Philophobia: Why Do We Fear Love?

For most people, love is the ultimate ideal. We crave it, we seek it, we cherish it when we receive it. However, not everybody is so willing to open up their heart and experience everything that love has to offer. Why is that? Why are some of us scared of love?

Just as some people believe that love is all a relationship needs, there are individuals who struggle with love avoidance and find love a terrifying concept. While certain levels of fear are completely normal to most of us, people suffering from philophobia are terrified of falling in love and being in an emotional relationship with another person.

Read on if you wish to better understand philophobia and learn how to deal with it.

How Do You Know If You’re Afraid Of Love?

By definition, philophobia is an intense and irrational fear of being in love which causes great emotional distress and interferes with your normal life. It can be manifested in a wide variety of ways depending on the person and circumstances.

Common Signs Of Philophobia

If you’re wondering if philophobia is to blame for the lack of genuine emotional intimacy in your relationships, you should look out for the following symptoms:

  • You experience intense panic or fear at the thought of emotional closeness.
  • You show signs of love avoidance.
  • You sweat profusely in intimate situations.
  • You experience rapid heartbeat and difficulty breathing.
  • Your new love interests open up old wounds.
  • You struggle with vulnerability in your relationships.
  • You have difficulties in your daily life because of your fear.

If more than a few of these symptoms apply to you, it’s very likely that you, in fact, struggle with philophobia. Most of the time, fear of love feels overwhelming and even though you are aware that your fear is unreasonable, it’s very likely that you feel incapable of controlling it.

Why Am I Afraid To Accept Love?

But why are some people terrified of love? What causes philophobia exactly?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, it has been shown that philophobia is more common among individuals with unresolved past trauma, whether in their past relationships or childhood abandonment issues. Often, we fear and run from love because we wish to avoid getting hurt once again.

Why Do We Fear Love?

If you wish to better understand why you fear love so much, read the following statements and see if they resonate with you:

  • I can’t stand being vulnerable in front of another person. Showing our true feelings and deepest fears can be frightening. By being vulnerable, you give the other person a chance to hurt you and that makes you terrified.
  • New relationships bring back painful memories. If you’ve experienced trauma in your past relationships, it’s only natural that you don’t want to relive the pain again. Unfortunately, getting close to a new person may stir up your past hurts.
  • I feel unlovable. Sadly, many of us feel like we aren’t worthy of love and happiness. This is often caused by hurts from early childhood as well as by negative feelings our parents harbored towards themselves. Such feelings can hold you back from falling in love.
  • I fear happiness because it’s always followed by pain. Are you afraid of giving your all to another person and feeling immense happiness, just be disappointed and devastated in the end? If you feel like joy and pain go hand in hand, that may be one of the culprits for your philophobia.
  • I worry that I am incapable of loving someone truly. You may be hesitant to enter a relationship because the person “loves you too much” and you fear you won’t be able to reciprocate or that you will fall out of love and hurt them in the end.
  • You are scared of losing yourself in the relationship. Some people are scared of falling in love because they feel like the relationship won’t give them the space they need to be themselves.

How Do You Accept Love?

Philophobia has a way of making us feel like we don’t belong or like we are missing out on all the beautiful aspects of love. While we may be terrified of letting go and loving another person, that doesn’t mean that we don’t crave affection and emotional connection.

How To Overcome The Fear Of Love

If you are aware of all the ways in which your fear of love is holding you back, you’re probably looking for a way to change and learn how to embrace love. However hard it may be, overcoming philophobia is entirely possible. Here’s how you should go about it.

  • Examine your past hurts. Understanding the history of your pain and fears is the first step towards healing. Try to get at the root of your philophobia and start from there.
  • Learn how to love yourself first. As you probably already know, you can’t truly love someone unless you love yourself. Make an effort to accept your flaws and take time to heal your wounds.
  • Stop listening to your critical inner voice. We all have that inner critic that prevents us from letting go and being vulnerable. Learn its triggers and do your best not to listen when it speaks.
  • Choose your partner carefully. While we don’t choose who we love, you should make sure your new love interest is worthy of your love. Take your time and look out for red flags in the dating phase.
  • Learn how to be vulnerable. Feeling your feelings deeply and opening up your heart to the right person is the ultimate goal of overcoming philophobia. It will take time, but learning how to be vulnerable will surely set you free.

Change Your Ways With Professional Emotional Intimacy Coaching

At PIVOT, we strive to assist couples and individuals on their journey to healthier emotional lives. By sharing your fears and hurts with our PIVOT Advocates, you will learn how to love yourself and let other people in, one step at a time.

Whether you wish to attend an intensive relationship coaching retreat or try our effective individual coaching sessions, PIVOT is the perfect way to start changing your life for the better. Give us a call and start seeing love in a new light!