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How Do You Love Someone Who Has A Phobia of Falling in Love?

today19 October 2020


Philophobia, with β€œphilo” having roots in both Latin and Greek to mean β€œlove”, is the term used to describe someone who is afraid of love – much in the same way that a person can be scared of heights or spiders. It is a social-based phobia that covers the fear of developing any kind of emotional attachment to other people. While it does not have a medically certified treatment, there are ways to love people who are afraid of these attachments.


How do you recognise philophobia?

People with philophobia can sometimes be indistinguishable from those who simply refuse to commit to any one person. But, the easiest way to identify if you or the person you’re dating has philophobia is to monitor bodily reactions, both psychological and physical. To identify philophobia, here are some questions to ask –


1. Are you terrified of the idea of love?

2. Does the idea of β€œfalling in love” cause cold sweat, hyperventilation or panic attacks?

3. Do you avoid romantic feelings – to the point that even seeing couples out and about makes you uncomfortable?

4. Imagine that you are in a relationship (or if you already are) and your SO sits you down to talk about The Future. Does this make you feel trapped or stuck?



What causes philophobia?

Philophobia is linked to past trauma and hurt as a result of stressful events in one’s life. The deep-rooted fear of repeating this pain or trauma is what causes them to pull away, as the risk is not worth the pain. Early abandonment by parents, toxic past relationships involving physical or emotional abuse and the like are what could cause this fear to develop.



What happens when philophobics enter relationships?

On the off chance that philophobics enter relationships or you are in a relationship with someone who is showing signs of being a philophobic, here are a few ways to love them without causing them anxiety:


Get them to recognise and acknowledge the fear.

The first step is to acknowledge that fear is present in the first place. It may seem like a difficult issue to relate to – with love being present all around us in our daily livesΒ  – but understanding that situations can be interpreted and internalised differently will allow us to recognise that the fear is real.


Be patient.

When someone experiences fear, it can be so great that they stay rooted to the spot. It may slow them down, it may cause them to shut off. But, don’t force them to go at your pace. They will catch up in time – when they are ready. Healing takes time, healing takes them discovering that there is a problem and that they want to fix it.



Set small goals.

In order to overcome fear, start small. Baby steps would mean that progress might be slow, but it’s better than no progress at all. Jumping straight to the big changes might do more harm than good, causing more anxiety and even forcing them to retreat into their shell. Get them to start by responding to β€œhello’s” or β€œhow are you’s”.



It’s not about you.

Remember that it’s not about you. It’s not about you wanting to β€œfix” them. It’s about being there to support and guide them to overcome their fears. They may pull back or push you away – when this happens, give them their space.



To be able to recognise the symptoms of philophobia and learn how to care for someone with philophobia is essential as this condition becomes more common. This is important because philophobia can lead to developing anxiety, depression, social isolation and drug use as a coping mechanism. With this knowledge, it will be easier for you or the people you care about to overcome the barriers that present themselves because of it. Life should not be dictated by fear and weakness – overcoming them would mean more freedom and libration than ever before.


Written by: Marissa Anne

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