Many of us grew up on Disney movies and fairy tales and whether we realize it or not, they have greatly influenced our views on love at a very early and impressionable age. From Snow White and Cinderella to Beauty and the Beast, iconic fairy tales offer many subtle messages and lessons to be learned, but there is nearly always some type of love story at the heart of them.
Our young minds absorbed all the tales of princes and princesses until we internalized certain ideals of love and what our perfect relationship should look like, often believing that love always wins in the end no matter what. Then our teenage years and early adulthood came along and brought with them our first heartbreak, and everything we thought we knew about love came crashing down like a house of cards.
For most people, this is a learning experience we eventually get over and put behind us, but sometimes this can prove to be much more difficult. One heartbreak may be followed by another, until we begin to grow weary of love and start to develop a fear of intimacy. Perhaps you can identify with the above example, but childhood fairy tales are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how we develop our attitudes on love and intimacy as adults.
There are different reasons why people may struggle with intimacy in relationships, so let’s start from the beginning and take a look at what intimacy actually is.