The Real Reason You’re Afraid Of Love

Meeting your soulmate and falling in love is the premise to a lot of movies for a reason. Whether it’s a romantic comedy classic like “Sleepless in Seattle” or a tearjerker like “The Notebook,” we can’t help but fantasize about what it’s like to experience an all encompassing romance. The kind of love that makes you stand on top of the Empire State Building waiting to meet someone you’ve only heard on the radio. Or the kind of passion that makes you wait for your former flame to come back to you, even if it’s been nearly a decade. While this type of deep commitment can sound like a fairy tale for some, many are also terrified by this type of closeness.

According to Psychology Today, there’s a variety of reasons that make us afraid to truly commit to someone. New relationships can make us feel vulnerable, bring up past trauma, stir up existential fears, and even make us concerned that we’ll lose our identities. “While our fears may manifest themselves in different ways or show themselves at different stages of a relationship, we all harbor defenses that we believe on some level will protect us from getting hurt,” writes Lisa Firestone, a clinical psychologist. “These defenses may offer us a false illusion of safety or security, but they keep us from attaining the closeness we most desire.”

How to overcome your concerns and open yourself up to a fulfilling relationship

For some, the fear of falling in love can be so severe that it can actually be debilitating. The term used to describe this extreme anxiety is philophobia, which is a disorder that can cause social isolation, depression, or even substance abuse (via Brides). Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken to help you move beyond this panic and help you to enjoy a meaningful partnership with someone you care about. The first major step is to identify what you’re most afraid of when it comes to being close with someone.

Once you’re aware of what’s causing your hesitation, it’s important to allow yourself to fully embrace those feelings. “Getting to know our fears of intimacy and how they inform our behavior is an important step to having a fulfilling, long-term relationship,” Firestone explains. The psychologist recommends taking time to pick a worthy partner that treats you well, that you trust, and you can be yourself around. It’s also important to remember that it’s fine to take things slow in a new relationship because trust and comfort takes awhile to build, but when you do, it’s absolutely worth it.

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