Is Fear Keeping You From Finding a Relationship?

Is Fear Keeping You From Finding a Relationship?

I’ll admit: I don’t read much dating advice. It’s not that I’m above it, but since I’m a busy married guy who writes his own dating advice, reading others’ takes on dating is pretty low on my priority list. But when an article popped up on my Facebook newsfeed that was called “The 12 Reasons You’re Afraid to Get Into A Relationship (And Why You Should Just Chill)”, I clicked through.

I quickly learned that author Lauren Passell and I are kindred spirits. Tell the truth with humor and let the chips fall where they may.

Most people don’t identify themselves as “afraid” of finding a relationship. They couch their singledom in other terms so that it doesn’t sound like a cop-out.

“I’m taking a break from dating right now.”
“I’m really busy with my career.”
“I don’t know too many happily married people.”
“I really like my independence.”

It’s not that these stories are definitively untrue; it’s that they don’t come close to telling the full story.

Most people don’t identify themselves as “afraid” of finding a relationship.

Which is that you use all of these examples to justify why you choose not to be vulnerable and partner up with someone – and sure enough, you never partner up with someone. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy!

Fact is, if you want to fall in love, it’s there for the taking. Whether you’re afraid of heartbreak, afraid of intimacy, or afraid of compromise, you can stay single for the rest of your life, and that’s cool by me.

But you know what’s cooler? Sharing yourself fully with another human being and building a life together. And if you let your fear make all your decisions, you’ll never see the beauty of being truly in love.

Click here to read the article here and let me know what fear is making your decisions for you right now.

Join our conversation (64 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    I think that this is probably true that we are all scared of something – the main one for me being fear of heartbreak. This is not an imaginary fear though – for those of us who have experienced heartache more than once, it is all too real, painful for a long time and not something I ever want to go through again. However, not sure that this is stopping me from finding a relationship. I am prepared to take this risk because the alternative is much worse. It just isn’t happening.

  2. 2

    I am probably a shrink’s favorite case, and maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I’m not afraid of getting into a relationship. I’ve been ready for decades! It breaks my heart even to write this, but I’m afraid men don’t find me attractive because I’m not thin. I’m not huge by anyone’s definition, but I’m not THIN. And I’ve always thought that’s the reason men don’t find me attractive. For the past 5-6 months or so I’ve decided to NOT let that bother me; I ACCEPTED my body and I woke up and chose to love it every single day….but it still didn’t help me attract men. And now I know people say when you love yourself, blah, blah, I DO LOVE MYSELF. I have accepted the way I look. I am very put together, have a great career, make PLENTY of time for meeting new people (I am an actress, I meet new people in every show I do, I’m out all the time), and I do a lot of charity work. I just….I’m AFRAID maybe I’m just not pretty enough to attract anyone. I’M NOT UGLY! But I think men….I don’t know. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and BEGGED and prayed to GOD to send someone to me, to show me that my “ugliness” is all in my head — for 20+ years I’ve prayed for this (I’m 38) — and nothing. My heart breaks every day for — for my one prayer to be answered. I’m not having a good day.

  3. 3


    Since you are an actress why not start playing the role of a beautiful confident   radiant woman?   

    When I first came to America I noticed the confident swagger many black African American women have. Even though they were heavy you could see that they believed in their own sexy hotness. I love seeing that!!

  4. 4

    I am definitely taking a break right now. My last relationship took a lot out of me. I’m still sorting it out. Obviously she wasn’t the right person for me. I get that. She was manipulative, controlling, sneaky, probably a narcissist. I’m feeling a lot better about myself finally 6 months after the relationship ended. I wanted to take this time for me. I didn’t want to jump right into something when I knew I still had residual feelings for my ex, both love and pain. I don’t think it’s fair to the next person I enter into a relationship with. Most importantly, I don’t want to end up with the same kind of person as the last one and I think I needed to spend some time and just put me first after draining myself in the last relationship. No shortage of women trying to date me, but I have no interest right now and I’m not going to let anyone else tell me that I should force myself into something when I’m not feeling it. Sometimes you just have to take a break. Plus, there is no one that I have met that even remotely captures my eye or my heart. I anticipate another 4 months of being singe, then I will start dating again. There is nothing wrong with taking a break after an intense heartbreak.

  5. 5

    I have been ready for a relationship despite many heartbreaks, but surprise surprise, the guy I had such great hopes for said on the THIRTEENTH date that he was not looking for an ltr. He thought we were just hanging out. ( we weren’t sleeping together, though we shared passionate kisses and hooked up starting on the 8th date, and all our dates were getting out and having a blast trying new things). This after persisting through many dates following a guy in the spring who waited til the NINTH date to tell me he was not looking for a relationship. The guy before him waited til the ninth date too.  

    You know what? I don’t need to deal with this crap. I have some fears about relationships but I usually just work through them. Now I am taking a couple months break from dating to concentrate on some other things in life that are important to me, that make me feel happy and alive. I’m not going to be some pathetic chick who puts on a pretty dress, goes out with a new guy every week or two, acts nothing but sweet, engaging, and playful, gets lots of compliments about how pretty and fun I am, and still gets the shaft time after time, then logs on to facebook and sees an update about yet another lamebrain getting engaged. I don’t think all hope is lost, but I just need to turn my attention to other valuable things for the time being so that I can return in a better emotional place.  

  6. 6

    Mia, I empathise with your pain but you really need to get over your issues with other women (the “lamebrains”, the middle aged women, and the other that you think deserve to end up alone). Don’t you think this sort of attitude is putting men off a bit? Maybe some of these women are doing something you are not.  

  7. 7

    Returning to a better emotional place is a good plan. It’s what I am trying. I did have a painful shock today when I saw some old photographs of him but it ebbs and flows until it turns to nothingness. I am working on getting over two past relationships because I pretty much moved from a break-up to an unsuitable relationship when I wasn’t in a great state of mind.

    I can understand what Evan is getting at. You can tell yourself you are taking a break but you never know when you will meet someone new. For me getting over someone means that there will still be some residual pain (break-ups always leave a mark) but if I feel happy in myself, then that’s all right. It doesn’t work to say “I’m going to take a break for x months”. At the same time you can be telling yourself “I have to lose weight to find a man” et cetera. Well there is nothing wrong with that but you have to do it for you with a relationship perhaps being a happy surprise at the end of it.  

    I’ve learnt so much from reading this blog. Knowing myself better has resulted in feeling more in control of my destiny, and less fearful. Many people don’t decide what their non-negotiables are and only have a vague sense of what they want. Having that in mind means you’re less likely to follow through with a relationship that isn’t right for you. You  have to get over the fear eventually because the element of risk is part and parcel of falling in love – without vulnerability, it would not be such a beautiful experience. So it’s best to let go of what you can’t control and focus on what you can. What you can do is to understand yourself better so you don’t end up in a risky relationship, and become stronger against heartbreak.

  8. 8

    The author stated, ”  Being single  is  awesome. But unless you have very, very strong convictions to be single for the rest of your life (hey there, my nuns sisters!), you are going to have to change sometime. You might like being single now. But ask yourself: do you want to be alone for the rest of your life? Picture yourself living alone in 40 years. Are you okay with that? ”

    I guess I will change sometime but since I’m not in a hurry I’m going to just keep looking until someone captures my heart.   Until then I will just have to continue living the single life – which can be awesome at times! 😉

  9. 9

    Mia, when should a guy tell you he’s not looking for a serious relationship? When do you them what you are looking for?

    I’m curious because I’ve been in the same scenario many times, but from the other side and I’ve often wondered what the right thing to do is.

  10. 10

    Katie (#2). I just want to give you a big hug. When I read your comment, there are a few things that spring to mind. Being an actress, and mixing in those circles … i’m not in that business, but my impression is that it’s a fairly superficial scene. Aren’t there lots of beautiful women who are getting boob and nose jobs, even when they’re already slim and super beautiful? I imagine it would be very hard to find a genuine guy in that arena. Maybe I’m wrong. I just imagine, an abundant supply of genuine/single guys aren’t found out at show business parties. I know i’m a women talking, but I honestly don’t think that looks are everything to good guys who are honestly looking for a genuine partnership with a women (look at what evan talks about all the time). And you’re saying that you’re not that fat and not that ugly. Here’s a true story for you: There is a women I know in town, and I have to say: she IS one of the most fat, ugly women I have ever met. And she had an accident and she gets chronic pain and migraines so she’s not even healthy. And the first time I met her, she lied to me when the truth would do. And i’ve listened to her being totally bitchy about other women. And she must be in her late 40s. Now, if any women couldn’t get a man, I would have thought it would be her. But she’s got the nicest guy I’ve met in ages (he’s my mechanic). He’s honest (he doesn’t rip me off) and he’s kind and he’s smart. They’ve been together for over 10 years and he seems loyal and devoted to her. So there you go. Honestly, I ‘d love to have him as my partner. It’s hard for any women to meet a decent guy. Like evan says, most guys are the wrong guys. I get depressed that no decent guy ever asks me out (the good ones seem to be taken and I only ever meet absolutely terrible guys that I wouldn’t go near if they were the last guys on earth). I’ve learnt from evan’s website that it’s about being able to identify the genuine/good guys. But first you’ve got to meet AT LEAST one who is AVAILABLE, which i’ve found is VERY difficult to do (I don’t judge a guy by his looks, but rather by his actions). And then, as I have discussed ad nauseum elsewhere on evan’s website (because of my recent heartbreak) — you’ve got to make sure they are who they say they are (and not a wolf in sheep’s clothing). I beat up on myself. I’m working on having better self-talk with myself. It takes practice, and I need help by getting perspective from other people about how hard i’m being on myself. It’s a hard habit to break when we’ve been doing it most of our lives. There is a book which I’d like to recommend to you which has helped me a lot in the last few months — it’s a new york times best seller. It’s called “dying to be me”. The lessons she learnt and the way she communicates them in her book might help you manifest what is truly yours. It is helping me alot.

  11. 11

    As far as I’m concerned, fear is not an issue. In recent years, a large majority of women have taken the position that men are worthless dogs who bring nothing into a relationship, and basically go out of their way to project themselves as unapproachable and just plain unfriendly.

    Admittedly, I’ve given up hope of finding a relationship a long long time ago. At this point in time, if a guy even attempts to approach a woman for friendship, dating, companionship, etc., it is more likely than not that the approach will be met with a harsh smackdown. I’ve seen this happen too many times over the years to believe otherwise now.

    Thus, one realizes, as I have, that this is only an exercise in futility to try anything when one already knows that a positive response is not in the cards. So, not setting oneself up for a losing proposition yet again is NOT fear.

    There is no point losing sleep over something that is never going to happen anyway.

  12. 12

    Everyone has fears, no exception. Even more fears than one can admit, can see or can discover at certain point. A lot of those fears fall into the relationship headquarters, yes.
    Yes, there’s nothing new in it and I would add couple more points to the list in the article.
    But to list those fears won’t help to overcome them. I know what are my weak spots, but it’s impossible to defeat/fix/revive them consciously, just saying some affirmations or going over and over admitting those fears. Things simply don’t disappear this way, alas (i wish they would, though).

  13. 13

    Great article… for my boyfriend! It reassured him to realize that he is not alone with his fears.
    I, on the other hand, have never been afraid of being in a relationship, or of any part of the process of building a relationship. Never been afraid of putting myself out there, of responding to advances, of making myself known, of opening up my vulnerabilities, or of risking heartbreak. If anything, I was probably more afraid of not being in a relationship (or of the relationship not working) than anything else. Althouh I’m not sure I even had the time to fear being single as I was going from one relationship to the next, with barely a few months in between.
    But a string of unnecessary heartbreaks took its toll. It is exhausting. It is draining. We go through unnecessary heartbreaks because of a lack of wisdom or self-control. We can keep the heartbreak level low and stop fearing future ones by being more mindful and keeping onself emotionally detached for a longer time. Evan says “he is not real until he is your boyfriend”… How about “he is not really real until he is your husband”? And even then, ask yourself “what is real?”.
    My own growth process had to involve taking a few years off dating, litterally forcing myself to not be available to men, and focus on becoming a grounded, healthy, balanced, and happy single woman. Learning to do without the attention, the overthinking, and the ups and downs of dating. When the time came to open up again, it just happened, this time with a sense of centeredness in my happiness and a non-negotiable commitment to my values that nothing could ever shake. Certainly not fear.

  14. 14

    I think there’s a difference between someone who hasn’t had a date in 3, 5, 10 years (and I know plenty of women in that situation) and someone who has dated a lot and had relationships, and just can’t find that man that ‘captures her heart’.   It’s draining, a break is just what the doctor ordered.   I ‘settled’ on things that were imporant to me when I married (because I was young, immature and uneducated about myself, men & relationships), I’m not doing it again.  

  15. 15

    I’m out seven months from what was a pretty big heartbreak and I am ready and open again. I just turned 35 have dated quite a bit in my mid twenties til now and have had three serious relationships. The problem is I would like to date and not be fearful with an open heart, I’ve put myself out there, and I’m not meeting anyone that excites me to make my heart open. The dates just cause me to regress from how far along I have come and lead me back to thoughts of my ex and missing the great moments between us. Even though I want to have an open heart my experiences in dating are making me feel like it’s truly a worthless effort and the energy put forth needs to be put towards accepting the fact that I’m meant to be single in my lifetime and not meant to have a significant other or family. I’m not one to submit to a defeatest attitude, but one can only try something for so long that is not working out and come to face reality. I think there is a time to take breaks, but then when I do I feel like I’m wasting time and maybe missing Mr. right, it’s truly a no win situation.

  16. 16
    David T

    I agree with Evan that building and accomplishing something with a partner is one of the most exciting parts of a relationship and marriage. That thought to the future was always a prime motivator and got me excited in the relationships I had before and after my marriage.
    None of those 12 reasons in the article apply to me. The first one is the only one where I have any question. My heart is not closed but over recent years, it feels like it is has become shatterproof. I know the end of a close relationship will still be disappointing and hurtful, but I also now have lots of practice in knowing Life Isn’t Over and friends are forever. I *think* I am pretty fearless there.
    Before this past year, I was usually in a relationship, hunting for a relationship or  wanting to hunt for one but realistically knowing it was not practical at the time.   This past year my experience is a lot like Renee (#15) sounds like (no one really excites or engages me) except I know in my head from my past patterns that my ambivalence is out of character and could change any time. The last several months I use dating to try now and then to see if my interest has returned.
    I have experienced love ambivalence for quite a while now, dating a lot for a few months then dropping down to near zero for a few months, rinse and repeat. Some of the women I dated were impressive professionals, witty, fun to spend time with, physically attractive and kind, but still nada for me. These were women that I felt like I should love, but I just don’t get all that excited. (Yeah, and some of the others would have been disasters to partner with!)
    I don’t wait until date 13 to talk about this, I start talking about where I am early, but that I like them and want to see where it will go.   It may be off putting and may be self-defeating, but I will not have someone getting their hopes up based on assumptions that I know are incorrect. I also will not have sex until I feel love. Even so, it still seems like I am the one who breaks it off most of the time.
    Part of me wants someone to hold and to hold me, and I will confess that some of my motivation to date is to just have someone’s arms around me again even for a short while, but I don’t feel the excitement of wanting to build something with someone anymore. Maybe it is because my son is almost 16 and I know it is too late to build a family around him that he will truly be a part of.  
    I also rarely feel lonesome. I am comfortable with who I am and where I am going (of course there are things in my life I am working to change, but that is part of what makes life fun!) and I enjoy my time both alone and with friends.   This makes me less needy, and maybe that looks more attractive (seems like it has been easier to find women interested in me than it was a few years ago), but it also removes a major motivation for seeking a companion! Life is more fun with a stimulating companion you see for hours every day, but it is already pretty fun as it is.
    I would like to be a Dad again, but that is something I can do through adoption so I don’t really need a partner for that either. (I have never full time single parented, so maybe I don’t know what I am getting into(!) but I understand will be setting up a way for single fathers to network at some point.)
    So, where is my motivation to love romantically? I don’t know. Perhaps without the want to build, the need for a companion or distraction, or the need for a partner parent, I am better off alone and happy.
    I will continue on as I have. Dating a little here and there to see if a relationship is something I truly want again and then stopping for a while when/if it is clear it isn’t yet. I don’t think I am a ‘relationship anorexic’ and I do examine that possibility from time to time. I am just me and paying attention to how I feel.

  17. 17

    Fusee, I really agree with your post. SoMeone can go on 100 Internet dates and learn nothing and be able to offer nothing , yet take time off and properly reflect and go on just a few dates to strike gold. Some people can become obsessed with dating and cruising   match and    just end up pathetic without a fulfilling life.  

  18. 18

    Mia, I think I can truly see why men are walking away from you. If you are this judgmental and hostile to other people, you must be turning men off and that is probably why they date you 13 times and walk away. Re-read some of your old posts. Even your latest one states that some people just end up “pathetic”. Think about it. Would you want to date a guy who talked like this about other people? I wouldn’t. I also think continuing to compare yourself to other people is unhelpful. My mother is the world’s worst for pointing out that most less attractive women than me that are married. It doesn’t change my situation and I don’t see how I have any more right to be married than they do. They are multitudes of reasons why some women are married and I am not: some are prepared to put up with behaviour that I am not, some were better judges of character than I have been in the past, some didn’t spend so much time at work, and some were just plain better girlfriends than I have been to some of my exes.

  19. 19

    Fiona, when I used the word pathetic I was actually thinking of myself – I’m startled that you took this to mean I judge other people. I was referring to how I had become when I focused too much on dating, and that sometimes the best thing to do is focus on orher parts of life for awhile. And you don’t know shit about my situation, so please stop condescending me. I am nothing but kind, engaging and warm with the men I am with. I also know many people who have truly awful personalities who get married so let’s not act like this is a niceness contest. Please.  

  20. 20

    I always found that taking a break between relationships was very helpful to me, and not the result of a “fear” of anything. I use this time, which  usually  ranges from three to  12 months,  to reflect on the last guy, what went wrong, what the dealbreaker was, etc., so that I can (hopefully) enter the next relationship as a better person. During this time I am not  making  much of an effort to find someone (that means running to the grocery store with no makeup instead of getting all dolled up and lingering over the produce, for example), and then  {{ POOF }} somebody shows up when I least expect  him.  

    Yes, in the past fear has stopped me, crippled me, hindered me in every way imaginable. I am guilty of at least six of the Fear Infractions mentioned in the article. But time and experience has a way of calming these fears and as David T #16 put it so well, “I know the end of a close relationship will still be disappointing and hurtful, but I also now have lots of practice in knowing Life Isn’t Over and friends are forever.”

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