Fear of Intimacy – Five Tell Tale Signs
Relationship Advice Tips By Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
Nora was always on the roundabout – never available for intimacy
Nora was always rushing around doing things. She was constantly overwhelmed with the next thing to do. She was consumed with being the ‘good’ wife, the ‘respectable’ wife, and the wife she thought was expected of her by Walter, his family and her community.
Ironing Walter’s shirt was more important to Nora than watching a sunset alone together. Fear of intimacy made sure of that.
Gratitude for taking care of the vaccinations for the pets meant more to Nora than sharing her hopes and fears with Walter as they drifted off to sleep. Fear of intimacy ensured that.
Fear of intimacy meant losing the exclusive rights to Nora’s true self
Nora rarely sat still. She was like a slippery eel – moving away from being alone with Walter without having a specific job to focus on. Nora invented things to do if there were no urgent ones around. She was most comfortable being absorbed in taking care of the house, the garden, the pets, the laundry, the shopping the cooking and the cleaning. That’s when she wasn’t attending to her home business selling her own hand made knitted sweaters online. So many great reasons to avoid intimacy so that she could keep the most precious parts of her for herself.
Fear of intimacy was a fear of being exposed and losing control
Nora needed to ‘do,’ and ‘do’ and ‘do’ – she couldn’t just ‘be!’ It made her anxious and uneasy. Any moment where she was not ‘doing’ something meant that Walter may want a part of her that she didn’t want to give – the intimate part of her that was free and loose and spontaneous. She wanted to keep that part of her safe and secure, in her lock box, available only to herself. Intimacy would smash the lock box and take away these special parts of her that acted without a care in the world, but could only do so when she was entirely alone. If she let Walter in too close, these parts would no longer be exclusive to her. She couldn’t give away that treasured possession. That was asking too much.
Fear of intimacy turned Nora into perfect housewife but a lousy mate
Nora was willing to do things for Walter and play the role of a perfect wife, house proud spouse and business woman. She did all the right things in the right order and at the right time. She just left herself out of it. She acted as if she were a machine, working to some pre-programmed commands. She carried out her functions and duties precisely, consistently and with accuracy. No flies on Nora. To the rest of the world she was an angel from heaven that Walter was lucky to have.
Actions and duties buy Nora freedom from intimacy
Doing things for Walter became a substitute for being ‘with’ Walter. Nora’s fear of intimacy led her to buy off her husband by taking care of things efficiently. That was her way of making sure he didn’t ask for emotional intimacy - for her the person. When they were physically intimate she once again went through the motions of ‘doing’ what she was supposed to do, felt content with pleasing him and discharging her duties, but didn’t ever let herself go in the act of love making. She always kept a part of her back. She kept control of herself making the act a routine mechanical event on her list of wifely obligations.
Walter married a good housekeeper and caretaker. He just didn’t get an intimate companion.
The five most glaring signs that indicates fear of intimacy in your partner, friend or family member are if the person is
- usually rushing around and postponing a conversation
- busy at all times and complaining about all the things that they need to do
- making excuses for not spending time alone with you in a relaxed manner
- expecting you to love them for their actions and be satisfied with it.
- paying lip service to listening to your feelings, concerns and wishes for a more intimate connection, while busy attending to other things.
It’s easy to buy someone off with actions, gifts, and care taking deeds. It’s much harder and requires a much greater sense of commitment to give of yourself.
Relationship advice to deal with someone who is afraid of intimacy
Bring these signs to the attention of your friend, family member, partner or other loved on, at the time you feel it. Express your feelings at the time while simultaneously opening up a dialogue about the other person's fears. That may help to bring the wall of fear down, and start you on a path towards a closer relationship.
Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
Disclaimer: this information is for educational purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Jeanette Raymond for any reactions the reader may have while interacting with or using the information in this material. Interaction with this article does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.