Looking for books re: Fear of Intimacy
March 13, 2011 6:04 PM   Subscribe

I think I have a really bad fear of intimacy. Been working on it but could do with more books or guidance.

I think I have an issue with intimacy, a fear of intimacy. Examples:

- Colleagues who are friendly i.e. give me attention, I tend to pull away
- Friends who get to close, I sometimes push away

Self diagnosis indicates a fear of intimacy (maybe something else?) and I'd love to get some recommendations for books with regards to the topic.

I'm not looking for therapy, but if you do know therapists in London, UK, I'm all ears, I may be able to afford a few sessions.

Data points: Early 30s male, gay, platonic relationships.

posted by Kamen Rider: Sock Puppet to Human Relations (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm currently reading The Dance of Intimacy and finding it interesting and helpful in figuring out how I react in intimate relationships (platonic/familial). Beware tho it is dated and she tends to refer to everything from a woman's perspective. I'm female but never seem to relate to woman-focussed self-help guides and this one is proving different.
posted by kanata at 6:17 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Self diagnosis and self therapy through books is a longshot. Seek professional help, as it might save you time.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:26 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm currently reading How to Be an Adult in Relationships (saw a recommendation in another thread that I can't remember--thanks to whoever was the original recommender!). I'm about halfway through, and so far it seems like it might be relevant to your dilemma.
posted by Fuego at 6:43 PM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Intimacy problems don't have theoretical solutions. You need someone to practice with. Perhaps easiest is someone else with intimacy problems. Or else, someone who does it for a living.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:14 PM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Or else, someone who does it for a living.

Obscure Reference, on the chance that you're implying "hire a prostitute", ... that is the opposite of intimacy, and the OP specifically mentioned platonic intimacy as the issue.

If I'm mistaken, and you meant something like "hire a therapist", carry on; my bad.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:28 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Kamen Rider, since your last post, have you been able to find low-key social opportunities where you feel comfortable being out? I think that's an important step.

Before you're out, there's an entire part of social life you can put out of mind, and intimate involvement is a hazy abstraction. Then, suddenly, there's a world of people who could be attracted to you, and you yourself could be attracted to. Will they like you? Are you doing it right? It's paralyzing!

Ultimately, you have to remember that intimacy is supposed to make you happy. Others come second. If you feel exposed, like you're being scrutinized or evaluated by others, stop. If you can't stop this line of thinking, then it's an issue for therapy, I suppose. Just because you're out, it's not an invitation for others to assert themselves upon you, nor will they. Any vulnerability you might feel is just negative thinking. Being out creates an environment of trust where you can interact comfortably and normally. After you've spent some time in that kind of environment, you may find you like someone and establish a stronger relationship. But merely being out shouldn't feel like you're caught in the spotlight not knowing your lines.

I apologize if I misunderstood your question and presumed too much about you. I wish you the best in your endeavors.
posted by Nomyte at 8:06 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hi everyone, thanks for the book recommendations. I've gone through Intimate Connections, and I will get the others to go through.

RE: Therapy: prior to this post, I've already been doing some googling, found resources, but not sure how to proceed. Just choose a random one off the web?

Nomyte: Thanks for the detailed answer. It's always very nice to consider other areas I've missed. Yes - I have been able to spend more time with both gay/straight people who are fine with my sexuality. Also, yes, I am slightly paralyzed by the attention given by people, I think the best way to put it is, I'm not looking for a relationship, but given the attention I'm given, I'm scared about giving the wrong signals (i.e. looking for platonic friendship, not more), and then tend to push people away when they get a little too close - even when they are married! I hope I explained that right.

Personally, I do not feel exposed, scrutinized or evaluated by people. Perhaps I'm going about it wrong, but people can think what they want of me, it does not bother me so long as I do not give up my own personal morals and ethics. What does make me sad is, I do long for a connection with people, but there is something that keeps me from it.

Thanks, and I look forward to reading those books!
posted by Kamen Rider: Sock Puppet at 4:22 AM on March 14, 2011

RE: Therapy: prior to this post, I've already been doing some googling, found resources, but not sure how to proceed. Just choose a random one off the web?

KR:SP, any therapist is better than none, as a starting point.

A good therapist will make you work emotionally during the sessions. If it was easy, why would you need someone to help you?

A bad therapist, or even one who's just not right for you, will make you feel uncomfortable about their approach. If you worry more about the validity and professionalism of their mannerism, or just don't feel like they are moving you emotionally, don't hesitate to move on to another one.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:52 PM on March 17, 2011

Keep forgetting to italicize the quoted material, dammit.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:53 PM on March 17, 2011

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