Intimacy Vs Isolation: Why People Fear Intimacy & Opt For Isolation?

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Some people socially isolate themselves from the people close to them. Meanwhile, others opt for a more prevalent kind of isolation; emotional isolation. Not everyone is a social butterfly and not everyone feels comfortable enough to open up emotionally. It’s important to remember that most of us are impacted by the tragedies and blessings life sends our way.

So, the way we choose to live our lives in the future can be influenced by our past. Lack of intimacy can be a big concern for a person who’s simply looking for an emotionally or physically fulfilling relationship. If your partner is simply not eager to stay in bed or too anxious to talk about his/her feelings, anyone would feel uneasy. Here’s more on this discourse and how one can cope with this scenario;

Why Do People Struggle With Intimacy So Often?

One’s struggle with intimacy or its extreme avoidance can be an indicator of fear or anxiety. It’s entirely possible that the person who avoids physical or emotional connectivity despite showing signs of interest might be scared of being intimate with anyone.

This fear is usually deeply rooted in one’s past. For instance, some people struggle with intimacy as it seems like a foreign concept to them. Right from the early stage of their lives, their guardians never tend to exhibit healthy emotional interactions. This is why the lack of intimacy on their end becomes a learning experience for their kids. Similar to this some people grow up with guardians that admonish them whenever they display any emotions. Soon, those kids grow up into adults that hold onto those lessons and never truly allow themselves the chance to be fully open in front of another person.

If your partner or someone you’ve been seeing struggles with physical intimacy then they might have dealt with trauma related to that in the past. For instance, the trauma caused by a sexually traumatic incident can actually impact the way a person interacts with future partners. The pain or humiliation associated with a past incident can affect the way an individual perceives sex in the future.

Some people tend to be pseudo-independent if they’ve been abandoned in the past by someone they once emotionally relied upon. They soon learn how to rely on their own selves and try to block out any future chances of practicing emotional intimacy to avoid further pain or betrayal.

Emotional Unavailability: 7 Signs Indicating Someone Is Avoiding Intimacy

  • They’re spending way too much time at their workplace. It’s very noticeable that they’re using work as a ploy to bail on important things.
  • They never try to show any interest in physical intimacy. The idea of hugging or showing any signs of physical affection seems revolting to them. He/she might try and change the subject whenever conversations start seeming sexually charged.
  • They always try to blame you for the lack of spark in your relationship. Even though they’re making zero efforts to be more intimate they’ll try and pin the blame on you.
  • They’re really great at masking their true feelings because they don’t want to reveal too much about themselves in front of you. For instance; their responses can turn passive-aggressive because they simply cannot unleash true emotions or reveal that they’re hurt.
  • They simply cannot communicate their concerns more openly. A person of this sort has a record that precedes them. This is why many of their romantic relationships must’ve ended because of a lack of communication on their own end.
  • Their conversations and actions often reveal that they have low self-esteem.

Is Isolation Always Dangerous?

Opting for social isolation doesn’t always end the bad way. There are certain scenarios in which isolation can actually reap positive consequences. For instance, those who tend to work in extremely social settings need a break every once in a while. A job of this sort involves constantly being surrounded by people in their chatter which can ultimately take a toll on one’s mental being.

Even those who work a daily 9-5 and are constantly stuck in a loop of checking digital updates need a break. In a scenario similar to this, it feels great to take a few days off from any mindless chatter. It almost seems like you’ve turned switched off something and would definitely turn it on when the time comes.

In addition to this, isolation can be extremely helpful if one wishes to focus on a particular thing. It doesn’t always have to be a career-based aspiration. Some also tend to distance themselves when they’re focusing on self-improvement.

For instance; temporary isolation can be essential for a person who’s in the recovering phase from addiction or trying to deal with grief caused by something traumatic in their personal life. So, yes, isolation isn’t always dangerous. Yet, it’s better to keep tabs on those who’re showing visible red flags or seem less emotionally intimate than before. Just remember to communicate.

Reasons Why Isolation Can Be Downright Dangerous

Being less emotionally intimate with someone close to you or opting for isolation can take an immense toll on one’s mental health. In addition, a person who feels isolated due to the circumstances around him or his own efforts can be plagued by loneliness. According to a study conducted by Newcastle University; A lack of social relationships can be linked with a higher risk for coronary heart disease and stroke.

Some of the many dangerous consequences of this can be a noticeable change in sleep patterns. People that lack social connectivity tend to have sleep disorders more often. Being less intimate with others, due to any particular reasoning, also makes you more susceptible to early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Lack of intimacy almost makes a person feel like he/she cannot simply have an emotional release from time to time. Keeping things on the inside can cause extreme distress which can also cause a person to lash out at others. This in turn takes a toll on the relationship you share with others and things can end on a bar note.

3 Situations In Which You Should Be Avoiding Intimacy

Yes, this rhetoric seems to be going totally against the original discourse. If you’re wondering, why on earth should a person avoid intimacy if it’s so liberating; then the following scenarios will surely answer your queries.

1. If you’re in a situation-ship then avoid getting intimate until you’re sure about that person. A situation-ship, as millennials call it, is a romantic scene in which you’re not sure about the intentions of a person you’re seeing. It’s entirely possible that the person in question doesn’t have similar ideas about dating or matrimony. If there’s a possibility that your ideas would clash with them then you should wait until you’re sure just to avoid heartbreak in the future.

2. If you’re carrying a freshly bruised heart as a result of a breakup or another broken platonic bond then take things slow. Don’t try to get intimate with the next person you come across right from the get-go. It’s entirely possible that you could be relying on this new person as a backup plan and simply unleashing your baggage on them. This can be emotionally damaging for the new person you’re seeing and cost you a lot in the future. Take things slowly at least in the beginning.

3. If you’re recovering from a sexually traumatic past or simply avoiding intimacy in order to practice your right to consent, then nothing should be stopping you. Not even a persuasive partner should get in your way. Don’t fall for any emotional guilt tripping because if a person fails to understand a mature decision on your hand, is simply not the right person for you. You reserve the right to say no to emotional or physical intimacy. So, you can practice it as you please.

4 Ways You Can Defeat The Fear Of Intimacy

  • Perhaps the reason why you are so scared of intimacy is that you simply don’t trust your partner enough. You’re still haunted by the memories of a hurtful past and it’s now affecting your future. If you actually want to become more emotionally invested then try spending more time with your partner. Indulge in activities that you both like as it’ll help you understand him/her in a better light. It’ll build their rapport in your mind and get rid of any misconceptions you have that are stopping you from opening up.
  • Work on the root cause of this issue. Talking to a counselor or seeking therapy can answer this particular question more ideally. That’s the thing, all your behavioral antics can be connected to something that happened in the past. If you’re opting for social or emotional isolation because you were a victim of emotional abuse in the past then seeking professional help can be an ideal solution.
  • Healing from something in the past and undoing the damage it caused can be a long journey. It’s important that you take your time to self-reflect. Give journaling a shot and wrote down how you’re truly feeling when you feel like you can’t really express things in front of someone else. This way you can go back and reflect on the emotions and thoughts you were having while feeling vulnerable.
  • If your lack of self-esteem contributes to this negative life pattern then try and practice more self-love. Perhaps you are avoiding emotional connectivity because you’re scared you won’t be enough for another person and they’ll ultimately leave you. Dedicate time to loving yourself and catching yourself in the action whenever you’re being too critical. Leave positive reminders for yourself. Cut off ties with those that make you feel like less of a person.

How Do I Cope With My Partner’s Fear Of Intimacy?

  1. First and foremost, avoid infringing on their personal space. Don’t poke questions at unusual times or when they seem too stressed out because of their fear of intimacy. They’ll unleash whatever’s going through their mind at the right time and it’s your moral responsibility as a partner to give them enough space.
  2. If the physical intimacy seems not enough, then avoid using manipulation to trick them. This is not only morally wrong, but it can also affect the way your partner perceives you. Consequently, it can damage your relationship with them.
  3. Suggest counseling or therapy as a door to recovery but make sure you’re not being too pushy or forceful. Treatment won’t work unless your partner actually intends upon working on his/her issues.
  4. You must first understand, that this fear of intimacy has nothing to do with you. You’re not responsible for it so you don’t have to feel guilty about it. If your partner feels guilty about not being as intimate as other people usually are with their partners, then have a quick chat with them. Make sure you let them know that you don’t consider them responsible for this situation and that you understand why things are the way they are.
  5. Remember, you reserve the right to leave and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. It’s understandable if the lack of intimacy in your relationship seems to be overbearing or the isolation seems to be too heavy to handle. If you feel like the whole scenario is taking a toll on you, then you should definitely opt for immediate relief even if it involves getting an immediate breakup.
Final Words

We hope that these red flags and coping mechanisms would be beneficial for those who are going through tough times. Have you or someone you know ever dealt with this condition? Do share any strategies that made things a bit smoother.




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