Who isn’t on some level fearful or resistant to, not just falling in love, but in love? Robert Firestone’s theory of the “fear of intimacy” and was heavily inspired by more than 30 years of examples of clients, co-workers, friends, family members and countless individuals I’ve encountered across the world who’ve opened up to me about their relationship struggles. How can we overcome our fears of intimacy to find and maintain the love we so desire?
Almost every one of us can relate to at least a couple of the ways we defend ourselves, self-protect and self-sabotage when it comes to love. The first step to not acting on our fears is to recognize that we have them.
But our understanding of how the fear of commitment for some people can be paralyzing has increased.
Rife with opportunities for awkward conversations and infinite unknown factors — – dating often is seen as overwhelmingly scary and decidedly unappealing.
This type of anxiety and shyness leads to avoidance of meeting new people, as well as a sense of isolation and hopelessness about the prospect of finding a suitable partner.
People with a commitment phobia long and want a long-term connection with another person, but their overwhelming anxiety prevents them from staying in any relationship for too long.
If pressed for a commitment, they are far more likely to leave the relationship than to make the commitment.
Is fear of rejection or actually being alone the cause of loneliness?
Being alone would seem to be the #1 reason for loneliness, but surprisingly, that's not true. And many people who have a spouse or partner are lonely. In the times of my life when I was the loneliest, I was afraid to ask women out because they might turn me down. In our liberated society, where women are doing everything from being U. senators to supreme court justices to doctors, attorneys, CEOs, and even clerics, there's still a stigma about a woman asking a man out on a date.
The DSM-5 defines social anxiety as the “persistent fear of one or more situations in which the person is exposed to possible scrutiny by others and fears that he or she may do something or act in a way that will be humiliating or embarrassing.” Those who are shy, if not socially anxious, tend to experience social situations in a more reserved, tense and uncomfortable manner, especially when meeting new people.
It may take longer to open up and share, which can affect one’s ability to form close relationships.
The fear of intimacy isn’t a problem without a solution, but finding a solution means identifying that there is a problem.
Having this problem may seem hard to relate to at first, since most of us claim that we want love in our lives.
So what IS the fear of rejection, where does it come from, and most importantly, how do we get rid of it? It doesn’t change who you are inside, and it doesn’t make you any less of a person. Do you tend to go along with what other people want to do even though you want to do something else? Identify what you would really like to do in these situations from a healthier behavioral standpoint.