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Gamophobia – The Fear of Marriage

Gamophobia – The Excessive Fear of Marriage


Do you get the feeling you’re not cut out for marriage?

Do you dread the thought of settling down with someone for a lifetime?

When a relationship becomes too intimate, do you find yourself seeking an escape hatch? Perhaps you avoid conversations about marriage or starting a family.

It’s not surprising that you want little to do with marriage. After all, given the rising divorce rates, it’s normal to have some doubts. However, an intense dread of marriage or commitment may be a sign of something more serious.

If your negative response to the idea of marriage has become excessive, you may have gamophobia. And the first step in addressing gamophobia is admitting you have it. This means acknowledging your fear of marriage.

Now, let’s discover its possible causes.

What Is Gamophobia?

Are you curious about the meaning of gamophobia?

Gamophobia, or the fear of commitment, is an irrational fear associated with marriage.

What do you fear if you have gamophobia? People with this phobia develop anxious thoughts when they think of marital relations or long-term relationships.

There is a type of mild anxiety that naturally occurs when people are preparing for marriage. But the fear of commitment is different than that. Though it’s normal to feel anxious while preparing to get married, the fear of marriage goes beyond a transitional fear.

Many have been robbed of relationships because they simply could not deal with the anxiety that arose from intimacy. Others simply can’t figure out why they dread settling down.

A hallmark of this phobia is a fear of the unknown. You may fear the outcome of your relationship. As with other similar phobias, you are overly concerned about what the future holds.

What Causes Gamophobia?

While it can be hard to define the leading cause of gamophobia, several factors may be attributed to what causes fear of marriage.

Fear of Commitment

Marriage involves some self-sacrifice and pain. It’s no wonder not everyone is willing to take on such a huge responsibility. Building and sustaining a life-lasting relationship requires devotion. It takes a lot to be intimate with another human being, possibly for the rest of your life.

Divorces and Separations in Society

The number of divorces and separations, and the devastation they leave behind, could be another cause. One could feel discouraged to put themselves in a situation where they may have to go through the same. This, however, doesn’t have to be the case for your relationship.

Unstable Family Background

Some develop the fear of marriage after observing their families, close relatives, and friends. Abusive relationships could also cause a fear of commitment. You could be thinking that your next relationship will be as traumatic as the ones you’ve witnessed.

Abusive Parents

Children who grew up with parents that abused each other emotionally and physically are likely to develop a fear of settling down. This is because children’s mindsets are shaped from a young age.

Fear of Loss and Abandonment

Some people develop trust issues after losing a loved one. Others may have been abandoned. If either scenario sounds familiar, you may come to dread getting into another relationship.

Are you afraid of loving too much because you don’t know how to deal with loss and grief? You may not trust anyone enough to stay for the long haul.

It’s natural to learn from past experiences. Life-changing events can leave a mark which may affect your decision-making.

What Are Gamophobia Symptoms?

If you have these marriage phobia symptoms, consider seeking a licensed mental health professional.

Mental/Emotional Symptoms

  • You dread relationships and commitments
  • You are embarrassed about the reason you are gamophobic
  • You are afraid of getting into relationships that could lead to marriage
  • You can acknowledge that the fear you have of getting married is needless
  • Your fear of marriage is out of your control

Physical Symptoms

  • Chest pains
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Discomfort in the stomach
  • Sweating

How Do You Treat Gamophobia?

After establishing that you genuinely fear commitment, the next step is learning how to deal with it. In some cases, self-help methods are enough to allow you to adequately manage your fear.

Self-Help Techniques to Overcome the Fear of Marriage

Self-help treatment involves what you can do on your own to overcome the fear:

  • Acknowledge that there is a problem and you need help
  • Note and write down what precisely triggers the fear
  • Try spending time with happily married couples
  • If you are in a relationship, talk to your partner about your insecurities
  • Try to ignore all the negative patterns from your family or society

What if these actions fail to yield the desired results? Then it’s time to consult a mental health expert.

Getting Professional Help for Gamophobia

The fear of marriage could cost you happiness in life simply because you don’t know how to address it. Say for instance your parents were separated when you were young. That doesn’t mean you’ll automatically become like them. Seeking help from a professional will help you understand these dynamics.

Speak to a counselor about your fears. Don’t leave any detail out, no matter how small. The counselor is in a better position to understand your concerns and help you work through them.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy involves a change of mindset and behaviors. It is administered by transitioning from one negative behavior to a positive one.

The first step consists of identifying the destructive behavior. Once you know, you can work towards change. This form of therapy takes time and calls for full participation from the person with gamophobia.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you unlearn harmful beliefs and practices you may have adopted. It requires daily activities and exposure to positivity. The therapist also facilitates discussions about what triggers your fear and what you can do in response.

Psychodynamic Therapy

They say that a problem shared is half solved. Psychodynamic therapy is administered through sharing your thoughts and sentiments freely. The person you will be speaking to will not be there to judge you.

Psychodynamic therapy involves talk sessions of individuals, couples, or groups. You will be required to share the phobia and how it came to be. You might realize that you are already getting rid of your fears just by speaking out.

Combined Therapy and Medication

There are certain medications your doctor may recommend for the physiological symptoms which arise from being gamophobic. While these medications may relieve such symptoms, you need psychological therapy to alter your perspectives on marriage. Keep in mind, medications may have undesirable side effects.

How Do You Overcome Gamophobia?

Based on the definition of gamophobia, you may have already determined that your fear is irrational. To overcome this phobia, it’s not enough to simply avoid marriage. Don’t let your fear of commitment lead you to choose a lonely life. Instead, try the treatments mentioned above. Your willingness to change will play the most significant role in your recovery.


While there are those who may choose never to marry, this choice should not be made out of fear. Make sure your choice is based on the right reasons. It may not be easy, but it’s worth it.

Stories Submitted by Our Readers

Fear of Marriage

I was dating my last boyfriend for five years. He started getting a bit serious talking about me meeting his family, how many children he wanted to have, and even took me house hunting. I ended the relationship. I just cannot handle thinking about marriage. I will not talk about marriage at all. I get sick to my stomach and my heart rate increases every time the subject is mentioned. I know I lost a good thing. He was perfect for me. He treated me with respect and as a lady. But I cannot handle the idea of marriage.


I not only have a fear of marriage but of commitment. My problem is I just don’t know if I truly love them enough to stay with them for many years. Marriage is supposed to be “until death.” I just can’t handle that because I do not know if my love is strong enough. Every time things seem to be getting close, I call it off. Not sure if that is a fear of marriage or a fear of commitment. But my anxiety takes over when I get too close.



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