Pin Me

When Love Hurts: Putting Philophobia Under the Spotlight

written by: Jennifer Gunnerson • edited by: jen2008 • updated: 8/19/2010

Philophobia is literally the fear of falling in love. This anxiety disorder can affect a person's emotional and social life. In severe cases, a philophobic may not just avoid potential lovers, but anyone they may have an emotional connection to such as family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.

  • slide 1 of 5

    The act of falling in love can be one of the most wonderful things that we as human beings can experience, but for many who suffer from philophobia, it can be a terrifying time filled with extreme emotional and even physical distress. So what is Philophobia? Philophobia is defined as the fear of emotional attachments, or the literal fear of falling in or being in love with another person. The word philophobia is Greek in origin and can be translated as “Fear of love" with “philo" being the Greek word for love and “phobia" translating to the fear of.

  • slide 2 of 5

    What are the Symptoms?

    Philophobia is literally the fear of love.
  • slide 3 of 5

    What are the Symptoms of Philophobia?

    The emotional symptoms of philophobia are varied and can affect the entire social and emotional life of a person who suffers from this type of anxiety disorder. A philophobic may learn to fear all people, not just potential lovers. Part of falling in love is making a connection with another human being. This simple act of connecting with another person can become the source of fear for a philophobic. While philophobia may initially cause one to avoid social situations that involve members of the opposite sex, a severe philophobic may eventually try to avoid contact with family, co-workers, neighbors and friends.

    The symptoms of philophobia are not just felt emotionally, they also present as physical symptoms. Philophobics may find themselves experiencing symptoms when in the presence of a person of the opposite sex to whom they are attracted either emotionally or physically. These physical symptoms can often culminate in what appears to be a classic panic attack, with the sufferer experiencing gastrointestinal distress, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, trouble catching one’s breath and an overwhelming desire to leave the situation.

  • slide 4 of 5

    The Causes of Philophobia

    There are different opinions as to what the root cause of philophobia may be. Some psychologists and psychiatrists believe that this disorder is triggered by intense, unresolved feelings surrounding a failed past relationship. This school of thought maintains that the sufferer has been scared by a painful divorce or early experience and is avoiding any situation where they could potentially be emotionally hurt by a loved one. Others believe that philophobia stems from a deep fear of rejection. This theory maintains that philophobics avoid love to avoid the potential for rejection.

    Both of these theories regarding the causes of philophobia are unproven and are mere speculation derived from the back-stories of many philophobics. There is currently no definitive answer as to what causes philophobia or why some people can experience a painful relationship and be able to move on and try again, while others hold on to the painful experience and develop philophobia.

  • slide 5 of 5

    Sources

    http://philophobia.info/

    http://www.psychologistworld.com/issue/phobias.php

    http://www.sedona.com/index.cfm/id/44/lang/english/sidenewsid/859/Fear_of_Love_is_an_Actual_Phobia

    Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gypsydancer12/2583772937/