- Philophobia is an enormous and mammoth fear of love or falling in love.
- People who suffer from Philophobia are unable to show or feel the warmth or passion of being in a love relationship.
- Most of the sufferers feel anxious even with the thought of being in love.
- They exhibit the deepest fear and emotional discomfort in intimate bondings.
- The major causes could be traumatic life experiences such as being cheated on or dumped in a relationship.
- The symptoms lead to avoidance responses and insecurity in the relationship.
- Cognitive behavior therapy does wonder in reducing the symptoms.
Do you fear talking about your loving connections with others? Are you scared of getting into long-term commitments?
Do you feel awkward if someone tries to be intimate with you? If your answers affirm these questions, be sure that you are suffering from a condition commonly known as Philophobia.
This is an intense fear and emotional pang that can make a person throb in deep suffering. The person may fear falling in love, sharing their affection and happiness with others.
From the outset, the signs of this anxiety disorder may appear absurd and others may feel that the fear is unrealistic but to the person suffering from this illness, it is very much real and agonizing.
The fear response is unnerving and can take a toll on a person’s mental health and social relationships to a considerable extent, even leading to anxiety attacks.
Before it gets worse, know the warning signs of this disorder and seek help if needed.
Let’s learn more……
Philophobia – definition and meaning
Philophobia refers to a mental health condition where a person suffers from an intense and persistent fear of falling in love or maintaining a love relationship. They also find it hard to trust their partners. The constant anxiety of being pushed to the edge in a relationship is seen in most Philophobia sufferers.
The term that is used to describe this fear of falling in love is Philophobia. The word comes from the Greek word ‘filos’ meaning ‘beloved or loving.’
A person who suffers from Philophobia also fears committing to a relationship or developing emotional attachments of any sort. The symptoms can affect the person physically and emotionally.
Probably they live in fear all the time whenever they meet a prospective member of the opposite sex. Any type of relationship that demands physical intimacy and emotional connection is fully avoided and ignored.
Love is one of the most beautiful and sensational parts of life. Unfortunately, it can frighten all those individuals who have Philophobia.
Under extreme circumstances, this phobia can even make people feel unloved and isolated.
Philophobia possesses several traits similar to all other specific phobias, especially those making a social impact.
As the problem is not a part of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a doctor cannot diagnose this problem.
People who have this phobia can become prone to pursuing more than one partner for romantic love. But each time they may be heartbroken sooner than expected.
They can indulge in numerous superficial relationships but do not commit to their partners, as they fear that a long-term commitment may not work out as per their liking.
As it is clear now, Philophobia can manifest in different forms. It involves fear of falling in love, showing affection to others, receiving love hugs and kisses from the partner, etc.
Sometimes Philophobia leads to a fear of losing the loving person and not being able to connect with someone like them ever in life. Thus, it’s a fear of love and affection in all its diverse forms
Philophobia can make a significant impact on your life if left untreated. Hence there are some ways which one can adopt to overcome the fear of falling in love.
Before discussing those, let us first discuss the symptoms and causes of this phobia.
Symptoms of Philophobia
The phobia of falling in love or Philophobia is a highly overwhelming and unreasonable fear. It goes beyond people’s usual apprehensions before indulging in intimate relationships.
The intensity of this fear is such that it interferes quite severely with one’s daily life. Symptoms tend to vary from one person to another.
Sometimes severe relationship anxiety can lead to severe forms of anxiety attacks. The person may become confused and may not realize how to help themselves.
There can be psychological and emotional reactions as well. It happens even when someone only thinks about romantic love and being loved by someone.
Philophobia is the fear of love and intimate relationships that can become intense for some individuals. It can show several physical symptoms.
All those symptoms can hamper their daily activities and make them lead restricted lives.
Following are the physical symptoms of Philophobia:
1. Breathing Difficulties
When people suffer from an intense level of Philophobia, they can suffer from chest pains, which gradually lead them to start gasping for breath.
It generally happens if you think of the repercussions from someone who might not accept your proposal of becoming a life partner.
2. Excessive Sweating
You can become so tense out of this intense fear that you start sweating profusely. It can even result in dehydration. You may actually start feeling sick.
At times, Philophobia is an excessive fear that can cause nausea or vomiting. Due to this reason, you do not feel like having anything because of a loss of appetite.
4. Gastrointestinal Problems
You can even show some gastrointestinal problems, which result in symptoms including cramps in the abdomen or indigestion.
5. Increased Heart Rate
Increased or rapid heart rate is another physical symptom of Philophobia. You might start having palpitations and make things extremely uncomfortable for yourself along with your family members.
6. Anticipatory Anxiety
When the problem of Philophobia becomes extreme, then this high level of fear about the thought of falling in love can lead you towards anticipatory anxiety.
You become fearful just by thinking of future events that might occur.
The constant fear and anxiety symptoms lead to several physical problems such as weight loss, lifestyle diseases, lethargy, poor appetite, and sleep disturbances.
7. Stay Away from the Opposite Sex
Another prominent physical symptom of Philophobia is your desire to keep yourself away from people of the opposite sex.
You do not want to take any chance that might trigger a feeling that you are falling in love with the other person.
Psychological Symptoms and behavioral manifestations
The psychological symptoms of Philophobia show up in a diverse manner. This can affect the entire emotional or social life of the person if they have this anxiety disorder.
This irrational fear of love, or in other words, Philophobia, can make a person a lot more skeptical of love.
It tends to push people away from getting into committed relationships.
These individuals always fear that their prospective partners might betray their real love or their love life will not materialize for some reason.
Let us now discuss some of the psychological symptoms of Philophobia here –
1. Constant Fear of Love
If you have a problem called Philophobia, you would have a constant and extreme fear accompanied by anxiety and panic simply from thinking of love.
Negativity will overtake your rational thoughts. You would think of those instances of loving someone, which may not even happen in real life.
2. Avoid Long-Term Commitments
You become so afraid of falling in love or getting connected with another person at an emotional level that you refrain from making long-term relationships.
The fear working within tells you that you could get heartbroken if you make any move.
3. Stay Away from People
Philophobia makes affected individuals stay away from prospective lovers and people in general.
Hence, they can avoid all kinds of contact with colleagues, friends, and family members and lead a secluded life. It usually occurs when the problem becomes severe.
4. Suppressed Feelings
When you suffer from Philophobia, you keep all your feelings within yourself and do not let others know anything about them. You will be reluctant to share with others what you are going through.
5. Avoid Visiting Specific Places
Another significant psychological symptom of Philophobia is that the affected individuals avoid visiting certain places. The places where you see couples spending time, like movie theaters and parks.
6. Avoid Marriage Ceremonies
When you are under the fear of falling in love, you might even avoid attending marriage ceremonies.
As you do not get committed to a long-term relationship from the fear of things not working out in your favor, hence a marriage function can further nurture those thoughts in your mind.
7. Struggle to open up
People who suffer from Philophobia symptoms may find it hard to open up. They cannot mingle with others freely and thus long-term friendships never take place.
They are fearful to let others know about their deepest parts. Maybe they do not want to be hurt again, or fear being judged.
Most people with this phobia suffer from past hurts and emotional suffering, so they always remain insecure about expressing what they actually are.
8. They cannot show trust in others easily
If you are the one suffering from typical Philophobia symptoms, you will have a lot of trust issues. You will not be able to trust others.
You may remain apprehensive about the other person’s faithfulness and integrity towards you. Sometimes, you may doubt your partner’s intentions so badly that it can lead to a breakup as well.
9. The relationship makes you feel confined and trapped
Philophobia symptoms can bring fear of commitment because you are doubtful and insecure about the future of the relationship.
With the fear of love comes fear to commit, take responsibility for one’s actions while being in an intimate bonding.
You may feel trapped and confined. There are feelings of lack of freedom and independence. You may start feeling that if you get into an emotional bonding; you will not be able to come out of it.
10. You enjoy being alone and living a single life
If you are living with Philophobia, you must have noticed that you prefer to live a single life. Maybe you do not require the need and longing to be with someone.
You are happy in your small little world and do not want to interfere in any way.
11. You seem to carry emotional baggage
If you are suffering from Philophobia, it’s obvious that you are carrying old baggage of hurts and pain. Maybe you had a history of breakups and it still haunts you in a big way.
You have not yet overcome the sufferings that the past failed relationship has given you. Thus, now you do not trust anyone.
You fear being rejected again in your love life. The pain of past abuse, emotional hurts had left deep-seated scars that are hard to forget.
All these can cause fear of love, giving and showering affection on others, etc.
Types of love phobia
Love phobia or Philophobia can actually be of various types. Some of the common ones where we see persistent anxiety and fear to relate and commit with others are as follows:
Fear of falling in love
The fear of falling in love can manifest when the person displays extreme anxiety in intimate romantic relationships.
The symptoms can range from anxiousness, low self-esteem, lack of affection, poor empathy, and an avoidance response.
Falling in love may not be a happy feeling for people who remain anxious about relationships.
These individuals have trust issues and they fear being attacked emotionally. They fear being cheated, thus try to play safe when it comes to developing key romantic skills.
Fear of losing loved ones
When you are afraid of losing loved ones, you may become clingy and emotionally dependent. You will not give enough space in the relationship.
Sometimes you may have an irrational fear of the death of your partner also.
Thus, with time the relationship loses its flavor of affection and happiness. Maybe the partner will feel trapped and try to move out of the relationship.
Sometimes this leads to Philophobia. The victimized partner may develop a perception that all romantic bondings demand privacy and thus prefer to live alone.
They may start fearing the concept of love. This can also lead to feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
Fear of not being loved
In Philophobia, the person may fear not being loved. They may develop a false idea that their partner is less loving and caring towards them.
This can again make them too clingy and sticky. Sometimes the fear of not being loved leads to a gummy tendency where the person will not leave the partner even for a second.
This condition can lead to jealousy, blaming tendencies, and an ultimate breakup as well.
Fear of relationships
Philophobia symptoms may seem to surface if you are fearful of relationships in general. This type mainly happens when the person suffers from feelings of insecurity and inferiority.
They are not confident about maintaining a healthy relationship. Lack of commitment is seen in the relationship and the person does nothing to improve their connections.
People who suffer from Philophobia fail to maintain a healthy love life. They doubt the intentions of their partner which can also lead to a breakup or divorce.
Sometimes the fear of a relationship stops the person from connecting with their partner at a deeper affectionate level.
Fear of loved ones dying
This fear can occur due to past hurts and emotional turmoil. Maybe the patient has faced an unexpected and brutal loss in the past and that same fear of loss is again manifested in all the present relationships.
The constant anxiety associated with this problem can rob the inner peace of the patient. They may try to make the relationship sticky and gummy.
The partner of the patient may feel stuck in the relationship. In this way, the relationship loses its breathing space and appears intimidating in due course of time.
What causes Philophobia?
Numerous factors can trigger Philophobia. Some of them are linked to social life, while others are related to the individual suffering from this problem.
Let us discuss some of the most prominent reasons behind the occurrence of this problem:
Previous Distressing Experience
If you had undergone a bad experience from loving someone in the past, you would likely develop Philophobia. Due to that reason, you would not commit to avoid getting hurt yet again.
You fear that the pain would recur yet again, and hence it is not worth taking the risk. A person might have gotten deeply hurt or suffered from the fear of abandonment during childhood.
Those negative experiences related to love life can stay fresh in their mind. They can make them wary of coming close to an individual who repeats the same thing.
Any child raised in a scandalous atmosphere and exposed to physical abuse would grow up to fear having his own family.
All those parents who had abandoned their children during the time of growing up or you might have seen your parents’ divorce.
Apprehensive of Rejection
You may always feel that getting involved in a romantic relationship will only result in rejection, which would lead to embarrassing situations and disappointment.
This sheer thought of embarrassment makes you stay away from involving yourself with anyone. As a result of this, you prefer to avoid any relationship.
The fear of divorce also looms large in your mind. It prevents you from falling in love and finally getting married.
It is not that all relationships develop into marriages, but the fear of losing your partner and them seeking divorce frightens you.
Cultural Beliefs and Norms
These norms are related to the feelings associated with an arranged marriage, meant primarily for women. The scenario forces an individual to marry someone she hardly knows personally.
Things become tough when you cannot freely decide the course of your life. There is an increased likelihood of women becoming prone to suffer from Philophobia more than men.
It may occur due to the cultural beliefs that prevent them from falling in love.
Loss of a Loved One
You can lose a loved one who is an integral part of your family. Once death occurs, it can also result in fear of love. Death is a part of life.
If you do not accept death as easily, you may fear loving someone else in your life. fear of death and losing the partner may haunt you and stop you from loving again.
Still, losing a loved one can severely impact your mind. It could make you feel as if it is better not to love as the pain of losing someone you love becomes unbearable.
The bitter experience of losing a loved one in the past has left some deep-seated scars in the psyche. Thus, the person may fear starting a relationship all over again.
Family history of abuse and maladjustment leading to poor emotional attachment
Fear of love can occur if a person has a past history of emotional abuse and maltreatment being a child.
If parents were less loving, more critical, then these people faced enormous trouble building their attachment with them.
The unpleasant childhood experiences may lead to poor emotional attachment and unhealthy relationship patterns in growing up years.
Thus, when they grew up, they were still carrying the emotional baggage of abuse and pain with them.
Healing has never happened and the person always feels rejected and fears the repetition of the same relationship issues in their life.
This keeps them away from loving others or developing an emotional connection with others.
Diagnosis of Philophobia
Like many other specific phobias such as cynophobia, Pyrophobia, fear of enclosed spaces, this phobia is also diagnosed according to the criteria given in DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, edition-5).
By adopting the criteria of specific phobias, a person may suffer from Philophobia if they manifest the following signs for a period of a minimum of 6 months.
The emotional discomfort and signs of anxiety may get really bad and interfere with the normal life of the person.
Philophobia is diagnosed if the person shows these following signs for a long time now and it’s not getting better anyways.
- The thought of love and intimate relationships can scare a person badly.
- The constant need to avoid people and situations where love-related topics are discussed.
- A constant urge to stay away from members of the opposite sex.
- Lack of trust in others.
- The person may have a constant fear of getting rejected or unloved, if already in a relationship.
- Philophobia may bring symptoms of intense anxiety leading to various physical problems.
- The person realizes that the fear is irrational but cannot help them.
- The fear of love hampers social connections and workplace habits.
- Avoidance responses can keep the person away from all sorts of social visits and connections.
- If the suffering is long-lasting and is going on for a span of a minimum of 6 months, the diagnosis of Philophobia becomes more probable.
- If the symptoms cannot be assigned to any other mental health issues.
How to cure Philophobia? (Self-help tips)
Phobias cannot be treated in a day. If you are suffering from a specific phobia, it is advisable to try on your own to overcome the fear responses.
But, if you are finding it hard, it is worthwhile to seek medical advice from a psychiatrist or a therapist.
There are certain self-help strategies that you may take to overcome the fear easily.
- It is very important to recognize that you are suffering from irrational fear. Admitting and acknowledging your fear is the first step towards recovery.
- Face your fears by meeting opposite-sex people. Learn ways to deal with fear responses that may happen instantly.
- Remember that in any relationship, the only person who can be changed and controlled is ‘you’. You have the power to fight your biggest woes and deepest fears.
- Build healthy social connections and try to know more people. In one way, just develop your social relationships far and wide.
- Set healthy boundaries to avoid abuse and maltreatment.
- Look deep inside your past and identify the stumbling blocks that are keeping you away from love and intimacy.
- Shut down the critical inner voice that is constantly trying to find fault in you.
- Try discussing issues with your partner openly. This helps much in resolving couple-related issues if any.
- Find out a hobby for yourself that can keep you mentally engaged and negate your thoughts as illogical and baseless.
- Make sure that you relate with a kind-hearted and humble person. The successful attachment and bonding will help you overcome the distress.
- Learn to relax and keep the relationship easy-going. Avoid being emotionally needy because it leads to more anxiety when you do not receive what you have wished for.
- Build up your broken self-esteem and be who you are.
- You can also journal your feelings. It helps you to face your fears and let you know why you’re unable to attach emotionally to others.
- Try to spend quality time with your partner.
Treatment for Philophobia
The treatment options for Philophobia depend upon the duration and severity of the problem. The right kind of treatment for this disease is ascertained by the doctor or therapist who is seeing the patient.
Usually, a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and relaxation exercises is recommended to the patient to achieve desired results and pave the path towards recovery.
Talking to the therapist is useful in planning the desired treatment plan.
There are some ways to overcome the fear of suffering from Philophobia. Let us briefly discuss the treatment methods that can help you come out of this fear of love.
1. Systematic Desensitization Therapy
Simply, this therapy is also known as exposure therapy. It is a method that exposes people to all those situations, people, and objects that they fear.
When a person with Philophobia visits a therapist, the professional can get him/her to practice some of their relationship skills with a digital entity on the computer.
Some computer-simulated situations will be shown to the person where fictitious characters will be seen facing the romantic partner. This process is also known as virtual reality exposure therapy.
The symptoms of the patient will be checked by the therapist. Coping skills will be taught to reduce the distress and extreme anxiety that the person may be suffering from.
At times, patients are shown clippings of romantic movies. They are made aware of how to face physical intimacy boldly.
The therapist will talk about attachment and bonding, physical sex, and bodily intimacy.
The purpose of the treatment is to expose the patient to feared stimuli (here, a romantic partner) gradually and see improvements in their behavior slowly and steadily.
The person will be exposed to such simulated situations before they go on a date, thus making him /her feel comfortable in real-life situations.
The small exposure desensitizes the deepest fear. It makes the person bold and they are able to face their fear confidently.
2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps teach the affected person about the chain of negative thoughts and how he can get rid of these thought patterns.
Considering the type of phobia that an individual suffers from, the professional can even conduct this therapy in a group.
Frequent use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Systematic Desensitization Therapy becomes the most effective treatment.
3. Individual Counseling
You can discuss your problem with a mental health expert. Talking to a therapist or a mental health professional can make them reflect on your previous relationships to identify the root cause behind Philophobia.
This is a kind of simple talk therapy where the therapist helps to develop awareness in you about the nature of your irrational fear.
The health professional could give you a few exercises that can help relax your senses, thus making you feel comfortable while going for a date or entering a relationship.
Hypnotherapy refers to a guided technique where hypnosis is used. Here, the patient is made to explore the unconscious fears.
The therapist creates a situation where the patient is given verbal repetitive commands to think about their feared object.
They are told to focus on the negative thoughts and fears surrounding lovemaking, social connections, physical intimacy, etc.
This process helps the person to challenge their fears and overcome this fear completely. Thus, it allows the person to develop the confidence to face actual situations and win over them.
You can also take the help of anxiety or an antidepressant to tackle this problem after consulting with a health professional, especially if there is some other mental illness.
Doctors or health professionals can prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or beta-blockers and combine them with therapies to resolve the problem of Philophobia.
It is important to keep in mind that medicines should always be taken as per the instructions of your health care professional. The right dosage can reduce the symptoms of Philophobia to a great extent.
6. Relaxation Exercises and Yoga
Mindfulness meditation is the best way to keep your anxiousness at bay. This technique works best for specific phobias. Patients suffering from Philophobia can benefit from this technique.
They will learn to check their racing and irrelevant fears and doubts about their partners. Moreover, the method helps to develop awareness about the triggers that result in Philophobia symptoms.
Knowing the triggers and risk factors is always useful. It helps you to seek support from others, whenever needed. This technique also helps to develop good coping skills.
Yoga and regular meditation are helpful to reduce the fear and irrelevant anxiety that the person is suffering from.
The process helps in emotional healing. It helps to let go of past hurts and keeps the mind calm and sound.
Impact of Philophobia
In the previous segment, we have discussed a few things people with Philophobia can adopt to get rid of this problem.
It is necessary to implement those as per the guidelines offered by health experts.
If the problem is left untreated, the chances to suffer from other complications increase. Some impending doom lurks high on you, leaving you in grief and agony.
They are as follows:
- A person can avoid people and start leading his life in isolation.
- They will be afraid of commitment.
- The loneliness can result in him suffering from panic attacks and depression.
- Addicted to alcohol and drugs.
- Under severe circumstances, he might even entertain thoughts of suicide.
- Self-loathing tendencies may surface in daily life.
- Feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem may keep them away from social connections.
- Limits regular meet-ups with friends and family members.
- The person may feel stuck and confined in agony.
- The symptoms of Philophobia may get worse with time and the person may suffer from guilt and shame of not being good enough.
- Always maintain distance from potential love alliances.
- Fear of not being able to commit to long-term relationships.
- Panic attacks and social anxiety disorder.
- Inability to form healthy relationships with a spouse.
- Constant worries and no enjoyment in life.
- Emotionally unavailable for your partner. Maybe, the fear of intimacy leads to emotional disconnection.
How common is philophobia?
According to the findings of Cottonwood De Tucson, 2,50000 people are afraid of falling in love.
Philophobia is a common fear that shows symptoms of emotional discomfort while forming attachments with others.
Prognosis of Philophobia
The disorder may feel overwhelming and can torment the sufferer to a great extent. But the good news is, Philophobia is a treatable condition.
Just like any other specific phobias, the symptoms can be kept in check and the maladaptive behaviors associated with the illness can be reduced with timely treatment.
The positive mindset of the person does play a vital role in recovery. Thus, it is advisable to stay strong and seek support from friends and family whenever needed.
Sometimes, the person may need medical advice to learn better-coping skills to reduce their levels of anxiety.
Summing Up from ‘ThePleasantMind’
Most people with Philophobia live with their symptoms and hesitate to seek help. It may be due to social pressure, fear of abandonment, or due to their inability to share their gloomy story with others.
This can impact their daily lives and hamper relationships. People suffering from this mental health condition may struggle to relate with others on deeper emotional levels.
Thus, it’s obvious that they live an isolated and secluded life.
Like any other specific phobias, this condition is treatable. Overcoming the fear of falling in love may not happen in a day.
It will surely be achieved with patience and perseverance.
The person can overcome their irrational and intense fear much easier than they would expect. The trick is to intervene on time before things start to get out of control.
After all, every problem in life gets managed well if mediation is sought early.
Are you interested to know more about ‘Thanatophobia’ then click here?
A Psychologist with a master's degree in Psychology, a former school psychologist, and a teacher by profession Chandrani loves to live life simply and happily. She is an avid reader and a keen observer. Writing has always been a passion for her, since her school days. It helps to de-stress and keeps her mentally agile. Pursuing a career in writing was a chance occurrence when she started to pen down her thoughts and experiences for a few childcare and parenting websites. Her lovable niche includes mental health, parenting, childcare, and self-improvement. She is here to share her thoughts and experiences and enrich the lives of few if not many.