Do i have intimacy issues

Silent Signs You Have Intimacy Issues |

Fear of intimacy is understandable—and common—but the inability to overcome that fear will wreck your relationships. First, you need to recognize the subtle fear-of-intimacy signs, then you have to address the problem: Here's what the experts recommend.

1 / 10


You’re angry—a lot

There are many types of anger, and it helps to figure out what type you’re expressing. A deep, subconscious fear of intimacy can rear its ugly head, showing up in response to a relationship that is becoming uncomfortably close, and one way this fear can manifest is via anger. “Constant explosions of anger indicate immaturity, and immature people cannot form intimate relationships,” says John Mayer, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Doctor On Demand. Everyone gets angry sometimes, but if you find feelings of anger bubbling up constantly, or inappropriately, a fear of intimacy may be lurking underneath. The fix may not be easy, or quick, but communicating your feelings to your partner can help. “Talking it out is key here. Foster vigorous, frequent, honest, and open communication. Don’t deny these intimacy issues exist, and put them on the table with the person you are interested in,” suggests Dr. Mayer.

2 / 10


You’re scared not to be perfect

We all want to be loved, warts and all, but that takes trust, and the ability to risk rejection. “People in relationships are constantly asking themselves, in one way or another, if they can trust the other person. Can they show their flaws, or risk being embarrassed? The way to move past this fear is to take measured risks,” says licensed marriage and family therapist, Jenn Kennedy.  Being loved for who you really are is an incredible gift, but you have to show your partner the real you, if it’s ever going to happen. “Give your partner the chance to show up for you, and see how it works out. If it goes well, risk doing something bigger, and more important,” suggests Kennedy, who also stresses the importance of verbalizing your fears, and feelings. “This is a great way to help the other person soften, and be more open. For example, if you say ‘I’m afraid you won’t respect, love, or find me attractive if I do this,’ It lets your partner express a willingness to not reject you,” she explains. Nobody’s perfect. No matter who are you, or might have done in the past, coming clean about it will free you up, allowing emotional intimacy to take the place of fear. You can also gauge whether your partner is trustworthy by looking for these signs.

3 / 10


You’re sexually immature

Maybe you love sex, but can’t connect with your partner during the act—ever. If so, your intimacy issues may be fostering a level of sexual immaturity, which has nothing to do with chronological age. “Sexual immaturity can show up as an excessive interest in porn, or in sex acts, as opposed to making love. Sexually immature individuals may also insist upon using toys, or the accouterments of sex, rather than concentrating on their partner. It includes inattention to the other’s needs, and sole concentration on their own need for sexual release, or gratification,” says Dr. Mayer.

People with a fear of intimacy may also recoil from sex, altogether. Both ends of the spectrum display an inability to emotionally let go or to communicate intimately. Dr. Mayer suggests letting yourself be emotionally naked towards each other, so that you are not afraid to bring up your fears, and insecurities. If you are able to do this in all aspects of your life, it will be easier to do it sexually, as well. “Remember, by doing this, you are allowing the other person to get to know the real you, and that’s the best path to intimacy and love,” he explains. Don’t miss these habits of couples with steamy sex lives.

4 / 10


You’re there in body, but not in spirit

You can share a home and still have intimacy issues. Maybe it’s the television set which is always on, even during dinner, or the video games you play incessantly on your own, in the basement. You don’t have to be attached to your partner at the hip, but if you never take the time to talk to each other, fear of intimacy may be the reason why. “Simple, nonverbal ways to build intimacy include eye contact, staying off technology, and being present for your partner. Physical contact, such as cuddling in the morning, or a real hug when you come back together after work, can be especially powerful,” says Kennedy. “These expressions of intimacy communicate to the other person that they matter to you. It builds safety, which results in deeper intimacy,” she adds.

5 / 10


Your record precedes you

If looking back yields nothing but a steady stream of relationships that didn’t work out, your fear of intimacy may be to blame. It can be agonizing trying to find a negative pattern in your own behavior, but find it you must, if you’re ever going to break free, says Kennedy. Dig deep, and look at all of the important people in your life, not just your romantic partners. Fear of intimacy can also affect familial relationships and friendships. “If you always prefer to spend time in groups, rather than one-on-one, that may represent a fear of intimacy,” says Kennedy. As reported in PsychAlive, fear of intimacy which runs this deep may have its roots in childhood. No one has a perfect upbringing, but if yours is getting in the way of your ability to be an adult, working it out with a therapist may be your best bet.

6 / 10


You prefer emotional affairs to your real-life relationship

If you find yourself talking through all the intimacy issues in your relationship with someone else, that may represent fear of intimacy. This emotional relationship may be especially damaging if the someone else is a potential sexual partner. It won’t matter if you’re connecting online, at the office, or in a bar. What matters here is that you’re not communicating honestly with your partner or working on your relationship. “Emotional affairs are all about shattering trust. When you go behind your partner’s back, and share information you wouldn’t dare talk about if your partner was standing there, that’s an emotional affair,” explains life coach and author, David Essel. He warns, if you’re leaning on your emotional affair for support and self-validation, this is a big-time fear-of-intimacy red flag.

Even if you’re not having sex within your emotional affair, acknowledging that it is hurting your primary relationship is the best, first step you can take towards rectifying the situation. Communicate honestly with your partner, and yourself, about what this connection represents to you, and recognize how much easier it is to be pretend-intimate with someone you hardly know, rather than going deep with the person you truly love. Worried that your partner may be cheating? Look for these 12 signs.

7 / 10


You’re married to your job

Being a workaholic is not a badge of honor, but rather, may be a powerful sign of emotional intimacy issues. Worse, long hours can be hard on your physical health. “When we bury ourselves in busy work, it might be because we are unconsciously avoiding intimacy. Many people who avoid intimacy do so because they are trying to dodge feelings of sadness, shame, or anger. By staying busy all the time, you can easily ignore those feelings, and avoid having to deal with them,” says A.J. Marsden, PhD, an assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College, in Leesburg, Florida. “If you’ve been with your partner for a while, it’s easy to fall into a routine, and evade intimate moments. Start a weekly date night, but alternate who gets to pick the activity each week. This helps you share your intimate interests, while at the same time staying in a rather positive environment,” suggest Dr. Marsden, who also suggests doing things together at home, such as cooking a meal or growing a garden. “While doing these activities, talk about what you like, and don’t like, and ask each other questions,” she adds. It may also help to do nothing together, letting the day take you where it wants to go. Just make sure to keep your phones off, and your communication skills on. And don’t forget to make time for sex. Sex is important in building intimacy in a relationship. It also confers a lot of health benefits. Here are some reasons your partner may not want to have sex with you.

8 / 10


You’re wearing a mask

Maybe you’re an unending perfectionist, and it’s ruining your life, or maybe, you’re afraid to take your mask off and show fear, worry, or concern. According to Dr. Marsden, another subtle sign of emotional intimacy fear is always being incredibly positive. “People who avoid intimacy, want to be perceived by others as always being in a good mood, and never getting angry, or upset about anything. By forcing this positivity all the time, you’re not sharing empathy, and therefore, avoiding deep connections with others,” she explains. This can also manifest as always needing to be the strong one, in every situation, or by being perfectly perfect, all the time. These techniques all mask an inability to show your true, warts-and-all self, to other people. “By not allowing others to see your vulnerability or mistakes, they are less likely to grow close to you.”

9 / 10


You keep your partner away from your people

Can’t stand the thought of your mom sharing old baby pics with your honey? Or maybe it’s fear of the stories your best friend from back in the day will tell. Keeping your partner away from your family, or friends, is a clear sign of a fear of intimacy. It allows you to remain segmented in a way, almost guaranteed to eliminate true, complete knowledge, of who you are. Your behavior may be fueled by the anxiety of embarrassment about your old self. Maybe you were chubbier (or clumsier, or bad in school) than you want to let on, or maybe you don’t wish to share your family’s closeted secrets with someone new. No matter what the reason, it’s unlikely that you can go the distance in a romantic relationship, and never let them know about your family, or past. The fix? Coming clean about what you’re hoping to hide, biting the bullet, and scheduling a get together with a relative, or friend. Start with one person, rather than Thanksgiving dinner, and you’ll be more likely to work yourself up to full family gatherings, and full intimacy, over time. Make sure you’re not guilty of any of these other subtle relationship sabotagers.

10 / 10

You lack confidence

If you’re not comfortable in your own skin, it’s hard to let someone else in. “The ability to be intimate with another, results from a personal sense of confidence, and balanced self-esteem,” says Dr. Mayer. Without those fundamental attributes, it’s easy to fear being mocked, or not taken seriously. Lacking confidence often results in intimacy issues with someone else. The way to combat this is often a solo excursion but still requires letting your partner know your feelings. Next, find out the 15 signs your relationship is solid as a rock.

Originally Published: November 20, 2018

Corey Whelan

Corey Whelan is a freelance writer and reproductive health professional who has worked with infertility patients and adopting parents for over 25 years. Her work has been featured in multiple media outlets, including Reader’s Digest, The Healthy, Healthline, CBS Local, and Berxi. Follow her on Twitter @coreygale.

Fear Of Intimacy: 8 Signs + How To Heal, From Therapists

If you crave intimacy but have a pattern of sabotaging connections when it starts to matter, it may be because of a fear of intimacy. We asked therapists to explain what causes a fear of intimacy, how to recognize if this is what's happening to you, and what to do about it.

What does it mean to have a fear of intimacy?

When someone has a fear of intimacy, they struggle with forming and maintaining significant relationships because it's difficult for them to be vulnerable with themselves and with others. They might seem emotionally open and have a lot of friends and family around—but always within limits. 

When someone wants to connect on a deeper level, the person with intimacy issues may even want it too, but the fear of possible hurt is stronger. So, they respond with a set of avoidant behaviors designed to protect their inner world. As they're reacting, they may not be aware that they're even pushing people out. They're just doing what feels safe. 

"All of this is not a conscious decision to hide these parts of yourself. It's survival," licensed marriage and family therapist Alison Gomez, LMFT, tells mbg. "A misconception is that it should feel easy to be intimate with people you care about, but that's not necessarily true. Intimacy is not always safe with everyone, even if it is someone you love."


A fear of intimacy is a deep-seated aversion to developing and maintaining closeness with others, particularly in romantic relationships.


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What is intimacy?

To understand the fear of intimacy, it's important to understand what intimacy itself is. Intimacy means we're able to honestly reveal our true self to others and connect profoundly in that way.

Intimacy can be nurtured through sexual, emotional, intellectual, experiential, and spiritual experiences. There are also different types of intimacy that we can holistically share with someone else, including: 

  • Emotional intimacy: Telling each other your deepest fears, dreams, disappointments, and most complicated emotions, as well as feeling seen and understood when you do.
  • Intellectual intimacy: Communicating beliefs and viewpoints without worrying about potential conflicts. Each person in the relationship has the freedom to think for themselves and believes that their opinions are valued—instead of feeling pressured to agree.
  • Experiential intimacy: Participating in shared experiences that lead to inside jokes and private moments that escalate a connection. The act of teamwork and moving in unison toward a common goal while creating an experience also establishes a feeling of closeness.
  • Spiritual intimacy: Having poignant moments with someone. It can look like enjoying the beauty of nature, sharing awe-inspiring moments, as well as discussing ethics, sense of purpose, or personal definitions of spirituality.

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For intimacy to foster in each of these experiences, licensed marriage and family therapist Saba Harouni Lurie, LMFT, notes there's a genuine reciprocity of vulnerability, compassion, and care needed when sharing who we are with the people in our life.

But "if someone's never comfortably experienced this in their initial relationships or relationships later in life, this type of closeness is so unfamiliar it may feel threatening." Instead of wanting to relate and move closer, there's a feeling of shame. A person who is afraid of intimacy feels unable to give and receive freely; it just feels too risky or futile to put themselves out there for potential hurt. 

Common signs someone has a fear of intimacy:


You don't share the big stuff.

"You may withhold information about [your] feelings, thoughts, and opinions," Gomez says. You're fine sharing anything low-stakes: your day-to-day life, friends, hobbies, work. Anything higher-stakes, like your private thoughts, is shared only if it's asked or absolutely necessary. It's not like you don't want to talk about the important things, but your instinct is to hold back and take care of yourself on your own. 


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You're secretive about your true feelings.

"Instead of sharing things that are making you unhappy or asking for more, you may stay quiet or engage in passive-aggressive behaviors," Gomez says. It's hard to advocate for what you want. Besides, you feel OK keeping certain things to yourself because you want to keep expectations low and manageable. As a result, you could be with someone for years yet still feel like you're strangers in some capacity because intimacy remains superficial. 


You don't take big risks in dating. 

Have a history of short, unstable relationships? There might be a reason for that. "Someone with a fear of intimacy [has] a hard time sharing certain parts of themselves. They may even choose to only engage in casual, fling-like encounters in order to avoid the vulnerability that comes with a deeper connection," Lurie says. Even when you are able to invest in a long-term relationship, you may still keep them at arm's length. For example, you avoid making future commitments like labeling the relationship, moving in together, or getting married.


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When the connection grows, you go.

You went away for a weekend trip with your new S.O. and had an amazing time. But back in the comfort of your own home, you feel a vulnerability hangover. The discomfort could become so overwhelming that you begin pushing off their requests to hang out again, opting to isolate to feel better. "A common vulnerability is sharing how much you care about the person or how you are enjoying or valuing their time with them," Gomez says. For someone with a fear of intimacy, though, feelings of excitement, joy, and hope are synonymous with being hurt. To love is to feel loss. 


You withdraw when they want more.

You want a relationship, and you might actively put yourself out there to make it happen, but when your partner shares more, you may feel awkward, frustrated, or annoyed by their intense emotions. "Being asked to give yourself this way seems like too much and this type of closeness off-putting," Lurie says. "This is [often] the case for those unfamiliar with true intimacy and interdependence." The impulse is to reject, which blocks trust in the relationship, subconsciously confirming your fears that it's unsafe to share. 


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The grass is always greener on the other side.

Lurie notes that even when you are able to get into a relationship, you may find yourself fantasizing about your ideal partner—daydreams of the perfect connection where you'll be able to have your needs met without feeling overwhelmed, uncomfortable, or afraid. When things get rocky in your current relationship, you may drift off to these other possibilities instead of working on what you have. 


You're perfectionistic in your personal life.

There's a tendency to hyper-focus on imagined demands and perceived criticisms in the relationship. People with a fear of intimacy can often have low self-esteem and believe they have to be perfect to earn love. Because of that, you might default to cognitive distortions like all-or-nothing thinking (For example, "I can only date when I have a six-figure job or when I lose 10 pounds!") and project those feelings of inadequacy on your partner. 


You have a complicated relationship with sex. 

It can go two directions: Gomez says you might prefer having sex and having one-night stands because physical intimacy feels safer than sharing vulnerable emotions. Or you might be fearful of sexual intimacy and avoid it altogether because you're scared physical contact would escalate the relationship. Either way, it's hard for you to be embodied during sex because of those insecurities. 

What causes a fear of intimacy?

A fear of intimacy could be caused by past abandonment, difficult ex-relationships, or anxiety disorders. According to Gomez, childhood trauma can also create obstacles around intimacy if a person wasn't able to be authentic growing up. If someone grew up believing it was emotionally dangerous to share their needs and feelings, the experience of allowing oneself to be known can feel like anathema. 

"In order to be able to be intimate, there needs to be a sense of safety to show those vulnerable parts," she says. "If the environment responds to vulnerability with punishment, shame, and guilt—like when children are overwhelmed with big emotions, make a mistake, mess or have their interests dismissed—then it lets the child know that it's not safe to show those parts if it happens on a consistent basis."

As an adult, without the early experience of safe intimacy, they repeat what they know. After a while, it becomes automatic to disengage and detach. Being extremely close with someone doesn't seem like an opportunity for worthwhile connection but an invitation for disappointment.

"Disconnection from others, while lonely and distressing, can also be comfortably uncomfortable," Gomez continues. "You know what to expect. Being intimate when feeling unsafe is terrifying."


A fear of intimacy can be caused by past experiences of trauma, abandonment, or being punished or shamed for showing vulnerability, whether in childhood or in past relationships.

How the fear of intimacy affects relationships.

When someone who is afraid of intimacy begins to date someone, the relationship may progress normally until the connection becomes more real. As the relationship intensifies, instead of opening up to build trust, a person with a subconscious fear of intimacy might find themselves pulling away or nitpicking the relationship's perceived faults. Doing this creates tension and problems in the relationship. 

"It can lead to feeling disconnected in a romantic relationship [by] not sharing feelings, thoughts, opinions, physical intimacy, dreams, goals, or even financial concern," Gomez says. The other partner can then harbor "feelings of resentment, guilt, shame, and sadness. " But the harder they try for more, the harder the person with a fear of intimacy may forcibly keep up their boundaries to minimize the anxiety they're feeling, even at the cost of pushing their partner away. 

Gomez does note that it's always OK for people to want to take their time in a new relationship and not want to rush into intimacy too quickly. Some people also simply prefer more casual relationships, and there's nothing wrong with that. The key is understanding the difference: A casual dater chooses not to get too invested because they want to explore their options or are just not looking to settle down, whether for now or at all. On the other hand, a person with a fear of intimacy actively wants commitment. But as soon as they come close to receiving it, their fear activates, and they push away the connection that they do ultimately want. 

The role of attachment styles.

Fear of intimacy is often related to a person's attachment style. In the 1950s, psychologist Mary Ainsworth and psychiatrist John Bowlby proposed that one's attachment style is shaped and developed in early childhood in response to our relationships with our earliest caregivers.  

If you grew up with your caregiver meeting your needs, Lurie says you develop a secure attachment style in which you feel worthy of love and confident in creating emotional connections. "They know that it is OK to need or depend on others, and they value being needed in return," she explains. "Intimacy and vulnerability are not a challenge, as a securely attached individual has a strong sense of self and isn't dictated by fear of rejection or a fear of losing themselves."

However, if you didn't experience that safe early connection, it can lead to an avoidant, anxious, or fearful attachment style in which you're respectively fearful of people being too close, too far, or both at the same time. Someone with an avoidant attachment style is terrified of engulfment, so they push people away, while someone with an anxious attachment style has a strong fear of abandonment, so they pull people in tightly. A fearful attachment style is a combination of anxious and avoidant styles, so a fearful attacher's behaviors can be doubly confusing in the face of intimacy.  

"A fear of intimacy is most common with those who have an avoidant or fearful-avoidant style," Lurie notes.

How to overcome the fear of intimacy.


Get to the root of it.

If you have a fear of intimacy, it's helpful to get to the root of it. "Taking the time to explore and understand one's attachment style and relationship patterns is likely the first step," Lurie says.

In self-examination, Lurie recommends looking at the overall patterns. "Attachment theory creates the illusion that we all fit neatly into these boxes [when] in reality, many of us display some different attachment traits in personal relationships or at different times of our lives," she says.


Decide how you want to approach future relationships.

"Once there is a clearer understanding of one's attachment style and how they engage in their relationships, they can be more thoughtful about how they want to engage in the future and slowly challenge themselves to seek out safe relationships to be vulnerable," says Lurie.


Nurture a safe environment within relationships.

If your partner has a fear of intimacy, healing can happen. But not until the person with the fear of intimacy can practice what it's like to communicate their thoughts out loud safely.

"The most important thing is safety. If you're going to talk to your partner about how you want to be intimate, you need to make sure to leave your judgments, assumptions, accusations, and problem-solving at the door," Gomez advises. "It's about being open and honest with your feelings, having compassion for yourself and your partner, and listening." 


As a partner to someone afraid of intimacy, avoid pressure and personalization.

As you listen, hold them with generosity and try to avoid personalizing what they're telling you. "It takes time to build that trust. It doesn't necessarily say anything about you if they have trouble being intimate," she adds. "This is not the time or place to convince them why it's safe to be open because that will lead to 'yeah but. ..' or them shutting down if they're not ready. If you're even able to get to this part in the conversation, that is already a new level of intimacy." 


Work with a professional.

If you're feeling blocked in your introspection, Lurie suggests finding a therapist who can help you compassionately connect the dots and create new healthy patterns. 

The takeaway.

Patience is important as you embrace vulnerability, so take your time understanding what safety and intimacy mean to you. It'll be a heart-opening journey to let people in and feel happiness, instead of fear, to take the risk—because the connection is worth it. 

"As a reminder, it takes time for people to be intimate with others because it does require a level of trust. It's not healthy or safe to share every vulnerable thing when there is no evidence of safety," Gomez notes. "When dating, it's OK to not be vulnerable 100% all the time but to increase intimacy as time goes on if the person is safe. "

what is the fear of intimacy and why it occurs

Fear of intimacy hides many other problems associated with low self-esteem, traumatic experiences in relationships, vulnerability. Someone decides to work through negative attitudes with a therapist, while others prefer to abandon the relationship. We understand what the fear of intimacy is, why it arises and what to do if your partner turned out to be counter-addicted.

How the fear of intimacy manifests itself

You may have come across the following situation: a person enters into a relationship (friendly or romantic), he is sincerely interested in his partner, but at one moment he suddenly becomes cold and begins to move away. This is one of the ways to avoid real emotional intimacy, such fear is one of the types of psychological protection. This type of attachment disorder is also called counter-dependence, or avoidance addiction. nine0007

Counter-addicts actually want to build close relationships, but unconsciously fear them and avoid them in a variety of ways.

  • One of them is the construction of "ideal images" that no one will match in real life.

  • The desire to become perfect oneself is also characteristic - this is how the attitude appears that only “perfect” people can build relationships. As a rule, in this case, a person fills all the time with some additional activities and at the same time it seems to him that he is doing “not enough”. nine0007

In addition, because of the fear of intimacy, some people tend to choose partners who are indifferent to them, because in this way they experience the desired emotions and feelings and at the same time maintain an emotional distance. Such a choice is unconscious, and the person himself constantly asks the question “Why don’t they love me?” or "Why do I never get reciprocated?".

Causes of avoidance addiction

Counterdependence is associated with a feeling of vulnerability, fear of being rejected.

“Because intimacy in a relationship makes a person feel more vulnerable and creates the potential for strong negative emotions, it is often avoided. This does not mean that such people do not have enough friends. They may even be considered popular, especially since they are likely to be successful and competitive. However, such people are unlikely to share their personal experiences with others and may occasionally feel socially isolated.”

Hal Schori, Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Clinical Psychology at Widener University

Most likely, the person was not accepted in a previous relationship, be it family, friends, classmates, former lovers. Of course, like many psychological traumas, the roots of the problem go back to early childhood.

“Most self-protection strategies are formed in early childhood. For a child, they represent the best solution that he resorts to in difficult situations. Subsequently, these strategies become unconscious and are automatically activated each time when we find ourselves in a situation similar to those childhood crises that were never resolved in their time. nine0028

Ilse Sand, psychotherapist, author of the book “Fear of Proximity. How to stop being defensive and start loving”

Perhaps the child did not receive enough care from his parents (for example, they spent too much time at work), faced high demands on himself, because of which he believed that “love must be earned.”

“At the same time, it doesn’t even matter whether the parent really showed such behavior or whether his child just saw and felt it. For example, the mother worked hard and tried very hard to pay attention to the child, but it was not enough.” nine0028

Ilse Sand

Another reason may be the parents' overcontrol, who forbade any form of independence. So, the child began to associate close relationships with lack of freedom, he felt pressure on himself. These feelings persist, and the notion emerges that emotional intimacy equals incarceration and independence.

It is also possible that the child separated from the mother too early, because of which he did not have enough care. He has some loss, and the trauma from it remains. Relationships are associated with pain, and it is easier for a person not to start them at all than to be rejected at some point. nine0007

How to cope with the fear of intimacy

In order to find the causes of fears and, accordingly, ways to work on them, it is worth contacting a psychotherapist. In the course of working with him, you will be able to:

Learn to recognize your own feelings

Since some people with avoidance addiction do not know how to recognize their feelings, one of the first steps in psychotherapy is working with their emotions. If a person also learns to express them correctly, he will be able to state his experiences, worries and discuss them with another person. nine0007

Learn to build personal boundaries

Personal boundaries are essential in building any relationship, even the closest. The task is to understand where these boundaries are and how to designate them. Due to weakly built personal boundaries, counterdependent people can avoid conflicts, because they become vulnerable in such situations.

Get rid of false beliefs

Counterdependent people have such false beliefs as "If I get close to someone, the person will see my imperfection and leave", "Love and care must be earned", "If I enter into a close relationship, then I will lose my freedom." Working with irrational attitudes is to reformulate them and realize these changes. nine0007

What to do if you're in a relationship with a counter-dependent person

Hal Schori, a clinical psychologist and professor of clinical psychology at Widener University, suggests talking to your partner more often about your emotions, thereby showing him that it's safe to show them.

If the avoidant needs to leave, don't chase him. He will just run faster. Give this person enough space and the opportunity to worry and miss you (of course, for this you will need to be able to regulate your own emotions). nine0027 "This mode of communication can become an emotional mirror that will help the avoidant person gain more personal awareness," writes Schori. The psychotherapist also does not recommend holding a person if he once again seeks to escape: such attempts will only push him away.

At the same time, Hal Shorey states: "Realize that if you need more intimacy in your relationship, you may have chosen a partner who will have a hard time giving it to you" . Accordingly, excessive demands will not allow you to build a healthy relationship. nine0007

Lyubov Karas




Why are you afraid of close relationships and is it possible to do something about it

Intimacy is different - intellectual, emotional, sexual. Intimacy implies the ability and desire to share one's thoughts, emotions, feelings and innermost experiences, to allow another person to one's body. There are people who find it extremely difficult to trust themselves to someone . They are afraid to open up, to show real feelings - and there are various reasons for this.

Karine Avanesyan

practicing psychologist, member of the Monstars influencer team

— Fear of intimacy is a paradoxical phenomenon. On the one hand, everyone wants to find a person who is similar in spirit and share a feeling of love and affection with him. On the other hand, as soon as a person appears on the horizon with whom intimacy is possible, the first begins to panic and reject. nine0092

Someone who avoids intimacy is called a counter-addict. Counterdependence is dependence on independence.

Possible reasons for fear of close relationships

You have been betrayed or deceived Perhaps there is no person who did not get burned one day, trusting and opening up to someone too much. After deceit, neglect of feelings, betrayal, our brain remembers that excessive emotional openness leads to pain. Therefore, he tries with all his might to avoid repeating this experience.

Surely you have experienced a feeling of "internal" pain after a quarrel or a difficult breakup. It didn’t seem to you that for the human brain there is no difference between physical pain and moral pain. nine0007

You don't trust people

You were offended in childhood, loved ones mocked you - the reasons can be different. If you are a hypersensitive person, even a minor remark could cause you serious injury and cause you to avoid intimacy in the future.

You are afraid of being judged or ridiculed

You avoid intimacy because you are ashamed of your real self, your emotions, appearance, attitudes, beliefs. At some point, you decided for yourself that it is easier to close yourself off from everyone than to constantly expect condemnation or ridicule. nine0007

You are afraid of being abandoned

Usually this fear comes from early childhood. The child is left alone for a long time, they do not have time to pick him up from the kindergarten at the usual time, they forget about him - and the kid is horrified that the parent supposedly left him forever. Such an experience can pass without a trace, or it can leave a deep mark and affect adult life.

You are afraid that you will cease to exist as a person

You have long and carefully shaped yourself as a person and now you are afraid that someone will “destroy” you at one moment. Fear of being controlled. The fear of being "absorbed" by another person appears due to self-doubt. It seems to you that you do not have enough energy to be on an equal footing with another person.

Karine Avanesyan

practicing psychologist, member of the Monstars influencer team

— Man is a social being. In childhood, parents swaddle us, wash, hug, cradle. The process of birth and growing up of a baby implies close contact, the baby cannot survive without parental care. It turns out that from childhood we are accustomed to contact, to tactility, we need "stroking" - physical and psychological. Everyone needs support, care, affection and love. This is how we are. nine0092

The reasons for the fear of intimacy lie in childhood. The parent is the most important person in a child's life, and it is from the parents that the child learns love, intimacy, emotionality, tactility. A counter-dependent person could be rejected, ignored, or he did not have an emotional connection with his parents. Because of this, the child received a psychological trauma that he would never want to experience again. Now he lives according to the scenario: “I will be the first to reject my partner so that he does not have time to leave me and I do not experience that pain again.” nine0092

How to understand that you are afraid of intimacy

Fear of intimacy can be experienced by both very open and sociable people, and closed ones. Here are signs that indicate that you are afraid of intimacy:

You go on dates without commitment

Meetings without obligations seem to you a good alternative to a serious relationship. You often change partners, while avoiding talking about the future and feelings. You prefer an anonymous sex dating app to Tinder - you don't want to contact people who are planning something serious. You say you want to live for today, but sometimes you realize that you are deceiving yourself. nine0007

You have isolated yourself from people

And it's not about self-isolation because of the coronavirus. You do not try to establish connections, communicate, avoid any communication other than forced, for example, at work. It seems to you that no one can understand you, so there is no point in wasting energy.

It's hard for you to explain what you want

Because of this, the relationship does not last long. Partners do not know how to read minds, and it is difficult for you to express your desires and needs. In this way, you can push away a person who will eventually leave you without understanding the reason. nine0007

You feel that you do not deserve attention and support

Low self-esteem, neglect of oneself as a person leads to ignorance of real needs. Perhaps you want warmth and emotional closeness, but you think that you do not deserve it.

You avoid sex

under various pretexts. You've convinced yourself that you don't feel like it or that sex is an unnecessary cost of communication. In fact, it is difficult for you to open up to another person. nine0007

Karine Avanesyan

practicing psychologist, member of the Monstars influencer team

When someone by his actions or words recognizes and shows the importance of the counter-dependent for himself, it seems to him that he is being strangled. He begins to avoid meetings, moves away and behaves coldly. Interestingly, from intimacy and love, such a person really becomes hard and even physically ill.

The counter-addict is trapped: on the one hand, he is afraid of intimacy and runs away from it so as not to suffer as in childhood, and on the other hand, he wants intimacy because he feels lonely. But he cannot afford it.

As a rule, people who have a fear of intimacy are successful professionals, workaholics and perfectionists. Why do these people go into perfectionism and strive to be perfect? They are driven by the fear of rejection. To protect himself, a person tries to be perfect. nine0092

The counter-addict seeks not to depend on anyone and to provide himself with everything he needs. He is financially independent, he feels great alone, even locked up. He doesn't need someone else.

The usual feelings of a counter-addict: anxiety, self-aggression (aggression directed at himself), feeling that he can do more and better.


Each case is individual, so the best solution is to find a therapist or psychologist with whom you will be comfortable solving the problem. Compassion for yourself and acceptance of your feelings is the first step towards overcoming the fear of intimacy. Give yourself time, don't make hasty decisions.

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