We all know that giving and receiving love is a wonderful feeling. It can make us feel that everything is possible. Also, love and belongingness are one of the human needs that we need to satisfy in order for us, to become a self-actualized individual; according to Abraham Maslow. Yet, why some people are afraid of it? Philophobia is a term used to describe people who fear to fall in love. But, in my opinion, people who are afraid of love not necessarily mean they are Philophobic as there are criteria that need to be followed before someone can be diagnosed as having Phobia. So, we can say that these people simply have a dismissive-avoidant style of attachment. For more information about the style of attachment, see this video
I believe that people who are afraid of love use a coping mechanism of distancing themselves from a romantic relationship so as not to get hurt. But what specifically are the reasons that led them to avoid romantic relationships? The reasons that I got came from web research, own experience and by interviewing some of the people I knew who are afraid to fall in love, and below are the reasons.
They simply have low self-esteem
When someone shows interest in them, they don’t believe it. Because they think that once that person gets to know their flaws, that person’s affection will eventually fade. So, to avoid getting hurt and disappointed they simply don’t take the risk of falling in love. In this case, recognize that it’s your irrational belief but yes, don’t fall in love with someone if you don’t love yourself including your flaws. Have a goal to work on it so you will be able to give love properly someday.
If they show their true self their partner may take that against them
We know that once you have a romantic relationship with someone, sooner or later, sometimes without noticing it you will have to show everything that you are. And so, those people who are afraid to love thinks that if they show to their partner their weaknesses and even tell them some of their secrets, their partner may use those secrets against them, once they decided to call it quits. I agree with this because my former classmate in Highschool has experienced it and what I have observed from couples was that, when they have a problem with each other, they tell it to their friends. And that’s what they fear, to get a wrong judgment from people. If you are experiencing the same, again learn to recognize that it’s just your irrational belief and that people are more understanding than you think they are. And if they are not, learn to ignore it and believe in your side of the story.
Tired of getting hurt
People who got hurt by past relationships or people who always get rejected when confessing their love may develop learned helplessness. When someone developed learned helplessness, they think that there is nothing they can do anymore and so they just give up. Learned helplessness can be decreased through an intervention like CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
They think that love can ruin them
People who are afraid of love think that if they fell really hard with the person, it will crush them once the person decided to leave. And so, to avoid that fear they distant themselves from people who show love on them.
They are afraid of the responsibilities of having a family
This is true especially to those who are already in the marrying age. They are afraid of the responsibilities of having a family and so they don’t plan on getting married. And that reason alone hinders them from accepting love because they think that the person will eventually leave once the person discovers that these people don’t plan on getting married in the future.
Firestone, Lisa (2014, January 16). 7 Reasons Most People Are Afraid of Love. Psychology Today. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
McLeod, Saul (2018). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. SimplyPsychology. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
McLeod, Saul (2018). Mary Ainsworth. SimplyPsychology. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
Cherry, Kendra (2019, July 25). What is Learned Helplessness and Why Does it Happen?. VeryWellMind. Retrieved August 10, 2019.