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Read Letter

Fear of Intimacy

Dear Jack, like many men you have a fear of intimacy. You want physical intimacy and nakedness but not emotional nakedness with a woman. You’re locked in. You don’t want to bare your soul to avoid vulnerability. Like many men you find that uncomfortable.

Unfortunately your girlfriend doesn’t realise it has nothing to do with her. She has no problems with intimacy. In fact she relishes being vulnerable. That’s how women create responsibility of care. She’s just committed herself to you in an absolute exercise of trust. It’s inexplicable to a man.

You have native unexplainable fear of commitment though at some level it’s about being in control. Your holding back protects you from being vulnerable to someone. Stops the other party having leverage over you. Some of this though is repressed feelings – emotions from your childhood. You started holding back since then. With your repressed feelings you shut an iron door against memories of the past to take control of your present.

Your relationship with your dad wasn’t and isn’t exactly great. He never affirmed you. In fact he was MEAN! Child abuse coupled with wife abuse. You experienced constant abuse from a terrifying father, who himself never knew love growing up. You live with anger in your heart. You don’t know it but that anger seeps through your being. To protect yourself you always want to be in charge, to control all the variables. Makes you feel “safe”. That control makes it hard for you to express love. You’re trying to control your fears.

I’ve seen this before: people caught in the trap of needfulness, who yet wants total control in a relationship. They always want to have their way. And when things don’t go their way, dark clouds of anger. Unforgiveness uses such trapdoors to enter the house.

Unforgiveness is an expression of power. Control. It gives judgemental control over others, incarcerates people in cages of the heart. Such is the power of unforgiveness. The only thing though is that both the warder and the prisoner are locked up in the same prison. It’s hard to justify the case of a man who wants what he’s unwilling to give. If you want love, need love but you’re unwilling to give love, there’s going to be conflict, frustration. If you want love give love. That’s the law of life. What we want we must give. And you can’t be loved without being vulnerable, opening yourself up. That requires first and foremost emotional acceptance of needfulness. Needfulness is not anti macho.

Now I know some of the stuff Jil writes to you are heavy for you. But that’s because you’re not used to being loved. And so when she says, “I can’t live without you”, you get uncomfortable. It’s too heavy. You don’t reply. You’ve got to allow her to love you. You need her love. And she’s just being herself. Her heart is full of love. Let her buy you gifts, give you presents. Love gives. Don’t distance yourself on the inside. Don’t depersonalise yourself, watching your life from the balcony of your heart. It all boils down to trust, being able to trust someone with your emotions. It’s what emotional intimacy is all about.

Now I know you love her but you need to show it. A woman needs expression of love. She desires to be entrusted with your emotions, to be the trustee of your true feelings. It’s an aspiration men can’t easily understand. She wants to take care of you – if you give her the chance. Entrusting your feelings to her gives her some sense of purpose, and a special sense of responsibility. And I think God gave this woman to you having regard to your person and history. She’s what you need.

Now I’m not saying you must open your heart to any and everyone; that’s not wisdom. You can’t give your heart to the undeserving. You don’t cast pearl before swine. But this woman is different. And she’s invested her all in a remarkable feat of faith. It’s because she trusts you, wants you, sees her future in you. You’ve got to start to learn to trust. You’ve got to be vulnerable to draw on her capacities and strengths. That’s the way it works. It’s okay to be vulnerable with a loved one, with someone whose love cannot be doubted, whose commitment is unassailable. Real men cry! With her by your side you can work out the issues, let go of your fears one bony finger after another. Soon you’ll get to the place where you know no fear. Perfect love casts out fear. Don’t be remote. Don’t withdraw or view her with suspicion. She’s on your side. You’re in it together.

Start expressing yourself through simple gestures – cards, flowers, symbolic gifts… Call her. Just to chat about nothing, or just to tell her you’re thinking of her. Such gestures go a long way.

Now if it seems she wants to consume you with love – it’s the strength of her commitment. If it seems a bit too much remember, there are men praying to be in your shoes; men who want someone to care for them. Some will do anything to get that kind of attention, to get some care!

Life is a paradox. The headless is often capped, while the headed lacks a cap.

I think you’ve got yourself a wonderful woman!

Your mentor,


©Leke Alder 2014

Tags : Intimacy, Emotional, Fear

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