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MAKING IT WORK : Let Heart Overrule Sometimes to Overcome Fear of Intimacy

March 24, 1993|SHERRY ANGEL

Deeper, multidimensional relationships await men who are willing to risk being open and vulnerable with women, says Laguna Beach therapist Steven Farmer. He offers the following suggestions to help men overcome their fear of intimacy:

* Separate feelings from actions. You don't have to act on every sexual impulse. Taking time for non-sexual cuddling will help you become less action- and goal-oriented, freeing you to pursue more emotional closeness with your mate.

* Abstain from sex for a brief period of time so that you can focus on your feelings. This should help you determine whether you've been using sex as a substitute for emotional intimacy.

* Take some risks with men as well as women in expressing your hopes, dreams, fears and needs. Intimacy requires self-disclosure, and if this is mutual, your relationships will be richer.

* Listen to your mate without evaluating or advising. Women often complain that they can't talk about their problems because their men feel compelled to offer solutions. They want men to listen with interest and concern--not take action.

Farmer said that if men are to become more comfortable with emotional intimacy, it's important for women to also be good listeners. Women can help by expressing their emotional needs clearly and showing appreciation when men demonstrate sensitivity and vulnerability.

Farmer offered one more suggestion for women: If you want your man to be more open with you, let him know you find him sexually desirable. That's the kind of inspiration he needs to risk real intimacy.

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