Ever had a date with someone where intimacy increased, but you felt anxious and often tried to halt it? If you crave closeness with others yet sabotage relationships when they start to matter, it could be because of a fear of intimacy. Here are some signs that you have a fear of intimacy.
1 – Not Sharing Feelings or Thoughts
If you don’t tell anyone your real feelings or show your unguarded self, or if you don’t open up to anyone, this can be a sign of a fear of intimacy.
You may have convinced yourself that in order to be strong, you don’t need to show your vulnerable side. But, this is more likely a coping mechanism to some past trauma that you’ve learned to protect yourself by building a shell around you. Unfortunately, life has a way to crack that shell, no matter how tough you’ve built it. Rather leave it to chance for the crack to be debilitating, perhaps you can start a healing journey to at least soften it and build a door that you can choose to open or close instead.
2 – Controlling Your Introspection
You may have a fear of intimacy because you want to deny your innermost feelings and thoughts. You may not want to think about your past because it’s too painful, or about the future because you are scared of what’s to come, and you may not be reflective on the present because you don’t want to be there.
This can be a sign of you being in denial to avoid facing the reality. It can be one of the stages of grief where you aren’t willing to admit the pieces of yourself that you feel been lost. The strong denial would eventually make you feel empty and at the same time confused of why you’re feeling hollow.
3 – Being Emotionally Cutoff
If you are emotionally cut off, the lack of intimacy in your relationships is a good sign of a fear of intimacy. You may feel completely detached even if you are in a long-term relationship. You may not feel love, and you may not feel anything at all. You might tell yourself that life is getting dull or you’re becoming jaded. What you need first and foremost is actually some rest and good self-care before you can delve into taking a good look at the stagnant emotional life.
4 – Chronically Separate From Others
If you can’t connect with others on a deeper level, you could have a fear of intimacy. You may have convinced yourself that you are better off alone, you like your own company, you have a life of your own, etc., but deep down inside you know you’re lonely. While it is true that it’s better to stay alone than jumping into a relationship with anyone for the sake of not being alone, but if you find yourself unable to connect with anyone at all, you’re isolating yourself. The world is a big place and there’s the internet that you can connect with many others with the same interests online. There’s a difference of being alone and being disconnected. You can live alone and feel connected to others one way or the other, your life is much more enriching with connections you make.
Intimacy is a beautiful way to connect with others deeply and meaningfully. It’s something we crave but it takes being vulnerable to get to that intimate level of knowing and being known by someone. A fear of intimacy means you are uncomfortable with the prospect of being emotionally connected to someone. No matter how strong the chemistry you have with someone, the relationship can’t grow to the full potential without intimacy.
Often, a fear of intimacy comes from a trauma response. If you feel that this might affect your life significantly, it’s worth looking into it and reach out for help. It’s best to seek therapy to heal unresolved trauma. If you need extra support or if you feel that you don’t exactly have a traumatic past, perhaps a coach or mentor can help pointing you in the right directions. Because at the end of the day, we humans are social animals and relationships are what make life meaningful and satisfying.