Does He Have a Fear of Intimacy?

Have you noticed over time that when you try to SOLVE the lack of intimacy issue your partner becomes defensive or distant? Maybe you’ve read some of our other articles on lack of intimacy and martial dead bed and so on.

But if the problem is him—in that he is unwilling to talk about it with you—then the problem could be that he is afraid of being intimate with ANYONE. That’s a major problem if you want to be happy in this relationship. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s too late and that you might as well start looking for a new partner right away.

If you really believe you love him and he loves you, then there are other approaches you can try. The first thing you should do is do a little detective work and find out why he’s afraid of intimacy. Consider some of the most common reasons why he might have a fear of intimacy:

1. He’s been hurt before.

The most common reason why men “lock down” emotionally is because they’re protecting themselves from being hurt. This could be because of a previous relationship in which they were verbally abused, or even rejected by someone they loved. Sometimes it’s an even worse case of parental rejection and the guy may have mother abandonment issues to work through. Some of his behaviors may even be subconscious—as in he’s not even aware of what he’s doing or how it’s affecting you.

2. He has been stunted in his emotional growth because of his difficult childhood.

The worst case scenario may well be that he developed a personality disorder when he was young, probably due to a lack of parental stability. His lack of a strong role model resulted in him not learning normal expressions of love and intimacy that we take for granted. He considers what’s “normal” behavior to be a big emotional risk. He may benefit from therapy or at least an in-depth conversation with you about how you differ in communicating love.

3. He suffers from low-self esteem.

Men who have always lacked confidence and suffer from poor self-esteem can have great difficulty with intimacy. Remember that for every action he SHOULD be taking, he’s actually second-guessing constantly because he thinks it’s a mistake. He may not feel adequate to say it. He doubts how his expressions will be taken. He hates his body and so can’t be suave and romantic. He can’t come to terms with how he feels because his feelings are associated with all this negativity. He needs to spend some time learning to accept himself before learning to please you.

4. He is struggling with depression and perhaps a more difficult personality disorder.

There are actually quite a few disorders that may SEEM like fear of intimacy. But it could be anything from borderline, OCD, anxiety, paranoid, depressive, or even schizoid personality disorder. In this case demanding that he become emotionally intimate for you – without helping him treat the real disorder – could be futile.

5. He’s secretly battling addiction…and doesn’t want to talk about it.

This has become more common in recent years, as the number of addictive habits has certainly increased. The point is, his fear of intimacy is directly related to his need to keep the addiction going. He may be hiding it or it may be out in the open. But part of the nature of addiction is guardedness; the unwillingness to trust or get too close to someone.

Why? Because deep down the guy doesn’t want someone to hold him accountable for addiction and its consequences. A man in denial of his addiction is a very difficult man to understand and speak to. The addiction could be anything from internet porn, to constant cheating, drugs, gambling or a number of other dangerous habits. But if he’s in denial, it may be nearly impossible to reason with him.

6. He doesn’t understand your love language.

Love language is the idea that two partners may well speak a different “language” when it comes to love. You know the same language but you seem to communicate in different emotions and gestures. You want certain things from him and you give him certain things. For example, you want touching and affection and reassurance. And that’s what you give him, hoping he’ll understand the hint.

The problem is he does NOT. He thinks love is about hard work, having sex and sleeping in the same bed. He doesn’t understand what you want from him. The solution is to discuss these love language differences and find a workable solution.

This problem has become somewhat of an emotional epidemic in recent years, particularly because our understanding of the autism scale and Asperger’s Syndrome. In these cases, a man could be completely unaware of what emotions he’s communicating to others—even his own spouse.

Many women I’ve talked to in recent months have actually told me that they think their boyfriend may have Asperger’s. Why? He doesn’t seem to “get” emotional communication—not just with them but even with other people. He gets stressed out about it but can’t figure out why.

This is why frank discussion about these issues is so important.

7. He’s still too immature for a real relationship.

Lastly, this is another worst case scenario which applies to some, but not all, men. Some men will become emotionally distant if they are unsatisfied with the relationship because they jumped into a commitment without realizing the reality of it.

For example, men that want women with perfect bodies. Or some other unrealistic and impossibly high standard, the proverbial Trophy Wife. It’s no coincidence that men who just want sex in dating are ALWAYS hesitant to talk about personal things or share authentic feelings. They feel no closeness. They fear intimacy and they fear learning about the real person behind the beauty.

If you’ve noticed your man has some of these symptoms then it may be time for you to talk it over with him. It won’t be an easy conversation, but letting him know more of what you need from him, and what you can give him in return, may be a step in the right direction.

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Talk soon,

Matthew Coast

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Matthew Coast

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