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Filophobia (fear of falling in love): what is it, frequent causes and symptoms

Filophobia (fear of falling in love): what is it, frequent causes and symptoms

June 11, 2024

The Filofobia it is another example of a very curious phenomenon: wherever the human imagination arrives and our ability to think in complex concepts, a specific phobia based on abstract ideas can come to exist. We are capable of developing irrational fears before elements that are neither material nor have they happened yet: phobias can be born from the simple anticipation of a fact that never has to happen to us.

And what is the fear that constitutes the engine of Filofobia? Nothing more and nothing less than the fear to love , something that can make us isolate ourselves and reject any possibility of meeting new people because of the terror that produces the possibility of establishing an emotional bond that is too strong.


What is philophobia?

There are many types of phobias that people can experience and many psychologists deal with patients who suffer them every day. As we saw weeks ago, the chemistry of love alters the hormonal and chemical levels of the brain and can produce nine surprising side effects.

One of the most curious phobias is the phobia to be in love, or Filofobia . This anxiety disorder can have an effect on the social and emotional life of the person who suffers it. In severe cases, the philophobe may not only avoid potential love affairs, but may stop relating to co-workers, neighbors, friends and family.


The act of falling in love can be one of the most incredible experiences that human beings can feel, but for a philophobe, it can become a situation that produces a terrible sense of discomfort and high levels of emotional and physical stress.

Filofobia can be highly disabling, and in severe cases it can lead to a situation of social isolation. This type of alterations is capable of generating a snowball effect that ends up generating emotional and relational problems derived.

Some frequent 'symptoms' of Filofobia

This leads us to the fact that there are people who fear giving themselves up, falling in love or establishing strong personal relationships. They only live without compromise, talk little about themselves, they avoid showing themselves as they are , put an "insurmountable barrier" to not feel vulnerable, tend to establish simultaneous relationships for the same fear that they have to be abandoned and their relationships are a rollercoaster of emotions with constant ups and downs.


At the physical level, they present symptoms when they are in the presence of the person of the opposite sex, of whom they feel physical and emotional attraction. Some of these symptoms would be: classic panic attacks, gastrointestinal disorders, irregular heartbeat, sweating, shortness of breath and a desire to leave the situation as soon as possible, as a defense mechanism to avoid feeling all these anxious symptoms.

In psychology and psychiatry there are different opinions regarding this disorder. But it seems that what triggers Philophobia is an intense feeling of a failure in a past relationship that has not been overcome. This school of thought holds that the patient who suffers from Filophobia has wounds from a divorce or a process of painful heartbreak which makes it avoid any potential situation of being hurt again by a lover. Other professionals think that Filofobia is born of an intense fear of being rejected.

Neither of these two theories has been proven, so there is no definitive answer as to the motive that leads certain people who experience traumatic relationships to cling to pain and not overcome it.

What can I do if I suffer Filofobia?

If you are one of those people who are afraid of falling in love, you have to bear in mind that you are not alone, that there are many people who are the same as you and that, if you follow a series of tips and guidelines, it is likely that you succeed in overcoming Filofobia.

Here I offer a total of four tips and strategies so you can overcome this fear of forming romantic relationships, although you should bear in mind that this problem can only be resolved if you put your part; neither the readings on the Internet nor the words of a psychotherapist will do magic. It is your responsibility to implement certain habits and strategies in your life to make philophobia stop being a problem .

1. Expose to fear

In less severe cases of the disorder, simple exposure to fear is a good way to beat it . On many occasions we think too much about the negative consequences and then we realize that it was not so bad.

In other cases, philophobia is generated mainly by the fact of having had a bad experience in the very few attempts to have a loving contact with someone, so exposing oneself more to love helps that frightening mirage of affective relationships fade away .

What is clear is that fleeing or avoiding these situations will only cause this disorder to reaffirm more and stay alive. Therefore, we can not refuse to live a love only because it produces fear.

2. Live the present

To try to have some emotional control you must live the relationship day by day, that is, Live the present . We must try to leave behind irrational thoughts created by past experiences and future expectations. Each situation and person is different from the others, so we must focus our attention on the present moment without seeing much further. In this way, we will control the anxiety associated with this phobia.

Mindfulness is a therapeutic procedure that seeks, first of all, that emotional aspects and other non-verbal processes are accepted and lived in their own condition, without being avoided or trying to control them. These psychological techniques based on oriental meditation will help you to live up to date and improve your interpersonal relationships. If you have the opportunity to try it, do not hesitate.

3. Express your fears

Communication is a key factor in any relationship and to be able to feel stronger when facing it. We must to share our partner or relatives of what happens to us . Making aware of our fears to another person of trust, will help us to better understand our reactions and therefore emotional stress will be reduced.

4. Grant yourself the necessary time

This type of emotional blockages usually occur because we still have some painful episodes that cloud our mind. It is not a good idea that we want to overcome our fears from one day to the next. Emotional conflicts can take some days, weeks and even months to go scarring. Forcing yourself to relate to others in an intimate way is not a good idea if you are still emotionally devastated.

Take the time to properly focus your life, do not get overwhelmed by something that time, little by little, will solve . But once the significant recovery that occurs in the first weeks has occurred, we must leave the comfort zone and admit that overcoming these irrational fears will require from us more than good intentions: action is needed.

5. Go to a professional

Like Filofobia is an anxiety disorder caused by previous negative experiences, family or relational, it is recommended to go to a health professional if it is not possible to overcome it alone . Cognitive-behavioral therapy and affective desensitization have proven to be very effective in overcoming phobic disorders.

However, in the case of Filophobia, psychotherapeutic intervention is more complex, because it is not so easy to expose oneself in a controlled manner to the possibility of falling in love; in the end, what produces fear is not an animal or object that is easy to identify and monitor. This means that the work done outside the psychology consultation and agreed upon with the therapist takes on special importance.

Philophobia as an abstract fear

Our most irrational fears do not have to be linked to specific animals, objects or environments, but can awaken from the possibility of feeling certain emotions. And how many emotions are there that are more intense than love? Something that makes philophobia very problematic is the impossibility of "isolating" the source of fear, as could be done, for example, in the case of spider phobia. In Filofobia, any situation that can be triggered in the consolidation of affective bonds typical of falling in love is totally rejected in advance.

The latter is detrimental in two ways. On the one hand, it prevents falling in love, a state of emotional activation that has moments associated with a very intense happiness. People with Filofobia may feel that they reject falling in love and, at the same time, wish they could experience it without fear to enjoy their good things . On the other hand, this fear predisposes people to isolate themselves socially, something that can lead to the appearance of a feeling of loneliness and sadness and that, in addition, is correlated with the adoption of unhealthy habits of life and a lower hope of lifetime.

Thus, philophobia can become a disabling problem for the person who suffers it, provided that its intensity is very high. Knowing how to detect this problem and deciding to address it through psychotherapy is the first step to mitigate your symptoms and to embrace a way of life capable of generating happiness.

Bibliographic references:

  • Cavallo, V. (1998). International Handbook of Cognitive and Behavioral Treatments for Psychological Disorders. Pergamon pp. 5-6.
  • Dalgleish, T., Dunn, B., Mobbs, D. (2009). Affective neuroscience: Past, present and future [Electronic Version]. Emotion Review, 1 (4), pp. 355-368.
  • Gendron, M. and Barrett, E. (2009). Reconstructing the Past: A Century of Ideas About Emotion in Psychology [Electronic Version]. Emotion Review, 1 (4), pp. 316-339.

Overcome Your Fear of Love | Breaking Down Walls (June 2024).


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