There’s no denying it: love can be terrifying, and if you’ve ever wondered, “Is it normal to be scared when falling in love?,” then you’re def not alone. Falling for someone forces you to be vulnerable in so many different ways, and for some people, the scariest part is the commitment. For anyone who’s ever thought, “I like him but I’m scared of a relationship,” or, “My feelings for him scare me,” here’s how to get over that fear and welcome the possibility of falling.
According to relationship expert April Masini, if you really like someone but are afraid of taking that next step with them, then the best thing you can do is be honest about it, both with them and with yourself. “Make a decision to not allow the fear to run your life," she previously told Elite Daily. "Acknowledge it and even say it out loud — but don’t stop doing something because you're fearful of commitment. Tell your partner, 'I’m really scared of commitment, but this relationship is so important to me, I want to stick with it, and I want your help with my fear.'"
Here’s how to deal when the idea of being in a relationship seems scary AF.
Ask Yourself Why Commitment Scares You
Maybe you were hurt by someone you trusted in the past. Perhaps you’ve never been in a committed relationship and you simply don’t know what to expect. Whatever the reason, the best way to get over your fear of commitment is to figure out why you’re so afraid of it. According to Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent relationship expert, a big reason why people are afraid of getting into new relationships is a fear of abandonment. “Unconsciously you fear the very thing you want — a strong desire to have a deep emotional connection with someone," he previously explained to Elite Daily. "You have an unconscious fear of being open and vulnerable, which is really the cornerstone of any true intimate relationship."
Dr. Brown said the first step is to recognize that there is a struggle and start looking into the root cause, preferably with the help of a professional. “Take a deep dive into looking about why you feel this way," he said. "You really have to be honest with yourself about why you are avoiding intimacy. This is going to take some courage.” Yes, getting over your fear of vulnerability will require you to make yourself vulnerable — but it will also open you to a whole new world of possibilities.
Decide Whether You’re Ready To Commit
It’s possible that fear isn’t the thing holding you back from commitment — instead, it’s possible you just aren’t ready. As licensed clinical social worker Dr. Danielle Forshee previously told Elite Daily, if you have "difficulty initiating or following through with a discussion pertaining to future plans or fantasies with your partner," then you could be scared of settling down. “Those who do not want to settle down or are unsure of settling down in general have difficulty with making things permanent," she explained, and they may not even be ready to put a label on the relationship.
If you're at a place in your life where you're not wanting to settle down with one person, then that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re afraid of relationships. It may be a passing phase, you may prefer non-monogamous relationships, or you could just be wanting to play the field, which is more than OK. But if you're seeing someone you really like and feel like a future with them is possible, then it may be time to give commitment a try.
Find Out Exactly What The Other Person Wants
Being scared to settle down is completely valid, but even the most patient person can only be kept waiting for so long. If you suspect the other person is ready to DTR and you’re not, then you probably want to have a candid conversation. Noelle Cordeaux, life coach and CEO of JRNI Coaching, said discussing your timelines can offer some clarity when it comes to making things official. “Sometimes, people are simply mismatched in their needs and/or their willingness to participate in a relationship,” she previously explained, and putting your needs out there will remove the mystery and scariness from the process.
If fear is holding you back, then you two may even be able to find a way to compromise so that both of your needs are met. "If one partner is more interested in commitment than the other, labeling the relationship too soon can trigger expectations that set the stage for the pursuer-distancer pattern of behavior," Cordeaux added. Find out what kind of relationship might make you both happy, and if you find that you just can’t offer what the other person is seeking, then it may be time for you both to move on.
Committing yourself to someone will almost always be a little scary, but if the feeling totally terrifies you, then the best thing you can do is get honest with your partner and yourself.
April Masini, relationship expert
Dr. Gary Brown, relationship expert
Dr. Danielle Forshee, licensed clinical social worker
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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