We fear intimacy in relationships for various reasons. It may be scary to open up to the other human being and then be left alone. It doesn’t matter whether it’s friendships or romantic relationship. The fear of intimacy is omnipresent.
It’s also one of the topics that people don’t like to admit and talk about. No wonder because the topic itself is already intimate and sensitive. But I can see that being more vulnerable and open in relationships could change our lives. Not just that we would be happy, but we would also feel closer to each other, within our families, friends, and ultimately the world.
Why is intimacy important?
If you find the right partner (important assumption number one), your closeness makes your relationship stronger. As you open up, you keep the love running between you. This is how you lay strong foundations for your future life.
When you’re vulnerable, you allow your partner to discover new aspects and dimensions within yourself. Hence, they will better understand your choices and moods. That way, you eliminate the space for potential misunderstandings.
Intimacy means; in-to-me-see.
Opening up is a process that never ends. There always are new levels within you. As you share more aspects of you with your partner, it helps both of you to grow. Slowly you get through the ego masks and childish plays, and you begin to see each other’s souls.
Truth, together with love, is the most healing essence of this universe. When you lay down the masks, that which is left is the truth. You might be surprised how much we lie to ourselves and others about who we are. In an intimate relationship, this isn’t possible.
The 3 main reasons behind the fear of intimacy
Although I could list many reasons, I believe that these three stand at the heart of the fear of intimacy. All of them originate in our ego, and they provide us with a false sense of security. The ego loves to control and how a better way to do it then creates an illusion of separation between two people.
1. The fear that others will see the true you
As I mentioned earlier, we lie to ourselves constantly. Most of the things we believe are not rooted in the truth. The more personal something gets, the bigger the illusions we create. The most intimate is, of course, us.
Very few people can see themselves truthfully while most others believe in their identities. Over time, you make yourself believe that you’re better or worse than you are. Unconsciously, you pick up beliefs of your family and friends and assemble a robust personality full of traits that should be you.
When you meet a new person, you display your best qualities and enhance the parts of you that you wish you had. In other words, you sell an illusion to the other person. A little longer into a relationship, all these masks begin to tremble as the other person stops believing in them.
At this point, your ego freaks out. It has spent all your life putting together a perfect identity and now someone else doesn’t recognize it. Now, most relationships start to fall apart.
We fear intimacy because others could see the parts of us that we dislike about ourselves.
It’s not possible to play the show for too long unless you avoid intimacy. We don’t like others to see the parts of us that we don’t love. It’s not about them; it’s about us.
The fear of intimacy wins us over because we value those masks and identities over someone seeing the true us. Because, in most cases, people don’t know who they are and in an intimate relationship who they thought they were starts to fade away.
Although it terrifies the ego, being intimate in relationships is a beautiful process that allows you and your partner to see the truth of who you are. Given that they don’t project their ego on you – this is not intimacy.
2. You don’t feel worthy of love
During my coaching sessions, I see my clients from the perspective of their souls. Thus my heart overflows with love and compassion because I can see who they really are. Yet most people don’t believe they’re worthy of love. Although they have beautiful souls, they don’t recognize it.
Another reason for fear of intimacy is that people don’t believe they’re loveable and they fear that others will find it out, too.
If you don’t feel that you deserve love, subconsciously you do anything in your powers to push the love away. Thus you fear intimacy because you believe that if you’d allow someone to come near, they might find out that you’re not so amazing. They might see you unloveable, too. And that would hurt you to the point that you rather push them away before it happens.
3. The fear of losing control
The last main reason for fear of intimacy is a subconscious belief that you’ll lose control. The ego wants to have everything under control because only that way it can run the show. Anything that seems to threaten the source of false power is considered as an enemy.
In intimate relationships, there is no space for ego and control. If your bond with your partner is very close, you can immediately see right through their ego. The same is true for them. Thus, in intimate relationships, the ego can’t survive. It loses control.
Often people believe that being independent means never to let anyone come close. They want to have everything their way, and if someone doesn’t agree with it, they leave. However, this doesn’t lead to a happy life because no matter how much we try, we can’t control everything. And it shouldn’t be the aim either.
The fear of intimacy triggers the effort to reinforce control.
Perhaps, you’ve met people who open up a little bit, and then they freak out and shut down. When they’re vulnerable with you, it feels like heaven for both of you. But when they shut down, they may even say hurtful words to keep you away.
Without realizing it, they try to gain control over the situation and their feelings. For a while, this makes them feel secure, but later they begin to long for an intimate connection again. And the whole cycle starts all over.
The first step to overcoming the fear of intimacy is to acknowledge that you do it and then discover why. Without understanding the deeper context, you can’t let the fear go completely. It’ll be coming back to you. On the other hand, if your partner fears intimacy, then it’s time to have a conversation with them about their fears. Often this sparkles the change if they’re willing to bring your relationship to the next level.