Fear of intimacy
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Kate Megase MBACP, Registered, Accredited Psychotherapist & Clinical Supervisor
28th April, 20170 Comments
Everyone wants to find that special spouse who is loving, warm, share special memories and to be loved. However, there are times when we have a fantasy of having the relationship that we desire, but afraid of the reality of what it entails. Many men and women complain that they are not able to find the right spouse for whatever reason.
The reason for the lack of success in the search for "Mr right or Mrs right" could be endless. But there could be one thing that may be preventing you from meeting the right person, which could be fear of intimacy. Firstly, children that have grown up in an environment where one or both parents were emotionally/physically unavailable or didn't see or sense closeness from both parents, subconsciously repeat these learnt behaviours in relationships.
As result of this, you are more likely to attract men or women who are emotionally unavailable, struggle with intimacy or closeness within a relationship. People that have fear of intimacy often have issues associated with low self-esteem and are more comfortable loving from a distance. Although they crave for closeness, they are too afraid to consciously pursue it. As getting close to someone is risky, uncomfortable, boring, unsafe and often scary.
The fear of intimacy phobia is known by several other names such as aphenphosmphobia (which is the fear of being touched) as well as philophobia (which is the fear of love). The sad reality is that people want to experience love but struggle with it when they feel or sense it.
To be completely intimate with someone requires a conscious effort on sides. It is also worth having a deep understanding of the root cause of this fear, which is more likely to have transpired from childhood experiences or past relationships. Having an awareness is key to enabling you to turn this around.
Signs that you suffer from fear of intimacy:
1) You attract spouses that you can fix
You often attract spouses who are emotionally unavailable to you. This means that these individuals are unable to totally connect or understand your emotional needs. It could be both men or women who have had a troubled or difficult childhood, as being with people with emotional issues keeps you insecure and busy trying to fix them. The more you work hard trying to fix them, the more you subconsciously distract yourself from your own emotions and as a result, your spouse will not be able to meet your emotional needs.
2) You avoid feeling
When you are overly busy and not taking the time to reflect, being still and processing your emotions, is a form of avoidance. When you avoid feeling, you can never really understand your emotions and will not able to understand yourself. How can someone love you, if you don't even understand your feelings or yourself?
3) Attracting spouses that represent your childhood experiences
Choosing a partner that often causes you emotional pain, so they subconsciously repeat the negative emotional cycle from childhood. This could be a physical or emotional pain. When you subconsciously choose partners that have characteristics of the people that have abandoned, rejected, abused or not have been physically or emotionally available to you. This learnt behaviour becomes difficult to break and becomes the pattern in your relationships. Instead of experiencing love you experience pain.
4) Discomfort with love
You attract people that treat you bad and get very uncomfortable with spouses that truly love you for who you are.
You use things to avoid feeling your emotions, particularly negative ones, this includes sex, food, alcohol, drugs, being overly busy all the time and engaging in none productive activities.
6) You're afraid of being alone
You find being alone very uncomfortable and being alone represents stillness and connecting with your emotions. So you subconsciously try to not be alone or find ways to distract yourself when you're alone.
7) Being second best
Choosing marriage partners is more exciting than taking a risk to find the right person for you. As you are subconsciously attracted to the drama.
About the author
I am a counsellor, coach and motivational speaker. I specialise in issues associated with relationships, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
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