Intimacy is about closeness. Intimacy is about deep vulnerability and showing someone the rawest parts of you.
And with that, intimacy is easy to be feared.
There are 5 different kinds of intimacy: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and social. When one of those intimate parts is missing in a relationship, it can cause strain or anxiety.
Here are some signs you are afraid of intimacy —
You don’t talk about your feelings.
You have no problem talking about the small stuff: your work, your hobbies, your average day-to-day life. But when it comes to talking about your thoughts and feelings, you cower. You run away. You change the subject. You don’t want to talk about your emotions because then someone could perceive you as sensitive, weak, and an easy target to hurt.
This lack of emotional intimacy can result in bottled-up feelings — some might just tuck away their hurt, sadness, and anger and pretend like everything is fine, while others might engage in passive-aggressive behaviors.
You have a complicated relationship with sex.
This can go two ways: either you only engage in physical intimacy or you avoid physical intimacy altogether.
If you engage in physical intimacy — sex, kissing, cuddling, etc. — then you most likely prefer one-night stands and casual hookups. It feels safer than having to show your cards and being vulnerable in that way. You don’t take big risks in dating — you’d rather keep things light, fun, and casual.
Or maybe you avoid it altogether. Physical intimacy is deeply challenging and often triggering for those with sexual trauma.
When you feel the connection deepening, you run away.
Let’s say you and your partner just took your first-weekend trip away together. Although you had a great time, you came back home feeling…off. Things feel as if they’re developing fast and your bond is strengthening and that means it’s all real.
And to you, real is scary. When you have a fear of intimacy, you believe that the big stuff is terrifying and things can only get more intense and vulnerable. You look at love as a means of getting hurt. Love is about longing. Love is about loss. So to avoid that pain altogether, you run away.
We all struggle with intimacy in one way or another. Some people might engage in physical or social intimacy but have a hard time being emotionally or intellectually intimate. Oftentimes, this is sabotaging behavior based on fear and trauma of past abandonment and anxiety that results in avoidance. It’s the fear of being vulnerable and possibly getting hurt.
No matter what kind of intimacy you fear, it’s important to create a comfortable and safe space for both yourself and your partner.