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The Dance

A close friend and I had a conversation once about why we seemed to only attract or be interested in unavailable men. With her it was more clear-cut - those in relationships, those who live in different states, etc. With me, it was more emotional. Men who weren't in touch with their feelings, who were afraid to talk about their fears and dreams and those fearing intimacy.

I’ve written on the subject before and like before I realize that being intimate with someone takes a lot of trust. I have never felt like I had to prove I was trustworthy — to anyone. I’m honest and loyal – personality traits that are inherent. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have intimacy issues of my own but I didn’t recognize them in others until I started doing the dance.

At first I danced alone. I don’t have a problem with solo activities so it was all good. Then, a potential partner approached. I was a bit hesitant as I hadn’t danced with a partner in some time but I wanted to dance with him and he seemed to have some rhythm so I said, “show me whatchaworkin’ with.” And we danced. Had a hell of a time too… and got closer somehow. We felt comfortable in the space and then drew even closer.

But all of a sudden, my partner must have realized he was leaving himself open, perhaps vulnerable to an emotional or personal attack of some sort. He turned and ran – but not so far that I couldn’t see him. I stood bewildered like, “What did I do?” I felt as if I was being punished and didn’t want to dance again right away but, the music was right and I started to dance by myself again. And my partner made his way back – with no apology for the abrupt behavior and no explanation of why he retreated like Megatron.

I was suspicious but remembered the good time we had prior to his disappearance and after a while, we began to dance again. I thought everything was back to normal and we could resume dancing with the same closeness. Wrong. I took a step forward, he stepped back. I stepped back and he came forward. Again I was confused but I came forward and he stepped way back. Angry and hurt, I simply stopped dancing. I left, but we would meet again to replay the entire scenario.

And so it was, we saw each other out again and had the opportunity to dance. I was scared but still wanted to dance with him. I promised myself I would keep my distance and not be drawn in, but I broke my promise. Everything was repeated. The closeness, the retreat, the return and another retreat. Suddenly my feet were very tired. But not tired enough to keep me from turning and walking away.

Fear of Intimacy

I hope my metaphor wasn’t too difficult to follow. What this is about is the behavior pattern that is driven by fear of intimacy. It took me three years to understand this about someone I loved. Whenever he felt we were too close or that they had shared too much with me, he immediately began to set up boundaries and be “private” in areas where previously, he had not. That, and I think he always wanted to “box me in.” E.g. If I define her as X, I can feel X and we’ll have X amount of intimacy. I was suckered more times by this behavior than I care to mention – until everything became clear. It was a cycle I clearly needed to avoid. As an emotionally sensitive individual, it was seriously unhealthy — having to “lose” him every time he retreated.

I don’t think it matters how much you love someone… if they are afraid of getting close to you, or leaving themselves vulnerable, my feeling is they’ll never “come around” or “snap out of it.” If you’re real with yourself, that’s when you let go. If intimacy is your heart’s desire, you need to find someone who is able to give it to you. I also believe that true intimacy can foster greater love and understanding. I haven’t found that yet. I’ve been close to people but never danced the true dance without one of us being scared. Which makes me think that if you find that oh-so-special-someone, who you can be open with… and be your absolute worst with, well then, maybe you’ve found someone you shouldn’t live without.

I like to dance and I don’t mind doing it solo… and I’ll wait for the day I am blessed to find a partner who will never back away.

Originally Written: November 6, 2004


Hi. I'm Valerie. Glad you're here – come on in and sit a spell. I've never put so much of my writing online but I share my personal experiences in hopes that I help someone in some way. I hope you find something you read thought-provoking, amusing or encouraging. Reach out or comment if you like. Please forgive the typos, grammar and cussing. Thanks for stopping by.

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