A curious thing happened to me yesterday. I crossed paths with an ex-lover.
We talked at length about the present state of our lives and our history of labored romance in a completely aloof manner. Overall, a nebulous experience. I would neither encourage or deter anyone from trying catching up, then taking a stroll down memory lane with someone loaded with blackmail ammunition. Though there was something that caught me off guard. Apparently, the rumour mill is a buzz with the wildly inaccurate conclusion that I suffer from intimacy issues.
I cannot say that I am surprised by the accusation. My unflinching coldness toward those who have shared my bed was sure to bring these accusations upon me some day. If I may, I would like to defend myself against the accusation to those telling tales out of school with the staggering revelation below:
Aversion to physical affection is not indicative of intimacy issues.
Yes, aversion to physical affection is one of the many symptoms of intimacy issues, but it is most certainly not an invitation to jump straight to a conclusion. I don’t like to get close to you, or anyone for that matter, and that’s…
Are you familiar with tactile hypersensitivity? “It is an unusual or increased sensitivity to touch that makes the person feel peculiar, noxious, or even in pain.”
This is what I have as per my own self-diagnosis. This is why I maintain a physical distance, not because I have some issue with intimacy. When I am touched in any manner–affectionately or otherwise, I can feel all the skin on my body tighten. Whether it’s a kiss on the lips or a pat on the back, any physical affection expression bestowed to me feels as though I have been stabbed with an electrical current.
I quite like intimacy in theory. But alas, when I was a boy I fell through the cracks. I am a victim of the system. Should my parents have shipped me off to an occupational therapist for tactile desensitivty training? Yes, they should have, regardless of the fact that I didn’t exhibit any symptoms of tactile hypersensitivity until I was all grown up and attempting (yet failing miserably) at forging my own adult relationship. But they didn’t. They were too busy getting a messy divorce and now all I have to comfort me is the egg on the faces my accusers.
No need to apologize, accuser. Your humiliation is more than enough reparations for me. Just know that if I had intimacy issues, I’d have:
- a sketchy relationship history,
- problems communicating emotions,
- engage in forms of infidelity,
- addicted to new relationships
- and emotionally and physically distant…
Go ahead and ask any of my jilted ex-lovers (or maybe just the ones that aren’t still seething from the pain of being cheated on and replaced by a new relationship as quickly as they came into my life). Mine is a story of injustice, not issues with intimacy.
This is the Catch-22 I live everyday: tactile hypersensitivity gets me accused of intimacy issues, because I must be physically distant for self-preservation purposes (physical comfort, nothing more), and that makes it hard for me to open up emotionally because I know that person trying to touch me is an accuser-in-waiting. And why should I open up to them emotionally and physically, enduring the searing hot pain of their touch, if it is only baseless accusations of intimacy issues waiting for me after withstanding such torture?
Ultimately, I choose to be embalmed by solitude, perfectly preserved by isolation, than in the terrible pain of a warm embrace. Does that mean I have intimacy issues? No. It means I have the wherewithal to know that intimacy is not worthy of me.
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