Am I afraid of intimacy?

What am I really afraid of?
What am I really afraid of?

I recently became obsessed with podcasts. There’s about six that I listen to regularly, including “The Jillian Michaels’ Show”.

You may remember Michaels as one of the trainers on “The Biggest Loser”. Her podcast is a mix of fitness and health tips, along with life lessons and relationship advice.

A few episodes ago, they had a woman caller who was distressed. Her husband kept insisting on a threesome, even though she was completely against it.

The conversation on possible solutions to her problem ultimately led to a discussion about why he was so interested in the threesome to begin with.

“It sounds like he has intimacy issues,” Michaels suggested.

Intimacy issues: it’s a term I’ve heard many times, but never actually thought about.

Intimacy is the closeness between people in a relationship. As I understand it, it’s the ultimate level of connecting.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that I’ve never had, what I would consider, a “real boyfriend”. The relationships I’ve been a part of are always riddled with some sort of drama, whether it be alcoholism, infidelity, or emotional unavailability.

I’m always asking myself why these relationships never work, but after thinking on it for a while (for years), I’m starting to see some trends.

Mostly, it appears I choose to date men that I won’t even have the chance to get close to. Why? Because if I can’t get close to someone, then when it’s over, it wasn’t over because of me.

That’s messed up, right?

So, I took it a step further and did some Googling. Of course, this has the WebMD effect: everything I look up is going to sound right on-point.

But I found an article on the fear of intimacy, which included possible causes of said fear. These causes include (but are not limited to): alcoholism, self-esteem problems, body image issues, and previous abusive relationships.

Uh, check here for “All of the Above”.

The article also talks about having problems communicating emotions. While I don’t think I have issues communicating my feelings currently, I know this has been an issue for me in the past.

I used to never want to express anger to a guy I was dating, because I didn’t want him to think I was a nag or crazy.

Honestly though, the more I thought about intimacy, the more I realized I know very little about it. So, I talked to my mom instead of Google.

I was telling her that I’m not even sure how to be that close with someone. I feel like I’m open with most people, so how can I get closer to the person I care about?

“I don’t think it’s necessarily about the things a person knows about you,” my mom said. “It’s more about just getting each other.”

And that’s the feeling I’ve never really had with someone; those moments when you don’t even have to say anything, but your partner just knows what you’re thinking.

My mom has always said that finding a true match is really just based on timing. I do believe that’s true, but I also know I’ve got to get over my fear of getting close with someone, which is ultimately a phobia of getting hurt.

But in my experience, even those relationships that weren’t really close still hurt, a lot. So, if I’m going to go for it, I probably just need to rip the Band-Aid off, and go for it, 100 percent.


  1. theblackscarfreview

    Great Post! I feel this on a spiritual level, girl. I have always found myself afraid of intimacy with no real way of explaining that fear to others. Most people think of sexual matters when they hear the word “intimacy”. But intimacy, as you explained, has a lot to do with connection. Intimacy is allowing someone to know all the parts of you; your emotions, your soul, your dreams and your fears- and taking care of it. Now that’s scary.

    Looking forward to your future posts #followed

    1. thebitterlemon

      Hello! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I know what you mean by people associating the word intimacy with sex. It’s weird because I feel like I am very open with people, especially since all of my secrets are published on this blog! But, like my mom said, it’s not even surface level; maybe it’s something we can’t even explain! But now that I may have found the problem, I can start to work on it.

      1. Deborah Hymes

        Hi Holly, just a further thought . . . Your mom’s comment about people “just getting” each other really resonates with me. I recently realized that the relationships where I experience the most emotional intimacy (with anyone) are the ones where I’m UNDEFENDED. That’s the best way I can describe it.

        Still feeling this out, but for the moment the best way I can describe it is that it goes beyond just sharing the vulnerable details. These are the rare relationships where I don’t even think about HOW to express something, or how it makes me look, other than reaching for the clearest expression of my true heart.

        Stumbled on this by accident, of course! =P There’s something incredibly powerful in this — in the right situation (e.g., a quiet, 1-on-1 convo) it signals deep trustworthiness and allows the other person to let down their own barriers, to whatever degree they’re capable.

        There’s also something incredibly empowering about it. It ends up making me feel stronger and more confident, rather than more vulnerable. Maybe it’s something to do with the alignment between inner and outer? And with redirecting all that energy we put into face-saving, into actually connecting.

        Ultimately, it really has so little to do with the other person’s reaction. I need a book about this! =)

  2. Deborah Hymes

    Hi Holly,

    I feel you! This book is rocking my world right now, you might find it interesting too: Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find — and Keep — Love.

    Have you heard of it? Basically, it identifies three primary attachment styles: secure, anxious and avoidant. You’ll immediately recognize yourself, every man you’ve ever dated, all of your friends and all your relatives. Even your favorite characters from TV and the movies. 😉

    I’m finding it hugely vindicating. I was starting to think that maybe I’m just broken, but it turns out that I just didn’t have the information I needed to make better decisions!

    Great post. Thanks for the share.


    1. thebitterlemon

      Hello Deborah! Thank you so much for stopping by the blog and commenting! I am definitely going to check out this book! I have just now discovered this whole fear of intimacy thing and am looking for as much info as possible on it. Thanks for the tip!

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