One of the most common complaints that couples cite when seeking couples counseling is a lack of intimacy. Opening up to another person brings the possibility for love, closeness, authentic communication, and shared experiences - but brings with it the risk of getting hurt. Are you afraid of intimacy? Take our quiz below to find out.
Check All That Apply Below:
__ I'm afraid that getting too close to someone will mean losing them.
Caring for someone enough to get close to them means that it will probably hurt a lot if they were to leave. Sometimes, a fear of abandonment underscores a fear of intimacy.
__ I'm afraid that getting too close to someone will mean losing myself.
Getting close to someone means letting them into your personal space - and that can be a very frightening experience. Some people begin to feel like they lose their identity when in an intimate relationship. They may feel engulfed, or like they are disappearing.
__ Growing up, my parents were distant and removed - or overwhelming and boundary-crossing.
Our parents are our models for developing close relationships. If they didn't display intimacy, or used closeness in a way that felt invasive, we may grow up to be afraid of intimacy - despite the fact that were are now adults who can build close bonds in a healthy and fulfilling way.
__ I have a lot of difficulty trusting people.
Trust is the foundation of intimacy. You have to trust the other person enough to let them in, and you have to trust yourself and feel comfortable with yourself. If you feel mistrustful, or have difficulty maintaining trust, then intimacy can be very uncomfortable.
__ Relationships often leave me feeling suffocated and claustrophobic.
Feeling trapped is a sign of fear. If this is a recurring pattern in your relationships, and you can rule out the presence of abuse, then it is possible that this feeling is because intimacy leaves you feeling caged in.
__ Suddenly, all I can think about are my partner's flaws!
Focusing on the bad parts of your partner, much like doubting the relationship, is self-protecting. When we're crazy in love, we tend to overlook our partner's morning breath, and may even find their love for Star Wars collectibles endearing. When we're afraid, however, these issues are often all we can think about.
__ I think poorly of myself, or have low self-esteem.
If you don't like yourself, you may be wondering: how on Earth could he or she like me? This negative self-thought can fuel the mistrust and fear of abandonment or rejection. This poor self-image contributes to a fear of intimacy.
__ I think my partner is sexy / wonderful / perfect for me - until we start talking about taking “the next step.”
Discussions of commitment can bring a latent fear of intimacy to the surface. If your doubts emerge once you begin to discuss marriage, moving in together, having children, or even saying “I love you” for the first time, fear of intimacy may be at play.
__ My partner discussed commitment - and suddenly I'm thinking of dating other people.
A wandering eye can mean many things, but if you're afraid of intimacy, it could be your way of protecting yourself against that fear. Keeping your options open means that you have an escape from your anxiety or discomfort around commitment.
__ My partner and I have been fighting - and I want nothing to do with him/her!
Sometimes, a fear of intimacy is a temporary side effect of relationship conflict. When we're angry or hurt, it feels too frightening to open up to our loved ones. Defenses go up, and the last thing you want to do is get close to each other. However, these walls can create long-term rifts if not healed by rebuilding trust, intimacy, and communication.
Give yourself a point for every question you felt applied to you. The more points you have, the greater the possibility that you may be afraid of intimacy.
Intimacy is a risk we all must take in order to feel closeness and connection. With the help of a therapist, you can explore this fear, and learn to build healthy connections to your partner and yourself - without fear.
Quizzes provided by Nassau Guidance & Counseling are not diagnostic tools. Nothing can take the place of a qualified psychotherapist in helping to understand your relationships. If you’re not feeling happy with your relationship or you would like to enhance it, couples counseling is available. Call us at (516) 221-9494 to get started.