It is said that fear is an even more powerful motivator than money, which could shed some light on the fact that so many happy relationships are ended prematurely because one person involved gets paralyzed by fear. It could be fear of settling down, fear that you will not fit into their friend group or fear that there is no such thing as happily, ever after.
Men have a bad rep for being the ones to exit relationships before they actually want to because they get cold feet, but it’s not only men who are guilty of giving up a good thing for no real, good reason. Women have been known to run away from good things, whether it’s because they feel undeserving, or they are trying to avoid negative what-ifs that could happen down the road.
Whether you are experiencing some new relationship jitters, or the weird feelings that pop up right after the honeymoon phase, and right before reality sets in that you are indeed in an actual, serious relationship, fear has a funny of affecting everyone at some point. You can choose to ignore it and push through into your fantastic, happy relationship, or you can let it overwhelm you and run for the hills.
No one here is pretending to be a relationship expert, but what we can offer are some of the (irrational) fears that you might be experiencing so you know what to look out for.
Here are 16 fears that keep women from having happy relationships. May you overcome them and enjoy your relationships, instead of tiptoeing through them.
16The Prince Will End Up Being a Frog
Everything seems so shiny and new when you first get together with someone. You may be coming off of a long stint of being single or trying to get over a lost love, but the early stages can be thrilling. It’s why they call it the honeymoon phase. The Chase is still very prominent in this phase. Both of you are putting your best feet forward and trying to set positive first impressions to see if this “thing” could actually go somewhere. The real-him and the real-you will come out soon enough, probably early on, but it’s normal to be a bit skeptical. Everyone fears that their partner will not love the real them once they emerge from their cave and get front and center. You might be afraid that this super-amazing-funny-awesome-charming prince is going to turn out to be a jerk wrapped in tinfoil. And you aren’t alone in your fear, but you probably aren’t even the realest version of yourself yet, if you’re afraid of him changing. Be fearless because it’s the only way to truly fall in love and have them love you in return.
15You Will End Up Getting Hurt
This is a difficult fear to tackle because telling someone to not be afraid of getting hurt is pretty much impossible, especially if they were hurt badly by someone they loved in the past. Every single time you enter into a new relationship, there are one of two outcomes: one, this will be your happy ending, or two, the relationship will not work. And the varying degrees of break-ups are endless – you may decide you are better off as friends and easily transition into that, or there might be cheating, yelling and heartbreak. One party may fall out of love (or in love with someone else), or the relationship might just not be working for one of you. And yet, knowing this has a 50/50 shot, many continuously put themselves out there looking for love, or at least companionship. We do this with the knowledge in the back of our mind that if it doesn’t work, we will likely get hurt in some way. It’s okay to feel that way but it’s not a good idea to let it control your actions or behaviors for the entire relationship. It’s a great way to self-sabotage before it’s even really begun.
14That You Will Get Bored
Ask many men as to why they ended their most recent relationship, and lots of the casual relationshippers will tell you that they got bored, and that is actually really terrible because they are literally calling you boring. It’s not really that you or him is boring, it’s that instead of being a creature of routine, which humans typically tend to be, that they are rebelling against that idea and becoming bored of the same old thing. Women can do the same too. It’s why we find ourselves attracted to the bad boys – the boys we know our parents will never approve of and that will never actually become our boyfriends. There is a false belief that these guys, unlike the nice guys who are good lovers and fun to be around, will not eventually bore us. You may get a little bored but you have to decide if spending time with this person – or giving them up – is worth your little nagging feelings of maybe wanting to find something shiny and new. You may get bored in your relationship so there’s no point in obsessing over it until it actually happens.
13That You Will End Up Hurting Him
Many of you with self-esteem issues will have this deep-rooted (and totally false) belief that you are unlovable, or unworthy of your amazing partner’s love. You might have the weird feeling in the pit of your stomach that you don’t know what you’re doing but you just really like this person. If you have a short attention span and find yourself frequently checking out what else is on the menu, even if you are only looking and never touching, it might be a fear in your mind that you will be led astray from your partner. Alternatively, many women, once they find out what their boyfriends want from a relationship, get scared because sh*t gets real, and they somehow feel like they can’t give their partner what they need or deserve, even though they’ve been doing it for the past x-number of months. Some will tell you that having good intentions is not enough but if you believe you are a good person, and believe that you care deeply for this person you would not want to hurt, then you will not hurt them. If nothing else, you have to believe that.
Modern day Hollywood does a great job of telling women who the type of man is they should want is. Heck, even Taylor Swift sings about this ideal of what love is and what girls everywhere NEED to be happy. If you aren’t one to buy into fads and pop culture, you may have that friend with the amazing boyfriend (where you still aren’t sure where she landed him and how) and you are not hell-bent on finding one for yourself. Nicholas Sparks’ films are not real. There is not a guy out there who is exactly like the entire “Noah” package. It’s not about settling, but about realizing that your partner is perfect and special in their own way – mainly in his imperfections and things that make him unique. The sooner everyone realizes that “in a perfect world” will probably never happen, the sooner you can let yourself feel free, be yourself and find someone who thinks you are perfect… for them.
11Fear of Not Getting Along with His Family
There is nothing worse than falling in love with the perfect guy and wanting to spend the rest of your life with him only to realize that his family completely loathes your very existence. Now it won’t usually ever end up like that, but the stereotype that the mother-in-law will never get along with you exists for a reason. It’s normal that parents are protective of their children and as such, think that no one, even the best girl in the world, is good enough for them. It’s not being suggested that you sugar coat everything and be a fake version of yourself to make them like you, but at the end of the day, it depends on your level of commitment to your man and if you are really 100% sure that he is your penguin. If you go into the first meeting with his family thinking that they will hate you, they will sense your fear and think you are hiding something – and that might make them like you less initially because they don’t trust you.
10You Are Scared That He Won’t Accept You As You Are
There is practically a rule book that lists all of the things you can’t do around your new love if you want the relationship to go anywhere. It lists things from using the bathroom at his place, to wearing sweat pants, to not wearing make-up and letting him see your messy room before a specific point. Everyone’s putting on his or her best face – so to speak – to make their partners find them desirable; it’s just the way dating goes. Many women are afraid to let someone in and see the real them and all their skeletons. Sometimes, your past can be a lot to handle from a new guy. Your family, your friends and all of the tiny weird things that are so lovable about you are all part of the you-package and it can be intimidating to think that he won’t want the entire package once he sees it. Remember, that on your first date, he saw something about you that he liked that led to a second date. No amount of seeing even more, no matter how scary, will erase what he initially liked, unless your first date self was a complete lie.
9Afraid That a Relationship Will Ruin Things
You might be someone who really loves your life. You have a great job, amazing friends and a sweet apartment. Maybe you just don’t want a boyfriend stomping in and ruining all of that for you. You could be considered a love skeptic because you think that instead of enhancing your life, a relationship will pollute it. The most successful relationships are ones where you both exist separate of each other and do your own thing, with your own friends and are happy doing it. When you come home to each other or spend dinners or evenings together, you are happy to see him – not wishing he would go back to his own apartment. It really is a silly fear, especially if you are a traditionalist that plans on settling down and popping out kids with that white picket fence ideal, and several dogs. Some guys will not be right for you, and may make your life a little less perfect, but those aren’t the right guys for you anyway.
8Lack of Time for a Relationship
All people in their 20s tend to be constantly on the go. You have work things, family things, life things (where you buy your own groceries and do your own laundry because you’re an adult), and you try to balance that with a social life to keep yourself sane. Don’t forget any extra-curricular activities or the gym because those are things people do too. You may be confused as to where the heck you are supposed to stick your boyfriend in all of this. Though you can’t exactly pack him away in a little box to take out when you want to be in a relationship, you can communicate the chaos of your life to him and see if he feels the same way. There are no rules that state you must spend x-number of days or hours together to be in a relationship. Keep it casual if you want, and get together with someone who’s schedule is compatible with yours, and it’ll be worth the little bit of extra time you will end up pouring into it.
7That History Will Repeat Itself
There IS a saying that says that history repeats itself, but it doesn’t always. You’ve been cheated on in the past. We get it, it hurts like hell and you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. You feel worthless and you wonder what you could have done differently. The truth is there isn’t much you could have done. You are never responsible for someone else’s behavior in a relationship. This mentality can be dangerous for you though. Similar to spousal abuse where the victim blames herself, you continuously choose guy after guy who does nothing but hurt or cheat on you. If you’ve done it more than once, it’s awful and you probably think there are no good guys left out there. Where does that leave you? Well, you are scared, for one. You are afraid of picking the wrong guy again because you are sure that if it happens to you one more time, you just won’t be able to keep going. Try to remember that every guy and every situation (as well as the dynamics between the two of you) is different and just because you had a string of bad luck doesn’t mean you should stop trying or caring.
6The Plenty of Fish In the Sea Argument
You literally have thousands of options. There are 7.125 billion people on Earth – so let’s assume that half of them are males (3,562,500,000) and maybe your desired age range takes up about a 5-10 year age range. Somehow, you are expected to find a partner that you want to be with forever. Maybe you’re afraid of settling, or you’re afraid that if you fall for him, he will meet someone he loves more, and leave you alone and brokenhearted. Either way, acknowledging that there are others out there is not helping you in your relationship at all. It’s better to live in the moment; remember that you two chose each other and stop worrying about what might happen five years from now. Another person swooping in and stealing one of your hearts is only one out of hundreds of reasons you could break-up. Is it really worth wasting any of your time?
5When You Love, You Have More to Lose
Have you heard the expression, the higher you climb, the further you fall? Well, the same is true about the love you feel in relationships. When you find someone you truly love or want to be with, your fears paralyze you as you think about losing them, or what they would do if they lost you. The PsychAlive website had this to say about relationships: “The more someone means to us, the more afraid we are of losing that person. When we fall in love, we not only face the fear of losing our partner, but we become more aware of our mortality. Our life now holds more value and meaning, so the thought of losing it becomes more frightening. In an attempt to cover over this fear, we may focus on more superficial concerns, pick fights with our partner or, in extreme cases, completely give up the relationship.” Call it existential, or call it irrational, but the fear of losing love is really not a very good reason to reject finding it at all.
4Fear of Change
You have your life, and you are pretty excellent at living it. You’ve been doing it for over 20 years. However, just like what happened to you sometime in your early teens, people change. It can be physically, emotionally or even mentally. You change every day, and we’re not talking about just your clothes. You are the sum total of your life experiences, and you learn from your mistakes. Being a creature of habit means that you don’t want someone coming in and changing your routine because it might be hard to give it. That being said, once you find someone that you are happy with; it’s hard to picture life without them because they have been ingrained in your routine.
You have to remember that you will change when you enter into any relationship, happy and healthy or not so good, and if you don’t at all, then it’s shocking. Many employers look for someone to hire that is adaptable so why wouldn’t you want to be adaptable in your every day life. Sometimes change can be good but if you’re afraid of it, you’ll never get to see that.
3You’re Afraid to “Grow Up”
Life was so much simpler when you were a kid. You ate your vegetables and got dessert. You came home before the streetlights came on for dinner. And boys and girls were friends without all this extra weird stuff. Growing up can be crazy intimidating because you go from having someone take care of you when you’re sick to having to drag yourself to the drug store while ill and ask a pharmacist for a good medication while trying not to puke on him. You are taught from a young age that eventually you have to move out, leave home, go out and start your own family. Who even wants to do that, unless your parents are terrible people?! You don’t want to leave your parents or grandparents because right now you have meals cooked for you, mom does your laundry and you don’t pay rent. Relationships are complicated, just like life, and they can be scary to think about when you consider all the other stuff you already have to do. You are growing up every day whether or not you feel like you are mentally and emotionally, so why not try to find someone with whom to try to navigate your way around the world?
2Fear of Commitment
The big one. The old “fear of commitment” that tends to affect men more than women, or at least it seems that way. Men are more willing to openly admit that they were afraid of the idea of spending their life with someone than women because women are supposed to be the emotionally mature ones that crave long-term relationships. Women also experience the sensations of feeling trapped and the idea that you will never be with anyone else ever again, in a romantic sense. It’s nice to think that when you meet the right person, everything falls into place and you will never feel this pressure, but it’s a relationship, and humans were never really built for monogamy, so you really have to work at it every single day. At the end of the day, if you believe that being single is better than being in a relationship you are probably better suited for single life, but if companionship and regular physical intimacy sound nice, then maybe the commitment part isn’t all that scary.
1Fear That You’ll Never Get Your Happily Ever After
And they all lived happily, ever after. The ending of every single one of your favorite children’s books and fairy tales. There’s a reason Disney is so successful and it’s because they sell the idea of love, perfection and happy endings. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get your happy ending but the movies forget to mention the struggle you have to go through while getting to know your partner and navigate a relationship. Few couples out there can say that they’ve NEVER had a fight before, and even then, they are probably lying. It’s okay to be scared you won’t achieve perfection because you won’t, but that has to be good enough for you. You can have the life you imagined and dreamed of and an amazing partner to be there for you. You have to choose to be there and choose your partner above all other people out there. And if you do that, your relationship will be better than anything you’ve ever experienced – and that includes sleeping with multiple people all the time and having rich men buy you nice things. Happily ever after does exist; it just might not be as black and white as the books make it out to be.