How can I conquer the fear of being in a relationship?

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Answered by: Issa, An Expert in the Advice for Dating Category
Reluctance, fear of what may be, often stops us from taking a step forward, from walking, from moving. Such reluctance, such fear, is an obstacle that too often wins.

The reluctance comes in various shapes and forms. It is often a story portrayed by Hollywood - the story of the average guy, with a beautiful woman willing to be with him; but the guy’s heart is not completely invested, he stops just short of that complete and total commitment.

And so, as she feels the lack of heart, no matter how nice and “loving” he is, she cries, or becomes angry at him, or… she walks away. He is aware of the potential loss, losing her is not an option, but conquering that reluctance is no small feat either.

Losing that love, even when not completely invested, is what some call death of the heart, and as one Oscar Wilde put it, “Death of the heart is the ugliest death there is!”

It is at times a battle, when the guy does come close, and considers the possibility, but falls short. It is a battle by him, for her. A battle, for example, of whether to allow himself to become absolutely open to her, or give in to such reluctance. The reluctance of trusting another. The fear of being in a relationship.

Not moving forward generally promises comforts of not facing… life, of not facing fear, of not facing oneself… the comforts of the idea of moving on with someone more likable, less demanding.

May be taking that step forward promises arguments, demanding pains to change and to do, and… true happiness. It would appear there is no comparison – less demanding versus happiness. Nonetheless, it is a battle.

Hollywood says it is simple. May be so; it is rare, however, that Hollywood displays such a battle accurately. Like Hollywood, the reality is often that the boy does see her, and his heart does beat faster, and then he wonders where she stands, what she is thinking. Also as with Hollywood, he may start wondering what to do, whether he should approach her or not… then, arguably, Hollywood and reality diverge… the magnitude of the struggle is too difficult to display on a screen. The thoughts and doubts rush into his mind, that she is with someone else, that she has rejected him in the past… there is some jerk hovering around her like an annoying mosquito. This is usually in spite of knowing that she never rejected him, that she may have simply rejected his methods and the lack of heart in his requests. The guy often enough knows as much. Yet, for some reason he cannot go there, whether the relationship is only an idea, a vision, or something already begun but one that needs to grow and become more. It is, invariably, our background that comes into play in forms of reluctance, doubt, and fear.

He may think he does not know how; or he may freeze. When she is ready and waiting for him, when she gives him every possible sign to approach, when she puts herself out there and is open… for him this is when the battle begins. He may love her, he may even want to give her everything. The door is open, he stands mere inches out by the frame, looking in, wishing to walk in, but all he sees are these monsters in the form of doubts, rejections, or self-deprecation. Even if he crosses this line, there are the thoughts of what if… what if he does connect with her but then he loses her. Rejection does not even come close to losing.

It is established that our backgrounds often set the stage for our challenges in relationships, even before the relationship begins, creating the fear of being in a relationship. While Hollywood does present us with such an idea; unfortunately it fails to give us the formula. But that’s not on Hollywood, because no one can give another that formula; because no one situation or circumstance or background is similar enough, and even more importantly, no one can prepare another adequately for the actual experience… except, for the experience itself.

So, when a person trusts completely and whole heartedly, loves unconditionally, then loses, whether during childhood or adolescence or adulthood, it is true that a mark is left. What counts is that you don’t allow that mark to keep you down, even if you have to take miniscule steps to get back on track. And, if even these steps are too challenging, then find the support you need to pull you up. The point – do not allow yourself to stay down; be active in reaching out and building that relationship.

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