There are tons of reasons someone may develop intimacy issues. The trick is knowing how to make a relationship work despite those problems.
Being intimate with someone is crucial for a healthy and happy relationship. If you don’t have it, you’ll never be able to build the connection needed for a long-term love. That’s why you always want to fix intimacy issues with your partner ASAP.
When you can never be close with someone emotionally or even physically, you’ll begin to drift apart. That’s why allowing yourself to be vulnerable with someone else is so important. But what if you’re not the problem? What if the one person you have feelings for has a lot of intimacy issues?
What does having intimacy issues look like?
Many people have heard of intimacy issues, but they don’t actually know what it is. For most of us, these problems don’t exist because we enjoy getting close to people and sharing ourselves with them.
For others, however, those problems are real. If someone has intimacy issues, they share very little about themselves. They don’t divulge stories of their childhood and they can even hold you at arms-length, not allowing you to get too close physically, either. As you can imagine, this makes getting to know someone nearly impossible. [Read: 13 unique ways to build intimacy with your partner]
How to date someone with intimacy issues
Just because it may be more work doesn’t mean it can’t happen. There are plenty of people who end up having successful relationships even though their partner has a lot of problems when it comes to intimacy. They just figure out how to make it work.
And you can, too. It may take some time and it’ll be a learning process, but you can do it. In order to have a successful relationship with someone who has quite a few intimacy issues, this is what to do. [Read: The hardships of having a fear of intimacy]
#1 Never push them. Pushing someone to open up will only make them close themselves off to you more. You can’t force someone to tell you everything about who they are and why they have issues. You have to allow them to open up on their own terms.
#2 But offer them opportunities to open up. If you want them to let you in on their own terms, you have to give them opportunities to do so. You can’t just never try to get to know them. If you give them the space they need and then allow them to pull you in, they’ll do so. [Read: Foolproof ways to get your man to open up to you]
#3 Be open, yourself. You can help them open up by being an open book yourself. When someone with intimacy issues realizes there’s no reason for them to hold back when you are being so forthcoming with them, they’ll be more likely to show you who they really are.
#4 Show them your flaws. Another way to have success when dating someone with intimacy issues is to be honest about your flaws. Show them that you’re not perfect and you make mistakes. Doing this will prove to them that they don’t need to be perfect, either.
#5 Don’t allow them to avoid questions. Most people with intimacy issues have basically perfected the art of evasion. You ask a question, they find a way to not answer while still giving you something to work with.
Don’t let them do this. If you’ve asked an innocent question and they seem to be avoiding it, bring the conversation back to it until they can’t refuse anymore. However, you don’t want to do this in a way that seems pushy or it’ll have the opposite effect. [Read: 60 questions to ask to get to know your partner even better]
#6 Give them reassurance of your feelings. Many people with intimacy issues have them because they fear being hurt. They shield themselves from you in order to prevent pain. By assuring them that you have strong feelings for them here and there, they’ll be more likely to open up because they won’t be as afraid of being rejected.
#7 Recognize when they pull back the most and focus on that issue first. There are usually specific times you can pinpoint when someone pulls away from you. Is it when you try to get frisky with them? Is it when you ask about their past relationships?
When you find the specific moment they put that wall up, it’ll be much easier for you to figure out how to go about fixing the issue so they can open up.
#8 Talk about your past and encourage them to talk about theirs. Not only should all couples discuss their past relationships, but by learning their history, it can help you figure out why they’re so closed off.
#9 Don’t just allow it to happen. Don’t ignore their intimacy problems because they’re just that – problems. You need to address them in some form and work to get past them if you want to make a relationship with them successful.
#10 Determine if you care enough to help them through it. Do you have strong enough feelings for this person to go through the trouble of getting past intimacy issues? You need to. And if you don’t know if you like them enough just yet, work on getting to know them as much as you can.
#11 Realize that it won’t be easy all the time. Intimacy issues don’t evolve overnight and they won’t be gone in a day. You will have to work with them throughout some time in order to fix the problems. Just know that it won’t always be easy by any means. [Read: 10 big problems in a relationship and how to fix them]
#12 Don’t give them reasons to pull back. If they open up to you about something personal and you make fun of them for it, they won’t feel comfortable doing it again. So you have to be accepting of the things they say. Don’t judge them for who they are.
#13 Try to understand where they’re coming from. Put yourself in their shoes. If you felt like you could never open up to someone, it would be really lonely. So think about how they feel and how you’d want someone to go about helping you. Then do just that.
#14 Have an honest discussion about it. They probably know they have intimacy issues. They also probably realize that it can make being in a relationship with them quite difficult. What you need to do after a while is have an open discussion with them.
Tell them that you’ve noticed their detachment and that you still want to make it work because they’re worth it and you can’t see yourself with someone else. Knowing this and communicating honestly about it can help immensely. [Read: 12 conversations to have in order to feel closer]
#15 Be there for them when they need you. If they’re having a hard day and are upset, let them know you’re there to talk. Being there for them during hard times can help them trust you more. And the more trust they have for you, the more they’ll open up to you.