Philophobia, or the state of being afraid of love, originates from the Greek word “Φίλος” which means ‘loving or beloved’.
People who suffer from this phobia fear romantic love and emotional attachments of any sort. Whilst this condition may sound rare, a lot of people are afraid of love, even if they don’t recognize it in themselves.
There can be many complex reasons why people are afraid of love, but there are also some common patterns we can observe.
1. It sparks painful memories from previous relationships
Most of us carry baggage from previous relationships, and unfortunately, we often take it with us into new relationships. It’s not unusual to project old insecurities onto a new partner, especially if the wounds have not completely healed from previous trauma.
And it’s not just romantic relationships that can have a negative impact on new relationships, hang-ups from our childhood and relationships with our parents can also cause us to resist falling in love.
2. It means you have to stay away from a plan
Opportunities to fall in love often crop up at unexpected, and inconvenient times. Many people start to panic when they suspect they could be falling in love because they know it will interfere with the plan they have set themselves.
This early but critical stage can make or break a new relationship. It comes down to how willing each person is to be flexible with their plans, and how willing they are to take a punt on the unknown.
3. It makes you worry about losing someone
The idea of being abandoned is a deep-rooted fear amongst most people. It’s natural that within the excitement of falling in love, you also consider what it would be like to lose this person, whether through splitting up or bereavement.
For some people, the fear of losing someone will be so great, that they would rather not love at all.
4. It makes you question who you are
In many ways, the people we fall in love with are a mirror of who we are. As a result, falling in love often comes with a lot of soul searching and self-reflection. Not only do we obsess over the information we’ve told prospective partners, we fret over how they view our life.
However, once you’ve pushed past these anxieties, the acceptance you feel when you fall mutually in love surpasses any initial worries.
5. It changes your relationships with the people you’re closest to
It can be hard for others to adjust to seeing you in a pair. When you’re single, you have much more time to dedicate yourself to friendships and family. As a result, people have certain expectations of your availability, and they often find it hard to adjust to this changing with a new relationship.
It’s important to communicate with loved ones how you’re feeling at the beginning of a new partnership, so they can provide adequate support.
6. You have witnessed other relationships breaking down
For many children of divorce, the idea of marriage is totally redundant. They’ve witnessed how much pain splitting up caused their parents and those around them, so they have little desire to repeat this pattern.
Even those who haven’t been through such childhood trauma can be jaded by experiences they’ve witnessed. From friends and loved ones being cheated on, to helping those who are grieving the loss of a partner, there is undeniably a lot of heartaches involved in love.
Whilst most people will identify with these common fears, the majority of us still aspire to fall in love. It may seem ridiculous when you consider the heartache that is often involved, however, it can be the greatest feeling when you find someone who loves you completely as you are.
The best way is to start each relationship as a blank canvas, to love as you’ve never had your heart broken, and to accept that you’re in for a rollercoaster ride. And, if it doesn’t work out the first time, know that it’s is possible to love, and be loved again.
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