Do you know what phylophobia is? Understand the irrational fear of loving

When you meet that special someone, it’s normal to feel your heart racing, the butterflies flapping in your stomach and even a little trouble breathing, right? However, what many consider to be symptoms of a passion can go beyond that limit and turn into a real panic attack. This is phylophobia – have you heard about this disorder?

So, keep reading the post! This way, I’ll tell you:

  • What is philophobia ?;
  • What are the symptoms of phylophobia?
  • What are the causes of philophobia ?;
  • What are the implications of philophobia ?;
  • Is there treatment for philophobia ?;
  • Conclusion.

What is phylophobia?

The philophobia is an irrational fear and pathological to fall in love or love someone. That is, it is a condition in which the person simply freaks out when he realizes the possibility of developing an emotional attachment.

What are the symptoms of phylophobia?

Anyway, how do you know if a person is really presenting with a phylophobia or if they have the normal fear of starting a new relationship?

After all, to some extent, most of us have a certain fear of falling in love. We never know if the other has the same intentions as we do, if the relationship will work out or if the person is worthy of our trust.

However, most of us overcome this fear and, after analyzing the situation, decide whether to play this new passion or not. Certainly, fear works as an alert, but not as a limiting factor.

In fact, this does not happen with people who suffer from phylophobia. In this case, the disorder really limits your actions and, as we will see later, it can affect even non-romantic relationships. Eventually, the person may withdraw, react aggressively or have physical symptoms when someone approaches with the intention of developing an affective bond. Among the main symptoms of phylophobia are:

Physical symptoms

  • Acceleration of heart rate;
  • Sweating (excessive sweating);
  • Tremors;
  • Dizziness;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Nausea;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Stomachache;
  • Cry;
  • Escape need;
  • Feeling of weakness;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Panic attacks.

Emotional signs

At other times, the person suffering from phylophobia does not have these physical symptoms, at least not as evident. However, he self-sabotages himself, avoiding situations that can lead to attacks by people of the opposite sex. In this way, he will do his best not to meet interesting people or, if that happens, he will behave in a way that will keep them away so that there is no involvement initiative.

In addition, another characteristic of those who have philophobia is to bet on relationships that will obviously not work. He gets involved with people with whom he has no chemistry or feeling, just to confirm that he is destined for love failure. This means that, at times, he develops a platonic passion for unattainable people, such as a famous singer or film artist, for example. Thus, love remains out of its reality.

Thus, it is worth noting that the symptoms vary and not all people have the same set. In fact, many times those who suffer from phylophobia are not even aware of their disorder and cannot explain what they really feel. Thus, friends and family around you do not understand what is going on and have no idea how to act to help you.

What are the causes of phylophobia?

There is no definite consensus on the causes of phylophobia. Still, many experts relate this pathological condition to some factors. See what they are:

Childhood traumas

Sometimes the problem is not in the relationships the person has lived in, but in the ones he has witnessed, even in childhood. So, if the child witnessed a troubled marriage from his parents, he may develop phylophobia in adulthood, first. In this way, she starts to associate emotional ties with situations of extreme anxiety, generating an aversion to them.

Some examples of family conditions that serve as triggers for philophobia are:

  • Emotionally distant and less empathetic parents;
  • Aggressive family environment;
  • Living with abusive relatives;
  • Frequent fights in front of the child.

These are some of the reasons why several cases of phylophobia arise in childhood.

Traumas related to past relationships

However, other cases of philophobia arise from adolescence or even into adulthood. For example, because of puberty, it is normal for hormones to start arousing desire and the search for love contacts. In this stage, rejection and disillusionment processes can initiate anxiety attacks, which will become a disorder.

There are people who develop the disorder even in adulthood. This happens when your history of past relationships is traumatic. So, if the person has already been involved with others and it has caused him to experience great suffering, it is possible that he develops this irrational fear of falling in love again.

Troubled or abusive relationships and divorces that involved major trauma are some of the triggers that can trigger phylophobia. The person associates the formation of affective bonds with pain or rejection. Therefore, it starts to avoid them.

There are cases of people who become philophobic after 40, for example. Experts see this age group as one in which many marriages break up, ending in divorce . The sum of traumas with the previous relationship with the anxiety of new encounters can lead to the development of phobia.

Internalization of cultural norms

In some societies, people have a very distorted view of relationships. They have been taught, implicitly or explicitly, that emotional or physical involvement is wrong, transgressive or, according to some religious beliefs, a sin.

For fear of immediate or eternal punishment, they begin to shield themselves from romantic relationships. They avoid contact with people of the opposite sex and, when they perceive the slightest sign of interest, they behave in a hostile way to keep the other away.


There are people who, although they have been related throughout life, may feel less confident to develop emotional bonds during a depression. At this moment, their self-esteem is affected by the disease and their view of themselves and others is negatively affected.

What are the implications of phylophobia?

Usually, the first point that people highlight is the difficulty in establishing a loving relationship. However, in several cases this disorder can affect other areas of life such as work, family life, leisure, studies and social circles.

Therefore, those who have phylophobia start to accumulate a series of losses. She avoids relationships with people so as not to lose control of situations, in order to protect herself from rejection and disappointment. Even in relation to friends! She hates feeling that someone is becoming too intimate, which is also reflected in romantic relationships.

However, in the long run she starts to have a socially isolated life and little participation in recreation and leisure events, which can make her unhappy and lonely.

Is there treatment for phylophobia?

Fortunately, there are possible treatments for those who suffer from phylophobia. Know some of the options:

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

In a very simplified way, we can say that our reaction to certain circumstances in life is due to the thoughts we have.

Everything that happened throughout our history programs our mind to react to a variety of situations, including the possibility of loving. So if our mental programming says that love is a problem , the answer may actually be anxiety, fear, frustration.

The therapist works to help the person recognize these thoughts and how they are creating the phobia. In the sessions, he leads the conversation so that the patient reevaluates these concepts, leading him to a change in perspectives and behavior, including in relation to love.

Exposed therapy or desensitization

In this type of approach, the therapist exposes the patient to situations related to his phobia. This can happen through films, plays or interactions with other people. The professional observes the reactions and acts to help the person to analyze them and learn to give an adequate response.

Furthermore, if the person is exposed to these situations on a regular basis, he will be able to adopt a more rational attitude towards reality. Anxiety will be reduced gradually, making the patient have a different perspective and be more open to interaction with the opposite sex.


In some cases, the doctor may prescribe medication to help control suffering and reduce anxiety. However, it is always important to use them as a temporary stopgap and look for a definitive solution, which is to understand yourself and change the mental patterns that led to the development of this irrational fear.

Without proper treatment, phylophobia can develop into a framework of totally antisocial behavior and severe depression. Therefore, this is a condition that deserves attention and, the sooner it is identified and treated, the better the patient’s quality of life.


The fact is that the past has a strong influence on how you view your relationships today. It would certainly be simple to tell anyone with philophobia to simply leave it all behind and focus on the fact that the stories are unique, and that today’s love will not necessarily break your heart like that passion from the past.

However, it is necessary to understand that for some people it is not easy to “turn the key”. Therefore, those who suffer from phylophobia need professional help and should seek it as soon as possible so as not to aggravate their condition or deprive themselves of a full and satisfying love life.

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