Here’s Why People Fear Intimacy And What They Can Do About It

For some people, being in a close relationship feels like a burden. The closer they get to their partner, the farther away they want to run. Why is that and is there a cure for their fear of intimacy?


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People who fear intimacy don’t hate love. They need it, like the rest of us. But they have trouble handling the closeness, the proximity, the emotional charged atmosphere that a close relationship involves. They feel better when they are on their own, and they need to be able to pull back when things get too intense.

In most of the cases (but not all!) the reason behind this is having a childhood tainted by parental conflict. In the conflict between parents, they were forced to take sides and to protect one parent against the other. The affection they received in return cost them their freedom and their emotional independence. So they didn’t get to feel their own feelings, they were carriers for their parent’s emotions and conflicts. For them, love became a duty they had to fulfill, not the free gift that it truly is.

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So when they grow up, even if they need closeness and affection, they cannot shake the uncontrollable desire to retreat. They want to connect, but they cannot help remembering what closeness brings about: emotional turmoil, being a burden for somebody else or carrying the other’s burden. They can’t imagine any other outcome of a relationship than being hurt. Or being forced to give up their own self for the good of the other.

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The solution to this kind of conflict is to realize that love doesn’t have to look like this. To work with yourself (with the help of a therapist if needed) to see that you don’t have to run away. All you have to do is not to give up on yourself. To not equate love with leaving your dreams, preferences and needs behind. To be in relationship implies being equal partners. You don’t have to erase yourself from the equation in order to be there for somebody else. The other needs a person, not a ghost in their life. Please, share this!