Flüelen, Switzerland

Intimacy is mistakenly thought to just be about romance or sexual activity. But intimacy is part of all our relationships, whether it is one with a partner, friend, family member, or colleague.

Fear of intimacy is generally a social phobia and anxiety disorder resulting in difficulty forming close and meaningful emotional relationships with another person.

The fear of intimacy is the fear of being emotionally and/or physically close to another individual. This fear is also defined as the inhibited capacity of an individual, because of anxiety, to exchange thoughts, actions and/or feelings of personal significance with another individual who is highly valued. Here there are some symptoms of someone with fear of intimacy:

  1. Being constantly busy all the time. An intimacy-phobic person fears others getting close because they would then see these apparent ‘flaws’, which can be feelings of sadness, anger, shame and grief.
  2. These persons are known as someone who are very positive, but they have difficulties forming long lasting bonds especially when they see others as vulnerable or there is a chance to share empathy.
  3. They appear as “the strong one” who others turn to. This habit of deflecting any focus away from themselves might see them come across as a ‘real friend’, but deep down, they might be left feeling terribly lonely not involving themselves.
  4. They appear perfectly put together, always. The more perfect they appear externally, the less others can see that they are human and weak just like anyone else. The more perfect they appear the less other people will dare get close.
  5. Their perfectionism acts as a way to intimidate others, and it keeps them too busy for relationships, anyway.
  6. They are sure you know exactly what they want in a partner, they just haven’t found him/her yet. 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.’
  7. They are many different things to many different people. Everyone who claimed they knew them well, but everyone had a different take on who the ‘real’ they are.
  8. They have very strong opinions. Strong opinions can be like a way of pushing others back. When they offer enough of their strong opinions, or become known for them, others are scared off or tiptoe around them. They thus avoid any real intimacy.

However it is possible overcome a fear of intimacy. The first step is to get out of denial about your fear of intimacy and admit that there is an issue. The next best step is to seek support and help. Psychotherapy is highly recommended to overcome fear of intimacy. As a deep-rooted issue which inevitably has roots in your back childhood, the fear of intimacy can be challenging to unravel. If you feel that there are some difficulties in the way you interact or not with people, do not think twice, contact me.

Pablo Munoz