You’re three months in and everything is going great. At least that’s what you thought.
Something is holding you both back!
Call it a niggling feeling, a pit in your stomach whenever the topic of intimacy comes up.
Perhaps it’s you, or maybe your partner is starting to close themselves off when you get too near.
Whatever it is, you know that something’s off.
And it’s stopping your relationship dead in its tracks before it’s barely begun.
It’s almost as if there’s a brick wall standing in the way of you and your happily ever after. So what can you do about it?
Unfortunately, there’s no magic fix. And everyone is different. But as a starting point, you can look out for these 8 personality traits associated with people who struggle with intimacy.
Hopefully, they’ll give you a better understanding of your relationship woes. And in time, you’ll overcome it together – becoming all the stronger for it.
1) They can be emotionally distant
At a beginning of a budding romance, you’re just getting to know each other.
Basic things like your favorite color and how you like your eggs in the morning – easy stuff.
Feelings are there, but it’s not until things get a little more serious that emotions typically surface. At least for most.
And that’s where the problems begin.
If you start to feel yourself or your partner withdrawing and pulling away, it could be a sign of emotional distancing or detachment.
Being emotionally distant or detached, it’s difficult to express how they feel to others and even themselves. And they find it hard to connect with others, commit, or show love and affection.
It’s almost as though they flipped a switch and disengaged their emotions to avoid looking vulnerable.
Most of all, communication has become a struggle. And as a result, so has the emotional intimacy.
2) They may have low self-esteem
Intimacy can be emotional, physical, or even spiritual to some.
And it’s not just limited to romantic relationships either.
Intimacy has many levels and can be a way to connect with people by building meaningful relationships.
But if you have low self-esteem, you may feel unworthy of affection or love. Even when it comes to friends and family.
As a result, this negative perception of yourself can impact intimacy building and development.
Ultimately, this feeling is caused by fear.
3) They are fearful
Fear, it’s what drives us.
Sometimes it can be useful. But mostly, it prevents us from moving forward.
And people who struggle with intimacy are often full to the brim with some version of it.
Some fears are more obvious than others. And how it presents itself can vary.
It could be a fear of rejection, abandonment, engulfment, commitment, or fear of intimacy itself.
Whatever the reason, this primal emotion makes it difficult to let their guard down. And instead, they put up emotional walls to prevent themselves from getting hurt.
4) They probably suffer from social anxiety too
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) can appear in many forms.
Symptoms can be physical or emotional. And they can range from simple blushing or sweating to full-on panic attacks.
When it comes to dating, emotions are already high. Even the most confident of people can get butterflies before a first date. And for those suffering from higher social anxiety, it can have a massive effect on “risky” emotional intimacy.
As a result, many people see online dating as a risk-free way to connect with people before meeting them in person.
And that’s great.
However, according to this study, it can lead to anxious individuals avoiding face-to-face situations altogether.
And the research also suggests that socially anxious people are more likely to become reliant on excessive Internet use.
Something which will likely have a lasting impact on their in-person relationships.
5) They prefer to avoid their problems
We’ve all been there at some point. Perhaps it’s a troubling emotion, nagging thought, or a difficult situation.
Either way, you just want to get sucked up into a black hole. Or maybe just stay in bed until you can figure out an action plan.
Occasionally, that’s fine. So long as it doesn’t become a habit and you manage to find the strength to solve the issue, eventually. You realize that you can’t run forever.
However, when you find escape is your go-to plan, it could be an indicator of a bigger problem.
And by avoiding, suppressing, distracting, or completely cutting yourself off from your emotions, you’re making it harder to form intimate bonds and open up to those around you.
6) They often seek perfectionism
Perfectionism, we’ve all heard of it.
And if you’ve ever drafted a résumé, it’s probably the first trait that comes to mind when mentioning your strengths and weaknesses.
But life isn’t always perfect. I know, big shocker.
And when it comes to relationships and emotions, it can be particularly unpredictable and messy.
We’re only human, after all.
But for some, this can be a hard pill to swallow, with logic losing out to irrational emotion.
People with intimacy issues often feel they’re not worthy of love unless they’re perfect.
What you have to learn, though, is that relationships have ups and downs. And that’s okay.
It’s how you deal with them that defines the strength of your relationship.
And by setting out unrealistic standards for yourself or your partner, you’re only setting yourself up to fail.
7) They have trust issues
Trust is an important foundation of any relationship.
It demonstrates that you feel secure and safe with your partner.
And without it, things can seem rather bleak.
But that doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
If you or your partner are having trouble connecting or you’re constantly seeking validation, trust (or lack of it) is probably at the root of it.
And it could be the reason for your intimacy struggles.
These trust issues could be a sign of past trauma or unresolved experiences that have left you second-guessing your actions in the present.
8) They have trouble committing
Are you a serial dater? It looks like you have a fear of commitment.
Perhaps you’re simply scared of intimacy. Or maybe things aren’t “perfect” enough so you feel the urge to hit the reset button and start again with someone new.
Whatever’s causing it, this vicious cycle is why your relationships never last past a certain point.
This commitment phobia can go beyond romantic ties, with it having the potential to affect other areas of your life such as work, friendships, and family bonds.
And if you’re ever going to break the pattern, you need to identify why you simply can’t commit.