5 Harsh Things Men Do When They're Afraid To Fall In Love

When commitment is on the table, some people lose their appetite.

man and woman sitting talking Sjale / Shutterstock

Have you ever found yourself on the cusp of falling in love, only to feel overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty? You have been on several dates, and chemistry and compatibility have lured you to make plans for the next few weeks.

You are in hot pursuit and have ended the game of hard-to-get. She looks directly at you head over heels.

That may have been your best scenario on dates one, two, and three but now you have cold feet and knots in your stomach at the thought of what’s at stake. You have visions of long Netflix evenings, endless chores, boring Sunday brunches with distant cousins and you fear it may be the end of your nights out with the boys, trips to Vegas and five-hundred-dollar hockey tickets. 


You never expected it would happen to you. The out-of-control, overthinking, impatiently waiting for her to call and can't-wait-to-see-you-again feelings. But here you are and you’ve decided to get a grip. You confessed your fears to your buddies; one is divorced and the other never married and they have given you a reality check. Suddenly your self-talk has changed and you are firmly in charge of a plan that keeps you out of love.

If this sounds familiar, you may be one of the many men who are afraid of falling in love. And unfortunately, this fear can lead to harsh behaviors that push her away and damage the relationship.


RELATED: How To Tell If Someone Has Commitment Issues (Even If It's You)

Here are five things men do when they're afraid to fall in love

1. They become unavailable

You arrive at the theatre late, leaving your date confused and disappointed. But instead of apologizing, you act surprised that she's offended, sending a message that you don't care about her feelings. After the final curtain, you make a hasty apology and an excuse about seeing a friend in town. As your date sips on a lonely nightcap, she wonders what went wrong with the beau who once pursued her.

RELATED: 5 Harsh Truths About Falling In Love With A Commitment-Phobe


2. They are emotionally distant

Two days later you show up for the hike planned weeks in advance, but suddenly you're feeling ambivalent about the outing. Halfway there you offer to carry the backpack, but once you lay the picnic blanket, it's clear that you're miles away. Despite enjoying the best lunch ever, you're silent and barely respond to her questions. 

Still, you are caught off guard by her childhood memories of kayaking and camping on this river and even more so by the free-flowing tears that accompany them. Perhaps the harshest thing you have ever done is walk away from her tears and her story.

Your own stories remain stillborn, unshared and unacknowledged even to you. Your greatest fear is that someone might come close, know your failures and poke at your feelings, that they might know your family skeletons and judge you unworthy.

RELATED: What I Actually Mean When I Say I'm Afraid Of Commitment


3. They show contempt

The week is halfway gone and something has shifted. You no longer send those cute morning texts, check in at lunch and fire off a good night message. When she calls, your tone is chilly and detached and you don’t have an answer for, “What’s wrong?” You can hear the mixture of confusion and desperation but the second time she asks, you have a laundry list of her missteps both large and small. In full throttle, you nitpick her personality, life choices and job prospects.

And the worst part? You're not even trying to hide your contempt. You're layering on sarcasm and snark until she's retreating into herself, wondering what she did to deserve this.

RELATED: If He Does These 5 Frustrating Things, He Has A Deep Fear Of Commitment

4. They flirt and escalate

You are trying to avoid spending time with her. But, you've promised to attend her best friend's pool party,  She is on eggshells with you but hopes to ease the tension and salvage what was a promising relationship. But while she clings to your arm, making conciliatory noises, you can't resist flirting with the host and getting lost in a crowd of admiring teenagers. Worse — when she complains you raise your voice, escalate the scene to the rest of the party and joke that she is jealous and controlling.


RELATED: How Being With You Made Me Lose My Fear Of Commitment

5. They make an exit

As the night draws to a close, you can feel the weight of the inevitable conversation looming and you can’t bring yourself to look her in the eye. 

This weight is soon replaced by a mixture of relief and distress knowing the charade is over and you will likely repeat this cycle, caught as you are between the thrill of new love and your fear of emotional attachment, and intimacy. It’s not that she is not amazing, it’s just that you are struggling with your own fears and limitations.

As "Goodbye" leaves your lips, you can see the hurt and anger in her eyes. She calls you a jerk, but you know it's not that simple. You wish you could explain, that deep down that you're not ready to confront your own demons just yet.


You say, “It’s not you, it’s me.” 

If you want to confront the hurdles that trap you in a cycle of time-limited connections, it may be time to seek a therapist.

RELATED: Are You Needy ... Or Is He Just Emotionally Unavailable?

Reta Walker is a therapist who specializes in healing relationships. She offers one-on-one sessions, couples retreats, and courses to help couples get back on track.