Fear of Intimacy

a. Definition of Fear of Intimacy.

Fear of Intimacy.   According to the dictionary, intimacy means something of a personal or private nature.  That definition misses the core of the concept.  Quorvita believes there are three main elements.  One involves an actual exchange of information, another has an element of caring, and the third is vulnerability.

There Must be an Exchange of Valuable Information. For example, walnuts stored in the garage could be valuable information, but it lacks emotion.  It is not intimate.  But, under certain circumstances it could be.   Assume those walnuts were the only ones in existence.  And you wanted to share this information with whom you have strong personal feeling.  This information exchange could express intimacy.   Economic value is not the issue, nor is it required. 

Caring. You must care for the person with whom you are sharing information in a loving way.  A person who feels bad when someone is down because they flunked a test is a form of caring.  But it does not reach the level of intimacy. 

Vulnerability. This element is probably the most important in that involves pure emotions. It deals with opening oneself up to being emotionally hurt. 

The greater the vulnerability, the stronger the intimacy.

Therefore, loving communications between people involving emotional vulnerability defines intimacy in this website. 

 Intimacy creates one of the strongest bonds that can exist between people. And it can last a lifetime. 

b. Fear of Intimacy and Sexual Relations.

Some believe intimacy is sex and reproduction.  But that misses the mark as well.  On the other hand, sex can be one of the strongest expressions of intimacy when it involves the ultimate vulnerability.  Here are a few things to consider:

Many crave sex to satisfy physical urges.  The younger you are, the more likely that physical urges are at play.  This is not intimacy.

Many want to have sex to attract or trap a mate.  This is not intimacy.

It is exceedingly difficult to make judgment calls on whether the sex is for intimacy purposes.  This is because emotions run high during this period and shuts down analytical thought. 

Therefore, it is important to ask someone not emotionally involved.   For example:

Ask your parents. Of all the people in your life, your parents are your greatest source of protection, information, and advice.  Simply ask them what they think about the potential mate or person.  Then follow that up with – why?  The parent’s love may bias their opinion, but they will possess discrete observations and reasons.  

Ask an Older Sibling. This is another source for advice.  An older sibling may have valuable information about this person.  It is their information they share that is important more than a simple opinion. 

A Close Friend.  But, beware.  A friend must be honest.  They also take the risk of being defriended.  That means there is intimacy between friends.  Therefore, ground rules must be set between friends before expressing opinions.

When the friend has negative opinions:  The friend must exercise great care before expressing an opinion. It should not be volunteered.  And, if asked, the friend should premise the opinion with comments like the following:

You know that I care about you.  You’re my best friend.  That means I will be honest with you.  First, it is difficult for me to judge the person since I don’t really know them.  You have far more information about him/her than I do.  With that said, do you want my opinion. 

If the friend continues to want your opinion, then say.

 I do not believe this is the person for you

The friend must be prepared to give specific reasons. 

When the friend has positive opinions: This is the easier answer.   You simply smile and give your opinion. 

You witnessed the Other Person being unfaithful. This is also easy.  You should tell your friend what you witnessed.  It is important not to make judgments. 

You were told by someone else, or you read negative information on Social Media. If the source of this information is unknown, you should avoid spreading gossip. Friends do not hurt other friends with gossip. 

Ask your Minister or Priest.  This is a great source of advice.  They cannot nor should not give you confidential information about the other.  But they can give you basic advice. 

c. How to Spot Fear of Intimacy

This is an exceedingly difficult area.  And for the same reasons, i.e.  because strong emotions block your ability to think. 

When intimacy is present.  The following is an ideal response with ideal solutions to seven situations.   It is not particularly practiced in the real world.  But perhaps it should be.

  1. A person who is angry tells you why they are angry.
  2. When planning a vacation, they want to talk it over with you.
  3. They are so happy with you that they cannot imagine not being with you.
  4. When something good happens, they want to celebrate it with you.
  5. Your partner does not get jealous when you talk to someone else. If they do, they will talk to you about it.  Not becoming jealous shows trust, and talking about their feelings shows honesty.
  6. When things go wrong, you can count on your partner’s support. Using a sports analogy, being a member of a team shows trust, whereas only being the star player shows “I don’t need you.”

When Intimacy is Not Present. The following are examples that indicate a lack of intimacy.   

  1. If the other person is indifferent. Someone who does not care is not intimate.
  2. They do not share their vulnerabilities.
  3. They hide their feelings.
  4. They think and do things that benefit only themselves.
  5. They only have short term relationships. Intimacy lasts a long time. A relationship that veers off after a short period like 6 months is in trouble. 

Red Flags   Red flags only mean you should be careful and make an investigation. 

  1. The person worries about being abandoned.
  2. The other shows no strong feelings for their parents or siblings.
  3. Being afraid of touching.
  4. They were abused or neglected as a child.
  5. They seek out drugs or alcohol whenever stressed.
  6. Belittling people indicates that they lack confidence in themselves. 
  7. They are bullies.
  8. They try to sabotage the relationship, such as becoming nitpicking, critical, or making themself less lovable.
  9. They become jealous quickly.
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