If the man you love has emotional walls built up, you may feel overwhelmed at the idea of breaking them. While you love him and want him to feel the same connection to you that you do to him, you might now know exactly how this is possible. There may be reasons behind his fear of intimacy that you cannot see, and being patient with him is most likely the only way to get him to be vulnerable with you. By continuing to support him and by allowing him to work through his issues, you will eventually get the man you love to lower his emotional walls.
Find the Cause
There is most likely a deep, fundamental cause behind the fact that your lover has emotional walls built up. Perhaps an experience in childhood or a terrible breakup is to blame. Whatever the case, a man probably will not be able to function well in a relationship if he has experienced trauma in the past, according to Seth Meyers, clinical psychologist with the L.A. County Department of Mental Health. Figuring out what experience or experiences are leading to his fear of closeness is the first step to breaking down his emotional walls. By getting professional help from a counselor or another trusted source, your man will be able to get the assistance he needs to shed light on his past.
Do Not Condemn Him
Condemning your man for being afraid of intimacy is the last thing you should do to help him open up to you. Blaming him for his fear or using his flaws against him is a bad idea, according to Lisa Firestone, author of "Conquer Your Critical Voice". Instead, staying compassionate and open to your partner's problems will help him feel safe and accepted in your relationship. If he feels secure, he will slowly realize that you are not going to hurt him as others have in the past.
As you prove to your man that you are committed to him no matter what struggles he is dealing with, he will recognize that your devotion is legitimate and that he can share his heart with you without fear of pain or rejection. He might even be subconsciously "testing" you to see if you will stay around, even if he has emotional walls that are hard to break down. By being supportive and letting him know you are here for him, he will learn to trust you, and your relationship will become more rewarding.
Tackle Change Together
Let your love know that you recognize there is a valid reason for his fear of intimacy, and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to help him overcome it. Practicing new ways of thinking can help lead to deeper connections with others, according to Dusty Miller, author of "Stop Running from Love: Three Steps to Overcoming Emotional Distancing and Fear of Intimacy." Encourage your partner to replace negative thoughts with one that is positive and uplifting. By working with him to overcome his fear, you will demonstrate to him that he is never alone in the challenges life brings.
- Psychology Today: Fear of Intimacy in Men: Cause, Relationship Problems, Tips
- Stop Running from Love: Three Steps to Overcoming Emotional Distancing and Fear of Intimacy, Page 8
- Chicago Now: Emotional Walls: No One Should Have to Break Them Down But You
- Psychology Today: Fear of Real Intimacy
- PsychAlive: Understanding Fear of Intimacy
Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.