You’re angry—a lot
There are many types of anger, and it helps to figure out what type you’re expressing. A deep, subconscious fear of intimacy can rear its ugly head, showing up in response to a relationship that is becoming uncomfortably close, and one way this fear can manifest is via anger. “Constant explosions of anger indicate immaturity, and immature people cannot form intimate relationships,” says John Mayer, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Doctor On Demand. Everyone gets angry sometimes, but if you find feelings of anger bubbling up constantly, or inappropriately, a fear of intimacy may be lurking underneath. The fix may not be easy, or quick, but communicating your feelings to your partner can help. “Talking it out is key here. Foster vigorous, frequent, honest, and open communication. Don’t deny these intimacy issues exist, and put them on the table with the person you are interested in,” suggests Dr. Mayer.
You’re scared not to be perfect
We all want to be loved, warts and all, but that takes trust, and the ability to risk rejection. “People in relationships are constantly asking themselves, in one way or another, if they can trust the other person. Can they show their flaws, or risk being embarrassed? The way to move past this fear is to take measured risks,” says licensed marriage and family therapist, Jenn Kennedy. Being loved for who you really are is an incredible gift, but you have to show your partner the real you, if it’s ever going to happen. “Give your partner the chance to show up for you, and see how it works out. If it goes well, risk doing something bigger, and more important,” suggests Kennedy, who also stresses the importance of verbalizing your fears, and feelings. “This is a great way to help the other person soften, and be more open. For example, if you say ‘I’m afraid you won’t respect, love, or find me attractive if I do this,’ It lets your partner express a willingness to not reject you,” she explains. Nobody’s perfect. No matter who are you, or might have done in the past, coming clean about it will free you up, allowing emotional intimacy to take the place of fear. You can also gauge whether your partner is trustworthy by looking for these signs.