What Is Philophobia, and How Can You Manage Fear of Falling in Love

What Is Philophobia?

Philosophically speaking, phobia is defined as “a fear or aversion of something.” [1] Phobias are common and often debilitating mental illnesses that cause significant distress to sufferers. They may include but are not limited to: fear of heights, spiders, germs, snakes, thunderstorms and even public speaking. The term was coined by British psychiatrist William James in 1882[2].

The word comes from the Greek words phobos (fear) and physis (body). Physiologically, it refers to the body’s fight or flight response when faced with danger. Psychologically, it refers to a fear of things that are feared by humans such as death, disease, injury and pain.[3]

A person suffering from phobia experiences intense anxiety when confronted with a particular thing. For example, if one were afraid of falling off a cliff, then they would experience extreme anxiety whenever they encountered a steep drop-off. Similarly, if one were afraid of being alone in the dark, then they would feel extremely lonely whenever they saw no other human beings around them.

Phobic individuals may have difficulty interacting socially with others due to their fear. Some may avoid going out altogether; some may hide under blankets during the day; and some may avoid social situations at all costs. What exactly it is that one fears will vary from person to person. However, one common denominator among all phobias is that people with the condition recognize that their fear isn’t rational and yet are still unable to get rid of it.

There are two primary types of phobias:

Specific phobias are an excessive or unreasonable fear of a particular thing, such as snakes, flying, or other people.

Social phobias are an excessive or unreasonable fear of a situation in which you may be watched or judged, such as public speaking, dating, or parties.

What Are the Symptoms of Philophobia?

Most people who suffer from the fear of love have experienced some sort of previous heartbreak. This has caused them to associate the entire concept of romance as something negative and something from which they want to run away as fast as they can.

Other people have a genetic disposition towards developing this condition. They may not have experienced any heartbreak in their lives and yet they still develop an intense fear of intimacy.

Both of these types of sufferers experience extreme anxiety whenever they are in love or whenever they start falling in love with another person.

Those with this condition often feel extreme discomfort when looking at sweet couples. They tend to view them as if they are on the outside looking in, and in a sense, they are. Most of these types of people have no desire to be intimate with others, much less form a deeper bond with them.

As a philophobia sufferer, you may have trouble concentrating at work or school. You may go out of your way to avoid certain situations that you think may trigger your anxiety. And you may find yourself avoiding relationships altogether. Even if you don’t want to be alone forever, you may feel as if the stress that comes from being in a relationship isn’t worth it.

Despite your fears, there are effective ways to get rid of this condition. You can overcome your phobia by doing the following:

1. Identify your fears

2. Expose yourself to them in a safe way

3. Face them head on

By doing the above, you will eventually learn that your fears are not rational and that there is nothing to be afraid of. You will build up your confidence and you’ll be able to enjoy romantic relationships like everyone else.

Other names

There are other names for this condition such as amorgophobia, philochrestia, and solotism.


There are a number of treatments that can help cure this condition. The most common ones are: behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and psychotherapy. Medications are also available, but they should only be taken under the guidance of a psychiatrist.

How Common is This Condition?

This condition is fairly common in our society today. Many people have raised concerns that our society is gradually becoming more and more obsessed with love and romance than ever before. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with this, it can certainly lead certain people to develop conditions like this one.

Amorgophobia is a condition that is related to philophobia. The two terms are often used interchangeably but they stand for two different things. While both of them are similar and display fear of intimacy, they also differ in many ways.

Amorgophobia is an extreme and irrational fear of commitment. This means that you will often feel as if you’re on the brink of running away at any given moment when in a relationship. You tend to change your mind a lot about whether or not you want to be in a relationship or if you’d rather be single. It’s likely that you’ve had short relationships in the past, but never a long-term one.

Even with short-term relationships, you likely had a fear of intimacy and ran away before it got too serious. If you do enter into a long-term relationship, you will always feel as if it’s just temporary and that the person you’re with will eventually leave. The thought of being intimate or expressing your love for this person is something that you dread and avoid at all costs.

This condition usually has its roots from an early age. You may have experienced a bad breakup in the past or had a bad experience with a friend who betrayed you. This made you think very hard about entering into any new relationships and as a result, you shut yourself off from the possibility of doing so. It’s likely that these experiences were very hurtful to you and they’ve had a lasting effect on your psyche ever since.

Sometimes people have low self-esteem or feel as if they’re not good enough for anyone, which causes this condition. Other times, it may be because other people have made you not feel worthy of having a loving relationship. As a child, it’s likely that you were deprived of love and affection, or at least not given enough of it that you were able to thrive and grow as a person.

This condition can mimic other conditions such as depression or anxiety. It’s very important that you seek out professional help if you believe that you suffer from this condition. There are many forms of treatment including therapy and antidepressants. With the right treatment, you can overcome this condition and have healthy and loving relationships in your life.

Sources & references used in this article:

Why are we afraid to love? by M Gisbourne

The psychology of tickling, laughing, and the comic by R Tavormina – Psychiatria Danubina, 2014 – psychiatria-danubina.com

The Metaphysics of Fear in Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King by GS Hall, A Alliń – The American Journal of Psychology, 1897 – JSTOR

Crazy English by T Rhea – Saul Bellow Journal, 2006 – questia.com

Being Abbas el Abd by R Lederer – 2010 – books.google.com

Cope. by A Alaidy – 2006 – books.google.com

Making love: Sexuality and the construction of British modernism by VTC Press – books.google.com

Unmaking love: The contemporary novel and the impossibility of union by AT Shelden – 2009 – search.proquest.com

Social happiness: Theory into policy and practice by AT Shelden – 2017 – books.google.com