If you believe everything you read about online dating, you might think that setting up your profile and diving into the pool was the easiest and most natural thing in the world. For many people this is pretty accurate – there’s an excitement and flow to getting closer to meeting people for the first time – but not everyone finds it easy, and it is particularly difficult if you have a fear of intimacy. It isn’t impossible, but it is a lot more of a challenge.
When we talk about a fear of intimacy, we’re not talking about physical relations so much as a more general anxiety that accompanies the thought of getting involved in a close relationship. People who suffer from it often prefer to avoid dating altogether and will put up obstacles of varying degrees to keep them out of long term relationships. Perhaps you are worried that this describes you, or you are concerned about someone that you know. Here are a number of tell-tale signs that you are scared of intimacy.
- You feel uncomfortable talking about or sharing feelings with people and will generally avoid these conversations at all costs.
- You get anxious just thinking about getting close to a new love interest to the extent that you start losing sleep, get agitated and short of breath and have a general feeling of being out of control and on the edge.
- You avoid new social opportunities, especially if they are dating opportunities. Your excuses will sound reasonable, but you are actively avoiding meeting and forming connections with people.
- You adopt a guarded and prickly persona when you meet new love interests, becoming negative and standoffish, cynical and withholding personal information to make things more difficult for them to get to know you.
- You actively avoid making any personal displays of affection, so dislike any attempt to hold hands, cuddle, kiss, hug or walk arm in arm in public spaces.
- Your biggest fear is of losing your identity in a relationship by losing control to a dominant partner. This fear of your choices and preferences being ignored or overlooked can be crippling.
- You fear rejection – either before the relationship starts, or that your partner will leave when they really get to know you because you are not good enough.
- You might tend to only have one night stands – a fear of intimacy might have nothing to do with physicality after all. In this case you enjoy and even crave the physical release without needing to become vulnerable by being emotionally open to someone afterwards.
One of the most important steps towards coming to terms with and overcoming a fear of intimacy is to recognise not only what is happening, but also to understand why you are behaving in certain ways. When you can manage that, you can start to change how you react. If things are really bad, then do consider asking for help from a trained mental health professional such as a counsellor or psychiatrist so that you can start getting control over your life back.
Tags: love life, online dating, relationships
Categorised in: Advice
This post was written by Amelie