Although you might think of “falling in love” as romantic; we all fall in love many times in life: with a new lover, a new friend, a particularly cooperative co-worker, an appealing movie or TV star, a caring neighbor, siblings, relatives and even pets. Any close relationship involves falling in love at least a little bit, and it’s these connections that make life pleasurable.
But, sometimes making connections becomes scary, and you feel the need to protect yourself instead of reaching out with an open heart. I see many clients who have trouble connecting with others, making enjoyable friendships, and have struggles with family members, so they experience relationships of all types as difficult and painful. There are many reasons people hold back and remain closed off. Holding back and resisting caring can cause you to become overcommitted to certain relationships (co-dependent), too clingy in others, or to appear cold and standoffish.
Here are ten reasons you may not feel comfortable being open and available for love:
1. You’ve been burned before: If you got hurt or disappointed in a prior relationship, you might be reluctant to take another risk.
2. Shyness: Being afraid of meeting new people will hold you back from meeting the person you can fall in love with. No matter how cool you may be in your business dealings, with your friends, or in front of strangers you don’t want to date, if you’re contemplating meeting people to date, you may stammer, get tongue tied, blush, fidget, look at everything but the person, your heart may race, and you can find yourself breaking out in all kinds of mannerisms that remind you of being a teen.
3. Holding out for Mr/Ms Right: If you reject everyone who seems less than perfect at first glance, you might reject the very one you could fall in love with, if you got to know their finer qualities.
4. Growing up in a dysfunctional family: Growing up with parents who fought a lot or were angry, cold or violent; or with a divorced or single parent who couldn’t develop relationships that lasted can leave you without a skill set for finding and making a connection with a healthy person
5. Sex too soon: Having sex right away changes your connection from possible relationship to one-night stand. You can cease to be a person in your date’s eyes, and just become a booty call.
6. Body image issues: If you’re too self-critical about your body and your look, you may be so self-obsessed that you never even notice when someone else likes you, and you miss your chance.
7. Sexual hang-ups: if you’re too focused on sex, or too repressed about it, you’ll be reluctant to allow intimacy and love to grow.
8. Violent history: If you were in a previous violent relationship, you’ll have PTSD that will stop you from taking another risk.
9. Low self-confidence: If you’re not comfortable with yourself, you won’t allow others to get close and discover you.
10. Still Grieving: If you haven’t recovered from your last relationship, it’s too soon to let someone else in. I’ve seen many people in my office who say they don’t want another relationship, or even a pet, because losing the last one hurt too much.