Fear of intimacy

relationship, marriage, husband, wife, dating, therapy, psychology, self-helpRecently I came to the stunning realization that I have been pursuing unavailable men as a way of avoiding intimacy. The conclusion was reached with the help of a therapist, but not in some earth-shattering way. She made an offhand remark, almost under her breath, while I was describing to her yet another crush of mine over a man whom I knew was attracted to me but was unavailable for a relationship (he had a girlfriend). The words she spoke rocked me to my core but they should have been so obvious: “maybe you have a fear of intimacy,” she suggested.

And with those words the habits of a lifetime came clear to me. I have consistently sought out emotionally unavailable men, including my ex-husband, because they did not require of me to get close to them in any meaningful way. And the bonus is I got to blame it all on the them! I learned from another therapist (I”m not seeing multiple therapists – this was at a retreat) that the feeling of “longing” I subject myself to with unavailable men is a “yearning for Daddy” and is extremely common among women with emotionally distant fathers. Bingo! Talk about an empowering discovery. Now I am done with fantasy relationships or hoping for more from men who are not capable of sharing their hearts or even their time. I am learning so much from my slow return to the dating life. If a man takes three days to get back to me, that’s information, a preview of the level of attention I can expect to receive in a relationship with him. And guess what? It’s simply not enough.


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Had a Dad like that. Did this for years. Once you’re aware of it, you’re not locked into that patter anymore. You can spend/waste decades chasing men who are never going to be available (even while having sex with you) until you see it clearly.

    • It’s amazing how when someone says it the alarm bells go off. It’s so obvious yet I never saw it until someone mentioned the possibility. I felt like such a cliche but it was a relief to know what I had to work on.

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