When interacting with a person with fears of intimacy, you should be careful of what you say and do. You may misunderstand every word and action, causing the person to become more confused. For example, pick the destination together rather than telling your partner that you are going on a trip suddenly.
Dating someone with a fear of intimacy
You should pay attention to some points before dating someone who is afraid of intimacy. First, accept his/her fear. If they want to discuss this fear, you can always do so. But be careful not to pressure them to talk about the source of the fear. As a result, the person gets more nervous and suffers from anxiety.
Show them you’re there for them and let them know you’ll do anything to help. It would help if you showed them that you support them. Play the role of a supporter for your partner. A person with a fear of intimacy needs security. Don’t rush, and know it’ll take time to fix this.
Of course, dating someone with this fear is not easy, but remember that you don’t cause it. Everything about dating is spending time with people; meeting new people is what you are actively doing, and dating someone means seeing them regularly.
The most enjoyable dates are full of surprises and unexpected behavior. One of these behaviors is the fear that a person may show when dating.
With the Persian Dating App (JIGAR), you can date the person you want without fear! Get started on your dating journey today by signing up for JIGAR.
Fear of intimacy makes you feel alone in the world. When you try to overcome this problem, you’ll realize you don’t have to face everything alone. A happier and healthier life is much easier when you have someone else by your side. So, take the first step today!