Philophobia: understanding and overcoming it

Philophobia, what is it? It’s an extreme fear, namely the fear of falling in love or of getting into a relationship. Sometimes the phobia can be so extreme, that one can even be afraid to love one’s own family or friends.

Where can this fear of falling in love come from?

This fear can have different origins:

boy sitting head down in front of teddy bear
  • It can be linked to childhood. If one grew up in a family where love did not exist, not necessarily because of a lack of feelings but because of a lack of expression, then the child may later become philophobic. It’s perfectly understandable, since the person has never learnt to love and has never received any sign of affection. In this strict early education style, love might be associated with weakness. Therefore, a child raised like this certainly won’t want to appear weak.
  • Philophobia can also have its origin in a strong negative experience, which caused trauma, such as the death of a loved one. For making the person feel alone and abandoned, it can mark them forever if nothing is done to process the pain. Thus, the loss of a loved one or uncorresponded love can lead to the inability to love again.
  • Finally, it can also arise because of today’s society view on love. People learnt to associate love with unhealthy attachment and lack of freedom. Therefore, they think that they can avoid the potential pain of a breakup by preventing themselves from falling in love in the first place.

RELATED ARTICLE: How the heart symbol became associated with love.

How do we recognize this unhealthy fear?

It is fairly easy to recognize this phobia. All you have to do is observe the person you suspect of having it, analyze their actions and know what they correspond to. For example, imagine two people who start dating and then get into a relationship. Everything goes well until the phobic person begins to feel that the relationship is getting too serious and withdraws as the feelings develop.

The phobic person will then protect himself or herself by focusing solely on the flaws of the other person. Their partner will not necessarily notice right away that there is a problem. It is only afterwards, when things get more serious, and they start considering moving in together, that it will become clear that there’s something wrong.

sufferer of philophobia sitting alone in a park

Only then will you know whether or not he is or is not a philophobic. So you’ll be able to understand their reaction. It is important to realize that this person is acting to the best of their ability. Don’t take it personaly if they say something hurtful. Whatever they do, it is a reaction to this situation that reminds them of a previous, deeply hurtful one. Therefore, they are trying to protect themselves from reliving the worst pain they have ever experienced.

How do you react to this fear?

Let’s look into the philophobe’s reaction. As we mentioned earlier, they will first automatically begin to look for and list his or her partner’s defects. This will inhibit the further development of any feelings for their partner.

lonely philophobe woman in front of a window

Then, if an event causes the relationship to become too serious, like because of the mere suggestion of cohabitation. The philophobe might immediately start to feel uncomfortable. The feelings that might arise can be so unpleasant that they might prefer to put an end to the relationship.

However, some people don’t want go about it directly. Instead, they might start creating problems, making arguments. All of this is in the hope that their partner will end the nascent relationship.

Philophobic people also tend to go for the impossible. They often try to get close to people they know they will never have a chance with. This reassures them because they know that nothing will come out of it. Only that would feel safe to them.

How do you overcome philophobia?

To begin with, the person must realize and admit to themselves they suffer from it. Then they have to find its origin. The best solution is to consult a psychologist or psychotherapist. The therapy will be done in several stages. There are also different stages depending on each case. Besides the traditional route, several kinds of treatment have already proven to be effective, such as hypnotherapy.

Once you have started this process, you must stay motivated and never give up. Telling yourself that it is useless anyway, that you will never fall in love (again), will just slow you down or even destroy you.

happy couple looking into each other's eyes

Can you heal from philophobia completely?

The question many people might ask is: “is a philophobe capable of falling in love?” The answer is a clear yes. It is definitely treatable. All you need is to seek help and follow through with therapy.

However, the philophobia sufferer risks leading an unhappy life and eventually falling into depression. But, of course, no one wants that. Address it directly today. You have nothing to lose!

By Daniele Zedda • 18 February

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By Daniele Zedda • 18 February

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