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Loners (not) by choice – when intimacy causes fear. What is philophobia and how to deal with it?

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The number of single people in Poland is growing. More and more people in their thirties are choosing to live alone. However, this decision is not always a fully conscious choice. See what philophobia is.

Often the decision to live alone is based on a fear of intimacy and establishing a deeper relationship with another person, i.e. philophobia. Check out what exactly is referred to in the mentioned phenomenon.

What is philophobia and what are its symptoms?

The term “philophobia” comes from the Greek language and means fear of love. This phenomenon is interpreted as a disorder and is included in the so-called. specific phobias. A person who struggles with this type of problem has great difficulty establishing a relationship between a man and a woman. Avoid contact with members of the opposite sex. The mere thought of falling in love or meeting a potential soul mate can cause intense fear. They are accompanied by various somatic problems, for example:

  • faster heartbeat,

  • excessive sweating,

  • dyspnea,

  • dyspnea,

  • the hands are shaky,

  • tides,

  • abdominal pain,

  • nausea.

The intensity of the above symptoms varies. However, often the symptoms of philophobia are so strong that they prevent a person from realizing dreams and desires, as well as “normal” social functioning.

Causes of Philophobia

In general, the panic fear of establishing a relationship is caused by difficult or even traumatic experiences of the individual associated with rejection or rejection. A person who has had such an experience is afraid of being hurt again. As a result, he prefers to avoid contact between a man and a woman and establish a more meaningful relationship with another person. In this way, he protects himself and minimizes the risk of harm.

Philophobia very often affects people who come from so-called difficult families where there is a problem of addiction. Adult children of alcoholics (ACoA) usually have low self-esteem. They want to create relationships, but at the same time they are afraid of failure. They often assume that they are not good enough to deserve love. They often ignore the problems that arise in a relationship with a partner, refuse to meet their own needs because of the fear of being abandoned. It also happens that they give up their “second halves”, accelerating what they consider inevitable.

How to treat philophobia?

The treatment for philophobia is similar to other anxiety disorders. The key goal of the whole process is to change the negative thoughts and beliefs of a person who is afraid of intimacy. It is also important to identify sources of difficulty, i.e. get an answer to the question: where do my fears of love and establishing deeper relationships come from?

In the treatment of the described disorders, it is primarily used cognitive behavioral therapyand sometimes pharmacotherapy (antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs). It all depends on the individual situation of the patient, as well as the severity of the symptoms reported by him. The sooner appropriate action is taken, the greater the chance of mitigating or getting rid of the problem.


  • K. Adamczyk et al., Rare specific phobias – types and treatment, Varia Medica 2018, vol. 2, no. 5, pp. 423–429.
  • Tavormina R., Why are we afraid to love?, Psychiatry Danubina, 2014; Volume 26, Appendix. 1, pp. 178–183.
  • Voititz J. Fear of intimacy. How to overcome distance in a relationship, Gdańskie Wydawnictwo Psychologiczne, Gdansk, 2000

Source: Wprost

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