BY MARIO K.
Whether or not we want to admit it, most of us are afraid of being in a serious love relationship. Everyone has personal preferences and different perspectives towards the prospect of loving; we also have fears of love which manifest themselves in all sorts of defenses. Although we think that such defenses offer security from the burdens of love, we actually fail to overcome the actual underlying issues. In fact, we are too reluctant to try facing the fears and getting rid of them; we are simply struggling to hide our desires to love and be loved. People have their own excuses to avoid the seemingly ever-present complicated love life, but we can compile at least 6 main reasons why people are afraid of love; the reasons that prevent us from embracing the beauty and challenges of love.
1. Unrealistic Yet Idealized Images of Perfection
We are surrounded by idealized images of perfection on television, movies, and the Internet. All those media deliver countless stories and fairy tales of love which create a frame of references about how everyone’s love life should be. More importantly, they also create the idea of what a perfect partner is. The problem is that the idealized perfection is mostly unrealistic. In other words, the media makes us think that a good love life can only happen if you have a perfectly ideal partner. This perspective leads us to think that we do not deserve to love and be loved. Even if we do love someone, it is easy to compare that person with such unrealistic image. Idealized perfection does exist, but it is likely based on fictions.
Love is about finding someone who can truly match your soul. You don’t have to find someone who has all the good characteristics found in movies. You need to see your partner from your own perspectives, not from anybody else’s. Those unrealistic idealized images (after being told in stories for too many times) may improperly become social norms, but you must understand that nobody is perfect.
2. Fear of Losing True Identity
Everyone is bound to improve. We make mistakes every now and then, but our inner voice helps us to be a better people each time. People introspect, realize their negative sides, and improve over time. In many cases, we may not need someone else to remind us about the mistakes we made in the past and tell us what to do. Our inner voice does this purpose quite well without any influence from another person. When in a love relationship, it is important to listen to our partner’s criticisms about anything we do, so our inner voice must back down little by little in favor of an external input.
Listening to your partner is part of loving. There is a good chance that your partner wants you to change or leave certain habits that you strongly associate with your identity. Sometimes a partner demands a dramatic change, which renders the image you have of yourself a little blurry; your idea of what and who you really are can be different from your partner’s idea of what and who you should be.
3. Unpleasant Past Experiences
Memories of unpleasant experiences in the past are parts of who we are. The lessons we learned from history help to make us better people. When the bad experience was too overwhelming, however, it can be very difficult to recover from the sadness it brought. Because of the less-rewarding love relationship in the past, some people associate love with hurt or loss.
When a previous relationship miserably failed, it does not mean that you should stop opening yourself up to someone new. Remember that there is no exact same two people; even identical twins have different characteristics. It is not uncommon to see people steer clear of romantic relationship just to stay away from the bad memories of rejection and anger.
4. Fear of Sadness
Real joy of life, particularly the feeling of true of happiness from being in love with someone, is prone to an end. There are many things that can end a relationship; it can be a small problem (or accumulation of small problems that grow into devastating storm) to the inevitable natural process of aging and death. It is impossible for a person to feel only joy throughout life; there will be times when sadness and difficulties strike.
One of the reasons why people are afraid of love is the undeniable fact that love is filled not only with happiness but also with many sad moments as well. However, you need to know that both sadness and happiness are natural parts of love relationship. Everyone who is and has been in love has to experience joy and pain. It does not seem reasonable to avoid sadness by preventing yourself from enjoying the happiness of love.
5. New Relationship vs. Pre-existing Relationship
Another reason why people are afraid of love is that they do not want new relationship to ruin their existing good relationships with families or friends. The idea of being in serious romantic relationship means they have to change priorities; when previously families and friends are sitting at the top of the list, they probably now occupy the second place after the love partner.
In reality, love relationship is part of growing up. It plays a role to represent your ability to be an independent individual. Living with your partner also means that you must live separately from your family. Such separation is mostly on emotional level; there is nothing wrong with that. You can have your own love life with a partner without completely ignoring your family and old friends.
6. Difficult Transition
Some people are afraid of love because of many new responsibilities that follow. This is true for many professionals who are currently in their way to build career or in the process of achieving major life goals. Love can turn into serious distraction if not handled responsibly. When in love with someone, you must make time to spend with your loved one.
There is probably an inconvenient feeling when you realize you have spent too much time nurturing your relationship, because deep inside you know that you can use the time working on your goals instead. The good thing is that you are not actually afraid of love, but just not ready yet.