Fear of intimacy. There's no one who doesn't have it and it holds you back from building the love you desire . In this episode, I'll teach you how you can crack the code of your own fear of intimacy, so that you can change the patterns that push healthy love away.
Episode Table of Contents
- Fear of Intimacy Is Not a Pathology
- How To Change Your Patterns – The Wave of Distancing
- You Are Not Doing the Truest and Steepest Pathway to Find Love
- How Do You Avoid the Possibility of Love?
- The Abra Process
Episode Introduction: The Love You Desire
The biggest reason I think that we can't find healthy love is not our looks, and it's not our age, and it's not our weight. It's the ways in which we push the possibility of love away often without even knowing that we're doing it.
Take the journey of this episode with me, and when you finish, you will have a much richer sense of the ways you might be pushing intimacy away without knowing it. Stay tuned to The Deeper Dating Show.
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Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. Today, we're jumping into part two of a really important series of episodes on fear of intimacy and what to do about it. Follow the insights that you will gain in this episode, and you'll become a better version of you. You'll tap into what wisdom really is and your life and relationships will begin to open up.
Really. I'm Ken Page, and every week I'll give you access to the greatest insights, the most powerful practices, and the most essential findings I know to help you find love, and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process.
Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.
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You can also find the transcript of this entire episode on DeeperDatingPodcast.com. And by the way, if you like what you're learning here, it would be a fantastic gift to me if you subscribed on iTunes and left me your review. Thank you so much to all the people who've written such amazing and moving reviews on iTunes. I so appreciate it, and thank you to those of you who will.
I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It's not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment for any emotional, physical, or psychological condition. And if you're experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help.
And before we jump right in, if you're interested in applying these ideas to your own intimacy journey, you can go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and join my mailing list. You'll get a free gift from me, and you'll get notice of all my podcasts. And you'll get to hear about all my classes and ways to dive deeper into this work. So let's begin.
Fear of Intimacy Is Not a Pathology
So our first episode about the fear of intimacy was about understanding the fear of intimacy in a deeper, richer way. And the basic concept was that fear of intimacy is not a pathology, it's part of what it means to be human.
If we're breathing, we have fear of intimacy, because love is the greatest gift of all. Our vulnerability is the greatest risk of all. Trusting and loving are profound risks. And who would we be if we weren't scared in the face of that, we'd be ignorant. We'd be blind.
So the key concept from the last episode was this, that your fear of intimacy is there, all the places where you have fear of intimacy, where you consciously or unconsciously push love away, or ignore love, or avoid love, or isolate, or get defensive, or get prickly, or swallow your feelings, and don't share who you really are. All those different techniques that we're going to talk about today all come from a desire to protect something precious inside of us.
All of our fear of intimacy patterns are to protect something inside us that we find precious, that we don't feel safe sharing. And that's human. And that makes so much sense.
Our Psyche Knows When We Don't Know How to Protect The Precious Parts of Us
And then the other piece that I just want to share from the last episode is this, that our psyche knows when we don't know how to protect those precious parts of us, when we don't know how to fight for them, when we don't know how to dignify them, and to honor them, when we suppress them, when we act them out in ways that just don't really work.
Our psyche knows when we are not safe to reveal our authentic self. Because we haven't developed the skills to curate those parts of ourselves, and to live them with generosity, and courage, and clarity, and adulthood, and discrimination.
So our psyche does it for us when it knows we can't do it ourselves. How does it do it? It creates fear of intimacy patterns. It creates what I call flight patterns. Ways that we avoid love. It puts up a wall that we don't have control over because our deep psyche knows that left to our own devices we would not know how to honor those most treasured parts of us.
Recognize How You Push Love Away Without Realizing It
So now we're moving on to step two. And step two in this journey is the recognition of how we push love away often without even realizing it.
Step two is huge. It is not comfortable, and it's awkward. And as Vito Russo, the author Vito Russo said,
"The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable."
So we're going to be doing some hard stuff today. And that hard stuff is that you are going to identify ways that you push love away, maybe without even realizing it fully. And this is gold. It's awkward. I know it's uncomfortable. I know it's a strange thing to do, and it's humbling as hell to admit this stuff, because we want to not have to do this. We want to be kind of perfect. We don't want to have fear of intimacy. But we're starting with the premise that we do have fear of intimacy. That's a given.
What's next is, understanding how we flee the heat of love, and the heat of risk, and the heat of authenticity. And it's humbling. It's powerful. And when you know it, it's kind of an act of micro heroism to face this stuff. But we can do it. We absolutely can do it.
And I'm going to walk you through some very rich processes. Stick with me, don't flee, don't run away. And by the end of this episode, you will have a richer and more compassionate understanding of how you flee love, and glimpses of what you could do differently about that, because I'm also going to be teaching you a healing process for that.
How To Change Your Patterns – The Wave of Distancing
Now in our third class, we're going to talk in much more detail about how to change these patterns. And we're going to do some really rich work on how you can change the patterns that you're going to be able to identify through this episode now. So join me on this journey. We're going to take the next steps.
Since I'm asking you to be so brave, I'm going to go first, and I'm going to share with you some of the ways that I have fled and flee intimacy.
Well in earlier years, while I was looking for love, and I looked for it really hard, I was fleeing it, but I didn't know that. How is that true? It was true because the people who were kind and available turned me off. I just wasn't interested in them. As soon as I saw that they were really kind, and really decent, and that they liked me and were available, I would instantly kind of feel sick.
This is called the wave of distancing, and it is the single greatest saboteur of healthy new love that I know in the world.
And I'm going to be doing a number of episodes about this in the future. But for now, suffice to say that this destroyed decades of my search for love because I kept looking, and everyone who could have fit the bill that I could have built a home with, potentially in the world, grossed me out, and I fled. So that's one way.
How To Change Your Patterns – Talk To People You Love
Another way was that I was a kind of gay club kid in the 80s. And I just spent a lot of time in clubs and just that entire club scene and all that with it, the getting high, the sex.
And for those of us growing up and living gay in those times, especially in urban areas, sex was like the way that you looked for love. It was pretty ineffective. It never worked for me. But God knows I'd tried.
These days, with a family, with kids, with a loving, wonderful husband, with a kind of life that's very rich with love, how do I flee intimacy? I flee intimacy with business. And I flee intimacy with irritability. These are all issues that I am really well aware of, and I talk to the people I love about them, and on a regular basis apologize and struggle with them day to day.
So I thought I would just share that with you first just to be very real about this. And I'm still knocked to my knees by my fears of intimacy. I get back up a lot more quickly, and I have a lot of love to cushion me in my life. But all these things are true. They're really true.
You Are Not Doing the Truest and Steepest Pathway to Find Love
So okay, your turn. I'm going to read a story from my book Deeper Dating. And let me just say that if these ideas interests you, Deeper Dating is a course in a book that will teach you this entire journey. And you can also, if you want to do deeper work, go to my website, and you can learn about ways to do intensive work around this path, with other people that are also studying it.
But okay, I want to start with a story. And this is a story that I feel like captures the flight from intimacy in an incredible way. I love it. It's painful. It's difficult. But it just says it. So here's the story, and you may have heard it before. So there's this woman who loses a really valuable, beautiful necklace. And she's looking for it, looking for it. She's looking for it in her yard outside, and somebody passes by, and he says, "What are you doing?"
And she says, "Oh, I lost this really beautiful necklace, and I'm just searching everywhere for it." And the person says to her, "Do you remember where you had it last?" And she said, "Yeah, yeah, inside in the living room." And he said, "Why aren't you looking there?" And she said, "It's so dark in there."
So that story captures so much. Okay. And only gives you some examples of how we don't go into our living room. We look in the yard because it's easier. We don't do the realest, truest, steepest pathway to finding love because it's just too awkward and embarrassing, or annoying, or difficult.
You're Wasting Time Trying to Make Things Work with the Wrong Person
So we go online, and we try to meet zillions and zillions of people, but we never do the really hard part of the work, which is to recognize the ways we are avoiding love, at least as quickly as we're looking for it. So here's some examples. Wasting time trying to make things work with the wrong people. And remember, if you're dating somebody whose values don't inspire you, you are dating the wrong person.
And do you show your soul in your relationships, your passions, your tenderness, your quirkiness to people who inspire you? Do you share your edges, your emotional edges, your sexual edges, inappropriate time frames? Or do you just show a kind of airbrushed, less original version of yourself?
Are You Too Busy?
Here's another big one. Are you taking the time to meet people who share your values in real time, non-virtual settings? Is there really important inner work that you know you need to do, like addressing emotional or sexual abuse, or addiction issues that hold you back? Are you so busy looking for a relationship that you're shutting out all the rich love that's there for you already in your life?
Or are you, raises hand, once again, because I could have raised my hand for every one of these when I was single, or are you simply just too busy? Because when we're too busy, we miss the moments that lead us to connect with other people.
And if you live in an urban area, and you're professionally focused, there's an extra big chance that you are too busy. Now, I want to remind you, this is not to shame yourself. It is not to pathologize yourself. It is to do that beautiful, gorgeous act of saying, "I am human, and this matters enough to work on it."
And let me tell you, in my decades of work with people, it's the people who can do that, that inspire me the most, and who change the most, and who transform the most. It's a weird thing to do to say that you're pushing love away, but it's a golden thing to do, and it's a heroic thing to do. And it opens you into a much deeper self. And it opens up the possibilities of your future. So I just want to share one more story about me here.
Attend Events with People Who Share Your Values
I remember walking down the street one night in the city, with my dear friend Mindy, and I was kind of bemoaning my singlehood once again, and talking about how hard it is, and how hard I was trying to find somebody but not succeeding. And she said, "Ken, I know why you're not finding somebody." And I looked at her and I said, "You do?" And she said,
"Absolutely. You're not going to events with people who share your values. You're just looking in bars, and you're looking in clubs, and you're looking online. And you're not going to places where you can meet real people."
Well, I ignored that advice for like a decade. Fast forward to when I met my husband, two decades later, maybe. It was at an event like that. And even then I still resisted it because it's so damn hard to go to events like that. And two people really close to me had to confront me seriously and say, "Ken, why the hell are you not going to the Province Town Gay Family Week? You have a kid you want a husband?" And I was like, "Oh, most people are coupled there. I don't really want to do it."
And I was accosted by these two wonderful human beings who said, "You are going." And I listened. And I met my husband at that event. So that's just a story in my life. And now we're coming back to you.
How Do You Avoid the Possibility of Love?
And here's how I'd like to do it. I'm going to ask you a repeated question. And so, I'm going to ask this question, and you're just going to think about what your answer is, and you're going to share it from the most truthful place you can. And you could do this when you're walking down the street. You can do it when you're driving. You can do it when you're home, and you have a piece of paper, or when you're home, and you don't have a piece of paper.
But just take a moment to answer this question, the same question again and again, repetitively more honestly, as honestly as you can each time. The question's going to be, how do you avoid the possibility of love? And you just answer with whatever comes up for you. You could surprise yourself, as you do it.
But before I ask you that question, I want to read you a quote from a book called Emmanuel's Book, A Manual for Living Comfortably in the Cosmos. And here's the quote,
"Though you consciously long for a mate, there are parts of you that do not, that push the idea away, that hasten to lock the door when the other part of you has so carefully opened it."
How Do You Push the Possibility of Love Away?
And that's true for all of us. So now I'm just going to ask the question a few times. How do you push the possibility of love away? I'm going to ask it again. See what comes up. Just answer honestly. How do you push the possibility of love away? We're going to try a third time and ask the same question. You just say what comes up. How do you push the possibility of love away? Okay.
Now just take a moment. Just take a breath in and out, and think about what you said. And think about one way that kind of hit you the hardest. And what I want to say to you is that, that is gold. And it's a gold that maybe hurts at first, but it is gold.
And I have seen again and again that one of the places where you get the biggest bang for the buck in your transformation, is when you face the way you're pushing love away and make conscious efforts to change it. There was almost no greater bang for your buck. And when you step into the place where you do that, you step into the place of intimacy heroes, because most people are not willing to do it.
So, if you can do it, you are becoming your own intimacy hero. So what did you come up with? Now in this episode, we're not going to talk about how to change that, and how to fix it, and how to address it. We're going to do that in the next episode. But I'm going to teach you a next step. And the next step is this. It is holding this insight in a new way.
The Abra Process
Now this comes from a guy named Jim Kwik who teaches memory, and kind of brain building, and I love his work. He's got an exercise that he encourages his students to use when they're facing an obstacle, when they're facing a stuck point, when they're facing a limitation.
And I'm going to kind of like tweak it just a little bit, but use essentially his process. He calls it magic, and he says, "What does a magician do? Says Abracadabra." And this is the "abra" process. And the first step in that is acceptance. The second step is breathing into it. The third step is releasing. And the fourth step is aligning kind of with the new version of you. So we're going to do that ourselves now.
So here's what I want you to do. I want you to hold, and think about that part of you that you're admitting is a way that you push love away. And maybe your interrelationship like me, my example of kind of irritability or over business. What's your way in your journey? What's your way that you don't let love in enough. That you push away the possibility of love? What's your way?
Step 1: Accept
Okay, good. So now the first step is, and don't worry if you feel like you haven't found the perfect way, because if you found one way, that is great. So here's what I want you to do now, I want you to just kind of like accept, and acknowledge this. And just acknowledge yourself for owning it. And just realize that it really is a brave act, and it's an act of truth.
This step is so much of the foundation of the entire 12 Step Program. It's this brave facing of what is, of where we're stuck. That most people in the world do anything to avoid.
Step 2: Breathe
So, now what I want you to do, is kind of breathe into that. Just like hold it in your hands. Don't squeeze it. Don't fight it. Just let it be. But what you're going to do is you're just going to breathe into it and say, "Yep, I see this. It hurts. I do not love it. It limits me. But I can breathe into it and I can face it and see it." So just try that. Take a breath or two into it. Good.
And now I want you try something else. I want you to take a breath holding the possibility that you know of you being someone different. Just holding the possibility. You're not there yet, but you want to be there. Holding the new you, the potential you, and just take a breath and imagine that you.
Breathe in that you, then exhale. And do it again. Kind of breathe in a you that you dream of, who doesn't do this in the same way.
Step 3: Release
And now finally, well not finally, I want you to just picture releasing your marriage to this habit. Imagine releasing your marriage to this habit. Just imagine it. And even picture doing it now in your head. And now picture the you that you would be when, you're free from this. Picture that you, what that person's face would look like, what your eyes would look like, how you'd feel inside. And just kind of align with that you because that you IS you. That's the you that you're meant to be.
So just feel yourself as that you. And that's the process that we do to help the truth set us free, after it makes us a little bit miserable. And that is another piece that I want to share here is that,
For most of us, our fear of intimacy flight patterns, our flight patterns from intimacy are habitual. They become habits. So we grow to love them, we grow to marry them, we grow to connect with them, and that's part of what's going on.
So part of this is about changing habits, and we're going to talk about that in the next episode.
You're Not Going to Get the Love You Want Until You're Sober
But one other thing that I just want to say is, if the way that you are fleeing your loneliness, if the way that you're fleeing the possibility of intimacy is through substance abuse or an addiction, a drinking problem, a drug or alcohol problem, a gambling problem even, anything like that, if you are using substances to flee intimacy, you will not, no matter how fabulous your thinking is, no matter what great ideas you have until, this is my opinion, until you get sober, you're not going to get the love you want, and you're not going to be able to keep it and nourish it and let it grow.
So if you're thinking you might have a substance abuse problem, I think you could assume you do, because everyone underestimates that. There's very few people who go around saying, "I have a substance abuse problem. I really have to cut down." who actually in fact doesn't.
But the number of people who say, "No, I don't really have a substance abuse problem. I could stop. I really don't have that kind of a problem. That's not an issue." The number of people who minimize the reality of their problem is huge. And I say this to all of you. If you have a substance abuse problem, deal with it, and address it, because your world will open up more than you can imagine. And if you don't, you will make the same circles again and again in your life. And that's not a good thing.
Congratulations! You Have Faced the Fact That You Have Fear of Intimacy!
So you've just done a lot of work in this episode. You have actually faced the fact that you, as every other human being, has fear of intimacy. You've put words on it. And you've pictured a you that's beyond that. That's huge. That's beautiful, and huge stuff.
So remember, all of us have fear of intimacy. It is the extraordinary people who dive in and face it and decide to make changes. And if you have listened thus far, that type of person would be you. Really. So thanks for listening. I look forward to leading you into the third part of this series, and I'll see you at the next Deeper Dating.