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Philophobia symptoms

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The fear of love is truly an enigma in contemporary psychology. Human beings are the most social of animals, and yet the prospect of being loved — of expressing love to another, and thereby being emotionally vulnerable — evokes enough fear in some people that they run screaming for the nearest exit.

An element of philophobia showed up during the first season of the hit TV show, “Glee.” A high school club teacher, Will Schuester, has a date with Emma Pillsbury, the high school counselor who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and a few other phobias. Nonetheless she insists that she loves Will and wants to make love with him. However, after seeing the two in romantic contact to the tune of Madonna’s hit song, “Like a Virgin,” viewers later learn that Emma ran screaming from Will’s apartment before they could consummate their love.

A distraught departure from a potential partner is certainly one of the signs of philophobia. Emma’s character exhibited some of the classic signs of the conflicted emotions endured by many people who suffer from the fear of love and/or intimacy. They can experience a momentary exhilaration when they think of the prospects of giving and receiving love. Then, at a crucial moment, philophobics become overwhelmed by their fears of what the previous emotions imply, such as the loss of emotional control and the vulnerability of physical contact.

Some people have such severe philophobia that they can’t even get as close to a potential lover as Emma came to Will. They suffer the classic reactions of many people with persistent, unreasonable fears including dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, dry mouth, sweating, trembling, weeping, panic attacks and roller-coaster emotions. These physical symptoms signal that something has gone wrong emotionally, that the body is responding to a mildly cautionary situation with an extreme expression of the “fight or flight” reaction.

In other words, in these severe cases, the mind is thinking that falling in love poses a life-or-death threat to such a degree that it automatically prepares the body to fight for survival. This excessive emotional response forms one of the clearest signs that a person is in the grip of a phobia, in this case, the fear of love.

It’s important to understand that fear is a normal human emotion. In fact, although it generally causes an unpleasant experience, fear is a helpful emotion. It heightens people’s alertness to potential dangers and releases adrenaline useful for “fight or flight.” However, when fear becomes debilitating in the way we’re discussing here, it becomes an obstacle to life and not an ally.

Dealing with philophobia, also called “love fear,” fear of emotional connection and a host of similar names, may require a complicated set of therapeutic approaches. A patient and his or her therapist may need to work on relationship skills as well as techniques to control the excess fear stimulation. This reality can take time and money, and may cause frustration if the patient doesn’t seem to progress. While a patient suffering from philophobia may never be completely free of the condition, he or she can progress to the point where the most negative symptoms are removed, and normal romantic relationships become possible.

Ed. note: These articles were written by a professional researcher, and not a psychologist. If you feel you can improve anything, please write in. And never take anything you read on the internet as qualified medical information.


  1. Lisa Lisa

    I have tears running down my face as the I finally feel less alone. I am not the only one who feels like this? Words can’t express the relief at finding this website. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I can’t stop crying….

    • bren bren

      I agree with Lisa this has been my phobia for so long now and Im glad I found this information and get on the road to freedom from this

    • Scott Scott

      Definitely, I thought I was just going through the awkward teenager phase way longer than my friends, not that it was a separate phobia. Im glad that im not the only one, and I wish you all luck!

  2. Anja Anja

    I’m glad that i found this website, and know that i’m not alone.

  3. Michael Michael

    I’ve always thought what I felt was so abnormal. I felt alone and sad. Then I found this website, I felt more comfort that I’m not the only one…

  4. Slim Slim

    Thanks for this!

  5. Ann Ann

    so that’s what wrong with me… 🙁 i hoped i can just snap out of it 🙁 well i guess ill just become a can lady then (24 y/o virgin)

  6. Arie Arie

    I thought I was the only one. Coming from a single parent family, life is tough in terms of love. Worse still, I was told countless times that I don’t deserve to be loved. It etched into my mind n until today, I am almost 30 and still single. Its a tough community to live in

  7. Anonymous Anonymous

    Like the others have stated I believed that I was tormented by a unique form of mental illness. I have looked for years trying to find what is wrong with me. Nothing quite fit until I found this tonight. Just about every story could have been written by me at some point in my life. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this sooner. Although I am not optimistic that I can change this late in my life (early 50’s), at least I finally know what monster I have to fight. Thank you.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      Hello, so did you progress? I’m reading this and would love to hear what happened, did you have any success?

  8. Kallia Kallia

    I never knew this was something other people felt; I had always believed I was completely alone in this. Nobody ever understood the fear I felt at the prospect of love, and everyone would just tell me that it was just something i’d grow out of or something that I would overcome given the right person. I always make excuses to not meet potential partners, I push away people, I don’t trust anyone, and I never make emotional attachments. I don’t allow myself to get too comfortable anywhere because I don’t want to have to let anyone in. I don’t want to fall and lose myself without knowing the way out and end up completely hurt.

    • Yayah Yayah

      I really2 understand u babe. Feel like we are in the same boat.

    • Lyall Lyall

      Please check also the symptoms of OCPD and Paranoia, this may also help you. Don’t just ignore it. We all deserve to be loved, and relish the ability to love.

  9. J J

    WOW, this has been such a help, I 2 know what is wrong with me now, I have this slight excitement and again this fear – Where do one start to overcome this?

  10. Ricco Ricco

    I dont want to fall in love because I dont want to experience that horrible feeling again,that feeling of hopelessness

  11. Konnie Konnie

    I am SOOO Glad I finally know what I have. I thought I was nuts.
    Thank you for sharing this information.

  12. Ashley Ashley

    I have not been afraid of a relationship or sex but when it comes on to feelings, i see my fear of love into play. I have been in great relationships and i cut them off because i was afraid to love the person. Thanks for this helpful tips. I also have a fear of climax.

    • Ada Ada

      It’s the same thing for me too but how is it possible that I don’t mind having “a friend with benefits” but I start to cry and panic when i think the words “to fall in love”

  13. Anna Anna

    Thank for this

  14. Nihilistic soul Nihilistic soul

    It’s nice to see something written by a phobia of mine and understanding it. But could the comments section be any less pathetic?

  15. Pretty Badass Pretty Badass

    This is so helpful ?

  16. G G

    I have always called this “allergic to love”. I am married and have kids, but the moment I am confronted with any form of emotional love, I withdraw and rather become angry, which is my safe place and by that, push my kids and wife away.
    In the past, I couldn’t keep a girlfriend, and not for any other reason than when I began feeling emotional love, I would break up with them.
    It is a constant battle and I have accepted that this is how I am and there is no cure. I hate the fact that my family gets the brunt of me when they don’t deserve it, but I cannot help myself.
    Thanks for naming it for me and letting me know that this is not unique and I’m not alone.

  17. Anonymous Anonymous

    So this is an actual thing… holy shit. This explains why I can have sex with girls towards who I don’t have romantic feelings, but not with the ones I could fall in love with.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      Also in the presence of a crush I would just like to escape to mars or something…
      Usually I just ignore them, which is a dick move I know.

  18. Anonymous Anonymous

    I’m so glad I found this website. Now I know that what I feel has a name, that I’m not just a weirdo.
    In 22 years I’ve never been able to get close to others, I either purposely choose impossible loves or I make excuses and try my best to ruin everything. And when it doesn’t work, when the guy still chases me, I literally escape, in the grip of an incontrollable panic attack.

  19. Carmen Carmen

    I have the same problem. And I figured it out just a week ago. I am 33 years old. Ealier I was treated for anxiety of intimacy but the thing is that phobia is so much worst than that and that is why my therapy did’t help. Now I can see the problem clearly. And I will try with cbt therapy.

  20. Dean Dean

    I knew deep down this was an illness that I had, but due to the isolation of 19 years in my house never actually making an effort to socialise with anyone kinda screwed with my head. Now I somehow come to terms with it bizarrely.

  21. Anonymous Anonymous

    Am glad I went through this website, I get constant headaches and whenever I try to remember what I did yesterday or a month ago, my heart start racing and my head becomes painful, I want to be vulnerable to someone and love them with all my heart but I can’t put myself to do that, I chase away the ppl that love me by being angry and cold, so that they won’t see the problem in me, my life is a mess, I want help so that I can be free spirited and happy to mingle and love someone with joy and excitement.

    • Anonymous Anonymous

      Thought I was wierd,But knowing that i am not alone,has me thinking that i can beat this.

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