Fear of Intimacy

We all want to find that special partner who is loving and warm. A whole online dating industry has grown up over the past couple of decades to help people find that special someone to share special experiences and be with someone who loves and cherishes them. Nevertheless, there are times when we have a fantasy of having the relationship that we want, but are fearful of the reality of what it requires. It requires being vulnerable and the possibility of being hurt, feeling rejected or unloved. Many complain that they are unable to find the ideal partner for whatever reason, when really it is a fear of intimacy holding them back.


fear of intimacy


Fear of intimacy could be stopping you find Mr or Mrs right

The reasons behind the possible lack of being successful in the quest for “Mr right or Mrs right” might be almost endless. But there could be one thing that may be the main reason stopping you from meeting the right partner, which is really about a fear of intimacy.

How does fear of intimacy come about?

To begin with, children that have grown up in a setting where one or both parents were emotionally or physically unavailable or didn’t see or sense closeness from both parents, subconsciously can duplicate these learnt behaviours in later romantic relationships.

As result of this, an individual is more inclined to draw to them men or women who are also emotionally unavailable, like their parents were. A person can then struggle with intimacy or closeness within a relationship. People that have fear of intimacy frequently have issues associated with low self-esteem or confidence and are much more comfortable loving from a distance.

Even though they really do want closeness, they are too frightened to consciously go after it. As getting close to someone feels unsafe, uncomfortable, uninteresting, or even risky or terrifying.

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 truth is that people can really want to experience love but will unfortunately struggle when they feel or sense it.

To be intimate with someone, a conscious effort is required from both sides. It is also valuable to gain an understanding of why you may fear intimacy. A wise place to look is childhood and how you related or felt loved by parents, whether you were accepted for who you were and could ask for your needs to be met. Important also is to look at patterns in adult relationships also. Having more insight, is the first step to helping you turn this around.

Indicators that you may suffer from fear of intimacy:

1) You attract partners that you can fix

You often attract partners who are emotionally unavailable to you. This means that these individuals are unable to totally connect or fully grasp your emotional needs. You might also feel unable to ask them to meet your need, for fear or annoying them or being perceived as needy. It might be that someone who experienced emotionally neglectful parents or a  or a tough childhood will date people who are as emotionally available as their childhood caregivers were for them.

Rather than date someone who can really give to you, a person might get into relationships with people they can fix. People who, often, are stimulating company, but have emotional issues which keep you insecure and busy trying to fix them. The more you work tirelessly, trying to fix them, the more you subconsciously distract yourself from your own emotions. As a result, your partner will be unable to meet your emotional needs, as you don’t allow them the opportunity to do so.


fear of intimacy hypnotherapy


2) You avoid experiencing your own emotions

When you are overly busy and not finding the time to reflect on how you feel, by being still and processing your emotions, you are engaging in a form of avoidance. Whenever you avoid feeling emotions, you can never really understand how you feel and will struggling to understand yourself or share your inner world with others.  How could someone love you, if you don’t even understand your feelings or yourself?

3) Attracting partners who represent your childhood experiences

Choosing a partner who often leads to you experiencing emotional suffering. In effect, a person is subconsciously repeating a negative emotional cycle from childhood. This might be a physical or emotional pain. This is when you subconsciously choose partners who have qualities of the people that have abandoned, rejected, abused or have been physically or emotionally unavailable to you. This learnt behaviour ends up being tough to break and becomes the style in your relationships. Rather than experiencing love you experience pain. The first step is to notice you are doing this.

4) Discomfort with love

You attract people who treat you badly and become very uncomfortable around people that truly love you for who you really are.

5) Avoidance

You use things to avoid experiencing your emotions, particularly undesirable or painful ones. This can be habits or addictive patterns around sex, food, alcohol, drugs, or being overly busy all the time and engaging in unproductive activities to avoid your feelings.

6) You’re afraid of being by yourself

You find being alone very awkward and uncomfortable. Since being alone entails being in stillness and connecting with and being with your feelings, you prefer to avoid this whenever possible. Perhaps you play on your phone when supposed to be relaxing in the bath or often feel bored or anxious when alone. You subconsciously try to avoid being left by yourself or find ways to distract yourself when you are alone.

7) Being second best

Choosing relationship partners is more exciting than taking a risk to find the right person. It’s more exciting to date a lot or the wrong people. You are subconsciously attracted to the drama and will therefore take second best rather than someone who would meet your needs and make you happy.

You are concerned that you may have a fear of intimacy, get in touch to find out how my London and online hypnotherapy, NLP and CBT sessions could help.

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Jason Demant Clinical Hypnotherapist
London hypnotherapist. Seeing Clients in King's Cross and online.