Fear is a normal human reaction, an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something dangerous is likely to cause pain, or a threat. It is the emotional reaction to a threat, connected to anxiety and other emotional conditions, like panic and paranoia, but is a separate stand-alone emotion. Psychologists are of the view that fear is experienced as a result of teaching and exposure. People who experience relationship fear, phobia or anxiety generally have a serious problem in maintaining relationships. They may enjoy being in the relationship but become fearful and experience intense emotional dysfunction. They are afraid to make any commitments and easily choose to walk away when the relationship become serious. This situation is enacted regardless of the prospects of the relationship, always playing victim. Fear should not ruin your relationships, it does not have to be this way there are steps to get rid of fear in your love life .
Do you often find yourself overwhelmed with fear? Afraid that the relationship will not work or will cause you pain. Do you disengage and run for your life when you begin to sense a level of intimacy. Are you generally afraid of being intimate or too close to a potential suitor in relationships or even in friendship? If your answer is YES, it simply means that that your diagnosis is “Fear of INTIMACY. The fear of intimacy is generally a social phobia and anxiety disorder. It often results from past traumas such as rape or childhood sexual abuse. Fear of intimacy is also related to the fear of being touched.
People with this fear are anxious and afraid of intimate relationships, they believe that they do not deserve love or support from others. They are afraid of connecting in relationships, they fear that they may not be able to handle the expectations. The responsibility may feel overwhelming and most of all they fear to get hurt, or simply experience rejected and worry about losing the relationship, or struggling in a dysfunctional one. Both men and women are known to suffer from relationship anxiety and fear of commitment. A study conducted by Reis and Grenyer suggests that women with depression have higher levels of fear of intimacy. Generally men are often more cautious guarding themselves from becoming vulnerable. This is as a result of their socialization, not allowing them expression of feelings and emotions. A research by Thelen, suggests that men have greater fear of intimacy as opposed to women.
Here are some tips to help manage these stresses and fears.
- Resolve of Fear
Regardless of the reasons for fear, make a conscious decision to deal with your fears and face them head on. It is your personal responsibility to work towards healing from the past. Emotional and physical wellness is core in enabling you enjoy a fruitful, fulfilling relationship. Seek professional help where necessary.
- Give your fear identity
What kind of fear is causing you anxiety, fear of conflict, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of not being understood, fear of being judged, fear of being alone, fear of loss, fear of change, fear of aging, fear of being overwhelmed, fear of your needs being ignored, fear of boredom, fear of lack of control, fear of failure, and fear of helplessness.
- Allow yourself to be vulnerable
Allowing yourself vulnerability and talk about your fears is your first class ticket to fruitfulness. Blaming your partner for your failures is not going to work, you will only be shifting the blame and who you need to work on is yours. Take responsibility it’s worth the risk.
- Recognize that your partner’s fears
Thought you are not the only one who has fear, your partner may be challenged as well and acting out in various ways. Take time to understand your partner and be open minded. Support each other unconditionally and set boundaries to support your plan towards freedom. Be gentle with one another yet firm. Keep love alive regardless.
- Stop being too self-critical
Whatever you do don’t beat yourself too hard. It’s ok to experience fear, but don’t get stuck there. Move on and enjoy a holistic life and relationship.