The Montfort Group

6 Signs That You Fear Intimacy in Relationships

Being in a serious relationship can be difficult, especially if you have a fear of intimacy. It is made to sound easy and like an answer to a question you have been asking all of your life, but it is not always like that despite what society tries to suggest. Relationships require hard work, and above all else, they require complete openness and intimacy.

If those two things do not come easily to you, but you are unsure if your problem lies with whether or not you are ready to be emotionally intimate with someone, then here are six subtle signs that could indicate you have a fear of intimacy:

1. You rely on your independence.

There is nothing wrong with being independent, but it might indicate a fear of intimacy. In fact, it is a beautiful thing. Suppose you value yourself as a self-sufficient person. In that case, that means you also believe yourself to be informed, skillful, and competent, which are all great qualities to see in yourself. Relying on your independence, though, can mean that you believe you are perfectly capable of handling everything on your own, leading to a solitary way to live in which you never ask people for their help. This sign can be caused by previous moments in your life when you may have needed help but have not gotten it, which forced you to handle certain situations all on your own, so now you have learned to take pride in never needing anyone. But asking for help is not shameful, nor does it make you dependent. It merely means that you are only human.

2. You find flaws in your partner.

This sign is when you do get in relationships yet find yourself having a hard time maintaining them, possibly due to a fear of intimacy. Of course, everyone has their flaws, and it is customary to notice some in your partner. But overanalyzing every behavioral aspect of your partner’s life only to reach negative conclusions from then on grow to bother you is an issue. Flaws are meant to be either accepted or mutually worked on but not deliberately searched for. Nitpicking over every detail of your partner’s personality is an attempt to convince yourself that you should not be intimate with this person or that you need to get out of the relationship.

3. You are usually the one to break up with people.

Take a look at your dating history. Ask yourself what has been the cause of your relationships’ fallout. Suppose for the vast majority of the time, you have been the one to decide on ending the relationship instead of being at the receiving end of a breakup. In that case, that could be tied to a fear of intimacy. You may be the toxic element in the partnership because you are afraid of what opening yourself to someone really means. Or, you could involve yourself with toxic people who hurt you because you are attracted to the kind of people who will not offer you what you need.

4. You are afraid of being known.

Opening up to someone will lead to them getting to know you, and that could be something you are trying to stay away from. Therefore, you avoid talking about yourself and instead shift focus during conversations from you to them. This is the cause of a deeper-rooted fear of intimacy that if someone were to know you, they would not like or love you anymore, so you would ultimately prefer to close yourself off instead of being seen for who you indeed are.

5. You self sabotage.

This sign is the least subtle of them all. Self-sabotage is easy to spot in relationships meant to be intimate because it can lead to diminishing a connection or even to its complete disappearance. Sabotaging your relationship means going against a partner’s desires and doing things you know they do not like. For example, in smaller cases, it can be found in picking fights or quickly getting angry. In more challenging situations, it involves cheating on your partner or lying to them. This sabotage is inflicted because you want to be in control of how a moment in your life ends or because you have low enough self-esteem that you subconsciously want to deny yourself a chance at success.

6. You don’t want to risk being rejected.

No one enjoys being rejected, yet there are many people out there who take the risk anyway because of the chance of something good coming out of a lucky try. Suppose you do not find yourself amongst those people but instead avoid getting rejected by not putting yourself out there. In that case, that can come from a fear of intimacy. Taking the first step is the beginning of opening yourself up, which is why you might find it so frightening.

A fear of intimacy can be caused by many things, from distant parents in your childhood to bad dating experiences in your past. Whatever its grounds, it goes without saying that it will stay in the way of you genuinely forming a meaningful connection with someone. There are ways to combat it. If you find yourself relating to most of these signs, then perhaps it is time to consider how fear of intimacy can be treated.

Picture of Cory Montfort, MS, LPC-S

Cory Montfort, MS, LPC-S

I completed my Masters of Science in Counseling from Southern Methodist University where I specialized in working with individuals, couples, and families. I have extensive experience working within the mental health community facilitating groups, conducting assessments, counseling individuals, and performing crisis intervention. I hold an active License in Professional Counseling and am also a board-approved Counselor Supervisor for the state of Texas.

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