Relationships are often fraught with many different difficulties due to varying personalities and how two people work through their problems. Sometimes, despite being rife with problems, a relationship can still last due to a couple’s ability to communicate with one another. However, at other times, two otherwise very compatible people, struggle to keep their romance alive due to an inability to work through difficulties that their own individual issues encourage.
Here, in this article, we address the common issue – the fear of intimacy. This can cause big problems for a couple and, in fact, can make it very hard for a couple to even start what could otherwise be a very meaningful relationship. We examine the 7 reasons why intimacy may be so hard for some people as a way to make it easier to understand – both for them and the person who wants to be with them. Additionally, we look at ways to overcome intimacy issues if they are negatively affecting your relationship.
7 Signs Of Intimacy Problems
Not all these signs need to be present in a person for them to have a fear of intimacy. Just one or two need to be exhibited for them to fear relationships and stop a partnership from having a happy future.
1. Low self-esteem
When someone has low self-esteem it can stop them from forming any meaningful relationships in the future as they do not see themselves as worthy beings that should have the good fortune to be in a happy partnership. As a result, they will stop a person getting close to them and will often actively push them away – either emotionally or physically. They may not like to have sex with a partner due to a self-loathing of their body, or they may not want to get close to a person fearing that their partner may see through them if they get to know them too well.
2. Avoiding physical contact
As briefly alluded to above, a person who has fear of intimacy will often avoid having sex or, indeed, any physical contact with someone they are in a relationship with. While they might want to sleep with their partner, they don’t want to allow that person to get close to them as they often don’t feel good enough for them. They also don’t feel good enough about themselves and so avoid physical contact as a way of minimizing the chances of being hurt.
3. Never settling for one sexual lover
Of course, the other end of the spectrum is when a person has lots of sexual partners as opposed to struggling to enter into a physical relationship with just one significant other. The reason for this is the same fear of intimacy. By having lots of sexual partners, they will be pushing anyone who has got close to the further away as well as materially diminishing the chances of even being able to get close to a person.
4. No history of a former long-lasting relationship
Another sign that a person may have a fear of intimacy is if they have never had serious relationships with anyone else. This may manifest itself again as having a lot of sexual experience, but with lots of people as opposed to just one or even two lovers. It comes from pushing people away due to a fear of intimacy that means that they could get hurt if they let a person in.
5. Getting angry easily with a partner
Sadly, one way that many people who suffer from a fear of intimacy display this common issue, is by starting fights with their other half. This is their way of pushing you away so that you don’t get close to them. This might be incredibly infuriating at times, but if you have patience with them, and diplomatically diffuse arguments as best you can, you may be able to overcome this problem.
6. Not being able to trust someone
Often a fear of intimacy comes from not being able to trust another person. This may come from past experience or past relationships where trust has been broken – meaning that a person never wants to let someone close to them again. When this is an issue, it might help to continually reassure one another regarding your true feelings.
7. Not being able to talk about your feelings
Of course, communication is so key to happy relationships, but if you can’t share your feelings with another person, it can be hard to strengthen an emotional connection with them. This manifests itself as a fear of intimacy that can be frustrating for that person’s partner. However, if you are that partner, you can help your boyfriend or girlfriend by taking the lead. Share your own feelings so that they learn how to do so in return.
How To Overcome Intimacy Problems
Overcoming fear of getting too emotionally attached to a person is hard, but it’s not impossible. Take our three steps below to either help yourself or other people who you think will benefit from working on their emotional issues.
1. Talk it through
Talking through problems with a significant other is key to maintaining a happy and healthy relationship. Do so in a way that neither of you feels attacked, but also talk through your fears as and when they arise. Don’t bottle things up or else they will simply become much bigger problems that are then very hard to overcome further down the line.
2. Open yourself up
It can be so hard to do, but both people in a partnership need to be prepared to open themselves up to one another. For a romantic relationship to work, a couple needs to be able to be vulnerable to each other and know that their significant other will always support them in any way possible. That vulnerability is at the core of fear of being in a relationship at times. Being vulnerable to a boyfriend or girlfriend means that they can hurt you badly. However, you both need to realize that just because they could hurt you, it doesn’t mean they will.
3. Learn from past experiences
It’s important to try to learn from past experiences so that you can move on for them, but also so they don’t color your future vision of the world. Just because you have been hurt in past relationships, doesn’t mean you will be in your present one. If you consistently expect the worst in a partner or consistently push them away, your relationships will become a self-fulfilling prophecy where you are never happy.
There are several signs of intimacy problems – many of which we mention above. However, the most common will be a person who has low self-esteem and trust issues as they do not feel they are worthy of someone’s affection.
Fear of intimacy can be caused by many things. A lot of the time it is a way of protecting oneself from being hurt more in the future by someone that we have let get close to us. The fear of abandonment is a huge driving force as to why someone may push a loved one away.
Have an open and honest conversation with yourself as well as explaining to your partner why you behave as you do. Admit that you don’t want to act as you do and that you want to have successful intimate relationships but highlight the issues that are making this difficult.
Intimacy to a man can mean many different things. It can mean physical intimacy in the form of a sexual relationship or it can mean letting your guard down to someone else by opening up to share history from your life as well as to share the future experiences with one another.
Intimacy can feel as if you have a huge support net, knowing that a person won’t hurt you because you have been intimate with them which means both letting your guard down physically and emotionally.
A fear of intimacy can be a severely debilitating factor in a relationship and can materially reduce a couple’s chances of success. For some, getting intimate with someone is quite simply not what they want and they like dating and having lots of sexual partners. However, for others, they like the idea of getting close to a person, but need help being shown how to do so.
If you feel this is the case with someone in your life, you can help them by talking through issues and broaching difficult subjects as tactfully as possible. Mostly, people with a fear of intimacy may have very low self-esteem that can be built up with help from a loving partner. Communication can be a fantastic way to improve their confidence so that they might even be able to open up to you in a way that they never thought possible.
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