A lot of people deal with intimacy issues nowadays, but even though it is very common, it can easily destroy all your romantic relationships. If you want to learn how to overcome that fear, you first need to identify the subtle signs.
Read on to discover the 10 signs that indicate you have intimacy issues and find out how to address the problem, according to relationship experts!
You’re not confident enough.
Self-love is the key to healthy, long-lasting relationships. Most of the time, when you’re not comfortable in your own skin, it’s almost impossible to be comfortable with anyone else. Maybe you fear being intimate with someone because you’re lacking self-confidence or have low self-esteem.
Maybe you hate your body, or you have trust issues from your previous relationships, either way, lacking confidence will affect all the other relationships in your life, either romantic or not. You can overcome this by letting your partner know how you feel and trying to accept your flaws, while also appreciating your strengths.
You fear not being perfect.
Perfection doesn’t exist and it’s definitely something you shouldn’t obsess over. All of us wish to be loved no matter what, with flaws and everything, but sometimes you need to take risks in order to find great love.
According to licensed marriage and family therapist, Jenn Kennedy, probably one of the most common problems when it comes to relationships is not knowing if you can trust someone or not. You fear that they will see your flaws and choose to walk away. But you can’t live in fear.
And the only way to overcome these fears is by taking risks. The greatest gift you can get from your partner is them loving you for who you are. But they can’t know the real you when you’re always hiding.
“Give your partner the chance to show up for you, and see how it works out. If it goes well, risk doing something bigger, and more important,” suggests Kennedy. Also, is essential to learn to verbalize your fears. If you’re afraid that your partner will no longer love you if you act a certain way, you need to open up and tell them how you feel. It might be scary at first to be so honest about your feelings, but it’s a great way to help the other person understand you better.
You need to be OK with the fact that you’re not perfect, and will never be. But who is? It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done in the past, sharing your fears with someone you love will set you free.
You’re always angry.
There are a lot of types of anger and it’s essential to identify which one is your type. Having intimacy issues can sometimes manifest through anger, especially when you and your partner are becoming uncomfortably close for your taste.
Like John Mayer, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Doctor On Demand has explained, being angry all the time is a sign of immaturity, and immature people are not ready to be in a serious relationship. And don’t get me wrong, we all have moments when we’re angry, that’s normal. However, if you feel like you’re irritated most of the time, it could be a sign that you have intimacy issues.
There’s no easy or quick solution to your problems, but the most important thing you can do in this situation is to open up to your partner and tell them how you really feel. Being honest is very important in overcoming your intimacy issues. If you’re not communicating your struggles, how is your partner supposed to be aware of their existence?
Also, make sure you’re not denying your intimacy issues and sweep them under the rug because they will only get stronger and stronger. Instead, be honest and talk to your partner about how you feel, says Dr. Mayer.
All your past relationships have failed.
Maybe the fear of intimacy is to blame for all your past relationships that didn’t work out. According to Kennedy, in order to overcome intimacy issues you need to take a look and find the negative patterns from your previous relationships. It won’t be easy, but that’s the only way to prevent the past from repeating itself.
Kennedy recommends analyzing even the relationships you have with your friends, family members, and colleagues from work, not just your romantic relationships. “If you always prefer to spend time in groups, rather than one-on-one, that may represent a fear of intimacy,” explains Kennedy.
In fact, intimacy issues might be rooted in your childhood. However, if your past is standing in the way of having a happy present or future, it would be recommended to seek professional help and start to work on your problems.
You’re a workaholic.
Being married to your job is not a good thing. In fact, it can be a subtle sign that you have intimacy issues. Also, being a workaholic can also have a negative impact on your physical health.
According to A.J. Marsden, PhD, an assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College, in Leesburg, Florida, if you find yourself constantly working, it might be because you’re trying to avoid intimacy at home.
When people avoid intimacy it’s because they’re trying to avoid feelings like sadness, pain, anger, or even shame. By staying busy, you don’t have to deal with those negative feelings, one might say.
Especially when you’ve been married to someone for a long time, it can be very easy to see it all as a routine and forget about the intimate moments that are so important in a couple. Dr. Marsden has a few tips to break the routine and reconnect with your partner.
Firstly, make time to go on dates again. Yes, you’ve heard right. But make sure you’re trying fun stuff rather than boring dinner dates at a restaurant. You can start by cooking your partner’s favorite Italian dish at home, joining an online cooking class, gardening, or even planning a trip together.
“While doing these activities, talk about what you like, and don’t like, and ask each other questions,” she adds. If you don’t like planning and want something more spontaneous, let the day take you where it wants to go. Focus on each other and share your feelings, and very importantly, turn off your phones.
You’re not sexually mature.
While you might love the act itself, you always find yourself disconnected from your partner. If that’s the case for you, your intimacy issues might be a result of you not being mature enough. But that has nothing to do with chronological age.
According to Dr. Mayer, sexual immaturity is when you’re more interested in porn than you are in real, human connections or more focused on sex rather than you are in making love. A sexually immature partner will concentrate on the wrong things when they should concentrate on their partner instead.
Additionally, a sexually immature partner will forget about their partner’s needs and will choose to focus on their own, explains Dr. Mayer. This type of person will find it hard to communicate or open up. Dr. Mayer recommends allowing your partner to see you emotionally naked.
If you learn to be this transparent when it comes to every aspect of life, you’ll find it easier to do it in the bedroom as well. “Remember, by doing this, you are allowing the other person to get to know the real you, and that’s the best path to intimacy and love,” he added.
You don’t want your partner to get close to your family or friends.
Maybe you don’t want your partner to spend time with your family because you’re trying to avoid the situation where your mother is telling embarrassing stories about you as a child, or showing naked baby photos. However, trying to keep your partner away from the people you love is a sign that you fear intimacy.
It might be because you don’t want them to know who you really are. Maybe you’re even ashamed about your past and you still didn’t forgive yourself for certain things you did. Maybe you don’t want them to know that you used to be chubbier when you were a teenager, or you might not be ready to share your family secrets with them yet.
No matter what reasons you might have, acting like this forever won’t end well for either of you. At one point or another, your partner will want to meet your friends and family. The first thing you need to do in this case is to pen up to your partner and come clean about the reason you don’t want them to meet your loved ones.
Then, invite them over to your parent’s house and introduce them if you haven’t already. Take small steps until you feel ready to take things even further.
You’re physically present, but not in spirit.
Intimacy issues can occur even when you live in the same household as your partner. There are a lot of things that could contribute to you feeling disconnected from one another. Maybe it’s the fact that you’re not communicating with your partner, or that TV that’s always on, even when you’re having dinner. Or the fact that you spend more time watching Netflix than you spend with your partner.
Communication is essential in creating a bond with your significant other. If you’re not talking enough with your partner it might be because you fear intimacy. According to Kennedy, there are a few things you can do to build intimacy in a relationship. For starters, let your phone down and stay off technology. Secondly, nonverbal ways are very important, including eye contact. Additionally, be present for your partner.
Small gestures like a kiss before you leave to work, cuddling in the morning, or cooking your partner’s favorite meal for dinner can do wonders. This way, you’re letting your partner know indirectly what really matters to you, explains Kennedy.
You’re having an emotional affair.
Another subtle sign that indicates a fear of intimacy is when you’re more comfortable with sharing your issues with someone else than you are with your partner. This can be even more dangerous and emotionally damaging when you’re choosing to open up to a potential sexual partner. It doesn’t even matter if you’re connecting in a bar, at work, or even online.
The issue here is that you’re not being honest with your partner and you’re not working on your relationship. According to life coach and author, David Essel, an emotional affair is when you’re sharing intimate information with other people behind your partner’s back, the type of information you won’t feel comfortable sharing if your significant other was there.
As Essel has explained, if you’re searching for support in your emotional affair, that’s definitely a red flag for intimacy issues. Your emotional affair doesn’t have to be intimate to be wrong, and you need to understand that it’s affecting your main relationship with your partner. Also, you need to acknowledge the fact that you find it much easier to be intimate with a stranger than you do with the person you love, and then start working on overcoming your intimacy issues.
You’re not being yourself in the relationship.
Sometimes people choose to wear masks in a relationship because they’re afraid or ashamed of showing who they really are. Another sign of emotional intimacy fear is when someone is trying to be positive all the time, explains Dr. Marsden.
People dealing with intimacy issues are trying to appear like they’re having a good time, they’re always in a good mood, very optimistic and positive, and they’re never angry or upset. But the truth is, no one can be happy all the time. Avoiding dealing with negative feelings might make other people feel like you’re not empathic.
These types of people will also feel like they have to be strong all the time, they fear showing their vulnerable side. Doing this will eventually feel like a burden because you’re always wearing a mask. Also, it will make it harder to grow close to other people and create real connections. Don’t fear showing your vulnerable side to the people that love you.
And if you’re feeling isolated and lonely, you should definitely be checking out these brilliant ways to cope and combat such feelings!