“When you are in love you know no fear or hatred. When you are fearful there is no possibility of love or hatred. And when there is hate, there is only hate.”
― Christopher Pike
Does the notion of being in love and forging a deep emotional connection with someone petrify you to the point where you feel like you are about to have a heart attack just by thinking about giving your heart to someone? Does the idea of a committed, romantic relationship make you feel trapped and you can’t imagine yourself sharing your life with another person?
Erica Jong says it rather humorously, “And it all comes out so lame. I love your mouth. I love your hair. I love your ears. I want you. I want you. I want you. Anything to avoid saying: I love you.”
Is that you in the description above? I have good news for you! Well, not so great news actually. I think you might have philophobia.
The fear of love (or falling in love) phobia is known as Philophobia. The word originates from Greek “filos” which means ‘loving or beloved’. Individuals who suffer from this phobia fear romantic love or forming emotional attachments of any sort. As far as unusual phobias are concerned; Philophobia certainly ranks high in the list.
This phobia is more common in women than in men. The condition can greatly affect one’s life to an extent that it becomes difficult to commit or form healthy relationships. Such people tend to live their lives in solitude. Sometimes, the person loves but it causes emotional turmoil in their minds.
This can be caused by witnessing parents separate, witnessing any kind of domestic violence or mistreatment at home as a child, past or present experiences, anxiety disorders, lowered levels of self-esteem, fear of rejection, etc.
Are you getting suspicious? Below are a list of symptoms that will confirm or discard your doubts. If you can relate to just one or two of these signs, don’t panic.
- You feel trapped when in a relationship.
- You place a lot of value on your singleness.
- You have trust issues because you’ve been hurt one too many times.
- You are unable to open up to others for fear that they’ll use what you say against you.
- You are afraid of getting your heart broken.
- You can’t let go of the past because it hurts too much.
In regard to this, Ellen Bass said, “If the people who said they loved you abused or neglected you, it can feel terrifying to love again…Commitment or love with a family feeling can be scarier still. The child in you still equates commitment with being locked into a situation where there’s no escape. So as you get closer, you may become paralyzed by all your old defenses & memories.”
And C. JoyBell C. added, “All the things that people do in order to show that they don’t need anybody… meanwhile, all they really want to do is say, “Please keep me.” We all want to be kept. The problem is we are too afraid to let anyone know about it. What are these fragile things in our hearts that have so much fear of being broken?”
In case you’ve just realized that you’re scared of love, the most important thing to understand is that what you’re going through doesn’t make you who you are. Your fear of love is just a side effect and it doesn’t define you in any way.
Take time out to process this information and stay relaxed (no matter how weird that sounds). Philophobia is just like any phobia out there. Don’t blame yourself for going through it. Over time, you will discover that while the concept of love may be frightening to you, it can also be one of the most beautiful and amazing things life has to offer.
Final words by Paramhansa Yogananda, “If you want to be loved, start loving others who need your love. If you want others to sympathize with you, start showing sympathy to those around you. If you want to be respected, you must learn to be respectful to everyone, both young and old. Remember, whatever you want others to be toward you, first be that yourself, then you will find others responding in like manner to you.”