What If You Fear Relationships…?

Sometimes we learned difficult and hurtful lessons in life and as result, we fear relationships and deep connections. Let me tell you my story:

We were at a wonderful market, surrounded by booths selling colorful things from all over the world, the air filled with the smell of exotic food. I looked at the man at my side. I had achieved all I had dreamed of. The first date with this charming man – Spanish, good looking and humorous. It seemed so wonderful, like a dream. Instead I felt horrible, awkward and caged. I noticed this solid wall around me all the time. It put an unbearable pressure on myself. When we went home, he tried to give me a kiss – and then it happened. I heard myself saying, This will never work out, cold and sharp – the voice of my fear. I pushed him away and just tried to get out of the situation. I felt this fear inside, dark, deep and ice-cold – telling me, just to get out of here… otherwise I would die. My inner child had taken over control and was projecting all its anger and fears from its childhood to this man. I was powerless and unable to stop it. And inside my heart was crying.

We continued with a difficult relationship for one year, splitting off and starting again, never really being able to communicate with each other. I was his mirror and he was mine. Finally, I bought a book about fear of relationships. I wanted to understand our dynamics and how I could deal better with this. And I found a picture of myself I did not like to see – I had the same fear of relationships I had seen in my partner. It made me feel small, like a loser. I had never wanted to be influenced in such a strong way by my experiences in my childhood. And I was. I felt like a failure, ashamed of myself. I started working with myself and my inner child. For the following two years I focussed on changing this picture of myself. I did not dare to have a new date again because I was too afraid to return into my old habits.

And then, there came this man who I had not noticed in the beginning. By some lucky circumstances I could not avoid seeing him again. He was tall, brown-haired, attractive. In the past, my inner child always feared tall men for its experience in the childhood and this time it was o.k. My inner voice told me that it was time to go for a coffee again. So I dared to ask him for a coffee.

And I had dinner with him on a Saturday evening. Later that evening we went for a walk through the city. We just talked about ourselves. I felt well, relaxed and connected to myself. I said what I really wanted to say. I just was who I am. When we said good-bye I was able to give him a hug and to say him thank you for the nice evening. That evening I had not run away for the first time in my life and I had achieved something important for me. And I knew I could repeat it anytime I wanted to.

My fear has transformed me, now I work actively on my relationships, looking at every situation with the perspective What can I learn from it? It helps me to be authentic and not to play any games. And even though love has its limits if there is any kind of abuse or mistreatment, I now see a relationship as something very precious that should not be thrown away easily and deserves the constant effort to learn and work on one self to stay together. If I leave my partner and look for a new one without learning what I should learn from the situation I will face the same problem – only with a different actor. I would just waste my time and would have to do the learning I could do now at a later stage. My fear helps me to stay curious and creative in finding the best way to relate to someone. In the end, we all want to connect to other persons and connecting to others should give us positive energy and a lot of fun.

Stories are powerful to heal our lives. We are all human and have our scars, wounds and mistakes. Important is how we deal with them and what we make out of them. A long time I saw my fear of relationships as my “biggest” mistake and I was not able to forgive myself. By writing the story the wound and sense of failure got a new definition and a different description. This time it was written from a loving and compassionate point of view. This is the true healing.

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Do you want to read more? Check the article How to Be a Modern Heroine.

Natalie Jovanic

Natalie Jovanic is a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor. As a counsellor, she passes on what she believes in, but it isn’t just knowledge, theory, and professional experience. It is also her wisdom gained through her own transformational journey of healing violence and abuse.