By Katie & Gay Hendricks
Fear is a funny thing.
When you’re in a scary situation – say you’re confronted by a bear – it’s easy to know what you’re feeling. You’re afraid. And you know that what’s causing the fear is a very definite threat to your physical well-being.
Fear has a purpose. It is meant to keep you safe. You want to get the heck away from that bear as fast as possible. And, fear compels you to take action.
When it comes to relationships, fear is a bit harder to identify. You’re not exactly sweating bullets and fearing for your life. You probably don’t have such a strong visceral response. But the fear is just as valid.
We’ve found that relationship-based fears (some call it “fear of intimacy”) tend to come in two flavors. And both serve the same purpose: to keep you safe. Unfortunately, they also keep you from having a close, loving relationship.
Let’s take a close look at this and how it happens.
This one is familiar to most people.
Being in a committed, loving relationship involves taking risks. To fully know another and create intimacy, you need to be vulnerable. The minute you commit to being with someone and being loved, you also open up the possibility of being left.
It’s a very scary premise – that you can let someone into your heart only to have the relationship not work out.
The threat here is clear: it’s the pain of heartbreak. This threat is especially terrifying if you’ve been looking for the “real deal” for a long time and can’t bear the thought of another relationship not working out.
This is fear’s way of keeping you safe – if you don’t get too close, there’s nothing to fear (or so we tell ourselves.)
As much as you may genuinely want a lasting, loving relationship, part of you might be afraid that having such a relationship is going to take away your freedom.
The common “other half” mentality actually leads to fears about getting into a relationship – by suggesting that we are each somehow incomplete until we find a partner, we might feel that we have to compromise a great deal.
Being single comes with a lot of freedom – you get to decide what to do with your time and what your priorities are. The prospect of a close relationship presents another kind of threat: the potential loss of individuality, autonomy, and personal space.
Here’s the kicker: both two fears tend to take hold of us at the same time!
We genuinely want to be in a relationship, but we are also equally afraid of being left AND of losing ourselves.
No wonder why finding a great partner and creating a healthy relationship feels like a shot in the dark.
But once you dissolve these fears, you unshackle yourself from their effects. And then, love will start flowing your way so fast, you won’t want to stop it.
We both struggled with fears of abandonment and being smothered before we met each other (over 30 years ago!), and these fears still crept in after we got together.
But because we were both deeply interested in relationships, we discovered how we could keep these fears from interfering in our lives.
That’s a big part of the reason why our marriage works and how we’ve been able to help thousands of singles and couples experience love to the fullest.
Now it’s your turn.
When you subscribe to our free relationship advice newsletter, we’ll tell you much more about fear and how it’s running your love life without you knowing it. You’ll also learn:
There’s no need to fear being left – or being trapped in a relationship. When you’ re finally in the right relationship, you’ll know what it’s like to feel completely safe. You’ll be able to feel a close connection with your mate, while maintaining your own individuality – honoring yourself and each other.
It’s a delicious feeling like no other, and we’re looking forward to being your guides along the way. Start here: