Updated: Jan 10, 2020
Do you really love your singleness as much as you say you do? Or are you just afraid of being in a relationship? It's a real thing - having a fear of relationships - and understandably so. Love can be a little scary! Nobody knows that better than me. So when I was asked by a Royal about how to get over her fear of marriage, I decided to share 5 things that's helped me overcome my fear of relationships.
1. Learn what real love is
Most of us develop a fear of relationships by encountering a false version of love at some point in our lives. You thought that what you experienced or witnessed was love when it could have merely been chemistry, a connection, or maybe even co-dependence. And when that ended up hurting or disappointing you in some way, you rejected love as a whole instead of the version of love that that particular person showed you.
(Hate to cut deep right out the gate, but it is what it is.)
Or maybe you assumed that love alone could make someone incapable of making mistakes or hurting you. And because your expectations went unmet, it caused you to be disappointed.
Side Note: This is the importance of being whole before your relationship because your damage could end up damaging others who have placed their heart in your hands. All it takes is one situation to turn a hopeful person into a hurting person who will go on to hurt others, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
The realest, purest form of love is explained in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Now our first reaction to this is usually, "How do I find someone like THAT?!"
But the best way to attract these qualities is to first possess them. As I often say, You attract who you are not what you want.
taking a moment to dig into yourself and honestly ask which qualities you could use a little more of. Work on increasing in those qualities before you open yourself up to a relationship so that you're opening yourself up to attract someone else who possesses them as well.
2. Just Do It
The best way to overcome any fear is to come face to face with it.
When you make yourself do things that you are afraid or uncomfortable to do, it eventually makes you fearless each and every time that you're able to conquer it. It builds up your courage to keep stepping out on faith.
The most popular comment that people make after facing a fear is, "That wasn't so bad!"
The truth is...
you're probably making it a lot scarier than it actually is. And when it comes to relationships specifically, 9 times out of 10, the other person is just as afraid as you are. But the beautiful thing about love is that it truly does have the power to conquer all - even fear.
3. Don't over think it
As I mentioned, your thoughts and assumptions are probably worse than the situation itself. Over-thinking causes you to come up with worst case scenarios that probably won't even happen. We have a tendency to create mental failure before we even start.
Did you know...
that your brain can't tell the difference between a hypothetical mental visualization and an actual memory? So when you play these worst-case scenario situations out in your mind over and over, your brain counts them as actual events that have happened. That alone can paralyze you right where you are because, mentally, you've already tried and failed. Avoid the hypothetical thoughts and stick to the facts of what the situation has shown you so far.
4. Don't compare.
Your story is your story. Sometimes we can read too much into how things turned out for other people. Or we allow their current success in a certain area to intimidate and discourage us rather than inspire us. It's like having children - yours will always be "different." And it should be. No one person is the same so the result of joining two people together in a relationship will never have the same results.
5. Learn to love making mistakes
Most of us are simply afraid of making mistakes. But that's because many people don't realize the value in screwing up. A mistake can teach us more than getting it right can. And this works in any area whether it be business, relationships, health, lifestyle choices, ect. Once you let go of the fear of failure then you can truly use your failures to add to your value. When this is your perspective, then making mistakes doesn't seem so scary.
Be patient with yourself. You're learning. And even if you've been in a million relationships before, starting a relationship with a new person is like starting from scratch because no two people need to be loved the same way. Be honest with the other person and let them know what you struggle with. Ask them if they are willing to be patient with you as you learn how to love them properly.
It's worth explaining that the only one who's capable of executing love perfectly is God.
1 John 4:8 says that God is love. That's literally who He is. So when you choose to love others, you must understand that at some point or another, they will hurt you because nobody is God. They will make mistakes and so will you.
This is okay! Such is life! It's messy and beautiful.
Just make sure...
your expectations are realistic and that you continue to look to God as your example and you'll be well on your way to living and loving again, fearlessly!