Monday, April 16, 2007

Fears Associated with Romantic Adult Loving Relationships

In my view, almost everyone wants to be in a healthy, satisfying, mutually generous and regenerating romantic adult loving relationship. Nonetheless, many people express amazement when they see others who have created one, because they haven’t been able to do it. Unfortunately, people seldom want to look at the “fears” that influence them and their actions when dealing with their romantic loving relationships. From my experience and study, these fears typically originate from a person’s developmental experiences and the resulting sense of themselves, combined with a relationship history that is patterned from those experiences.

There is an excellent treatise entitled “The Top 10 Fears that Stop Us from Having the Relationship We Want” and if this is of further interest to you I would encourage you to look at it. The top ten discussed are:
1. It is inevitable that the relationship will end painfully.
2. Nobody can ever really understand me.
3. I won’t be able to maintain the energy a good relationship requires.
4. I’ll have to give up too much of myself.
5. He/she will eventually see the “real” me and reject me.
6. He/she won’t understand my physical needs and desires.
7. He/she will discover “this area” of my life where I am weak and will judge me entirely on that.
8. Nobody is entirely honest and trustworthy; so, I can’t trust him/her.
9. He/she is trying to get something from me.
10. If I let him/her know how much I love him/her, they will interpret it as "need," get scared and leave.

In addition to addressing fears associated with romantic adult loving relationships in my graduate seminar, Marriage and Couples Counseling and Therapy, I also address them in my writing:

My Sweetpea: Seven Years and Seven Days

This is the first romance novel I published, and among the numerous “fears” with which Sheila and Troy struggle and Sheila’s fears prior to their divorce (e.g., fear of making a mistake, fear of being alone, fear of never finding anyone better, etc.).

Fear of Feeling Loved

I am excited and proud to say that many people who have read this recently published romance novel have told me that in addition to the riveting storyline, humor and other exciting “fun to read… page-turning” qualities, they enjoyed the portrayal of numerous relationship fears with which they could identify – especially the book’s primary theme: Marcia’s fear of feeling loved (by Jack).

My Adult Loving Relationshps

This is one of the two companion self-help books I currently am writing. In Chapter 10, Fears and Phobias, I address nine fears and phobias with people tend to struggle when developing and maintaining a romantic adult loving relationship:

Fear of the Unknown

Fear of Losing Me

Fear of Change

Fear of Growing Up (and Out)

Fear of Abandonment

Fear of Intimacy

Shame-Based Fear

Fear of Ending a Relationship

Commitment Phobia

Question: Is there any particular fear with which you struggled when developing and/or maintaining a romantic adult loving relationship?



Cole Reising said...

Hey Bill! Yes I do have those 'fears'... not about to talk about them yet though ;) I did want to say though, I love this aspect of relationships from the standpoint of a writer -- it adds great deminsions to my characters!

Hope your week is going well!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Cole,
Thanks for chiming in and offering the uplifting comment regarding writing. Yes, it certainly enriches a character when the reader appreciates his or her fears, worries, etc.
And for the record, I tend to keep my relationship fears up my sleeve as well.
My week is very busy... resembling a blur. For the most part, the activities and challenges are what I consider "good problems to have."
All best wishes and regards to you as well!

Anonymous said...

It seems like these fears ultimately begin as personal insecurities. For instance, I may be insecure or ashamed of my job or lack of education. That insecurity may evolve into one of the fears you mention - that of my loved one discovering what I perceive as a problem and leave me because of it. I think people need to understand that any fears they may have about how a loved one may perceive them probably mirrors how they actually see themselves.

Interesting topic.

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hello Seabreeze,
Excellent point! In fact, one of the lines I have in one of the companion books I'm writing is, "The extent to which we can love someone else is an indication of the extent to which we can love ourself."
Research strongly suggests that our self-concept (what we think of ourself) and our self-other's concept (what we think others think of us) are highly correlated.
Thanks for stopping by (and the gracious compliment regarding the topic) -- hope to see you again,

Misa said...

I haven't had fears about romantic relationships, per se, but I did have adolescent fears about being interesting enough to another person. I still get tinglings of that fear every now and then, particularly when conversations turn political (not my area of expertise!). But overall, I think I'm emotionally healthy! Good to know.

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Misa,
As you address, adolescence is probably one of the most difficult of the transitional periods of our lives. All kinds of worries and fears plague us during those challenging years. Being able to talk about it as an adult, nonetheless, is one of the best signs that it was addressed (when we were younger) and we're okay now... and emotionally healthy.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience (and whatever you do, don't feel alone regarding this-- there are a lot of us who recall some of the difficult times we experienced during adolescence).