Why People Fear Intimacy And What Can Be Done
Updated July 24, 2019
Reviewer Juan Angel
There's an astounding amount of people worldwide that fear intimacy. The numbers are on the increase. More people are choosing casual sex and flings over a stable relationship with intimacy. People find it easier to be in a relationship that is not on a personal level. This can become unhealthy for the individual's mental health, and they also don't get the opportunity to connect with others on an emotional and interpersonal level.
What Exactly Is A Fear Of Intimacy?
The fear of intimacy is a feeling that lingers in an individual's subconscious. The person who has a fear of intimacy will never allow others to get close to them on a personal level. They also don't share their emotions and feelings with others - not even their partners. In some cases, they fear to get intimate in a physical manner. They don't allow anyone to touch them and neither do they get themselves into sexual relationships - even with their partners. They refrain from all types of physical activity.
Signs And Symptoms Of A Fear Of Intimacy
These are the fear of intimacy signs. Have a look at these signs if you suspect that you or your partner might have a fear of intimacy:
- Fearing long-term relationships and breaking them off before reaching that point.
- Fear of revealing deep feelings and avoiding disclosing such feelings.
- Discomfort when expressing your feelings or listening to your partner's feelings.
- Lack of communication in your relationship.
- When you or your partner avoid discussing any issues in your relationship.
- Not sharing your personal goals and dreams.
- Avoiding and having a fear of being your partner's emotional support.
- You don't want to know about your partner's feelings, emotions, etc.
- Having difficulty with trusting your partner with anything, especially important matters.
- Not allowing yourself to be spontaneous and adventurous with your partner in the bedroom.
- When you avoid disclosing past experiences and painful experiences.
- Not showing concern for your partner when they are stressed or feeling emotion.
- The inability to speak your mind and emotions to your partner.
Fear Of Intimacy Scale
The fear of intimacy scale is an evaluation that is performed to determine an individuals level of fear of intimacy and the prominence of their anxiety. It contains 35 self-evaluation questions. Scores are usually between 35 and 175. The higher the score, it usually means that there's a higher fear of intimacy. Men typically have higher scores than women.
If you'd like to work on your intimacy issues, then the fear of intimacy test is advisable, before working on your problems. You can find the various fear of intimacy tests and quizzes online, which are free. By taking these tests, your results are not shared with anyone, and they remain confidential. If you feel uncomfortable with taking online tests and quizzes, you can consult a marriage counselor to run an evaluation test.
Why Do People Fear Intimacy?
The fear of intimacy can be for some various reasons. Many people are unaware of as to why there has a fear of intimacy. Some of these reasons that stem back to their childhood days. Here are a few reasons that could trigger a fear of intimacy:
Abuse During Childhood:
Children who have been abused both sexually and physically abused during their childhood, have a difficult time with trusting and getting close to others. If a child that has been abused during their childhood and did not receive the help and treatment that they require, these problems can have a negative impact on them as teens and adults. Children that are experienced abuse also have a difficult time with expressing their feelings.
Not Having Any Role Models in Childhood:
While this fact might not apply to all adults. Some children are brought up in homes where intimacy is not present. Where the parents showed no affection to one another or their children. This is another factor that can contribute to the fear of intimacy. What it also occurs in homes was the child is brought up with only one parent.
A Low Self-Esteem:
This is a number one reason for fearing intimacy. Low self-esteem has become a common issue for both teens and adults. Low self-esteem can be damaging to a relationship with yourself and others too. People with low self-esteem have trouble with accepting themselves, and this makes it more difficult for them to connect with their partners on an emotional level. Apart from the emotional side of things, it also becomes difficult to have sexual relationships, as they are conscious of their appearance, self-worth, etc.
People with low self-esteem first need to work on their issues, before seeking help with their marital issues. A counselor can help you with dealing with your feelings and building up your confidence. A counselor can help you with making peace with yourself and also teach you how to love yourself. Once this has been resolved, then you can start tackling your intimacy issues with your partner.
You Have Had Some Bad Breakups in the Past or You Have Been Cheated On:
This is another top reason for fear of intimacy. People who have had their heart broken usually find it difficult to trust and connect with their current partners. A broken heart is never easy, and it can have long-term effects on an individual. These effects then creep into their current relationships. In some cases, people avoid and reject long-term relationships because they are afraid of experiencing the pain that they have felt during their breakup and because they are too afraid to commit. This is their way of protecting themselves, but not committing to long-term relationships.
A fear of intimacy can occur if you have been cheated on but decided to stay and work things out with your partner. It's normal for you to find it difficult to trust your partner or to have sex with them. In such cases, marriage counseling is necessary to work things out.
The Disadvantages Of Fearing Intimacy
While it is possible to survive without intimacy, but the loneliness is bound to get the better of you. A life without intimacy can be highly unpleasant and some point in our lives, we will tend to crave it - no matter how fearful we are about it. Here are some disadvantages of fearing intimacy:
Lack of Libido and Living in a Sexless Relationship:
It's not easy to make a relationship work when there is no physical interaction between you both. Especially when the other wants to have a sexual relationship, this can cause major issues in the relationship.
Feeling Alone and Isolated:
Feeling alone and isolated can lead to depression. If you're withholding affection for your partner and not sharing your feelings with them, you will start feeling lonely eventually. A fear of intimacy can also push your partner away, which also has a negative impact on the relationship.
Insecurity in the Relationship:
Eventually, you begin to feel insecure in your relationship, and you will start doubting your partner - even if there is no reason to doubt them. You know that you are unable to connect with them on a personal level and you will start worrying about whether they are seeking the affection that they need elsewhere.
How To Overcome A Fear Of Intimacy:
Seek the Help of a Counselor:
Seeking the help of a counselor will not only be beneficial to you but also for your relationship. You might need to schedule some sessions with your partner and some alone. A counselor can address the cause of your fear and work with you on overcoming it. They will also try and break the barriers of your fear and help you with speaking about your feelings. With the help of a counselor, you can also tackle the communication issues that you might have in your relationship.
When seeking a counselor, choose one that specializes in marital issues. You can attend face to face sessions with your counselor, or you can choose online counseling. Online counseling is more affordable and its more convenient.
There's no need to rush the matter and pour out your feelings at once or take drastic steps in the bedroom. Start with general talk to your partner. You can start off by allowing them to speak about their feelings first before you begin speaking about yours. Another great way to start warming up to your partner is by planning some fun activities to do together. It can be as simple as going out for dinner, or even cooking dinner together. You can pick any activity that you would both enjoy. The point of this is to get comfortable with each other; it's a stepping stone to overcoming your fear of intimacy.
You can also start with gentle physical affection. Start off by kissing your partner before heading off to work in the morning and by giving a kiss when you return home. Hug your partner during the day and cuddle at night. These little things will help with breaking the ice, and it will do wonders for your relationship.
Spend More Time with Your Partner Alone:
If you have kids, try and arrange for a babysitter or ask a family member to take care of your kids for a few hours. Then spend this time with your partner. If you and your partner both work on different schedules, then try and take a little time off or work out a day and time that would suit both of you. Spending more time with each other will help with breaking your fear.