Being Afraid of and Fearing Intimacy
Finally, you have met someone that is interested in having a relationship with you. So far, you have noted that they have a great personality and seem to have everything together. But, in conversation with your other friends, you also note that there is something strange about this new person. They don’t want to be close to you. In fact, the conversations that you have had this far don’t stimulate deeper levels of understanding each other. Even stranger than this, they have made no attempt to initiate contact with you at the deeper levels that you are used to.
You are quickly advised into getting out of the relationship. The consensus is that this person obviously has fear of being intimate with another person; a social problem that is detrimental to both in the relationship. But, you also want to note that this person is important, and you know that there are some great things going on, despite the fact that the deeper levels of physical and mental intimacy can’t be reached.
Understanding fear of intimacy and finding ways to move past it, no matter which side of the relationship you are on, can help you into better and deeper relationships. Intimacy doesn’t have to be something to pull away from. In fact, you can consider it as being a ‘raw human,’ one that is able to understand other humans on a level that connects from our foundations of being.
What is Intimacy?
Too often, our society has defined intimacy in different ways than it should be. This is one of the major factors that have led to the fear of being intimate with another. Typically, our culture will state that intimacy means being in a serious relationship with another person. The intimacy is something that should occur behind closed doors, not as a public display. Too often, intimacy has been described as exposing oneself in ways that are uncomfortable.
“Intimacy simply means to create a connection with another human being on a naturally human level.”
Intimacy is more than the physical connection of closeness and moves beyond ideas of exposure that are too often demonstrated. Intimacy simply means to create a connection with another human being on a naturally human level. It can be anything that is authentic and genuine, creating a complete connection between two individuals walking through life. Intimacy is not anything but a human connection between two individuals that leads to better understandings of what life is about.
Intimacy, at its root levels, means making a connection. When doing this, it simply takes trust. When someone is unable to be intimate with you, it is most likely because there is a fear of trust. This is not necessarily happening because of you are. It is happening because it is a defense mechanism in order for the other person to protect what they believe they have or don’t have. If they don’t trust someone, they don’t get hurt. This leads them into a consistent cycle of pushing others away and keeping themselves with their clothes on.
Fear of intimacy for others, and maybe for yourself, begins at the root level of not wanting to be exposed. However, intimacy doesn’t have to stop at this fear. You can begin to make changes by trusting that life is fine, even if your clothes are off. Making small connections with others, as well as beginning to define what you need to do to build levels of trust can lead you into being able to shake off your fears and begin to reach out to others on deeper levels.
How Do We Practice Intimacy?
Becoming intimate with another person isn’t a mystery. If you are a practicing human being, you can begin practicing intimacy now. It doesn’t necessarily mean creating a passionate level of connection between yourself and another person. You can do things like acknowledge the strengths in another person begin to listen to what they are really saying and reach out to them on a natural and human level about who they are.
Practicing intimacy may be more difficult to some, not because they are not human, but because difficulties arise from past experiences with intimacy. For those that have had traumatic experiences, it is less likely they will be able to practice intimacy with another person at any level. This is a mental wound that occurs among too many and shuts them off from having the ability to practice intimacy among others.
If you find that someone is having trouble with intimacy, you don’t have to assume it is because of a traumatic experience. It may be something as simple as them never having this connection of intimacy in the past. Instead of expecting intimacy to take place at a deeper level, you can start with the little things that create human connections. Being playful, taking smaller steps in reaching out and providing a helping hand in times of need will begin to establish a foundation of friendship and intimacy between you and the other person.
One of the important ways to practice intimacy is to create deeper levels of understanding through listening. This should be done not only by establishing a strong ear for someone to listen to, but also through more intimate connections of listening. Empathic listening skills are one of the most important parts of creating intimacy in a friendship or relationships. Over time, you will notice that some of the walls of trust that were failing the relationship before are now at the basis of understanding. The foundation that is being built can occur on the deep levels that you desire, only with a little time.
Intimacy to individuals is more than holding hands in public or exposing oneself to all of their deepest secrets. At a very basic level, intimacy is creating a human connection with others. This may mean doing something as simple as complimenting someone on their necklace or something as specific as listening to someone with a full heart while they speak of the experiences that they have had to overcome. If you are looking for a deeper relationship with levels of meaning, than creating this intimacy is the beginning to the connection of humanness.
Whether you are afraid of being intimate with another person or are afraid of intimacy, you can overcome. By simply taking the smaller steps of connecting with others, you will have the ability to build deeper meanings of relationships with others. At the same time, you can begin to overcome the larger fears that have become barriers between you and others. By stepping into the unknown of the relationship, even in smaller ways of human connection, you can begin to establish a foundation of meaning and unlimited connection with the other person.