Fear of falling in love or Philophobia makes you scared of developing an intimate emotional connection with a person. While many people find love ecstatic and exciting, you might find falling in love equally scary. You just cannot trust someone to fall in love with anyone, and might often find yourself dealing with social seclusion, substance abuse, and depression.
Fear of falling in love comes from a root cause that has been there in your life since your childhood. You might be unaware that you’re suffering from fear of vulnerability, fear of intimacy, abandonment or getting hurt, unhealed emotional wounds or any kind of mental and psychological illness. Any kind of mental and psychological disorders starts developing from your beginning years of life, e.g., past relationship experiences, trust issues, abandoned by family, loneliness, depression, etc. Philophobia can affect you mentally, psychologically as well as physically in the form of chest pain, difficulty in breathing, panic attacks, anxiety, restlessness, nausea, etc.
But whatever that has caused you a fear of love, know that it is not permanent, and you can overcome your philophobia, because you are enough and you have the power to take charge of your life. And the foremost reason is, you can.
Here are some approaches that can help you through your journey.
Related read: Why Do You Have Fear Of Love? – Psychological Causes
1. Learn to love yourself first.
What does ‘self-love’ mean in the first place? Self-love is loving yourself and putting your needs before others so that you won’t feel uncomfortable dealing with your life problems. Before you could love others, you need to have a positive outlook about yourself. When you start loving and respecting yourself for who you are, it can enhance your confidence and personality. What we believe strongly in our hearts, will eventually start manifesting in our lives. That’s why, start saying positive and uplifting affirmations to yourself. For example, “I’m lovable”, “I’m funny”, “I’m amazing” and likewise. When you start loving yourself, you start feeling your resilience, strength, and completeness.
2. Work on your shadow aspects.
We all have a pretended persona and a shadow self. When you overlook your shadow self and just focus on pretending to become a part of the society, it is then; you develop various psychological issues. Because then you aren’t being real to yourself, you have shadows which are working against you. Since you’ve given the power of your wellbeing to your shadows, you start suffering various way.
Loving yourself includes confronting your shadow self, so that you can evolve by removing your shadows and empowering your real ‘self’. Doing shadow work, one can achieve that goal. Loving yourself means, respecting yourself, valuing yourself while at the same time, not overlooking and ignoring your shadow aspects. As soon as you start being kind and compassionate to yourself, others will start acknowledging that glow up and follow it. They will imitate you and give you the respect, love and recognition that you deserve.
Related read: Why Do You Have Fear Of Love? – Psychological Causes
3. Be honest with yourself and your feelings.
You can deceive others with your pretending persona, but if you’re doing the same with yourself, then you’re fooling yourself. It’ll do you more harm than you can imagine. You need to be honest with yourself. To start with that, first, you need to find the roots of your fears. Why do you have philophobia or fear of falling in love? What causes you this fear of intimacy? And do not lie with your answers. If you overlook the root causes, it won’t make your life better.
The best part with being honest with yourself is you can say anything to yourself, and there is no fear of vulnerability with yourself. Most likely, your fear of love has derived from your internalized fears of loss and/or emotional pain. For instance, your past relationships have scarred you something deep and snow you cannot anymore bring yourself to love someone. The thought alone seems scary to you, and you’re afraid to being hurt again. There’s a certain pattern because of which you keep others at a distance and you need to recognize it and acknowledge it first.
It’s normal to protect ourselves, but if you keep pushing away the right people, then you could be missing out on a great experience of life, that is, love. We all know the cliched expression, “Love makes us feel alive.” But the point is, this expression is entirely true. Love makes us feel pleasure, passion, and liveliness, along with making us more susceptible to hurt and loss. Sure, falling in love reminds us of previous hurts, but it also awakens us to existential realities.
4. Realize that it’s fine to be vulnerable.
It can be hard to be truthfully open and authentic with another person. While you’re getting over the persistent fear of being loved, take slow but consistent steps to reveal your vulnerable side to this person. Emotional intimacy is crucial to being close with somebody you care about.
If you are independent in other aspects of your life, you may not feel the need of your partner’s advice; you don’t necessarily have to take it, but if you open up to your partner, ask for their advice, it can strengthen your relationship. Your spouse would be happy and feel needed. If you don’t usually trust someone other than yourself, now is the time to start breaking the barriers you have built up within yourself.
5. Realize that it requires time to build trust.
Breaking your fear of falling in love will not happen overnight. It’s a long-time race – not a fast one. You don’t necessarily need to approach and fall for a new person the moment you start interacting with them. Overcoming the philophobia needs time. You cannot get over your trust issues overnight. Acknowledge that truth and don’t get frustrated just yet. It’s a good idea to take things slowly. This will give you the time you need to process your true feelings, measure relationship values, and build a foundation of trust. Make a conscious effort to be more relaxed with your partner. Falling in love can be a fun process if you let yourself feel it, and when you are finally willing to take risks, you will find that the worthy reward that you deserve.
6. Demand yourself to let your guards down.
If you keep repeating the old patterns, you’ll feel the same feeling of comfort and safety. But this will bring you nothing but loneliness. You keep your guards up, to keep yourself from getting hurt all over again. It makes you feel lonely, unfulfilled, out of love, because you are afraid to let your defenses down. Certainly, your defenses act like a heavy protective covering on earth, but they aren’t allies. Because it is your defenses which are stopping you from achieving your goals of happiness. Your guards can be the foremost and/or real reason, you might be self-sabotaging yourself.
It may sound scary and dangerous to open up to someone else, because as a child we might not have expressed our feelings to our family, but these patterns need not to repeat themselves to create issues in your current relationships. Because you have the control to break it. Perhaps you’ve pretended you do not need help to protect yourself from the pain of feeling neglected or invisible, and this behavior in return has made you more guarded and now you cannot let anyone see inside yourself. This attitude can make it difficult for you to accept the love today. In your childhood, you might’ve learned how to adapt to the circumstances, so it is possible for you to combat these natural behaviors likewise till today. But with time, you can break your guards down and let the person enter your life to form a healthy relationship.
7. Take risks.
No change will come if you don’t make effort to make it happen, and for that, you need to take risks. Don’t be afraid to the new experiences. Be cautious, but be open. Unless you take risks to the unknown amazing possibilities, it’ll be difficult to overcome your fear of falling in love.