It can be something as small as a cockroach, but everyone is scared of something. And there are some who are afraid of falling in love. Yes, philophobia exists and it can stop you from experiencing love. People who have been hurt or had a negative experience in previous relationships might develop a fear of falling in love. There is also the fear of being rejected or abandoned that can be a significant factor in the fear of falling in love. Let’s find out all about philophobia and how to overcome the fear of falling in love.
HealthShots checked with Dr Rituparna Ghosh, Consultant, Psychology, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai, to know about getting over fear of falling in love.
Is philophobia normal?
Experiencing philophobia, which is the fear of falling in love or being in love, is not uncommon, says Dr Ghosh. While it might not be classified as a diagnosable mental disorder in itself, it can significantly impact a person’s emotional well-being and relationships. It’s important to recognise that what is considered “normal” can vary from person to person. People have unique experiences and perspectives, and their reactions to love and relationships can differ. Some people might naturally feel more cautious or apprehensive about falling in love due to their personal history, beliefs, or temperament. However, if the fear of falling in love becomes excessive, pervasive, and interferes with a person’s daily functioning or quality of life, it might be beneficial to seek professional support.
Ways to overcome fear of falling in love
You can always reach out to trusted friends, family members, or a therapist who can provide guidance and emotional support.
There’s more you can do –
Don’t be in a rush, just take time to understand your fear and its underlying causes. Explore past experiences, beliefs, and any negative thought patterns that contribute to your fear of falling in love, suggests the expert. Self-reflection can help to increase self-awareness and provide a starting point for addressing your fears.
2. Challenge negative beliefs
Identify and challenge any negative beliefs you hold about love, relationships, or yourself. Replace these beliefs with more positive and realistic thoughts. Cognitive-behavioural therapy techniques can be effective in reshaping negative thinking patterns.
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3. Gradual exposure
Gradually expose yourself to situations that involve love and relationships. Start by engaging in low-risk social interactions and gradually work your way toward more intimate connections. This gradual exposure allows you to build confidence and challenge your fear in a controlled manner.
4. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques
Practice mindfulness, meditation or relaxation exercises to manage anxiety and stay grounded in the present moment. These techniques can help to reduce the overwhelming thoughts and emotions associated with the fear of falling in love.
5. Address past traumas
If your fear of falling in love has anything to do with past traumas or unresolved issues, consider seeking professional help to address and heal from these experiences. Therapy can provide a safe space to process and release emotional pain associated with past relationships.
6. Focus on self-love and self-care
Prioritise self-care activities that nurture your well-being and self-esteem. Engage in hobbies that you like, practice self-compassion and cultivate a positive relationship with yourself. Building a strong foundation of self-love can make it easier to open up to love from others.
7. Set realistic expectations
Understand that no relationship is perfect, and everyone has their flaws and challenges. Set realistic expectations for love and relationships, acknowledging that they require effort, compromise, and growth from both partners, says Dr Ghosh.
8. Take small steps
Instead of rushing into a deep romantic relationship, take small steps to build connections and increase your comfort level. Start by forming friendships or casual dating to gradually explore emotional intimacy without overwhelming yourself.
As you take small steps, don’t forget to acknowledge and celebrate each step you take toward overcoming your fear of falling in love. Recognise your bravery and growth, even if it feels slow. This will just reinforce positive changes and motivate you to continue moving forward. But remember that everyone’s journey is unique, and progress might take time. So, have patience, self-compassion, and perseverance as you work toward overcoming the fear of falling in love.