Commitment Issues? How To Overcome The Fear Of Intimacy
Like many people, perhaps you’re interested in using the Law of Attraction to find the love you’ve always wanted. However, if you’ve given some thought to why you haven’t yet managed to manifest love, you may have realized that part of you is scared.
Whether you’re thinking about physical intimacy or emotional intimacy, the idea of being close to someone can be terrifying. You might start to push others away without even meaning to, or your fear of intimacy might stop you from vibrating on the right frequency to attract people. This can leave you feeling miserable, stuck in a lonely life that doesn’t satisfy you.
Thankfully, you don’t have to stay stuck in this way. There are methods of dealing with your anxieties, and of letting people into your heart in a safe, rewarding way. This guide will look at how to finally overcome intimacy issues and find the soul mate you deserve.
What Is Intimacy?
So, you can be just as intimate with a friend as you are with a lover. Intimacy isn’t just about romance, sex or touch. In the simplest terms, being intimate with someone means allowing yourself to be known by them, at the same time as you remain open to knowing them in return.
A wide range of psychological research now confirms that although you can live without intimacy, you can’t grow and thrive in the same ways. There are even some studies that link a lack of intimacy with a shorter lifespan. Sometimes associated with an anxiety disorder, intimacy problems can show up in familial, platonic and romantic relationships.
So, how do you know when you’re struggling with a fear of intimacy? Let’s look at the key signs.
Signs Of Fear Of Intimacy
Fear of intimacy can look very different from person to person, depending on where you are on the fear of intimacy scale.
Think of the following as a kind of “fear of intimacy test”. The more signs you recognize, the more likely you are to be struggling with this issue:
- Ambivalence about social interactions (e.g. wanting to be with others but also worrying about it)
- Imagining that others think poorly of you
- Anxiety at the thought of being touched (a symptom of physical intimacy issues in particular)
- Difficulty forming or maintaining close relationships
- Nausea and sweating (physical manifestations of anxiety)
- Difficulty being candid with others
- Finding excuses to avoid people once you’ve started to get to know them
- Generating excuses for why potential friends or partners aren’t quite right for you
- Feeling trapped when someone expresses interest in you
- Workaholic tendencies
- Believing that deep down, you are not lovable.
7 Ways To Overcome Fear Of Intimacy
As you can likely imagine, there is no one fear of intimacy treatment that suits everyone. For example, one person’s issues may be mainly rooted in confidence problems, while another’s could focus largely on traumatic past experiences of closeness.
However, there are certain strategies that work for most people and that can easily be adapted to your specific needs. It’s worth noting that you if you suspect you have an underlying anxiety disorder that relates to more than interpersonal closeness, you should discuss this with your doctor. In such cases, medication, therapy or a combination of both can make a huge difference to your overall quality of life.
That being said, many people with the fear of intimacy need neither medication nor intensive psychotherapy. They simply need to work on shifting their default way of thinking. With that in mind, let’s look at seven of the most effective ways to overcome your fear of intimacy.
(Is something else holding you back as well? Be sure to take this quiz now to discover what is sabotaging your success!)
1. Stop Listening To Your Inner Critic
We all have an inner critic. It’s that harsh voice inside us that tells us we’re not good enough. If you have a loud inner critic, it might say this in all areas of your life, and you might think that there’s no point in being intimate with others because they’ll only reject you in the end. So, to battle your fear of intimacy, you need to work on silencing the critic. How do you do this?
The first step is awareness. Notice when your inner critic is speaking, and deliberately shut it down. You might try simply turning your attention to something else, or saying a firm “No!” (either out loud or in your head).
In the longer term, try actively rewriting the beliefs espoused by your inner critic. One useful technique here is to write down what the critic says, then write down positive statements that work as substitutes.
2. Look At Your History
You weren’t born fearing intimacy. These issues originated somewhere in your past and figuring out why can go a long way toward helping you view relationships in a different light. As you think about this, you might realize the answer is quite obvious.
For example, perhaps you grew up in a household where affairs, separations or other unpredictable events gave you the message that isn’t safe to get close to someone.
Alternatively, it may be the case that lots of smaller things set the tone for your current view of intimacy. Maybe you have childhood experiences of childhood bullying that made you feel unlovable, alongside negative judgments from your parents.
The takeaway point here is just that if you can pinpoint the origins of your fear of closeness, you can start to consciously reply to these doubts and rationally develop a new view of intimacy. In time, the new view will be what dictates your emotional responses.
As is obvious from the above list of fear of intimacy symptoms, having this type of issue is a stressful experience. What’s more, the tension and stress that you feel is part of a vicious cycle. The more you feel agitated, the more likely you are to avoid intimacy, and the more you avoid intimacy the more agitated and unhappy you become! That’s why relaxation is a vital part of any fear-busting strategy.
Try to set aside at least an hour and a day where you use your time exclusively for calming activities. Meditation, mindfulness, and yoga exercises are all obvious examples, but anything that makes you feel relaxed count. That means reading a novel, doing something creative or snuggling up to watch television can all be good options as well.
As well as relaxing you, these hobbies are forms of self-care that boost self-esteem. They send your subconscious mind the signal that you are a valuable, worthwhile person.
4. Determine What You Want Out Of Life
Causes of fear of intimacy can sometimes be linked to general confusion about what you want in life. If, say, you don’t know what kind of partner you really want, or what you want to accomplish with that partner, it can be tempting to just avoid romance altogether.
So, take some time to imagine your ideal life circumstances. What will you be doing for a living, and how will you be spending your time? Where will you be living? And, crucially, who will you be living with?
Consider the traits you want in a partner and the things you are not willing to accept. Think about whether you want children, the types of hobbies you want to share, and why this type of relationship will improve your life. As well as helping you make sense of your own desires, this type of reflective activity encourages you to see relationships in a positive light.
5. Build Self Confidence And Let Go Of Insecurities
As suggested above, having an intimacy avoidance disorder can often have a lot to do with your self-esteem. This means that it’s vital for you to work on increasing your confidence and on feeling good about yourself.
For example, make sure you get plenty of exercise, maintain a diet that is both healthy and enjoyable, and follow your passions so that you get genuine pleasure from every day.
As you make these types of changes, you’re sure to see a difference in the way you view intimacy and interpersonal relationships as well.
Of course, you may also have deeper rooted insecurities that are harder to budge. In these cases, life coaching or counseling can be very useful. Even just a few sessions might be enough to help you recalibrate your self-image and make a proactive plan for future growth of self-esteem.
Letting go of insecurities also involves accepting you don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be good enough.
6. Reflect On Your Past
We’ve already considered that looking at your history helps you to understand where your fear of intimacy came from in the first place. In addition, there’s a further type of reflecting on your past that can be really important and useful.
Specifically, think about your more recent history. In your adult life, what experiences with friends and partners have reinforced your sense that intimacy isn’t safe? Perhaps you’ve been through several breakups with people you genuinely thought might be “the one”, or maybe you’ve always felt like the friend who tries harder to maintain contact. All these things can emphasize that intimacy only brings pain.
To challenge this idea, write down a list of times where intimacy with friends, family or partners brought you something positive, no matter how small. Use this as a reminder to have a balanced perspective of intimacy. Yes, it can be daunting, but it can also be comforting and enriching.
7. Practice Being Vulnerable
Finally, though it may sound strange at first, treatment for fear of intimacy often requires deliberately making yourself vulnerable. This is a way of teaching yourself that being close to others doesn’t need to be scary. Start small. Challenge yourself to chat to a new person at work, in a class or just in passing, or share a little-known fact about yourself with a friend, and notice their positive response.
In time, you can work up to making larger changes, proving both the benefits of intimacy and showing yourself that you actually have the resilience to bounce back when you don’t get the ideal results.
Crucially, practicing being vulnerable involves consciously being more you. Show the world your real self, not a mask, and have faith that the right people will respond to it in a loving, open way. If you don’t do this, then you prevent yourself from experiencing the joy associated with being truly known.
Start Manifesting Love Today
You may be a lot closer to manifesting love and abundance than you think! Once you start to overcome a fear of intimacy and remove the abundance blocks that are sabotaging your success, you'll be surprised at how easy it really is to attract your dream life.
If you think there may be something else holding you back today, be sure to take this 30-second abundance quiz. Identify which abundance block is holding you back and get free personalized advice to overcome it.
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