Fear of intimacy involves a deep-seated anxiety about getting emotionally or physically close to someone. It typically leads people to avoid intimacy and push away anyone who tries to get too close.
It starts with the floaty feelings you have when you first start dating someone. Then, it turns into the ick factor when you witness public displays of affection like swilling wine or repacking dishes in the dishwasher.
1. You’re a prude
People tend to use “prude” as a derogatory term, but you should be proud to be a prude. Your prudishness makes you an advocate for good hygiene and modesty. You’ve chosen to make some things private, and you believe that is the right choice for you.
You’re far from interested in hearing your friends swapping blowjob stories. You find it gross and unappetizing. You think it is wrong to use sex in order to manipulate another person.
Your boyfriend is pressuring you into sexual acts that you are not comfortable with. You want to have a healthy relationship that supports both of your sexual desires, but he is not listening. This is an example of toxic intimacy, and it needs to stop.
True intimacy involves more than just physical affection and sex. It also involves emotional connection and respect. You can’t build a true intimate relationship until you know yourself and are willing to let others in. This can take time, but it is worth it in the long run. Experiencing intimacy provides many health benefits, including improved mental wellbeing.
2. You’re a narcissist
Narcissism often results in a toxic relationship. It can be difficult to break free from it. If you suspect you are dealing with a narcissist, the first step is to identify the boundaries that need to be reinforced. Then, create a plan to implement these changes.
People with narcissism believe they are unique and deserving of the best things in life. They often fantasize about their superiority and seek status symbols such as designer clothing or expensive cars. They also prefer to associate with others who they feel are part of their exclusive club.
Another sign of narcissism is their lack of empathy. They have a hard time imagining how others feel and can’t put themselves in their shoes. They may even tune out their children’s feelings to focus on their own accomplishments.
If you can empathize with others and understand their feelings, then you are probably not narcissistic. Ultimately, narcissism is about self-gratification and disregard for others. It is impossible for someone with this disorder to build healthy relationships. Fortunately, it is possible to overcome narcissism and find true intimacy.
3. You’re a perfectionist
If you’re a perfectionist, you likely keep a mental list of exactly what you want in your partner. Your goal is to create the perfect person, but even if you actually found your ideal partner, your perfectionism would prevent you from getting close enough for them to see that they’re not flawless—and that you’re human just like them.
Perfectionists also often use their perfectionistic tendencies as a way to protect themselves from hurt or rejection. They may avoid intimacy completely or engage in casual sex with multiple partners in an attempt to control their emotions. This behavior can be difficult to overcome, but it’s possible with the help of a professional counselor who specializes in intimacy disorders.
Intimacy is often misunderstood as being mainly about romance or sex, but it’s really about all of our human relationships. Intimacy is about building a trusting connection with another person and sharing intimate feelings—like sadness, fear, and loneliness. When we share these feelings with each other, we feel closer to each other. It’s important to build this intimacy in healthy ways—like through good communication.
4. You’re a control freak
If you know someone who is always pointing out everyone else’s faults, criticizing their behavior, or behaving in an aggressive or manipulative manner, you might suspect they are a control freak. These individuals act in a way that frustrates others and causes them to become resentful. They operate like this because they feel that they have to in order to achieve their goals and needs.
They have the underlying belief that they only know what’s best for others and can make them change their ways. They’re incredibly critical and judgmental of everything – from how people talk, to how they dress, to their social etiquette.
They also have a very fragile ego and don’t hesitate to chastise anyone they think has made a mistake, even if it was just an innocent mistake. This is because they believe that they are always right and anyone who disagrees with them must be wrong. This type of behavior is often a way to try and master trauma from one’s childhood, which may be why they became so controlling in the first place.
5. You’re a perfectionist
People with perfectionism have a very hard time admitting their flaws, let alone ask for help. As a result, they often use their perfect appearance as a weapon to intimidate others and keep them at a distance. They may keep a list of exactly what they want in a partner, and when they find someone who is not on their list, they will create an imaginary flaw to push them away.
Intimacy isn’t just about romance and sex, it also involves close relationships with family members, friends, and co-workers. It can be uncomfortable to trust and put your faith in other people when there’s a chance that they will break your heart.
For those who struggle with perfectionism, a therapist can teach them healthy coping strategies to help them overcome their fears and build healthy relationships. For example, if loneliness is one of their triggers, they can practice calling a friend who always picks up or sends them a random silly text to make them feel connected and cared for. They can also try to spend more time interacting with other people in healthy ways like going to community events or volunteering.