woman holding yellow flowers

It’s Not You, It’s My Fear of Love

I’m in love with the most caring man I’ve ever met, yet I’m terrified of him because he is the man of my dreams.

So, I initiate fights with the slightest hint of suspicion. Truth be told, my imagination has a funny way of creating scenarios that I want to believe happened. I have begun arguments over the slightest bit of change in their tone or mood but never thought to ask him how his day went.

I had turned every piece of advice or constructive criticism he gave me into manipulation and control. In actuality, he was helpful and told me exactly what I needed to hear once I listened openly. Ridiculously enough, I have picked fights over the most superficial concerns with social media. Insecure thoughts crept into my mind like, “Why has it been so long since he posted about us?” “Who is this girl that he just followed back?” and “Why didn’t he like this picture I posted?”

When I take a step back, dig through the superficiality, and reach my actions’ ugly truth, I realize my tedious nit-picking was out of spite, because I figured things were too good to be true.

I’m sorry—we had a good thing going for us. At first, things were beautiful, and we were happy. There were many moments I felt a different kind of bliss with you and within myself. But I just don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I can’t go on like this anymore. You deserve better.

It’s not you, it’s my fear of love.

Love challenges an old perception of ourselves. Our inner critic identifies ourselves as unlovable, and when we are finally loved, it makes us feel uncomfortable.

Our inner critic will always be there with us; each one of us has that dark side within us. Some may hide better than others. But your inner critic is there, trying to convince you of your unworthiness of feeling love and happiness.

Our inner critic shapes us from our childhood experiences and criticism exposed to us early in life. Your inner critic might embody the nagging voice of your mother. Or the unapproving voice of your father. Maybe even a mix of all authority figures that told you how you should feel. You could’ve also had toxic friends who never supported you, so you have no idea how to defend yourself.

As we grow older, these reprimanding voices become ingrained in our minds. They may become so loud that we fail to distinguish these voices as the sole self-sabotage enemy. Instead, we need to recognize our head’s destructive voice is merely the limitations we force on ourselves.

Yet we so often fail to do so because these inner voices hold familiarity that oddly comforts us. Our inner critic is that life long frenemy you’ve known way too long to completely detach from now.

Hence, when someone else showers us in love because they see more worth within you than yourself, we will get a feeling that their feelings are wrong. We will push them away because we get defensive, as it challenges our inner critic.

How we act in romantic relationships stems from our childhood dynamics. The negative relationships we once had as we were growing up only reflect brighter in opening ourselves up to someone new. We may walk away from intimacy because we may associate intimacy with the following feelings of loss, rage, and suffering we once endured.

Because with real happiness, connection, and intimacy comes real sadness, detachment, and distance. Love is not always equal. Love is sometimes loving your partner so much while they feel aloof. Love looks a lot like being there for them when they aren’t at their most loveable moment. It also looks like giving your partner the space to heal themselves. Each of us swings from one feeling to the next moment to moment. Emotions are an ever-changing force.

Shaking yourself up with worries in their fluctuation between feelings—and even yours—manifests your fear of love.

It isn’t them. It’s your fear of love.

Love will challenge the habits that have allowed you to feel safe, self-focused, and contained.

Yes, falling in love means taking a considerable risk. Which is why love looks a lot like bravery and courage.

For love is more than it appears. It is adventurous, mysterious, and wild. Love is compassion, selflessness, and strength. Significantly, love is unknown and known.

So, to have that fulfilling, long-term relationship you wish to have, get to know your fears with love. What is holding you back to create that more profound connection with the one you know, deep within your soul, that you could love with your whole heart?

Become aware of the behaviors this fear triggers. It is most commonly masked with irrational reasons as to why it won’t work out. Question and challenge those self-sabotaging thoughts. Take responsibility for your own actions as to why you may push away your love or even why you passively accept someone who makes you away. Build your tolerance for intimacy. Accept that love isn’t linear.

So, I’m sorry, we had a good thing going for us. At first, things were beautiful, and we were happy.

But I can’t go on like this anymore. I can’t keep letting my own fear get in the way of giving loving kindness to you. I promise that I will be aware of my own triggers, set boundaries, and choose courage over denying how I feel for you.

You deserve better. You deserve effort and reciprocation. I will be brave when you are feeling upset. I will open my heart to myself and the world and love you with that same openness. I will be there for you as you are for me.

It’s not you, it’s my fear of love.

About the author
Writing through life and hoping to inspire others along the way. Follow Jessica on Instagram or read more articles from Jessica on Thought Catalog.

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