The fear of intimacy is in fact the fear of risk, of going in blind, into the unknown and giving a piece of yourself to another person. It is the fear of the Uncertain and rejection. Also a fear of strong emotions, also the difficult ones, which can appear in a relationship and make us feel helpless and vulnerable. It houses a whole range of feelings, many worries and doubts, typical especially at the beginning of relationships.
What is the fear of intimacy?
The fear of intimacy can be unrealised. A lot of people try to rationalise it for years, stating that being single is what they really need. It provides freedom, suits your lifestyle, allows you to fulfil yourself professionally. It is characteristic that people who have a fear of intimacy often choose a career which requires constant relocation. A trader, translator, truck driver, stewardess. Jobs like this favour distancing yourself.
It is not easy to recognise that our partner suffers from the fear of being intimate. After all, they are caring, protective, open. From time to time, there is however an element of pushing you away, building a brick wall. They do not pick up their phone, disappear for a few days with no trace, does not want to hear about meeting your parents, makes plans with your friends reluctantly.
The fear of intimacy can take other forms too, e.g. we try to win our partner’s love by fulfilling their needs or we have unrealistic expectations of them ourselves. We can also live believing that an ideal relationship is a relationship with no Crises and conflicts.
You desire love, but are afraid of rejection? You crave a stable relationship, but are afraid you do not Deserve it? As we can see from the results of the theory of Attachment by Bowlby and Ainsworth, those contradictory feelings and aspirations are connected to the conditions under which the first bond between a parent and an infant was formed.
Parents, who show support and hugging only as a form of rewarding good and desired behaviour while withdrawing and distancing themselves from the child when it does not fulfil their expectations – the child is sad, upset, screaming, they contribute to developing the example of having to Deserve love and affection. Therefore, the child doubts whether it is deserving of love and good enough to be loved by someone else.
How to deal with the fear of intimacy?
The key to overcoming the fear of intimacy is self-awareness. The more we are aware of our own emotions and needs, the greater the chance of creating strong bonds and relationships is. Acknowledging that I am the one to decide whether or not I get angry, for how long and how angry I will be. It needs to be understood, that I am the one getting angry, not that another person is annoying me.
I decide how I react to a given situation. In order to stop fearing intimacy, we need to learn to be close with ourselves. It’s worth beginning with the present in order to avoid living with past or future emotions. We need to understand that only right here and now is real, since the past is distorted by memory and the future is unknown. Secondly, it is worth accepting our fear of intimacy. The more we fight it, the more energy we give it. Through accepting our own feelings, we help them disperse and leave.