A fear of intimacy is more common than you think, and you can often encounter this fear which can be physical or emotional in every type of relationship.
Today, we’re taking a look at 13 signs you might have the fear of intimacy.
Now let’s get into it.
NUMBER 13: YOU’RE A PERFECTIONIST.
You demand a lot from yourself. Many people with a fear of intimacy are high achievers who throw their focus into external achievements. Your parents probably had high standards and performing well would have been one of the main ways to receive their attention. The problem is that growing up without emotional support is going to leave you feeling like you can’t be loved simply for being you.
The underlying fear of intimacy often lies in a feeling that a person does not deserve to be loved and supported. This leads to the need to be “perfect” to prove oneself lovable.
NUMBER 12: YOU HAVE LOW SELF-ESTEEM.
Previous relationships could affect how we view our present ones. When we form relationships, we place a great deal of trust in someone else which can lead us to feel exposed and vulnerable.
And if a past partner was unfaithful and ended the relationship suddenly or was dishonest then you may start to think that the fault was on you. Having low self-esteem leads you to blame yourself for the fall of the relationship when in reality, it was your partner that wasn’t willing to work things out.
Blaming yourself in such a situation might lead you to believe that you aren’t ready for a relationship and cause you to actively avoid one.
NUMBER 11: YOU HAVE A FEAR OF ABANDONMENT.
Those who are afraid of abandonment worry that their partner will leave them. This often results from the experience of a parent or other important adult figure abandoning the person emotionally or physically as a young child.
Although it is not an official phobia, the fear of abandonment is arguably one of the most common and most damaging fears of all. People with the fear of abandonment may tend to display behaviors and thought patterns that affect their relationships.
NUMBER 10: YOU SERIAL DATE.
A person who has a fear of intimacy is often able to interact with others, at least initially. It’s when the relationship grows closer, when the value of the relationship grows, then things begin to fall apart.
Instead of connecting on an intimate level, the relationship is ended in some way, and replaced by yet another, more superficial relationship. The pattern that emerges is many short-term relationships. There are a number of reasons why a person may appear to have a “commitment phobia” or be accused of being a serial dater. Fear of intimacy may be one.
NUMBER 9: YOU CHOOSE THE WRONG PEOPLE.
If your relationships always end badly, take a look at who you’re dating. Is there a trend? Chances are your exes have some similar qualities that contribute to your failed relationships. You may know the person is bad for you but stay with them anyways because you subconsciously want the relationship to fail.
This is a sure sign you have a fear of intimacy because you’re letting yourself end up with people who are not good for you. A part of you knows it won’t work out and you’ll eventually be single again.
NUMBER 8: YOU SABOTAGE YOUR OWN RELATIONSHIPS.
Another sign you fear intimacy is that you find a way to ruin every romantic relationship you’re in. This may take the form of nitpicking and being very critical of a partner. It may also take the form of making themselves unlovable in some way, acting suspicious, and accusing a partner of something that hasn’t actually occurred.
Or you could look at it from another angle. Have you cheated on partners in the past? Made yourself extremely hard to get close to? Or you always put your partner last? Chances are you’re doing so because deep down, you don’t want the relationship to last. You fear that it will turn into something more than what it already is, so you do your best to stop that.
NUMBER 7: YOU CONCENTRATE ON OTHER THINGS.
When you fear intimacy, you aren’t prioritizing intimacy. Instead, you over-commit yourself to other things. For example, your job. You stay later than you really need to or are constantly on your phone. This creates added distance between you and your partner.
Or, perhaps you over-commit to working out every day for hours, or to another hobby, and don’t give any time to your relationship and partner. In other words, you’re distracting yourself from your fear of intimacy rather than dealing with it.
NUMBER 6: YOU CAN NEVER SAY YOU’RE SORRY.
Knowing that you’re wrong is one thing, and saying you’re sorry is another. It can take a lot of effort for us to admit a mistake and apologize, as it can make us feel like we’re putting the other person in a position of power.
If you struggle with telling someone you’re sorry, you’re struggling with letting your guard down. And therefore you fear that person could attack you when you’re at your most vulnerable.
NUMBER 5: YOU STRUGGLE WITH YOUR EMOTIONS.
If you’ve had trouble in trying to figure out difficult feelings at one point or another. It’s often easier for us to move away from pain and discomfort rather than articulating what we’re feeling, and that may be because we’re afraid of expressing or feeling those things. And unfortunately, that’s not just doing you harm but, that might be doing others some harm, too.
If you dismiss your own emotions, you’re most likely dismissing your partner’s as well. This creates a disconnect in your mutual understanding of one another.
NUMBER 4: YOU HAVE ANXIETY IN DATING.
Feelings of anxiety are really common at the beginning of a relationship. Before a relationship is completely established, there is uncertainty around how the other person is feeling or the status of the relationship could be difficult to tolerate. Many fear judgment or rejection from others to such an extent that the resulting anxiety affects dating. Like not being able to maintain eye contact or a conversation. This feeling could be so great that some people, despite wanting to be in a relationship, might avoid it altogether.
NUMBER 3: YOU PREFER TO BE ALONE WHEN THINGS GET PERSONAL.
And not in an introverted type of way. Rather, when it comes to connecting with other people, particularly through a romantic lens, you have to detach yourself after a certain point to draw a clear “don’t cross” line in the sand when a situation grows too intense for your liking.
If being with another person feels okay until you have to make eye contact, you may be afraid of intimacy. Spending time together being physically close might be fine with you until that person wants to gaze into your eyes or asks you to sleep over. If you make excuses and run off to your own apartment or head to the couch for the night, you might have issues with intimacy.
NUMBER 2: YOU SUFFERED FROM CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE.
Sexual abuse in childhood can lead to fear of intimate relationships both emotional or sexual. Such abuse can make it challenging to trust another person enough to become intimate.
Symptoms of fear of intimacy linked to childhood sexual abuse may include an inhibited sexual desire or difficulty in arousal, seeing sex as an obligation, feelings of anger, disgust, or guilt when touched.
NUMBER 1: YOU DON’T PUT IN THE EFFORT.
You say you want to be with someone, but when you take a step back, how hard are you really trying? Are you going online and actively looking and keeping conversations going, or do you offer very vague responses and don’t ask questions back? When you go out, do you let guys or girls approach you, or do you spend your time looking down at your phone, unaware of all the potential around you? You might be trying to convince yourself that you are trying to find love, but subconsciously, you’re stopping yourself because of a deeper fear of intimacy.
It’s hard getting close to someone and nobody wants to be rejected. But getting close to people and letting them get close to you is an important aspect of your life and relationships. If you find yourself constantly pushing people away and sabotaging your relationships, it’s time to look into why this behavior feels natural to you. Once you understand yourself and your reactions, it will be easier to form the relationships you really want and deserve.
Once you’ve done the work to figure out how your specific fear of intimacy manifests, you can use that knowledge to take steps that’ll help you feel less alone and really enjoy love for what it is.
It’s best to start by introspecting within, which, we know, sounds counterproductive. But you won’t be able to warm up to someone else unless you are perfectly in love with yourself.