Scary Love: 13 Types Of Love Phobias You Never Knew About

Love and Romance | |
Updated On: February 7, 2024
Love Phobias
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“To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead,” or so said British philosopher Bertrand Russell. But what if you’re scared of the very notion of falling in love with someone? Now, we’ve all heard of various types of phobias, such as arachnophobia (fear of spiders) or hydrophobia (fear of water), but have you heard of love phobias, such as philophobia? Yes, as unbelievable as it may sound, there exists a fear of love, though it’s not a rule-book medical condition yet.

But what does the philophobia definition, or the fear of love, imply? And what causes fear in love? Are there more such love-related phobias that can prevent a person from being romantically involved with someone? And how common are these phobias? Well, a study has proven that “1 in 10 American adults and 1 in 5 teenagers will deal with a specific phobia disorder at some point in their lives.” And fear of love is one such specific phobia, which may manifest as a nauseating feeling, shortness of breath, or a dry mouth when you think of romantic relationships.

But can mental health professionals help cure such phobias of falling in love? In this article, we’ll try and answer many questions such as this one. We’ll not just explore the fear of falling in love, its symptoms, causes, and treatment, but we’ll also look into the dynamics of various other phobias to do with love. So, let’s not waste time and dive straight into the intricacies of the fear of love.

Philophobia — The Fear Of Falling In Love

Do you feel horrible thinking about being in love? Do you feel that emotional attachment or emotional intimacy is something to avoid? If yes, you might be afflicted with philophobia. It is a condition wherein you are afraid of falling in love with the wrong person. A study, in describing what it is, says, “People with philophobia tend to avoid the chances to get attached with someone and deny any special feelings they feel for a certain someone.”

The very idea of love, in such cases, makes your heart beat faster and not in a good way. Life without love is a terrifying notion for most, but for you, the fear of relationships supersedes every other feeling that you might have. So, let’s answer the burning question, “What is philophobia?” and look at a few of its signs and symptoms.

Related Reading: 8 Common Fears In Relationships – Expert Tips To Overcome

Symptoms of philophobia

The fear of love has some prominent symptoms that are hard to ignore. These include both physiological and psychological symptoms. We’ve listed a few for you here:

Anxiety in relationships: A person with philophobia tends to feel anxious whenever they’re in a relationship
Fear of the relationship ending: Such people suffer from the fear of heartbreak and are constantly scared of losing their partners
Physiological symptoms: People with philophobia may suffer from visible physiological symptoms, such as increased heart rate, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, sweaty palms, or an upset stomach. In extreme cases, it may lead to severe panic attacks, including chest pain
Lack of trust: Philophobic people tend to distrust their partners and often push them away

Causes that lead to philophobia

Just like any other phobia, the fear of falling in love too has some deep, underlying causes. So, let’s find out what causes fear in love. Here are a few reasons that may lead to philophobia:

Past relationships: Issues in past relationships, such as domestic violence or infidelity
Social pressure: The pressure from society, friends, and family, to choose a particular type of person as a life partner can lead to philophobia
Childhood trauma: Childhood abuse and abandonment issues may lead to philophobia. For instance, a person may have grown up being emotionally neglected by their parents and, as a grown-up, is scared of being rejected or abandoned by their partner

Treatment of philophobia

Now that we know what causes this peculiar and irrational fear of love, let’s find out how to treat this condition. Here are a few steps to get over philophobia:

Address past trauma: The first step to recovering from philophobia is to forget the past trauma and move on. But how do you do it? Sit with a friend and vent. Talk therapy helps a lot in such cases. Identify what makes you scared of love, dissect your past, and move on. Cry, if you want to, but remember, our past shouldn’t define our present
Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses: The next step is to be self-aware and introspect. One must be aware of one’s shortcomings and work on them, instead of shoving it beneath the carpet and avoiding falling in love. One must recognize the issues that prevent them from opening up to possibilities of love and harness their strengths and talents
Consult mental health professionals: The most important part of getting over philophobia is to consult mental health professionals, such as a counselor or a therapist. They may employ various methods, such as relaxation techniques, exposure therapy (such as systematic desensitization therapy), cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, and medication (such as antidepressants).

Related Reading: Fear Of Relationships After Divorce. Face These 10 Fears First

12 Strange But Real Love Phobias

Now that you know what the fear of falling in love is, are you curious to know about the other types of fears that may hamper your chances of falling in love? We know you don’t want to end up being a bundle of nerves when it comes to being in a relationship. After all, we all deserve healthy relationships and someone special to share our lives with.

So, why ruin your chances of a relationship because of a mere phobia that can probably be addressed and cured by a bit of counseling and a positive attitude? No, you need not hide behind a book when someone you fancy approaches you. You need not adopt singlehood just because you can’t dare facing someone who can be your future love interest. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to delve into the depths of the various types of weird fears of love and intimacy, because this is going to be a hell of a ride!

Afraid of feelings
When you’re afraid of feelings, you can end up lonely

1. Pistanthrophobia – The fear of getting hurt in a relationship

One of the major phobias to do with love is pistanthrophobia, or the fear that you would get hurt by your spouse or your partner in a relationship. It is actually one of the more common love-related phobias.

If you feel that love will always lead to heartbreak, it is important to understand that this can be an anxiety disorder, one that is characterized as persistent and irrational. It can also be triggered by a previous painful experience and take an ugly turn if neglected. As psychiatrist, author, and educator Dr. Gail Saltz says in a Healthline article, people may suffer from this phobia due to the “bad experience with a past relationship where they feel extremely hurt, betrayed, or rejected.” But do not worry. It is not uncommon.

Related Reading: 9 Signs Of Commitment Issues And 5 Ways To Deal With It

How to live with pistanthrophobia

It is important that you understand the implications of this phobia and take the necessary steps to quell it. The major symptom of pistanthrophobia is the urge to stay away from deep, meaningful conversations with a romantic partner. If you’re suffering from this phobia, you won’t be able to let your guard down and open up to someone. That should be your point of action when trying to work on this issue.

am i afraid of commitment quiz

2. Philemaphobia – The fear of saliva

A friend of mine, Cathy, once dated a guy who would avoid kissing her passionately. In fact, though he got intimate in other ways, he avoided Cathy’s request of a French kiss multiple times. On asking him, Cathy was told he detested the idea of exchanging saliva while kissing. Well, he probably suffered from philemaphobia, the fear of saliva, which led to his fear of kissing.

Philemaphobia is a disorder where you develop an intense fear of saliva or oral germs. While some people are disgusted by the idea of coming into contact with germs in other people’s mouths, others feel revolted by the idea of exchanging saliva with their partners. And this fear of kissing can lead to serious relationship problems.

How to live with philemaphobia

In both cases, what it finally does is instill in you the fear of falling in love. Here’s how to deal with it:

  • If your fear is on the lower end of the spectrum, exposure therapy and making yourself comfortable with the idea of kissing might do wonders
  • Like other phobias listed here, make sure to talk to a therapist about it
  • You can also get a customized treatment plan

3. Gamophobia – The fear of marrying somebody

By now you already know the answer to the question, “Is there a phobia of love?” But you may not know the entire spectrum of such phobias. For example, gamophobia is a unique type of love phobia. It is the fear of the idea of marrying someone. It often prevents people from getting into meaningful relationships with a romantic partner or manifesting love in one’s life.

Interestingly, gamophobia is not just limited to the concept of marriage. It can also trigger one’s anxiety if one is planning to get into a committed relationship with another person.

How to live with gamophobia

If you are suffering from gamophobia, cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy may be of great help in curing it. Such therapy may include:

  • Talk therapy
  • Realistic tasks to make you comfortable with the idea of committing to someone

Related Reading: Are You Scared To Be In A Relationship? Signs And Coping Tips

Just in case you are trying to overcome this fear on your own, we suggest you:

  • Look for the root of your insecurities and past traumas
  • Make an attempt to heal from those traumas
  • Move on without closure, if needed
  • Don’t let others’ experiences, such as your parents’ bad marriage, come in the way of you falling in love

4. Venustraphobia – The fear of women

After looking at some commitment-centric illogical fears regarding love, we have finally arrived at a gender-specific one. Yes, venustraphobia is the phobia where men get jittery when they try to talk to beautiful women. Remember the early version of Rajesh Koothrapalli in The Big Bang Theory? That is what this disorder looks like. It can take away the chance of even starting a conversation with a girl, let alone initiating a relationship. But if Raj’s journey is anything to go by, this can be overcome with proper help and guidance.

Fear of relationships
The fear of women can spoil your chances of ever being in a relationship

How to live with venustraphobia

Low self-esteem turns out to be your biggest enemy on this front. So, in order to improve your love life, you need to start working on yourself first. Another way to overcome these phobia symptoms is by directly facing your fear. If you remember Raj, you must also remember Lucy, the girl with social anxiety whom he dated. She went out of her comfort zone and made herself talk and date people to get over that fear. How about doing something along those lines? You can try and practice talk therapy. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.

5. Chiraptophobia – The fear of being touched

While the other love-related fears limit the affected person’s ability to forge well-rounded relationships, chiraptophobia prevents a person from enjoying sex or any sort of physical intimacy. People with this phobia abhor the idea of being touched. Sadly, for these people, they fear something that’s the basic and fundamental part of a relationship. Human touch goes beyond raw sexuality and is a form of showing affection and care. But this phobia wouldn’t allow you to cuddle with your partner on a cold, wintry night or even think about a marathon ‘Netflix and chill’ session.

How to live with chiraptophobia

If you are suffering from this phobia, make sure you:

  • Have an open conversation with your loved one regarding this
  • Talk to a counselor
  • Practice breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques to relax your nerves

Related Reading: What Is Fear Of Commitment And How To Deal With It – Advice From An Expert

6. Omphalophobia – The fear of belly buttons

Still curious about the different kinds of love phobias? Well, we’ve got another one for you: omphalophobia. It’s the weird fear of belly buttons or navels. Yes, you read that right. This is truly one of the most distinct ones on the love phobias list. Omphalophobia gets in the way of you touching or seeing your belly button or somebody else’s, or both. You can understand why this might be an issue in a relationship. After all, physical intimacy is extremely important in a romantic equation.

How to live with omphalophobia

Living with omphalophobia can be disconcerting. I have known someone whose close friends and partner were insensitive about it and often joked about it too, thus minimizing and devaluing their fears and concerns. We believe therapy is the best way to go about it.

7. Mysophobia – The fear of germs

I had a batchmate in high school, who would always be seen washing hands. No, she wouldn’t just wash hands before meals. She would wash hands after shaking hands with you or even after touching the door knob. Weird, right? Or maybe not!

Mysophobia turns you into a germaphobe, making you averse to the idea of touching people or being in unknown spaces. Researchers have defined it as “a morbid fear of contamination.” This is similar to philemaphobia, except it concerns more than just kissing. The moment we talk about germophobia, Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory comes to our mind. I am sure you can relate to his problem of not being able to hug anybody, touch somebody’s glass, or drink from a shared bottle. Those are the traits of somebody suffering from mysophobia.

How to live with mysophobia

There are many ways to address this phobia. Here’s what can help:

  • Trying different stress and anxiety-reducing techniques
  • Cutting down on alcohol consumption or smoking habits before you go for medication
  • Support from your loved ones

Related Reading: 12 Tips To Get Over Commitment Issues

8. Agoraphobia – The fear of open spaces

‘Agora’ is the Greek word for the central, public space in a city. The roots of much of our modern way of life can be traced back to the Greeks. So, it is not unusual that a love phobia would be connected to it somehow. Agoraphobia is the fear of public places. If you have this phobia, you won’t be able to go on a public date or even go out for a movie or a shopping spree. And who would want to date someone who doesn’t like outdoor activities or even simply hanging out?

Another broad definition of this phobia is the fear of places or situations that might induce panic or embarrassment. This may include the fear of public transport or even standing in a queue. As studies have indicated, “people who suffer from specific phobias work hard to avoid their phobia stimuli even though they know there is no threat or danger, but they feel powerless to stop their irrational fear.” So also, in this case, people may be aware there is no harm in being in open spaces but avoid it anyway.

How to live with agoraphobia

If you focus on healing from your social anxiety, relationship insecurities, and any other underlying issues, such as drug addiction, it can, in turn, reduce your fear of open spaces.

9. Ithyphallophobia – The fear of an erect penis

Coming back to the other gender-specific phobias on the love phobias list, here is an interesting one. Ithyphallophobia is the fear of the phallus, or to put it more simply, it’s the fear of an erect penis. Well, some people just don’t like the sight of it and definitely don’t get turned on by it. This fear can set you down the path of a sexless relationship if you’re into men.

How to live with ithyphallophobia

If you’re a heterosexual woman, a person who identifies as part of the female gender and is into men, or a man who’s attracted to other men, you would require some form of professional guidance in order to get through this phobia. This phobia might make you lonely unless you take measures to address or manage this condition.

More on mental illness

10. Arrhenphobia – The fear of men

Here’s another gender-specific version of venustraphobia. Arrhenphobia is one of the weird types of love phobias that affect people, in which they perceive men as a threat or an object of repulsion. You may be suffering from this disorder if you feel uncomfortable in the presence of men or if you abhor connections with any. This phobia is usually triggered by painful experiences from your past, but it can develop without prior context too.

Related Reading: What Is Fear Of Relationships And How To Cope With It?

How to live with arrhenphobia

Like most other phobias related to love, the fear of men is treatable with cognitive therapy and exposure therapy techniques that a licensed professional can guide you through.

11. Cibophobia – The fear of dining out

Is there a phobia of love related to eating? Yes, my dear reader, there is one. You see, dating involves a lot of going out, and most of it is about exploring wonderful delicacies together, at least in the initial stages of a relationship. In fact, dining out is one of the best bonding activities.

But picture this: you are scared of going out for dinner because you think somebody might poison your food. Well, we hate to break it to you, but you may be suffering from cibophobia and it is probably playing on your trust issues and making you doubt every morsel of food from an unknown place. It is an extremely disconcerting form of love phobia.

How to live with cibophobia

Of course, it would be ideal for people suffering from this phobia if they could avoid all sorts of undercooked food, leftovers, and dishes prepared by others (or not under your supervision). But since that’s not possible, taking baby steps each day to overcome this fear is recommended. You can start by ordering some fries and a shake from a neighborhood diner to begin with.

12. Sarmassophobia – The fear of foreplay

Persistent love phobias aren’t always limited to the fear of relationships. They can also be related to sexual experiences. One such fear is sarmassophobia, or the fear of foreplay. We all know that foreplay is an important element for establishing consent and heating up things in the bedroom.

Related Reading: 22 Signs Of A Commitment-Phobe

And for a majority of couples, foreplay is fundamental to the idea of having a wholesome sexual relationship. So, what happens if you’re scared of this very crucial element of physical intimacy? It takes away the fun of sex and makes your relationship boring and monotonous. And any average human being is bound to be frustrated by this.

How to live with sarmassophobia

The fear of foreplay can lead to philophobia or pistanthrophobia, if left untreated. If you do not get excited at the idea of a good foreplay before getting into the main act, talk it out with your partner. At the same time, it’s vital that you consult a sex therapist to get to the root of the issue and figure out how to manage or overcome this fear.

Key Pointers

  • There are different types of love phobias, such as the fear of commitment, the fear of confessing love, and the fear of physical proximity
  • Such fears related to falling in love can be triggered by multiple causes, such as past relationships. social pressure, and childhood trauma
  • These fears may lead to symptoms such as constant anxiety, the fear of heartbreak, and physiological symptoms, such as nausea and dizziness
  • Most of the love-related phobias are treatable through cognitive therapy and exposure therapy techniques, just like any other specific phobia
  • It’s important to accept that you’re afraid of feelings or love to get the necessary help
  • Love and support from your partner and other family members can be immensely helpful in coping with various types of love phobias.
  • You can also consult mental health professionals or reach out to support groups to cure you of the fear of falling in love

We hope you aren’t still wondering, “Is there a phobia of love?” We’ve tried to give you a comprehensive list of the weirdest love phobias that have the potential to destroy your romantic life and explain what causes fear in love. But don’t get us wrong. We didn’t mean to scare you. The motive of this article was to help you understand the fear of falling in love, identify your own issues, if any, and then address them.

After all, self-awareness is the most significant element in your healing journey. Don’t give in to the fear of heartbreak or the fear of confessing love. Fight back and win, because falling in love is totally worth it! Still afraid of feelings? If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the phobias mentioned above, Bonobology’s panel of skilled and experienced counselors is here to help you conquer your fears and create happy and meaningful relationships.

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