I am scared to start dating

We may steer away from intimacy, because it stirs up old feelings of hurt, loss, anger or rejection. Pat Love said in an interview with Psych Alive, “when you long for something, like love, it becomes associated with pain,” the pain you felt at not having it in the past. We have trouble feeling our own value and believing anyone could really care for us.

We all have a “critical inner voice,” which acts like a cruel coach inside our heads that tells us we are worthless or undeserving of happiness.

This coach is shaped from painful childhood experiences and critical attitudes we were exposed to early in life as well as feelings our parents had about themselves.

While these attitudes can be hurtful, over time, they have become engrained in us.

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It doesn’t mean literally giving up our family, but rather letting go on an emotional level – no longer feeling like a kid and differentiating from the more negative dynamics that plagued our early relationships and shaped our identity. Our life now holds more value and meaning, so the thought of losing it becomes more frightening.We tend to believe that the more we care, the more we can get hurt. The ways we were hurt in previous relationships, starting from our childhood, have a strong influence on how we perceive the people we get close to as well as how we act in our romantic relationships.Old, negative dynamics may make us wary of opening ourselves up to someone new. Many of us struggle with underlying feelings of being unlovable.The story of lost love is one most of us can tell, and the question, "Why do relationships fail? While our fears may manifest themselves in different ways or show themselves at different stages of a relationship, we all harbor defenses that we believe on some level will protect us from getting hurt. A new relationship is uncharted territory, and most of us have natural fears of the unknown. Whether we know it or not, most of us are afraid of really being in love.These defenses may offer us a false illusion of safety or security, but they keep us from attaining the closeness we most desire. What keeps us from finding and keeping the love we say we want? Letting ourselves fall in love means taking a real risk.We are placing a great amount of trust in another person, allowing them to affect us, which makes us feel exposed and vulnerable. Any habits we’ve long had that allow us to feel self-focused or self-contained start to fall by the wayside. When we enter into a relationship, we are rarely fully aware of how we’ve been impacted by our history.These fears can be masked by various justifications for why things aren’t working out—but we may be surprised to learn about all of the ways that we self-sabotage when we get close to someone else.By getting to know ourselves, we give ourselves the best chance of finding and maintaining lasting love.When another person sees us differently from our voices, loving and appreciating us, we may actually start to feel uncomfortable and defensive, as it challenges these long-held points of identification. Many of us shy away from the things that would make us happiest, because they also make us feel pain. We cannot selectively numb ourselves to sadness without numbing ourselves to joy. Many people I’ve talked to have expressed hesitation over getting involved with someone, because that person “likes them too much.” They worry that if they got involved with this person, their own feelings wouldn’t evolve, and the other person would wind up getting hurt or feeling rejected.When it comes to falling in love, we may be hesitant to go “all in,” for fear of the sadness it would stir up in us. The truth is that love is often imbalanced, with one person feeling more or less from moment to moment.

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