How to Stop Being Afraid of Romantic Relationships

Three Parts:Falling in LoveStopping the Self-SabotageUnderstanding Your Fear

For many, finding that perfect someone is important. As humans, we are born social beings keen to form all sorts of relationships with the people we meet. But being afraid of a romantic relationship is not something to be ashamed of. It happens, and it's understandable. Learn how to get beyond this barrier so that you might enjoy a fulfilling romantic relationship.

Part 1
Falling in Love

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    Embrace the feelings love brings. Even if the emotions you experience seem scary or odd, go where they lead you. We grow from taking chances. Yes, sometimes, the chances we take do not always work out. But, remember that you are braver for having taken the chance. Don’t push away the good feelings you get because of fear. Invite them in. Tons of poems and songs have been written about this beautiful feeling.[1]
    • You may find yourself consumed by new love and this is natural. Have fun with that new “crush” and enjoy the natural high. Do not dismiss the fun part of falling in love, but also be aware that these feelings usually die down a bit.
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    Recognize that feelings do change over time. Also, know that that’s not always a bad thing. Love tends to start out all sunshine and unicorns but at some point in order for it to last it needs to change. Long-lasting and abiding love means getting to know another person, flaws and all. It’s completely normal for a relationship to be in the honeymoon phase for many months or even years before you two experience any difficulties.
    • Getting to know another person and accepting them 100% are two very different things. The initial attraction may fizzle as you figure out your partner does that one thing you can’t stand. It’s OK to know your deal breakers, but it’s also OK to watch a new relationship grow stronger as you find yourself more attracted to the person you are getting to know.
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    Practice being vulnerable. At first it may be scary so take it at face value. Give yourself time apart to not be vulnerable if you need to. [2]
    • Not every minute together has to be some deep exercise in being vulnerable. You can just enjoy each other but make special efforts to give a potential partner access to parts of your life and past you don’t normally share. Use your judgment for how much is appropriate to share depending on how long or how deep your connection is.
    • It can be fun to ask a potential spouse to try a new hobby or attend an event that is special to you so he or she can see a different side of you.
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    Dare to be yourself with a potential suitor. At some point it’s time to stop trying to impress your partner and just be loved for who you are deep down. Part of being afraid of love is not feeling like you are worthy of love unless you are an ideal version of yourself. If the relationship is going to last, your mate has to see the real you.
    • When you’re true to yourself, it’s much easier for you to behave in ways that allow you to build intimacy with your partner, research shows.[3] Hiding behind a mask makes it harder to forge a deeper connection.
    • While you should always stay open to change and growth, this means embracing your natural quirks and flaws. Show your partner that side of you that you think is hideous or weird. If he or she is a good match, you will likely be loved all the more for being your true self.

Part 2
Stopping the Self-Sabotage

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    Identify the characteristics that you want in a relationship. Then, take a look at all the things you are doing that prevent you from having the relationship you desire. In order to overcome your fear of romantic relationships, you must recognize and stop your self-sabotaging behaviors.[4]
    • One big mistake many people make is looking for love in the wrong places. You may want to date someone who is hard working and stable in their career but you find yourself meeting potential mates at the club on a Thursday night. You are using old habits to get different results, and this just doesn’t work.
    • Another mistake often made is settling for less than you desire because you feel any partner is better than nothing. Staying in an unhappy situation may actually keep you away from finding one that makes you happy. Understanding the difference between being alone and lonely is huge.
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    Don’t believe everything you think about yourself. You may have been hurt in the past or maybe you think you are too old, overweight, or other negative characteristic to find love. Part of finding love is being ready for it and believing you deserve to be loved. [5]
    • Sometimes, the easiest time to find love is when you are happy without it because you are happy with you. If you want to attract a happy relationship focus on making yourself happy first, you would be surprised how attractive a real smile is.
    • Look around you and recognize the small chances you have each day to flirt and be flirted with. That’s not saying every time someone smiles at you it is love, but practicing accepting a flirt not only builds your confidence but it trains you to look past your own self-doubt to realize you are attracting attention.
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    Know that running from pain also prevents you from feeling joy. Both positive and negative emotions are essential to personal growth and development. If you work hard to protect yourself from getting hurt, you also run the risk of never feeling happiness.[6]
    • It may seem safer to not even bother taking a chance on love so you never get hurt, but this also closes you off from finding a positive relationship. Yes, it will feel vulnerable to be open to love, but that’s part of the game. Giving your heart to someone means risking hurt feelings for the chance of a lifetime of happiness.
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    Realize that staying single can be a selfish choice. Perhaps you ruin every relationship you get involved in because you prefer your life to stay simple like it is. Getting involved with someone means making sacrifices and sharing your time and energy. But staying single could be keeping you from finding a person that makes your life all the more meaningful and vice versa.[7]

Part 3
Understanding Your Fear

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    Take a look at recurring patterns in your past relationships. What happened in those partnerships that may have made you uneasy about getting involved again? Looking at your past does not mean you assume all relationships are the same. They are not. But the one common denominator is you. You need to take a look at the behaviors that are not serving you or your personal growth.[8]
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    Try to uncover what your fears are. Fears can be tied to just about anything, and figuring out where yours lie will help to tell you what work needs to be done.[9]
    • If you have been cheated on in the past, you may be fearful of never being enough to keep a lover to yourself. Understanding this fear will help you see that you are enough and you do not deserve that level of disrespect.
    • Abuse, either physical or emotional, may have been a part of your past relationships. This can be very scary and make the relationship not based on love but danger and fear for one’s safety. Get professional help
    • You may even be fearful things are going to go too well and you will have to answer tough questions about things like having a family and a future that is not all about you. This can be very scary if you have settled into your single life.
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    Don't worry about a straining your existing relationships. Some young people worry about getting involved in a committed relationship because it can be the ultimate sign of growing up. You want things to stay the same, not to change. You think avoiding a relationship allows you to maintain the innocence and carefree attitude of youth.
    • This is a common and warranted fear, but you must aim to move past it. Yes, your relationships with friends and family members may change. This will happen whether you are in a romantic relationship
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    Defeat the idea that you cannot love. Some people think they are incapable of loving others, so they refrain from entering one-sided relationships. For the most part, love is frequently unequal.[10]
    • Love also changes and evolves. You may see times where you feel like you love your partner way more than he or she does you, but then suddenly the situation flips as you question things. It is natural for relationships to change and grow.
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    See a counselor to help you overcome trust or commitment issues. A counselor may be able to help you in ways you cannot help yourself. He or she will also be experienced in helping to find old habits that need to be broken in order to improve your romantic relationships.[11]

Article Info

Categories: Commitment Issues | Facing Fears and Worries