Many relationships do not survive the test of time. Some breakups are caused by the lack of commitment of one of the parties. The reasons for this are not always easy to explain. In some cases, they may arise from fear of intimacy which is extremely difficult to overcome. Read our article to find out what behaviors may indicate you are suffering from it and how to deal with it.
What is fear of intimacy?
Making a decision about living in a relationship is a very serious step in the development of a relationship between two people. It is usually an introduction not only to spending time together, but also to sharing your private matters. Being in a relationship requires both people to break through and open up their private sphere to the other half. This applies to both being physically close and sharing your true face with others. If one partner cannot bring himself to be that close, chances are he has a phobia of intimacy. It concerns people who, on the one hand, want to feel close to another person, and on the other hand, are afraid of it.
Different levels of fear of intimacy
Fear of intimacy can manifest itself at different levels. Depending on the specific case, it affects only one of them or is a more complex mix of different psychological problems. Very often we are dealing with disorders on the emotional level, which are manifested by the inability to share feelings. Sexual dysfunction, i.e. the inability to share one’s intimacy, is also common. Fear of closeness may also result from difficulties in verbalizing one’s thoughts, ideas or experiences.
Manifestations of philophobia
Diagnosing fear of intimacy, also known as phylophobia, can be very difficult, especially when the person struggling with it is secretive and reticent. Most often, the only way to diagnose the problem is to consult a psychologist. Philophobia is subconscious, and people who suffer from it cannot explain their behavior. The most common manifestations of fear of closeness include not showing affection, indifference, excessive suspicion, looking for the bottom of the partner’s behavior, exaggerated jealousy, lack of interest in touch and sex, and paying excessive attention to the defects of a relationship or partner.
Reasons for fear of intimacy
Fear of intimacy is a complex psychological disorder that can arise from many different conditions and experiences. Very often its causes lie in childhood and accompany the patient for many years, revealing themselves only at the stage of creating a relationship. The most common causes of philophobia include:
- verbal and physical violence,
- sexual abuse,
- feeling of inferiority in the family,
- insecurity in childhood,
- caregivers’ mental illnesses,
- drug addiction or alcoholism in caregivers.
Just because someone has had such or similar experiences as a child does not mean that they will have problems with closeness. However, growing up in a dysfunctional family can greatly increase the possibility of later problems in forming partnerships.
Why is it difficult to cure a phobia of intimacy?
It is very difficult to overcome the phobia of closeness because it is often not realized. Many people justify their behavior by saying that they would rather be alone than in a relationship. Man is by nature a being who needs socialization, and loneliness is not conducive to satisfying this need. People struggling with the fear of closeness sometimes subconsciously die off a lifestyle that is not conducive to the formation of relationships, e.g. they work a lot or often go on business trips, justifying the lack of a partner with professional duties.
Treatment of fear of intimacy
If you suspect that you or your loved one has trouble entering into serious relationships, the best way to overcome the problem is to see a psychologist. Unfortunately, philophobia is very often denied and many people who are still lonely despite the passage of time do not realize that they may suffer from serious psychological disorders. The only way to find out and take appropriate steps is to consult an experienced psychologist. During the visit, the specialist will conduct an interview and, based on it, diagnose the problem and present a treatment plan.