If you equate the fear of intimacy with the fear of having sex, you’re not alone. Though this might be a part of it, there are deeper meanings behind this fear. Fear of intimacy means you might shy away from getting to close to anyone, whether it’s a friend, a family member or a lover.
This fear is usually based on a fear of being left alone, rejected or hurt. Why would you feel this way? Often, it’s because someone you loved abandoned you, or you’ve been rejected time and time again with no explanation. Though these are things that might happen to anyone, they can turn into a fear of intimacy if you have lower self-esteem or if episodes of rejection repeat themselves throughout your life. Your natural response is to build a wall around yourself so you won’t get hurt again.
A fear of intimacy
can also arise if you feel your parents rejected you. This may not even be something you remember, because the feelings can come from things that happened when you were small. Nevertheless, they may be deeply rooted in your psyche. When a child feels their parents are never there for them, they fear depending on anyone and begin to distance themselves from people who might offer similar security. It’s a catch-22, really; you reject what you crave. You feel the pain is too much to bear and avoid anyone who can hurt you that way again.
Relationships with people who have a fear of intimacy can be rocky. You’re looking for comfort and security; this leads you to develop relationships that are healthy at first. But as your feelings deepen, your fear grows. When that happens, a person with a fear of intimacy will hang on for dear life-while at the same time pushing the other person away. Sound familiar? Your partner gets confused by your mixed signals and doesn’t understand where the relationship is headed. Often your “holding on” too tightly makes your partner bolt, thus confirming your fear.
If you fear intimacy, you can have normal relationships, but you do need help. Primarily, you must find a way to get over your feelings-sometimes just looking inside yourself to find the source of them will free you. In more serious situations, professional counselling will be required.
Finally, keep in mind that if you're afraied of intimacy, you might need to find a partner who’s not your “usual” type. Somewhere along your life journey you might just realize you’ve been going for the type you knew would reject you at some point. It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. You know you should find someone you instantly know would be a different and more compatible fit-someone who feels right. It may not work out, but you may find as you learn and grow, it’s not as bad as you feared.