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You find yourself in a relationship being constantly afraid of your relationship ending or you failing to make it work in some way.
Relationship fears in most cases stem from personal insecurities, doubts, past experiences. These can be your experiences while growing up and in your previous relationships. To deal with relationship fears you need to identify their origin and how they impact your relationship.
In this article, you will learn the most common relationship fears, their causes and how you can handle them in a healthy way.
What Is Fear?
What Does It Mean to Have Fear in a Relationship?
It means that you are stress, and are overprotective of your relationship without understanding why. The problem with overprotective behaviour is that it can put more pressure on your partner and push them away from you.
Fear is an unpleasant emotion that creates physical, psychological and physiological changes. Fear is an internal phenomena or process that is triggered by the perception of danger.
While instinctual fears are part of our nature, they are inherent to being a human. Most fears are based on particular beliefs.
Fear is fear, it is neither not good nor bad, not positive, nor negative. It’s an indicator that something isn’t quite right. Fear exists as a response to something you perceive as dangerous or unsafe.
We can understand fear at different levels according to the role they play in our lives.
We need to understand:
- What defines fear
- What are the characteristics of fear
- How fear manifests
An emotion can stem from a belief or came up as an instinct. In the case of fear it manifests as an emotion that alerts to potential danger either real or imaginary.
Feelings are the manifestation of emotions
Instinct is a reflex without thinking, it’s a fast response
Belief is based on your current feelings and circumstances
What Causes Fears in a Relationship?
Fear can be caused by uncertainty which is something that is unpredictable and can go either way. For example, if it’s really important for your relationship to work any idea or possibility that it may not can trigger an emotional response. So, while anything can happen with your relationship is the idea of not having it than can cause you fear.
Even unconsciously, you may realise that there’s no guarantee that your relationship will work. So, why should you care? Ironically, your fear of the relationship not working out can lead you to behave in a way that can strain your relationship.
When you are afraid your behaviour can become overprotective. Apart from emotional stress within your relationship, which may also lead to jealousy and cheating. All of this combined can result in your partner cheating on you or ending your relationship.
Your perception is based on your current feelings and circumstances. The causes of fear can be:
Some of the most common relationship fears are caused by:
- Past experiences
- Beliefs either acquired, learnt, rationalised (thinking), or perceived.
- Instinctual responses, inherent, a reflex, not involving thinking and it’s produced very fast.
Irrational Relationship Fears
One way to look at rational fears is to see them as objective actions or events that pose some sort of danger. We can see irrational fears as old fears, certain beliefs that were formed as a result from a past experience. These beliefs may no longer apply to your situation or current relationship.
Nonetheless, they can be very real for you and directly impact your day to day behaviour.
How Fears Affect a Relationship?
Fear is an emotion that creates, physical, physiological and psychological changes.
There are different intensities of fear, some fears go unnoticed, while others have a high impact on our behaviour. Some fears affects us even if we are not conscious of them.
Your fears can create problems because they will impact your behaviour. For example, your partner wants to be with you, but you are afraid they will leave you for someone else. Then, you become anxious, overprotective and controlling.
This will influence your behaviour and you may start acting in a way that makes your relationship unpleasant. So, naturally your partner will want to fins a more pleasant environment and/or the company of another person.
This is an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy where your fear of your partner cheating on you/leaving you will in itself be the cause of doing it.
How to Identify Fears in a Relationship
- How to recognise fears
- Identify the source of your fears: rational/irrational; real/imaginary; instinctive/learnt.
- Recognise what beliefs are causing the fears.
Recognise how your beliefs and the perception of your current situation prompt you feeling fearful.
Common Relationship Fears
- Fears when starting a relationship
- Fears while being in a relationship
- Fears when ending a relationship
1. Common fears that prevent a person from starting a relationship.
- Fear of commitment
- Fear of being alone
- Fear of acceptance
- Fear of losing independence
- Fear of repeating patterns from previous relationships
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of a relationship ending
- Fear of dependence
- Fear caused by stories and statistics
- Fear caused by family history and past experiences
2. Common fears when you are in a relationship.
When you are in a relationship all the fears you have directly impact your relationship in different ways, some are more obvious than others. Here are some of the common fears people have while in a relationship.
- Fear of your partner breaking up with you
- Fear of your relationship becoming toxic
- Staying in an unhealthy relationship because of other fears
- Fear of your partner finding/wanting to be with someone else
- Fear of your partner not liking you anymore
- Fear of feelings fading away
- Fear of relationship getting boring or losing interest
- Fear of not being able to have children
- Fear of distrust
3. Fear when ending a relationship.
- Fear of being alone can cause you to stay in a relationship that is not working.
- If you have children, fear of children being affected by the separation.
- Social fears. When you build a life together, you share many aspects of life like your home, friends, pets, and children. All of them will be or are affected by the separation. Essentially you are afraid of being in a worse situation than continuing in your toxic relationship.
- Afraid of practical, emotional and social implications of your separation.
- Fear of having children with an alcoholic, drug addict or someone with an inherited physical condition or with a psychological disorder.
- Fear of the social/economical status that your relationship may be giving you.
How To Get Over Relationship Fears
How to Get Over Relationship Fears
The best way to approach your fears is to talk about them with your partner. So, you may be able to handle your fears better.
The things you can discuss with your partner are:
- Who has fears?
- What are these fears?
- How to overcome these fears?
How to overcome relationship fears?
- Talk about your fears and ask your partner about their fears
- Identify whose fears you are going to work on
- Explore these fears: what are they, what causes them and how they affect each of you and your relationship.
So, how do you deal with that? First of all, it helps to reflect on your own behaviour and to ask for some feedback. At the same time, you can also explore what exactly are you afraid of and where does this fear come from.
In the above scenario you could reflect on your parents and previous relationships. Your intention is seeing if some of them didn’t work out leaving you feeling hurt and/or abandoned.
Knowing the origin of your fear can help you to have a second look at those events in a more control way with more mindfulness and awareness. By changing the way you process this event from your past. You can change the believes you have made at the time about yourself and your idea of relationships.
To overcome your fears in a relationship, you need to:
- Understand what fear is at a very basic level.
- Know that the causes of fear can be healthy or unhealthy.
- Know what are the causes of the fear.
- Realise what beliefs are behind the causes of the fears.
- Change the beliefs that cause the unwanted fears.
You overcome your fears in a relationship by changing the underlying beliefs that cause the unwanted fears.
Ending a Relationship Because of Fears
Fears affect our behaviour with an idea to protect us. However, if these fears are exaggerated and irrational they can make more harm than good. You may end up with an opposite outcome from what you would ideally like to have. This is how the fear of something leads to its manifestation.
If you are struggling to make your relationship work because of fears, it may actually the right time for you to face your fears. Ending a relationship because of fears without addressing them, it’s likely to result in you having the same problem with your next partner anyway.
Fear is a natural phenomena that takes places inside of you. If you or your partner are experiencing fears, the questions you would want to answer are:
- Who is having fears
- What fears are they
- What is causing them
- How they are affecting your relationship
- What can you and your partner do to address those fears
Fear is an indicator that you need to address some other areas that are causing issues. It is much healthier for you and your relationship to explore your needs and beliefs behind this fear. By ignoring you allow the fear to influence your behaviour, creating more problems in your relationships that you could avoid.
Everything that we discuss in this article applies equally to you and your partner. It is a good idea to talk about your fears with your partner and help each other understand them better.
Getting Help to Face Fears in Your Relationship
Tips to Deal with Fear in Your Relationship
- Recognise that you are fearful of something in your relationship
- Identify what that something is
- See if this fear is caused by something in your current relationship or if it’s a remnant from your past
- Share this with your partner
- See how this fear may be affecting your relationship
- Try to deal with your fear with the help of your partner
If you don’t know how to deal with this fear and you need professional help and advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it normal to have fear in a relationship?
It’s normal to have some uncertainties in your relationship. But, if these uncertainties become fears that you cannot control, they become a problem.
Fears are an internal process in you but they also affect your relationship. They can affect every aspect of your life, including relationships.
What are some of the biggest fears in a relationship?
Fear of acceptance
Fear of rejection
Fear of commitment
Fear of losing independence
Fear of not able to have children
Why am I scared of a new relationship?
The reasons may range from not knowing how to connect to another person to how to have a healthy relationship. You may be afraid of not being good enough, not being accepted, not having enough resources, not being able to please your partner, etc.
What does it mean to be afraid of commitment?
Commitment to a relationship means staying together regardless of how you feel and of your circumstances. This is a very high, demanding and almost unrealistic expectation. It implies having to be with someone even if you no longer want to be with that person.
So, in a way, this fear is healthy because it brings your attention to the fact that the future is uncertain. Living up to the promises you make in a moment can mean living a life in misery.
How to face your fears in a relationship?
Recognise if you fears are healthy and are contributing to your relationship or if they are destructive and damaging to your relationship. Based on that, you can find a healthy way to address these fears together with your partner.
How do I overcome my fear of relationships?
Try to understand what relationship is. Consider which type of relationship you would like right now. You may start with something casual and light hearted where you have a lot of flexibility to do how you feel. Once you know what you want from a relationship you can develop a deeper connection and build a more serious relationship.
How to deal with a partner with fear of commitment?
First of all, you need to understand what commitment means and what exactly is your partner afraid of. If you find it too difficult get in touch we can help you and your partner to figure it out.