Philophobia: Fear of Falling in Love - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
People in this world long for someone to shower them with all the affection and love they could have ever imagined. Love is like a beautiful gift everyone wishes for. As much as falling in love is appealing, it can be intimidating for many others. Such type of unreasonable fear and anxiety that one would fall in love is known as Philophobia.
Philophobia has been derived from Greek word “filos” meaning loving or beloved. A philophobic person is extremely conscious to form any sort of loving attachment with anyone, and avoids any bonding. A philophobic person tries all possible ways to avoid forming any emotional attachment even if he/she has feelings within. This can be a serious problem when the phobia leads them to lead an isolated life.
What Causes Philophobia?
Some notable causes that can develop Philophobia in a person are:
Previous Traumatic Experience
Philophobia is closely related with a previous traumatic experience involving love and relationships. If a person had any past relationship failure such as divorce, it can strongly cause philophobia in a person. Philophobia can also be a result of an upbringing where the person saw ups and down in parents’ relationship as a child. Moreover, witnessing someone else go through turmoil of relationships can cause the person to develop extreme anxiety to form loving bond.
In many culture and religions, having love relationships are seen as sin. The beliefs can be serious to the extent that people are punished brutally if such norms are broken by them. This can create extreme fear and nervousness in a person to fall in love.
A person can feel less-confident and uptight to have a lovable and trustful connection with anyone if he/she had been through depression. Depression makes the mind weak, and affects one’s self-esteem negatively. If a person has been depressed, he/she is more vulnerable to isolate oneself from people and avoid any loving bond.
Symptoms of Philophobia
Common symptoms occurring in philophobia are:
- Extreme anxiety and nervousness of falling in love or getting in relationship
- Suppressing inner feelings as much as possible
- Complete avoidance of places where couples are found such as parks and movie theaters
- Avoiding Marriage and others’ wedding ceremonies as well
- Isolation from external world due to the fear of falling in love
- Physical signs such as shaking, racing heart beat, trouble in breathing, sweating, numbness, nausea, and even fainting when confronted with anything associated with love and romance
When to visit a doctor?
Philophobia can be one of the strangest phobias, but is serious in the same way. A philophobic person can lead an isolated life, and have deep distress within oneself. If the above symptoms are present for a notable time, exceeding six months time and disrupted regular life, then one needs to take advice from a doctor.
How is Philophobia treated?
Psychotherapies and medicines (only in severe cases) are helpful for treating philophobia in people. These are:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is probably the most ideal treatment method for someone having philophobia. Generally, the underlying thoughts and images of what can happen if one falls in love can be major cause for the anxiety. CBT helps to recognize these thoughts and how they’ve been creating the phobia. The therapist conducts regular talking and sharing sessions and changes the outlook of the person towards love. The therapist guides through building positive behavior, and increase toleration for the anxiety.
This can also be an effective treatment therapy for philophobia. The therapist sets a resembling scene in front of the person replicating romantic dates or interaction with someone, or romantic movies, and studies how the person reacts to it. Eventually, the person will be able to reduce the anxiety and fearful nature towards the prospect of love through regular exposure sessions.
In severe cases, medicines can also be useful to control the distress in a person. Commonly used medicines are anti-depressant medicines to control the sad and hopeless feelings in a person.