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. 31

    @Fiona #18. Good point. Those are valid reasons; however, some woman and men are married simply because they found someone who was the right fit at the right time. My mother used to say: “There’s somebody for everybody.” I agree, but the hard part is finding the person that is a good fit for me. No one wants to be single for the rest of their lives, but it beats being married someone one who is not a good fit. Been there and done that!

  2. 32

    tha fact that you know you had thirteen dates or eight dates or nine  may be where the problem lies. When I  first met my boyfriend I was in a state of high anxiety not having dated for six years. i was keeping Tabs on how many dates, how many calls, how many texts. I then decided to kick back and relax. I can’t tell you how many dates we have been on. And not because its been thousands as we’ve only been dating two months or so, I forget exactly.
     If we enter dating feeling defensive, afraid, cynical, mistrustful of men, or relationships, of ourselves we cant succeed. We pick the wrong ppl, or the wrong ppl pick us, or we pick a good prospect and scare them off
    , or we start seeing potential too early because we want to rush to the conclusion without putting in the time effort and emotion to genuinely get to know someone. 
    You have to be optimistic, treat each new person as new and not a carbon copy of the men who’ve let us down before, take your time, dont get yr hopes up too early. Yes you could still get hurt and disappointed but it’s the only way it can work. And if we get hurt, we can handle it. It goes with the territory. But, oddly, when you accept that you become less likely to get hurt, not more likely.
    Good men are out there. But we will never find them if we’re afraid.
    and I’m forty seven so its not like I’m in the top category of desirability either.
    all our attractiveness, pleasantness, femininity etc does not guarantee a good relatsionship. I’m not as beautiful as I was but this relationship is shaping up better than the ones of my twenties. Not as beautiful but smarter and definitely braver.
    bon courage! 

  3. 33

    to choose a relationship where you are one hundred percent certain it won’t last is a sign of fear to me.
    and a twelve yr age diff isn’t even that much. I don’t know many ppl and even I know of two longterm marriages where the woman is over ten years older.
    i have to declare two biases , 1. I’m fifteen yrs older than my boyfriend, who has asked me if I can see myself  married. I said yes. He still took me to lunch. 2 with all my heart I believe that every human being deep down wants that lifelong love and commitment to one person. I think it’s the high point of happiness and joy. Whether we can achieve it is another matter I guess!

  4. 34
    Karmic Equation

    @Tom10 27 and @Susan 29

    Thanks 🙂


    When the expiration date is reached on my current relationship, I’ll let you know. Maybe we can become “virtual” friends. LOL

    @marymary 34

    Hmmm…Does your BF make more money than you? If yes, if he proposes, you ought to consider it. He really loves you. If you make more money than your BF, you need to be sure he isn’t looking for you to be his sugar mama. And if you marry him, make sure you have an ironclad prenup. Don’t let the romance and ego-boost of being courted by a younger man blind you to the reality that men can be gold-diggers, too.

    May-December romances where the Man is December works because the May that is the woman can still bear his children. Not so if the December is the woman. Typically in a May-December relationship where the December is the woman, the woman is beyond her child-bearing years, as you and I are. I don’t know about your man, but I do know that my man would make a great father someday, and knowing who he is, he’s not going to be up for adoption, surrogacy, or in vitro children. He’ll want his children created and borne the “natural” way. It’s who he is. Knowing that, I know that my relationship with him at best is going to last until he decides he wants children.

    Let’s say he never wants children…When you’re 63 your man is going to be 48. Think about that. Do you really think that a good looking man at 48 won’t look at other options when his wife is geriatric? Unless you are Raquel Welch…you’re living in a fantasy and deluding yourself.

    I believe in romance. I believe in love. But I live in reality with eyes wide open.


    After I read Fiona’s posts and your answers to them, I re-read your other posts. I’m not sure you realize it, but your posts while trying to sound positive and impart your strength, have a negative vibe. Maybe it’s the words you choose (like “pathetic” and “awful” whether applying to yourself or others), or the tone of your posts (#5 “…who acts nothing but sweet, engaging, and playful and get compliments and still gets the shaft time after time”; #19 “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.”) — They feel negative.

    It’s possible that your unconscious negativity doesn’t register with a guy until the 9th date and then it takes them several more dates to confirm their instinct..and that’s when you get the shaft. I guess the positive of your situation is that the guys you’re dating have enough respect for you and enough integrity to tell you it’s not going to work out as opposed to simply fading out of your life. Your picker’s working. You’re dating good guys. The negative of your situation is that you may want to reflect on what you do differently after the 9th date that turns guys off. Or to state that in a positive way, figure out what you are doing right in dates 1-8 and continue doing them forevermore.

    If what you do in dates 1-8 is an act, and who you are after date 9 is who you really are, well, maybe you need to change your default so that you’re the date 1-8 person and not the 9+ person.

  5. 35

    I’m with David T: you have to be truly happy with your single life.  If you desperately want to be in a relationship, you probably give off vibes of desperation, which is something that players cue on.

    @ marymary # 33: that’s a really good point–if you’re counting the number of dates before a guy bails, you’re already expecting the relationship to fail, so you shouldn’t really be surprised when it does.

  6. 36

    Somebody somewhere did the math and concluded that if you reach person number 7 without finding your soulmate then settle for number 7 because no one better is coming along.  & is a big enough sample of the human race.  You are creating your own barriers if you haven’t found someone by number 7.

    Personally I think that Schizoid Personality Disorder doesn’t get enough exposure in this sort of discussion. 

    Guess which Peter this is.  High functioning Asperger’s  anyone?

    @ MAryMaary 34.  15 years age difference isn’t even a different era in music these days.  I’m sure no one on the street notices.  It’s the difference in life expectancy brought about by smoking cigarettes.  Go for it girl!

    1. 36.1

      Settling for number 7? Seriously? C’mon. Thats not what people mean when they say dating is a numbers game:) And what about other conditions, like your own ability to recognize relationship-material people? Your emotional availability? By the time I dated Mr.7 I wasn’t able to see I tend to choose men who are sooo so wrong for me, so not settling for him was the best thing to do, not otherwise. Those that came later were definitely better quality men.
      About Schizoid Personality Disorder – I find this aspect quite interesting, but, however, I think most issues of people that comment in here are connected to dissappointments from previous dating / relationship experiences, inability to see or overcome their own negative patterns and etc.

  7. 37

    counting the dates.  a minor epiphany for me. I’m going to blog on that! thanks!

  8. 38

    While it’s charming that some here are trying to tell me about my situation without knowing about it, I can tell you that the first guy told me on out 9th date out of the blue that he hated Jewish people; the second guy told me on the 9th date that he realized he’s way too busy for a relationship bc he was working 18 hour days on a highly publicized startup ; and the most recent confessed he realized he’s not ready for the ltr I was looking for, but spoke highly of me and we have remaimed friends who have since gotten together for some outdoors activities we have in common. The first guy was a creep, the second busy. So .. Not quite getting how I could have screwed these up. 

  9. 39

    @Mia #39:
    Right! As if counting dates was *the* problem! Seriously people!! Just for the record, I counted my first 15-16 dates, and now after well over a year I still remember exactly was we did on each of them and what we talked about. I have a great memory and I cherish remembering those first dates : )
    Now I do have a comment about the fact that you, Mia, learned about his “busyness” or “unavailability for a LTR” at date #9 or date #13. I find it really ineffective to learn such crucial information so late in the dating process. Relationship goal is a no-brainer question to ask early if you want to invest your time, energy, and emotions in the most promising men. Taking so many dates to find this information out if way too long in my opinion. Unless you want to make friends or “activity partners”.
    Not saying we must ask on date #1. But if we are wise and try to reduce (fear of) heartache and burn-out, we should not date someone for weeks who does not share our goals. Or who already knows that we do not qualify for reasons such as ethnic background, religion, culture, education, etc.
    For me it came out quick. At date #3, as there was need to start explaining my physical boundaries, I learned that he was open to a LTR and that he liked me enough to imagine considering one with me if everything was going to unfold well. We had not even kissed by then. That happened at date #4 : ) It took a bit longer for me to ask whether he was okay with my cultural background (I’m not an English native speaker and my whole family lives overseas, so that’s not for everyone : ). At date #15 we were in a clearly defined relationship and started being sexually intimate.
    To me, dating is a discovery phase. I’m all for fun and romance, and we had plenty of these, but each date had to bring some serious information as well. I certainly like going on a date with someone promising, but I’d rather give more hours to serving my community within my volunteer group than going on multiple dates with men who are “too busy” or “not interested in a LTR”. I prefer to extract this information early and opt out accordingly. Save me much heartache and energy!

  10. 40

    Was trying to find a right place to put this…and wanted to send you a success story. I bought your book after my marriage ended but realized I didn’t need to date just yet. When I decided I was ready, I joined an online site and had fun, was frustrated, and laughed a lot. The guy I’m seeing is someone I never would have found through my search criteria he was too far away and a bit older than I was looking for (he’s 10 years older than me) He was on the featured singles near you or something. There was something about his eyes, and he had a very funny username. I read his profile and I didn’t really fit his criteria either but I thought I had to acknowledge a well written profile and I sent him an email. 

    We  finally met a month later and had a very fun night. We laughed a lot. there is a lot that I would have discounted him on in the past and I found myself finding reasons that not to like him. But I had to remind myself of what you said that no matter what tests he goes through it doesn’t gaurantee future behavior. I am a bit insecure (aren’t we all) but then I remind myself of what you said: does he contact you every day, does he make plans for the future…and the big one? there hasn’t been a bad. I’ve told myself ignore the positive believe the negative…there hasn’t been a negative.

    Last weekend after a month and a half we said we were exclusive and he gave me a some compliments that you’d approve of: awesome, fun, very sexy, great to spend time with.

    I honestly have no idea if we’ll “work out” but I’ve learned I don’t have to know. I’m still evaulataing him as much as he’s evaluating me. I’m not trying to read the last page of the book anymore…I’m enjoying the story.

    Thanks Evan I’m glad I didn’t let my fear of rejection cause me to reject him first, or my silly high standards keep the bar so high no one ever got in.

  11. 41

    I am pretty sure I am going through some sort of fear, as I grow increasingly lonely day by day.  I sometimes break down, sobbing, scared to death that I am going to grow old, alone and die alone. I am 41, still hoping to have a family, and in a rut.  I had a very bad experience with a long distance relationship that ended in 2007. 
    I spent nearly 5 years on a long distance relationship, where I did most of the work to keep it going.  He would forget my birthday and not send me Christmas gifts, even though I did it for him every year we were “together”.  I actually met him online but we never met in person(he lives in Europe and I am in NYC). I am somewhat shy around men, but I find chatting online to be easier than talking to them in person at first.
    Living on promises that he was going to move here to be with me(he professed his love for me many times) and like an idiot, I believed him and trusted in him.  He forgot my birthday, again, in 2007 and then got mad when I confronted him about it, having had enough.  We had an argument and then he abruptly stopped communicating with me altogether and I haven’t heard a word from him since.  A bad part of this was there was no closure, as I don’t know what I did to make him start acting so mean to me during the last few months of our relationship(he maybe found another girlfriend closer to him, one he could have in the flesh.) 
    I do have trouble meeting men because I am a little overweight and that makes me self-conscious about my appearance. Society puts such emphasis on looks, if you don’t look the part you kinda feel inadequate or inferior. It hurts to see disappointment in a man’s eyes when he sees me for the first time, and then he acts nice and all on the date but I am not surprised when they never call again. Fear of rejection is my problem, I am sure.
    When I get to know a man, and care about him, I tend to give my whole heart.  I just wanted the same thing in return, for someone to care about me too.  Now, I feel like a block of ice has grown over my heart.  Impenetrable because I am afraid of being hurt again.  I’ve dated guys in the past who didn’t treat me right, and I have been disappointed time after time after time.  The guy in Europe was really someone I was sure I could settle down with.  I mean, I really thought he was ‘the one’. 
    I don’t know how to feel now and I have pretty much become a prisoner of my own emotions as I struggle to find happiness in love, but can’t seem to take the first step to recovery by dating again.  Sorry to rant so long, but I am really frightened for my future and just needed to get this out.  Thanks….

  12. 42

    i suggest you visit baggage reclaim, link to the left. Lots of women there with similar experiences who are coming out the other side. It’s no bs and tough love. Be strong

  13. 43

    Anonymous, I feel sad to hear your story but unfortunately I don’t think it is a good idea to have a “virtual” relationship as you never really know who is at the other end of it. Relationships are all about connecting with people in the real world. Maybe it would help to talk to a counsellor to talk through your fears and what is stopping you from finding a relationship in the real world but please don’t waste lots of time agnonising on men you haven’t actually met.

  14. 44

    Thanks, Fiona.  Yeah, you’re 1000% right.  I realized this back in 2007.  The problem is my self esteem. I think I used to turn to virtual relationships because I am afraid men won’t want to bother when they see me. I wish we lived in a world where looks didn’t matter so much, a world where people would get to like someone’s insides instead of focusing so much on their outsides.  Although I have been told I am pretty, I still don’t think I am pretty enough and that’s the biggest part of my problem.  I am thinking about trying again, but even though my picture is up there(where i feel I don’t look so bad) I still get no emails, no winks, nothing and it just makes me feel defeated. I set up an appointment with Glamour Shots(that place where they make you look really good and take your photos) and then chickened out the day of, convinced I was going to look stupid in them when they were done.  I probably should seek counseling for this, but I am unemployed right now and have no insurance, so that’s out.  Thanks so much for the advice.  I guess I just have to try and convince myself I am worth knowing.

  15. 45

    @ Mary Mary thanks.  I will really check that out because I think I need some help for sure thanks.

  16. 46
    Karmic Equation


    I do have trouble meeting men because I am a little overweight and that makes me self-conscious about my appearance.

    You have more choices than you think, but you actually have to DO something. Hoping and wishing won’t get you what you’re looking for. And looking for it “virtually” and having a virutal, not real life, relationship is unhealthy to say the least and a waste of time…and just a little nuts. Sorry…had to say that.

    Regarding meeting men when you are overweight…You actually have three choices (1) gain MORE weight so that you are attractive to “chubby chasers”, e.g., folks who are attracted to and seek relationships with overweight women…or (2) lose weight by going to the gym, dieting, etc., until you reach your goal weight…or (3) love yourself at the weight you are and adjust the expectations of the type/size/look of men with whom you want to have a relationship. If you want men to love you the way you are, you have to love men the way they are. What isn’t realistic is to hope to have a relationship with a hot man that has options if you don’t feel hot yourself.

    And you absolutely have to overcome your insecurities. If you can’t work through them on your own, then buy books, read blogs, see a therapist, etc. But you *have to* overcome your insecurities to hold a man. Men will run fast and far from insecure women because insecure women always do or say things that eventually drive/scare them away.

    Read this article. In fact, read the entire blog. I think you’ll find a lot of good, eye-opening info that may help you decide what is best course of action for you.

    Doing nothing will get you nothing. A man HAS TO BE physically attracted to you before he will consider getting to know you better. Basically, you could be an absolute angel on the inside, but he won’t initiate contact if you don’t appeal to him visually first.

  17. 47

    Thank you.  I am already looking at the many interesting articles they have there.  Thank you everyone.  I really want to take a step in ‘healing’ myself and trying to have a life instead of worried about living the rest of it alone.

  18. 48

    @Mia #39…I think I’m most shocked that you kept going out with a guy who admitted to you that he was anti-Semitic.  Did you seriously want to possibly marry a guy who will teach your kids to hate?  

    That just seems a little off to me.

  19. 49

    David T (16)
    I have been in a similar spot. Raised my two kids alone, so I don’t need a partner for that, I can support myself financially, so I don’t need a partner for that. I convinced myself for 10 years that I didn’t need anyone else (this after leaving a very violent man), but after 10 years alone, I’ve realized that what I really want is companionship, partnership, just having someone to talk to, and cuddle with, having someone around to care about, who will care about me. I understand the “shatterproof heart”, I’ve been there. But as content as I am single, I know that I have missed out on a lot by closing myself off.
    One other thing I’d like to point out to a few people on here, Mia and Mickey in particular: I’ve read several of your posts, and you both do come across as hostile and very negative. Mia, you constantly put down other women who find good men, while talking about how much better looking you are. Looks really aren’t everything.  And Mickey, I have written you off as either an internet troll, or just a very bitter man. It’s unfortunate that the two of you can’t look in the mirror. One thing I had to face up to is that in all of my bad relationships, the common denominator was me. For my entire life I’ve always been reminded that I’m not pretty enough or smart enough or successful enough. And, of course, I believed that I didn’t deserve love, although I wasn’t aware of this consciously.
    After 40 years, I’ve learned that I’d rather be valued for what I have to offer than devalued for what I don’t have. I don’t have a super model body, but I have a lot of other assets. Consequently, I don’t compare myself to other women anymore.
    The impression that I get from most of the posts is that people (primarily the women) are trying to figure out what the other wants so that they can BECOME that.
    I can handle being alone, and I can accept my imperfections, but anyone who wants to be with me would also have to.

  20. 50

    Sara 50:
    To that I can only say: opinions are like noses – everyone’s got one.

  21. 51
    Karl R

    Mickey said: (#11)
    “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.”
    Perhaps you (or the men you’re observing) need to change the way they approach women. Every time I’ve approached a woman in person (since I left high school), my advance was either accepted or politely declined. When I did online dating, I also had a number of times where I received no response.
    Given the likely outcomes (“yes”, no answer, polite “no thanks”) there just wasn’t anything to be afraid of.
    If women are consistently smacking you down for asking them out, either you’re encountering a completely different population than I am, or you’re approaching them in a way that causes them to be a lot more antagonistic towards you than they would be in normal circumstances.

  22. 52

    Mickey, If you go around with a chip on your shoulder and constantly tell people what a “whore” your wife was, and how women just want “blah,blah,blah”, pretty much all women with whom you come into contact are going to come to the same conclusion. You come on a site allegedly created to give women advice on how to find a good man, and make those kinds of statements, and it really is not attractive at all. So, my question to you is “why bother?” If you want to know what it is you are doing wrong, you’ve been told. If you simply want to be pandered to, why don’t you go to some misogynistic site dedicated to men who hate their “whore” ex-wives, and leave us alone?

  23. 53

    I don’t have an ex-wife; I’ve never been married. Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before, as politically correct as it is in this day and age to demonize men just for being men, it’s a little hard for me to turn the other cheek.
    As to your question “why bother?” rest assured, I don’t.

  24. 54

    My mistake, I was under the impression that you had referred to your exwife as a “whore”, however, not all women demonize men. Considering there have been several statements made publicly this year by male politicians and, most recently a judge, that women’s bodies have ways to avoid rape, I think it’s the other way around. In any case, a website to help women find relationships with men is hardly frequented by women who demonize men. I’m bisexual, but prefer relationships with men. If I had a choice, why would I choose “evil” men?
    As to my “Why bother?” question, you misunderstood. Why do you bother coming onto this site, a relationship site FOR WOMEN (allegedly as I’ve said before, since men also frequent this site) to state over and over how you don’t bother with relationships, and make it a point to tell other men not to bother, when they clearly are looking for relationships? Why do you bother? That you do tells me that you are hoping to find some woman who will pity you, accept your bitterness and verbal attacks, and be your doormat. Or, as I’ve said before, you are simply an internet troll. I’m asking you why you bother because I am genuinely curious. With everything I’ve been through, I could hate men with a coldness deeper than your hatred for women, but I don’t. I have two brothers, and I know several other (happily married) men, who are decent, good, kind, gentle men, and I know better than to believe that all men are the scum of the earth.
    So, Mickey, why do you bother coming to this site?

  25. 55

    That’s a fair question. My answer is I read the interesting posts and sometimes put my two cents in. I have no ulterior motive.

  26. 56

    Karl said (#52):
    If women are consistently smacking you down for asking them out, either you’re encountering a completely different population than I am, or you’re approaching them in a way that causes them to be a lot more antagonistic towards you than they would be in normal circumstances.”
    Not really, Karl. My observation over the years has led me to believe that the majority of women tend to assume the worst of men, and their reactions tend to bear that out more often than not. Thus, since I’ve long since lost hope that I can ever find a happy ending in the dating farce, I don’t bother approaching knowing that rejection is a given.

  27. 57

    Sara 55:
    I guess one man’s realism is automatically your idea of trolling. Oh well…

  28. 58

    I’m not afraid of any of those things, but I have had serious relationships with two guys who “turned out” to be crazy (though I do admit to brushing off some weird – though not abusive, etc – incidences) earlier on in the relationships. Both lied a lot (because they wanted me to like them and were emotionly unhealthy, not bc they were involved with other women) and made me not want to date for a while after both. Now, I’m just more cautious. It’s not that I distrust men, I just don’t know if men are genuinely interested in a healthy relationship of if they want a trophy girl who strokes their ego. 🙁 I get ya Evan!!!

  29. 59

    There is nothing sweeter than great love. There is nothing that requires more work, more presence, than great love. What I fear, which keeps me from jumping back into the game, is opening. Transparency. I am tired of coffee dates. And learning that someone is lactose intolerant, or has a steel plate in his head. Or is afraid of the dark. Or hates ice cream. I experienced great love more than once in my life. My husband had a terminal illness. He and it were my greatest teachers..I just don’t have time to waste on superficiality…..I love men, and the synergy of opposite minds, and the physicality that comes with relationship. I miss sex. And laughter. And feeling like a kid again. But I am afraid of that awful sinking feeling when you drive home from a bad date and just wish you had bought a pint of ice cream and stayed home with a favorite movie….I won’t stay away for long, because I believe in it so strongly, but I confess to hiding right now…….

  30. 60

    After 3 years my relationship ended with my sons father 2 months after my son was born. I couldn’t trust my partner because his stories always seemed to be different changing. He would say things that he said he didn’t mean but he still said them anyway. I’m a strong believer that actions speak louder than words so with the actions that took place I put my brain in front of my heart and left. I would do everything to try and please him him would give him sexual contact when he wanted even if I really didn’t want to and he would sway me into it and I’d be in physical pain but I did it for him. He was quite over possessive of males leaving comments and would get jealous so much so that I started mimicking that behaviour to try and show him empathy to walk into someone else’s shoes. I  grew to love him and share So many experiences together. I do a lot of things with my son but I don’t go out and meet people because I have no one to look after him and have only able to fix myself since he’s started nursery. It’s only been 4 months and I want to have that love but no matter what I did he criticise my work, saying to get a grip, I was lazy after giving birth. Then we stopped talking and not spending time together. I was miserable 🙁 all my maternity money would go on bills and he never once contributed I found out he been storing money and I had nothing. He wouldn’t do the things your suppose to do like sort out working tax credits and I would was his clothes for him and do small things but I felt like I was doing too much. I accept I made mistakes but he blames me and doesn’t accept his mistakes. I feel so alone. I don’t think I could let anybody get close again.

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