Love and intimacy require closeness and connection.
But not everyone responds well to that, and for some people the experience of others becoming close to them also panics them.
They usually feel unworthy or feel that being with someone will pressure them in limiting ways.
1) Being uncommunicative
The first clear sign that somebody doesn’t want to get too close is that they refuse to communicate.
Of course, some folks are just shy.
But if you notice that a person is particularly uncommunicative about any personal subjects and their inner thoughts and feelings there may be more to it.
They are likely scared of getting close and don’t want to get too deep into any kind of real intimate or emotional connection.
This ties into the next point…
2) Revealing little about themselves
Somebody who’s scared of intimacy doesn’t like to talk about themselves very much.
They don’t even like to talk about where they grew up or what influences formed them.
Problems in their family, past struggles and addictions and past relationships are off the table.
They just don’t want to go there.
The assumption on your part may be that this person just doesn’t want to get into the trauma of the past.
The truth is that he or she simply wants to avoid getting too intimate or giving you insights into who they are.
3) Becoming uncomfortable when you open up
The person who is afraid of intimacy and connection isn’t just afraid and hesitant about opening up:
They also get really itchy if you start opening up.
When you talk about how you feel, what you feel about them, or the type of experiences that made you into who you are, they want to leave as soon as possible.
They just aren’t in for it.
Even if you’ve dated or met up for a number of months, when the conversation gets personal they start checking their phone and having to leave.
4) Rarely laughing at jokes
Laughter is a way to loosen up a bit and relax your guard.
Folks who are scared of getting too close are therefore not very likely to laugh at jokes and funny circumstances with you.
Even if something is very hilarious, the most they’re likely to do is offer a wan smile.
They just don’t want to give anybody that “in” to get them to loosen up and let down their guard.
They’re always ready to protect themselves, stay secret and keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves.
5) Only focusing on sex
There’s a cliche about some men (and women) that they are just shallow and only want to rack up bed buddies.
That could be true in some cases, but often there’s a root of insecurity and trauma in sex addicts.
When somebody is only focused on sex it’s not just that he or she is constantly horny:
Often it’s that they are using sex as a screen to having to get involved in any deeper conversations or face the reality that they’re lonely.
They try to use sex as a way to feel connected, even though deep down they are lonely and scared of real intimacy.
6) Pulling away after intimacy
A big sign that someone is afraid of intimacy is what they do after sex.
Do they stick around and chat for awhile, joke, laugh and interact?
Or do they do their best to head for the hills ASAP?
If it’s option two then you’re likely dealing with somebody who’s either:
- Scared of intimacy
7) Talking about how busy they are to avoid you
We all get busy sometimes and it can be a real reason to not be able to spend time with someone.
However if you’re dating or sleeping with someone who’s always going on about how busy they are, be careful:
It’s more often than not a way they try to avoid emotional intimacy with you.
They don’t know how to just plain tell you they aren’t into anything serious, so they just make excuses.
8) Playing hard to get
Playing hard to get is just the way some people operate.
But it can also be a tactic to avoid intimacy.
Somebody can play so hard to get that you never get them.
And in that case, let’s be honest:
That’s not playing, that’s for real.
They’re keeping their real emotions and love away from you and refusing to ever commit.
And more often than not it’s because they have a deep-seated and unhealthy fear of a real relationship and connection.
9) Leaving you on read
There are few feelings so annoying and frustrating as sending a message to someone and seeing that they have read it…
…Only to receive no answer.
OK, fine, maybe they’re busy right now, you think.
But then two more days go by, and another day, and it becomes clear as day:
You’re being left on read.
This is the equivalent of being thrown into junk mail. You’re not wanted and your communication has zero (or negative) value to this person.
It’s hard not to take this personally.
10) Sending you mixed messages
Mixed messages are another definite sign of a person who fears intimacy.
They may be immature, they may be unsure how close they want to get to you specifically.
All of that is true:
But more likely than not the mixed messages are also a result of their fear of getting too close to you and getting hurt or disappointed.
So they keep showing interest and then pulling back…
11) Picking fights to distance themselves
When somebody has a strong fear of intimacy and getting close, they will go to great lengths to protect themselves.
At least, they think they are protecting themselves.
Part of this can include picking fights with you or bringing up and highlighting your differences and conflicts.
“See, we’d never work!”
The point, really, is to hide from real intimacy or connection.
This can be especially distressing if you suddenly find someone fighting with you just when you thought you were making a real connection.
That’s why they’re now going haywire and sabotaging it.
12) Inventing reasons to cut ties with you
The person who’s scared of intimacy and connection often has early childhood roots of trauma and mistreatment.
They fear being too close and getting burned again.
They feel unworthy and can’t conceive of you truly valuing them.
Their inner critic has convinced them that taking a risk isn’t worth it, that they are not worth it.
They invent reasons to cut ties with you and hope that you’ll just leave them alone.
If you do, they feel sad but confirmed in their belief that close connections aren’t worth it.
If you persist in showing interest they try harder to get you to see that they’re not the one for you.