I am extremely afraid of both emotional and physical intimacy. I have not experienced any trauma or anything of that sort, but I’ve been this way ever since I began dating. My end goal is to eventually overcome that fear and develop deep, intimate connections with others, but I’m at a loss as to how to begin. Do you have any advice?
Intimacy is about closeness. Developing and strengthening intimacy can be complex even without specific traumas that hold us back. Intimacy requires letting oneself go, flowing out into someone else, and finding peace and comfort in that bond between two -or more- people.
I would recommend that you try and find some kind of understanding with whatever it is that is holding you back. What is the fear of intimacy about?
Some common examples:
1. The fear that you may lose someone close to you. If you fear losing someone it may be easier to resist becoming close to them.
2. The fear that you might lose yourself. Instead of fearing losing someone close to us, you fear that you might actually lose your autonomy.
3. The fear of letting your true self shine through. You are afraid that you may be rejected once you show your love who you are.
4. The fear that your relationship won’t be perfect and the desire to seek that perfection. You expect the right partner to be worth the intimacy, you just haven’t found them yet, and don’t want to commit.
5. The fear that you cannot provide or that you will not be good enough. This is similar to number four. You love your partner but feel that you aren’t good enough and it makes connecting difficult.
How do you begin confront these kinds of fears? You’ll need to figure out where your fear is stemming from. You’ll want to be honest with yourself and your partner/s about what your limitations might be. If you’re single, it may be a good idea to spend some time focusing on yourself and learning about yourself. Self-love can be incredibly important in having thriving relationships because it allows you to accept love in return.
Remember all the different ways that you can be intimate. Intimacy can manifest itself in all kinds of ways. Intimacy can look like lots of different things. Intimacy can be sex, but it can also be a long conversation late at night, or a small touch at the right time. Intimacy can be a secret you share with your partner. Intimacy can be that kinky thing you only want to do with them. Exploring one type of intimacy may or may not help you explore other types of intimacy. Some people are not well versed in how to be intimate. Maybe because they never saw intimate relationships growing up, maybe because they have never had the experience of an intimate relationship before and are unaccustomed to it.
Don’t be too worried about intimacy appearing overnight. I think the best kind of intimacy develops over time between two people who have a shared connection and a shared interest in developing that intimacy. Allow yourself to be open to the idea of that intimacy and see how those connections change over time. Best of luck!
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