It’s important to have emotional intimacy in a healthy relationship. It brings couples together, promotes romantic friendships and builds trust between partners. It can be scary letting someone into your life, though, because being vulnerable means they can break your heart. Here are six tips to help you overcome the fear of emotional intimacy.
1. Adaptability is key
A lasting relationship must be an adaptable one. Couples that are better at adapting can more easily handle social changes throughout their life together. Adaptable couples are also more likely to avoid major arguments and won’t expect their partner to be perfect. Studies have looked into long-lasting couples and have determined that couples who are more adaptable will always look for the positives in the relationship and focus on their strengths and settling disputes. This allows them to enjoy the relationship and accommodate for each other’s differences.
2. Self-confidence matters
A fear of emotional intimacy often has nothing to do with the significant other, and a lot more to do with the love we have for ourselves and self-confidence. Build up your self-esteem to work towards overcoming your fear of emotional intimacy. Work on your relationship with yourself and focus on hobbies and goals that bring you happiness and confidence in yourself. You can also exercise and be healthy and that will make you feel mentally and physically great. This won’t happen overnight but these are important steps to making yourself feel worthy of a great relationship.
3. Focus on building trust
There have been many studies done that show that couples who trust each other completely feel more fulfilled and happier in their relationships. Spend time together with your partner to build trust in each other and get a deeper connection. “This benefits your relationship not only by building trust but also by spending quality time together, making you happier in your couple. Keep your stress levels low and marital satisfaction high with this tip. A bonus here is that you’ll find it easier to open up with your partner about difficult topics,” says Anna Smith, a writer at Mywritingway.com.
4. Understand your history
It’s important to understand why you may have a fear of emotional intimacy. If someone close to you has betrayed your trust or you have been deeply hurt in a previous relationship, you might still have psychological scars from these events. It can be beneficial in these cases to attend a handful of therapy sessions, either on your own or with your partner. This will give you valuable insight into how your past relationships may be affecting your current situation. Counsellors can also help you take the necessary steps towards being more open with your partner and moving on.
5. Be more relaxed
If you have a fear of emotional intimacy, you might feel a deep sense of dread or even experience anxiety when thinking about entering into a new relationship and having to open up. A great way to get over these vulnerability issues is to de-stress. Working out or doing yoga or meditation is an excellent way to get rid of stress and reduce depression symptoms.
“Exercise and being active will improve your mental and physical health, but as we saw earlier, it also helps boost your self-esteem. This solves a lot of your problems all at once. Physical intimacy will also release oxytocin which lowers stress and improves bonding between couples,” suggests Hillary Firts, a relationship blogger at LetsGoAndLearn.com.
6. Seek out opportunities to be close
People can avoid opportunities for emotional interaction by being stuck to their phones. We all know by now that social media reduces face to face interactions with family and loved ones. To boost intimacy in a relationship, turn off your phone or social media for a while. Phone snubbing, known as “phubbing”, a partner reduces relationship satisfaction and can make people more depressed. Keep your mind and your heart open to new partners and don’t use your phone as a shield. Take these opportunities to spend some quality time with your partner.
It’s not always easy to face your fears of emotional intimacy, but once you do it you can achieve deeper relationships with your partner. Take some time to de-stress and look objectively at your history of trust and past relationships. Emotional intimacy is an important part of relationships, so you want to put in work to build a deeper connection with your partner.
Bea Potter, an English teacher and also a writer with StudyDemic . She works on articles about emotional and physical health, and enjoys helping people overcome issues through mindfulness and meditation.