Do you feel uneasy when talking about your love life? Do you get uncomfortable thinking about yourself falling in love? If you answered yes to either of these two questions, you might have philophobia. Here is everything you need to know about this phobia and how you can treat it.
Falling in love is a happy time for most people. However, for a few, it is a time riddled with anxiety and trust issues. Not only do such people hate the entire notion of love but they also suffer serious physical and emotional symptoms that show they have a fear of love.
So, what is philophobia? The philophobia meaning is the fear of falling in love or having an emotional connection that makes you vulnerable to someone. Although the term is not widely used in medical circles, it is well understood in psychology.
The philophobia definition originates from two Greek words; “philos,” which means loving and “phobos,” which means fear. Unlike other types of phobias, people who have a phobia of love do not experience fear and anxiety every day.
They have random moments where the exaggerated and irrational feeling of danger towards love overwhelms them. They have anticipatory anxiety, which is caused by their imagination and presumptions about emotional attachment
How to know that you are suffering from philophobia
Not sure whether you are philophobic? Here are 7 sure signs that you suffer from this fear.
1. You cannot open up to anyone on an intimate level
You might have tons of friends, all who know you as the most outgoing member of the group. You are a social person who has no problem making friends and spending time with them. However, any attempts to get you to open up are futile.
You have a hard time expressing your feelings, especially when you know they will make you vulnerable. This is especially for romantic feelings towards someone you like. Your inability to open up has cost you several good partners, but this only increases your fear.
Your biggest worry is the treatment you will get once your feelings are known. Abandonment, rejection and sometimes mistreatment are at the top of your list of everything that could go wrong.
2. Your sense of well-being is purely dependent on the validation of the person you are in love with
In the past, you might have been in romantic relationships. You probably loved whoever you were with so much that you could not function without them. You took everything they said as the gospel truth and did all you could to make them happy.
However, that person broke your heart. As a result, you are afraid to fall in love. You know that when you love someone, your entire life will be theirs. To save yourself from such hopeless entrapment, you steer clear of anything to do with love.
3. You carry a lot of emotional baggage from past events in your life
Events in your past have a lot to do with how you are today. These events do not have to do with romantic relationships, but they influence how you see the world now.
Abusive relationships with family members are one of the most common phobia-inducing events. You might have seen a loved one suffer immense heartbreak. Perhaps you were rejected or abandoned by a family member. These events have distorted your view of romance, making you extremely cautious of romantic relationships.
4. You do not trust anyone
Trust is a foreign notion to you. From friends to family and romantic partners, you find it very hard to trust them. This makes you secretive. You can go through a lot without letting anyone know.
No relationship can survive without trust. Your inability to let people in makes them distant, but this does not bother you. You would rather be alone than getting hurt.
One of the famous people who were afraid of love was Queen Elizabeth I. She was once quoted saying,
“I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married.”
This quote proves that one can be so anxious about love that they would do anything not to experience it.
5. Being in a relationship feels like being in a trap
Your paranoia leads you to believe that confessing your love will allow someone to trap you. You imagine that you will lose yourself in them and that all your dreams and ambitions will go to waste.
You value your single life more than anything. You have embraced it to the point where the thought of sharing your life with someone is just bothersome. The compromises and sacrifices that are needed in a relationship are just too much for you to bear.
Each time you contemplate being in a relationship, you are convinced that it will hold you back from what you want to do in life. Therefore, you avoid it at all costs. In your mind, this is surely the best option for your survival.
6. You would rather not discuss love and intimate relationships with anyone
Your friends know this; any time the topic of love comes up, you will leave or get something else to do. Discussing your love life is one of the things you hate most, especially when you have to make yourself vulnerable to do so.
Neither friends nor family knows whether you are dating. You have never introduced them to any of your romantic partners, and have no plans of doing so in the near future.
7. You feel extremely awkward after being physically intimate with someone
Although you enjoy physical intimacy, you do not know how to handle the awkwardness that comes after. Showing affection in a physical way comes naturally for you; the challenge comes when you have to use words to express how you feel.
As a result of this awkwardness, you have a habit of going MIA on potential love interests. You will ignore their calls and messages just to make sure your relationship does not go to the next level.
Can this condition be treated?
Experts have not included this condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), the handbook of psychiatric diseases that doctors all over the world use. There is no standard guideline that is used in diagnosing it.
Those with phobias often choose to live with them rather than treat them. Likewise, while most people living with a phobia are aware of their extreme fears, they may be reluctant to speak with doctors about the issue. As a result, there is limited information on this condition.
A person suffering from it may avoid any situations where they might feel love. However, ignoring a phobia can make it worse.
Like any other phobia, this one can be treated. If you are suffering from any of the common philophobia symptoms, the first step is to talk to someone about it. In this case, you should approach a therapist and voice your concerns.
If you have very severe symptoms that interfere with the quality of your life, the following philophobia treatment options are available:
- Anti-depressant medicines that reduce the severe symptoms
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy that helps to recognize the underlying causes of your fear
- Exposure therapy that helps to desensitize you and reduce your anxiety
Philophobia can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, and social background. It is a condition that can really impact someone’s happiness and life trajectory. Therefore, if you have any of the extreme signs in this list, it is best to seek professional help.