*Before you begin reading this article, please consider giving this a quick read first.*
Philophobia, the irrational fear of falling or being in love or of forming emotional attachments of any sort. Sounds tough to those not suffering from it. This fear might derive from a traumatic experience, that made it hard for an individual to form emotional relationships with others. It is also highly connected with the fear of rejection, gamophobia (fear of getting married) and the fear or divorce. But what troubles us more on this article, is an other cause of philophobia, more associated to the role of genders in it.
A main reason triggering philophobia, applies to the cultural-religious spectrum. This means that certain societies or religions prohibit their members from forming relationships between mean and women, or same-sex couples or romantic connection at all. For example, some religions disapprove of their members having any romantic relationship before marriage. To those, wedding is only allowed through matchmaking. That might be a bit risky, however, as the two persons marrying, barely know each other. This situation is likely to lead to a failed marriage, which is, of course, rather unpleasant. Other religions completely ban same-sex relationships and consider those forming them out of boundaries or even worse. Some extreme beliefs may even threaten with violence those who disobey.
However, when it comes to the differences in philophobia within genders, things are a bit more complicated. One thing we can say for sure is that philophobic women outnumber men. (Unfortunately, little or no research has been conducted on non-binary philophobic people. We will not discuss this aspect of philophobia, as we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. We would, though, appreciate any personal experiences in the comment section below) The reason for this seems to be that women struggle to not be subordinate in any relationship, never wanting to lose control.
A very famous example of the case is Queen Elisabeth, aka “The Virgin Queen”. Living in the 16th century must have been hard, of course, especially for a girl growing up with no mother, because her father had killed her. Also, one of her cousins was executed for love. This may have lead her to believe that all romantic relationships have a tragic ending. Therefore, even though she had romantic affairs, she never allowed them to lead to commitment or marriage.
Nowadays, philophobia thrives due to socioeconomic factors. Todays’ world is fluid. Everything’s constantly changing and this affects the state of being a couple. Survey conducted in Italy reveals that young people tend to live longer with their parents, due to not having a stable, satisfactory income. This is a burden to forming a relationship and, consequently, starting a family, as for those who consider this an option.
Consumerism has also greatly affected relationships of today. The mentality of the disposable has been extended to the affectionate spectrum. This is the reason why the possibility of a lasting and satisfactory relationship sounds utopic to many.
An other factor causing philophobia originates in early childhood. an the relationships kids share with their parents. People who have had trouble loving their parents or receiving love from them, tend to reproduce the same behaviour in their adult life. There is a phase in each person’s life, called the Oedipal phase. This, according to Freud, is when the persistence of attachment to the parent is carried on during adolescence. Some overcome this phase, some not. Those who don’t, face great difficulty loving their partner. (Read more about the Oedipus and Electra complex here) In simple words, these people love what they do not desire sexually and can not love what they experience a strong libidinous attraction for. The taboo they establish while they were still young kids is that love and impulses of sexually are not connected, and must stay this way.
The latter is crucial, as it explains many behaviours we may have encountered ourselves. For example, A married man or woman that are distant to their spouse, yet share various sexual affairs, reveal the philophobic aspect of their personalities. A woman refusing to lose control by engaging in commitment with a man, is also philophobic. This is the result of a present and apprehensive mother, yet absent and emotionally distant father (male philophobia). For women, the mother i the same as in men, but the father is essential for the girl for the transition to another man to love.
To conclude with, as far as unusual phobias are concerned, philophobia is high on the list. The causes are many and more research should be conducted, especially in non-binary philophobia, philophobic relationships between parents and kids and more.