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The Fear of Love – Philophobia

6 Things to Learn about the Fear of Love

Do you get an uneasy or trapped feeling when you think about sharing your life with another?

Does seeing other couples holding hands leave you feeling nauseous or make you want to turn in the other direction?

Do have a fear of never finding love?

If so, you may suffer from fear of love.

The fear of love, or the fear of rejecting love, is a very serious issue for many which leads to lonliness, depression, and other problems. If you feel you may suffer the fear of love, read on to learn how to live a more happy and healthy life.

What Is the Fear of Love?

The definition for philophobia, the fear of love, is an overwhelming fear of falling in love. It’s much more than just a bit of apprehensiveness. The fear can be so strong that it interferes with a person’s life.

The term philophobia originates from the Greek word filos meaning “love” and phobia meaning “fear.”

Those with the fear of love fear emotional attachments as well as romantic love. The phobia is not rare and is noted in women more than men. In most cases, individuals suffering from philophobia live their lives void of friends or any close relationships.

It has been reported that Queen Elizabeth I may have had this fear. Despite many suitors, she never married. The opinion is that her fear may have developed from knowing that her mother Anne Boleyn and her third stepmother Catherine Howard, were both executed by orders of their husband (Elizabeth’s father) King Henry VIII.

What Causes the Fear of Love?

Philophobia is an irrational fear of falling in love or the fear to love. There may be different reasons a person may have the fear including fear of losing love. As may have been the case with Queen Elizabeth I, it could be a traumatic experience during childhood that triggers the phobia. Experiences such as domestic violence, being witness to parents’ fighting, or divorce may all play a role in the development of fear of love.

For some, philophobia may also begin in connection with religious or cultural beliefs such as arranged marriages. Those that have an arranged marriage created by their parents are afraid to fall in love as there are plans in place for them to marry another. As with some religions, relationships between men and women outside of marriage are met with consequence. This can cause an individual to be afraid of love. In some cases, even the thought of love can bring on panic for fear of punishment.

The causes, the extent, and the nature of the fear of love will vary from one person to another. In some cases, the cause may never be known.

Effects of Philophobia

Philophobia has been linked to failed relationships, avoidance of people, negative thoughts, and panic attacks. Individuals who struggle with anxiety disorders may be more prone to developing philophobia.

Physical Symptoms of Philophobia:

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Problems breathing
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling
  • Feeling faint

Psychological Symptoms of the Fear of Love:

  • Anxiety
  • Inability to cope with anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Unable to open up to others
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Disinhibited social engagement disorder

Treatments for Philophobia

Self-help: What Can I Do to Help Myself with Philophobia

The best self-help for philophobia is to first try to determine where the fear began. You can try to figure this out on your own, or perhaps join a support group.

Think about past relationships and at what point you began feeling uncomfortable. Was there a specific incident that occurred? The thoughts at the time of the uncomfortable feeling should be explored to learn how to change those into positive thoughts in order to calm your fears.

Then, slowly begin going out and connecting with others. Just start gradually. Say hi to someone or meet a friend for lunch. Even if you’ve had negative experiences in the past, it is always possible to find love and learn to live a more fulfilling life.

Professional Help Options

Most therapists agree that cognitive behavioral therapy is the best option for you if you are suffering from fear of love. The therapy will include identifying negative thoughts and redirecting them, identifying your own beliefs about love, and learning how those beliefs may be irrational. Lastly, you will learn how to cope with your negative reactions and change them to a positive when you identify triggers and why you feel the way you do.

Medications Used for Philophobia – Fear of Love

In some cases, according to how the fear of love is interfering with your life, your therapist may prescribe medications. With the medications, the symptoms can be controlled, but the fear may still be present. It is important while on medications to also be involved in counseling sessions or group therapy.

Anti-anxiety medications like Valium, Cymbalta, and Xanax are given for individuals that are having severe anxiety that is leading to panic attacks.

Antidepressants may also be prescribed if your fear of love is causing depression. Examples of these medications include Zoloft and Lexapro. Once again they will only relieve symptoms.

The amount of medication prescribed will vary according to your symptoms.

Can You Avoid the Fear of Love?

If only there were simple tips to help you avoid your fear of love. Wouldn’t that be something?

The truth is, the only way to avoid the fear of love is to lock yourself away from the world, which is certainly not the answer. But as mentioned above, there are ways you can learn to cope with your fears in order to live a more happy life.

Remember, you do not have to be alone or fearful of love. You can learn the root of your fear and overcome it. The work  may be difficult, but you’ll love the results.

Stories Submitted by Our Readers

My Fear of Love or Relationships

I was quite the bully in my younger years, but I was also bullied. I was diagnosed with narcissism as a young child, but not sure that truly applies to my fear. I would really like a person and would often belittle them especially my closest friends which went so far as to telling them I would kill as I got older. Well, to make a long story a bit shorter, there was this boy that I liked from kindergarten until my early teens. The problem was that I would hit and kick him often until he cried and ran away. He moved away during our teen years, and I was completely crushed. I believe this was the beginning of my fear of relationships.
Today, as an adult, I do not date and I do not trust but one person, which is my mother. She is the only one that I express my thoughts and feelings to except for my therapist. During conversations, if they become a bit too personal for me, I begin to sweat, my heart pounds, I feel sick to my stomach, and weak in my arms and legs. I am seeing improvement with my therapist’s help, but it is slow going. At least, I can talk to another person besides my mother.


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