It has been on my mind of late.
I have come to realise, admittedly quite late on in my life, that I feel ambiguous about it.
On one hand, I crave it. I want nothing more than to be truly, deeply intimate with my partner.
The other side of me struggles to achieve it.
The other side fears it.
The other side hides from it.
I am not sure I have ever been truly, truly intimate with him. Or anyone, for that matter.
Of course I can love. I am capable of incredible, consuming love. Lay down my life love.
Of course I have fallen in love. And I have stayed in love for years.
Of course I enjoy sex.
But it is SEX. I cannot even bring myself to utter the words making love, (much to the OH amusement).
I even flinch as I type them.
One of my guilty pleasure has always been The Pina Colada Song, Escape, but for THAT line, I sing, “Yes I like doing it at midnight…” Always makes him laugh.
The sad thing is I would love to be able to “ML”, but I don’t think I do…
I have sex. I fuck. I ride. It’s a physical thing. If I want to show love, I will make a delicious meal or write a loving note.
Am I a robot?
I know nothing about fear of intimacy so I did what any self-respecting person does in these modern times.
I googled it.
This is what I found…
How do you feel when you are sad, a little depressed, in need of some comforting and reassurance? Are you able to let yourself be dependent and to receive some nurturing? Is this balanced in your relationship, or is one partner the ‘strong one’ who never needs to show any vulnerability? If so, is this really how you want things to be in your relationship?
Aha! I am no good at asking for help or being nurtured. I like to help and to nurture. Being on the other side of that equation is uncomfortable for me. Years ago, during a therapy session I was asked if I was any good at asking for help. I was stumped. I went home and asked the OH who laughed and laughed. He said I never, ever asked for help. I never showed vulnurablity.
How do you feel about yourself? – when you’ve taken a bit of a knock and are feeling small and ‘put down’, or when you’ve achieved something that makes you feel good about yourself.
I think I could safely claim to have one of the lowest levels of self esteem possible, and am sure the OH would second that one.
How do you feel about sex? – what you like and don’t like in your love-making, and about how your sexual relationship could be made more enjoyable for you.
Ew! They used the “ML” phrase! Cringe… sex is brilliant, I love to fuck, who doesn’t? But the “ML” thing? Skin is crawling…
Do you really know what your partner thinks and feels, or do you have to guess and ‘mind-read?’ Are you able to be open with your partner, or do you feel that your partner would not be able to accept some of your feelings?
I feel dreadfully uncomfortable having deep and meaningful conversations and, add to that, the fact the OH leans towards the strong silent type and no doubt, you can guess the answer to this one.
Guess I’m screwed…
I also found this…
7 SIGNS YOU SUFFER FEAR OF INTIMACY
- You never sit still.
Are you one of those people who is always busy, your life full to the maximum? If you do have down time, do you immediately think of what you can do to fill it? Behind a fear of intimacy is a fear of facing up to yourself and what you perceive (erroneously) as your weaknesses. An intimacy phobic person fears others getting close because they would then see these apparent ‘flaws’, which can be feelings of sadness, anger, and grief. But if you are constantly busy all the time you can avoid such feelings so effectively you can deny that you have them at all, and you have the perfect excuse to not have time for other people who are trying to get close enough they might see what you are trying to hide.
I do like to be busy. At the weekends the OH longs to lie around doing nothing and I simply cannot bear this! Constant debate as to be productive, (me), or relax, (him).
- You are known as someone who is very positive.
People who fear intimacy prefer to come across as someone who never gets upset and is always strong and in a ‘good’ state of mind. It’s actually a way to avoid deep connection. The truth about human nature is that we don’t bond over strength but weakness. Sure, we can bump chests and high five over group wins, but we only really form long lasting bonds when we see each other vulnerable.
I have only recently become able to allow people to catch a glimpse of the woman who doesn’t always cope well with everything. It was a challenge but I am glad I did it.
- You are the strong one others turn to.
If you are the one others turn to, the conversation is always about someone else’s issues and needs. It’s a perfect diversion from anyone ever seeing your true vulnerability or ever asking about how you feel, which an intimacy phobic person hates. Someone asking how you feel at the wrong moment might make you ‘crack’ and expose yourself as just like them, i.e.,vulnerable.
Oh god! I am a dedicated agony aunt and have always attracted troubled people to me like moths to a flame.
- You appear perfectly put together. Always.
Is there anything more intimidating then perfection? The more perfect you appear externally, the less others can see that you are human and weak just like they are, and the less they will dare get close. Your perfectionism will make them feel ‘lesser than’ so why would they put themselves through the comparison? And let’s not forget how busy attempting to be perfect can keep you! Perfection is a part-time job at the very least, and as covered in number one, being busy is the best way to avoid intimacy.
I do like to come across well. Once during a training course a fellow student told me, several months in, that she had suspected I was a ‘stooge’ placed into the group by the trainers to spy on people, because I looked so confident and together.
- You are sure you know exactly what you want in a partner, you just haven’t found him/her yet.
Do you keep a ‘list’ of exactly what you want in a partner? Another form of perfection, the ‘ideal mate list’ is usually something that nobody can live up to, and is a convenient way to brush off connecting with others by claiming ‘I am sure of what I want and you just aren’t it.’
Of course as an intimacy phobic person, even if you did stumble across your ideal partner you wouldn’t choose them. Intimacy phobes are after one thing, and that is to avoid being hurt. So you will pick someone who is emotionally unavailable (already taken, not looking for love, still hung up on someone else) or someone who is codependent – wanting to find their happiness through another and therefore caught up in control and unable of proper, honest connection. Intimacy phobic people are in fact often called ‘counter dependent’ as they are the other ‘half’ of the codependency pattern, the aloof one to match the codependent’s voracious need.
I fall into the second point for this one, no list but frequently attracted to the wrong people.
- You are many different things to many different people.
This could be called ‘Marilyn Monroe syndrome’. Everyone who claimed they knew her well had a different take on who the ‘real’ Marilyn was – the girl next door, the siren, the secretly intelligent woman. If anything, the real truth was that she was lonely and felt that nobody knew her. In other words, she had issues with intimacy. When you are afraid of intimacy you don’t know how to be yourself around others. You are so used to hiding the bits you deem unacceptable and assume others could not love that you mould yourself to instead be what you think others want.
It’s again a way to evade being fully seen, and to avoid anyone ever getting close enough to hurt you. If someone falls for an image of you they want to see, how can you be hurt if they decide they don’t like the image? You can just laugh at them and claim ‘well you didn’t really know me anyway’.
I have always moulded myself for other people. Always. What do you want me to be? I’ll be it for you.
- You have very strong opinions.
If you have very strong opinions of others and become known for this, it scares others off trying to get too close, lest they become next in your line of fire.
Finally! I don’t judge other people, I have no right to.
So it seems I am a perfect candidate for Intimacy Phobe of the year…
Sadly, knowing this, although the realization is a first step, does not help me overcome it.
It seems to me that the fear of intimacy stems from feeling inadequate, less than, not good enough.
That in turn leads to fear of being left or rejected if one’s weakness/vulnerablities are shown.
Its easier to stay in control, present a perfect facade and avoid being hurt, than to show the dirty, messy broken parts of yourself and risk someone grimacing and turning away.
I guess this is something I am going to have to stay mindful of, do some soul searching, build that self esteem up and, god help me! open up some more… uh I feel exhausted at the very thought of it all.
However, I feel very much like I am missing out on something so the work may well be worth it.
One final thought… sharing this with you guys and gals is probably a definite first step on my road to overcoming fear of intimacy, don’t you think?
Just don’t ask me to say the ”ML” phrase.