“The opposite of loneliness is not togetherness, it’s intimacy” ― Richard Bach
Relationships aren’t merely about being physically close. If — like many men — you want to start building high-quality relationships, you need to be emotionally available too.
Here’s the problem: we are taught to be closed off as men. From an early age, we learn that we should be strong, masculine, and self-sufficient. We are the hunter-gatherers. We are the ones who go out there, kill the wild boar, and return with it ready to cook and eat.
But being a lone wolf will only get you so far. The unfounded belief that you need to be an island is a sign of toxic masculinity. You shouldn’t trust that urge. To build high-quality relationships and find great dating partners, you need to unlearn everything you know about manliness.
Women want emotionally available men. When a woman meets a new guy, she wants to connect with him on a deeply emotional level and never look back.
If you’re not giving her what she needs, she won’t stick around for too long.
The truth is that lots of men harbor a fear of intimacy. You can bury your head in the sand and try to ignore it, but that won’t do you any favors. When you can’t connect with your partner, there’s no way that you can have a loving, successful, and long-term relationship.
As an elite men’s coach, I’ve worked with a wide selection of guys from all different walks of life. I’ve noticed traits and trends among the men who fear intimacy and the strategies they have used to overcome the problem one step at a time. Join my relationship coaching program to learn more!
In this guide, I want to share the approaches that have proved to be most effective so you can use them yourself.
What is a fear of intimacy in a relationship?
The simplest definition of fear of intimacy is that you are actively scared of becoming close to other people, particularly when it comes to romantic relationships. Does that sound about right?
There are different types of intimacy that you might avoid. I’ve seen guys struggle with them all. Let’s take a look at three of the types of closeness you might fear:
There’s no shame here. Forget what mainstream media has told you — not all men are sex obsessed. Getting physically close to someone else can be intimidating for some guys out there. Alternately, sexual intimacy fears can manifest in different ways for you.
For example, you might have endless one-night stands but fear becoming sexually vulnerable with a woman.
You might prefer to keep your shirt on when you’re having sex or turn the lights out. Whatever you’re battling, chances are that you’re not alone here.
Men don’t cry — but have you taken that too literally?
40% of men have never spoken to anybody about their mental health. If you’re closed off from that part of your life, it will be hard to connect with a partner. She will want you to be open and talk about your feelings.
To you, that may be an alien concept. Something that you can’t imagine or even a sign of weakness. We’ve all been there — we all drank the same KoolAid, right?
But you need to realize that it’s a toxic mindset. Real, elite, and strong men know the value of emotions.
Do you only speak on the surface level? Are you obsessed with small talk but never go deeper? We all wear masks from time to time. When you are cut off from others intellectually, it can protect you from ever talking about the real issues. That won’t work in relationships.
Building a life with a woman takes a certain level of openness. Yes, women are attracted to strong men. No one can deny that fact. However, they want strong men who can hold a deep and meaningful conversation. If you lack that level of intimacy, it’s a huge turnoff.
Learning how to excite women with your conversations is an art form — and, frankly, we need a whole other playbook on that.
But the basic foundations remain the same. You have to be willing to go deeper and offer them something new to work with. No woman wants to be bored to death by a man who constantly asks her, “What’s up?”
What causes men to have a fear of intimacy?
Intimacy is a natural part of being human — so why do some men fear it? It’s no shock that the answer lies in your history and childhood. If you have developed a fear of intimacy, chances are you have experienced a difficult period at some point in your life.
The Counseling Center for Sexual Health revealed some main reasons men harbor a fear of intimacy. You may have experienced one of the below or a combination of some or all of them. Here is a quick breakdown for you:
- Trauma or abusive relationships. If you’ve been in a relationship where it was physically or emotionally unsafe for you to be open, that will impact you. Experiencing any abuse can lead people to close off in some way.
- Childhood abuse. Experiencing early childhood abuse will have lasting effects. As you grow into a man, you may have learned that the right way to protect yourself is by closing off from those around you. Working through the trauma of childhood abuse can be challenging. However, the results of this arduous process are worth it.
- Addiction. Men who are battling addictions can find it hard to connect with others. These individuals suffer from a one-track mind. Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, or even sex, they can only think about what they are addicted to. That problem — if they don’t deal with it — can make being intimate with others almost impossible.
- Performance anxiety. Are you scared of how she will treat you? Are you worried that being emotionally available will make you less manly? Are you constantly afraid that you will get things wrong? Performance anxiety is a common issue for men. It doesn’t just have to be sexual. You can experience it in all aspects of life.
Let’s cut to the chase — you have to deal with the reason for your fear of intimacy.
That means taking control of your life and reclaiming your masculine power. The fear of getting close to a woman will stop you from having the relationships you deserve. Don’t let that happen. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve struggled with this; you must take action.
Best ways to overcome your fear of intimacy and build high-quality connections
Ready to start gaining the relationships you deserve? Your fear of intimacy has to go!
There’s no fast solution here — you must be willing to do the work and make it happen. I won’t lie to you. All too many men do not have what it takes to change.
If you are up for the challenge, I applaud you. It takes a real man to acknowledge that he has a problem, face up to it, and ultimately do something about it.
Now, there are countless strategies that you can try. However, not all will be successful. Here are some of the approaches that I have seen work firsthand.
1. Admit that you have a problem with intimacy
Step one will always be admitting that you have a problem.
As I have covered, this can often be the biggest hurdle for people. You may find it hard to put yourself out there and admit that the problem is yours and yours alone.
You don’t have to speak to anybody else about this issue — not yet — but you do have to admit it to yourself.
You are reading this playbook now means you’ve won half the battle. Yes, you are already on the road toward overcoming your problem.
2. Get the help of a talking therapist or expert
Never undersell the value of professional help. If your fear of intimacy is rooted in your childhood or an abusive past, getting some talking therapy will help you.
There are no two ways about it — eventually, you will need to deal with the problem.
Now only you can know what works for you. Some men find it helpful to speak one-on-one with a therapist each week. Other guys prefer to work with a life coach.
Don’t rush this process. Find an avenue that suits your life and can efficiently work for you.
3. Speak honestly and openly with your partner
If you have a wife or a girlfriend, you need to approach this matter with her.
Don’t kid yourself — she already knows you have intimacy problems. Yes, she will feel it in all areas of your relationship, whether you realize it or otherwise.
Don’t panic about how she will react. When you finally speak to her about this relationship issue, she will be relieved that you have been bold enough to say it. It’s important to let her know that you are aware of the problem and want to do something about it.
Listen to whatever she says on this front—her opinion matters. You might find that she has some insights that you have not considered or that she has some helpful advice.
4. Make a list of your long-term relationship goals
What is it that you want from a relationship? Where do you see yourself in five years? What do you want from a partner?
If you don’t know the answers to any of these questions, you will not be able to build the types of relationships you want.
We set goals for our careers; why not start setting goals for your relationship?
When you have a clear vision in sight, you will start to open up. Learning the importance of being intimate with your partner is the right place to start. Decide what you want and get it now.
5. Recognize and challenge any negative self-talk
How do you speak to and about yourself? When men struggle with a fear of intimacy, it can be rooted in anxieties. That manifests directly as negative self-talk.
Whenever you realize you are being negative about yourself, you must challenge that thought. As Don Draper would say, change the conversation if you don’t like what’s being said.
Reframe the way that you think about yourself. When you become the strongest version of yourself, you will naturally start to be open to partners.
Only the strongest men have what it takes to be 100% vulnerable with their partners. That’s a goal to work toward.
Harboring a fear of intimacy will ultimately hold you back in the dating game.
Women are looking for men who are emotionally and physically available. Forget chasing and vying for their attention. Those days will be over when you master how to become the strongest version of yourself.
As a grounded man who has his life together, they will start to chase you and you will notice a real difference in how you build intimacy with women.
You need to become the most elite version of yourself before you can find a woman to match you. In my relationship coaching program, I work with high-achieving men like you to reach their full potential. When you’re ready to reclaim your masculine power, the backing of a supportive community of experts is your secret weapon.
Since setting out, I’ve worked alongside true leaders to create a platform that completely transforms men’s mindsets and perspectives. Investing in yourself and your romantic future can help you overcome any setbacks.