What fears do we face in a partnership?

Fears in a partner relationship go in three directions: fear of the partner, fear of third people and fear of oneself.

When it comes to the first type of fear, it should be noted that we are not afraid of our partner as such, but of something he might do. It could be fear of him expressing excessive jealousy, fear of cheating on us, or fear of leaving us.

Danijela Stojanović, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, PS Kontrapunkt
Danijela Stojanović, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, PS counterpoint

It can also be the fear that our partner does not, in fact, love us or that he does not love us as we really are.

The fear that our partner doesn’t love us is a bit rougher and concerns seduction and manipulation by our partner, that is, something our partner would do to us on purpose.

The fear that our partner does not love us as we really are is more subtle and is basically the fear of our partner incorrectly defining reality, of seeing us as we are not and then loving us as we are not. This could be the fear that we have misrepresented ourselves to our partner, presented ourselves in a more beautiful light than we really are, and that our partner fell in love with us precisely because of that.

However, this would already belong to the fear of oneself, more than the fear of the partner.

It could be the fear that our partner loves us because he expects us to change, not because we are who we are now.

To some extent, this borders on the fear of third people, i.e. from a culture that to a certain extent supports this pattern of love. However, it is also possible that it is simply what it is in its classic form – the fear that the partner has an incorrect image of us. This fear becomes completely understandable with the social acceptance of the difference between love and infatuation. Admittedly, this difference has been socially recognized for 150 years.

Drew Coffman's photo
Drew Coffman’s photo

Only recently has the essential difference between these two concepts been slowly accepted. Namely, while loving someone implies that we know him as he is, being in love with someone implies the exact opposite – that we do not know him as he is, so that we can project our image of a “real” partner onto him. In this light, the fear of our partner not knowing us as we are becomes completely understandable. It is, in fact, the fear that the partner is in love with us or that he was once in love and that he bases his relationship towards us precisely on that current or former infatuation, and not on love.

What’s so scary about that?

On the one hand, it is terrible in terms of feelings of personal worth. Namely, to the extent that we base our sense of personal value on whether our partner loves us or not, to that extent the idea that he does not love us as we are, but some projected image, is terrible. On the other hand, this fear concerns the partner relationship and goes in two directions: fear for survival and for the quality of the relationship.

in-love-1071325_1280If we feel that our partner is in love with us now and that is why he is in a relationship with us, then the question arises as to what will happen when the infatuation ends, will he still want to be in a relationship with us, and if he does, how will that happen? the relationship will look like it is – it will certainly not be like it is now. If we feel that the partner is in a relationship with us because of the memory of a former infatuation, then the question arises whether the quality of the relationship will decrease more and more, i.e. will the relationship fade more and more, as the memory of what used to be fades.

When I already mentioned the difference between love and falling in love and the fears associated with falling in love, the fear that the partner does not exist is in the foreground.

Namely, the term “partner” itself is closely related to falling in love, as are the words “boyfriend”, “girlfriend” and the like, not related to jargon, slang or literary language. This term, in fact, arises precisely from our idea of ​​an ideal partner combined with social institutions, such as husband, wife. boyfriend, girlfriend, marriage, relationship.

Photo Tim Stief
Photo Tim Stief

Namely, the fear that a partner does not exist is the fear that an ideal partner does not exist and/or the fear that the social institutions of love do not function. At some point in our development, we realize that there is no such partner as we imagined and/or that there is no person who would fit well into the social role of our partner.

These two realizations, each on their own, and especially together, can be very frightening. Just as we can be afraid that our partner doesn’t love us, we can also be afraid that we don’t love our partner, and after a breakup we can be afraid that no one will ever love us like that again, or that we will never love anyone like that again.


Source: Sito&Rešeto by www.sitoireseto.com.

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