The Singular Fear That's Destroying Your Relationship — And 8 Ways To Stop It

Photo: - Yuri A / Shutterstock
man and woman smiling at each other

Do you know what the most powerfully toxic emotion is in relationships?

Yep, you guessed it. Fear. It's a threat to healthy relationships.

In order to have a healthy relationship, you have to overcome the fear of love. 

The problem with trying to get rid of fear once it’s taken root is that it infects your behavior in a relationship like black mold in a wet basement. Once it’s already in there, it’s awfully hard to get rid of.

And being afraid leads to some of the most powerfully unattractive relationship behavior anywhere — neediness, clinginess, and desperation are all fruits of fear.

And if you’ve ever had someone cling to you like saran wrap on a hot casserole, you know how painfully unattractive it is.

But the seeds were sown the moment that fear of loss was allowed to take hold and grow.

RELATED: 9 Daily Habits Of Couples Who Stay Married (And Happy!) For Life

Here are eight powerful ways to overcome fear and prevent it from taking over your love life:

1. Nip problems in the bud

Author and life coach Tony Robbins likes to say, "kill the monster while it's little." I wholeheartedly agree.

When you take the time to talk to your partner gently about things that bother you, it’s easier to iron out problems right away instead of letting them grow into big huge issues later on down the line.

RELATED: Therapists Share The Small Habits That Demolish Your Likeability

2. Fill your own tank first

You can’t operate well in a relationship when you’re neglecting your own needs. Someone else cannot be your only source of happiness.

If you’re looking to the other person to be your source of happiness or ego fulfillment, when your partner is busy, distracted, or dealing with issues of their own, where does that leave you?

Lost. And that’s precisely the problem and what causes unhealthy relationships.

RELATED: 11 Relationship Experts Share The #1 Thing That Makes Wives Feel Seen

3. Live in the moment

If you’re worried about what someone did in the past or terrified that they’re going to desert you in the future, it becomes impossible to enjoy the present with them.

I realize that it’s easier said than done, but the benefits are worth it. Stop worrying about where your relationship is going and analyzing things that happened in the past.

You can’t change the past or control the future so you might as well enjoy the present.

4. Avoid overthinking

Little worried thoughts grow into big worried thoughts when left unchecked.

As this happens, usually our negative story clouds our judgment entirely. That’s why when we make an effort to enjoy the other person and not worry so much, it usually leads to a happier, more fulfilling relationship.

RELATED: 10 Things A Good Guy Won't Do To The Woman He Loves

5. Let the relationship breathe

You must allow both of you time to follow your individual bliss. If you both give up all of your passions in favor of the other person, you’re going to run into serious problems sooner or later.

If you’re "living for" another person and the sun rises and sets with them, it’s simply way too much pressure for another mere mortal to cope with.

Over time, that all-consuming infatuation at the beginning of a relationship naturally wanes. If you’ve given up everything you care about besides the other person by that point, boredom and contempt is going to grow.

6. Allow the other person the freedom to be who they really are

Stop trying to change other people. Resolve to change your own mind, accept it or exit the situation and nothing more.

When you allow people to just be who they are and accept them in exactly that place, you are left with the choice to joyfully allow a relationship with them or leave.

Trying to make them give up something they enjoy or reconfigure their life into what you want it to be is cruel and frankly, completely unfulfilling in the long run.

RELATED: 7 Signs The Person You Love Has Abandonment Issues

7. Stop forcing square pegs into round holes

If you’re trying to have a relationship with someone who is inherently wrong for you, welcome to a life of fear and doubt.

If you know it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Being afraid to end it is silly at that point. Give yourself the gift of change. It might be hard, but in the long run, it’ll be better for both of you.

8. Relax

Not just when it comes to your relationship, but in general. So often, we have busy lives where we sprint from one activity to another. This leaves us little time to either enjoy our lives or nurture our relationship with someone else.

Relationships wither and die from neglect, so take this important piece of relationship advice: If you’ve been busy a lot, you might want to re-think that as a life strategy.

RELATED: 6 Subtle Ways You Sabotage Relationships

Elizabeth Stone is an author, dating coach, and personal development coach who helps women restore themselves in order to improve their relationships.