Intimacy is not just an issue in romantic relationships. It is a crucial aspect of all your important relationships, be they with partners, spouses, family, friends or colleagues. To be intimate is to allow people in and foster healthy communication.
Without it, we can alienate others and become lonely, unfulfilled and depressed.
What is fear of intimacy?
A fear of intimacy occurs when you are unwilling to open up to anyone or let them get to know you. Being intimate does not mean telling your boss about your love life or boring your partner with every detail of your latest batch of invoices at work! Rather it involves letting yourself admit mistakes, celebrate achievements and share information about yourself in a way that is appropriate to the situation. People with a fear of intimacy close themselves off and reveal barely anything. This can have a very detrimental effect on all kinds of relationship.
How do I know if I have a fear of intimacy?
People with a fear of intimacy are often very restless and tend towards being workaholics. They fill their lives with tasks so that they do not have to face up to their true feelings. They may also present an unrealistically positive persona, never appearing to be upset or angry and claiming their life is problem-free. This may lead to them becoming the designated “friendly ear” for everyone around them, even though they themselves are desperately troubled under the surface. People with a fear of intimacy do not get close to others because they have an idealised view of how these people should be. On the other hand, however, they are also terrified of others learning about their flaws.
What can I do about my fear of intimacy?
The first step in dealing with your fear of intimacy is to admit that it is there. This is no easy feat. Nobody wants to face up to the fact that they are distant and unemotional with others. The sooner you admit your problem, however, the sooner you can work to change it. Talking therapy can teach you strategies for getting closer to people and being more genuine in your dealings with them. It can also help you to identify why you became afraid of intimacy and which aspects of your past have encouraged you to close yourself off to others.