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The Bitter Lemon: Am I afraid of intimacy?

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.

 

Read more about overcoming intimacy fears on Holly’s blog, TheBitterLemon.com.

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