Contingent Contemplation: Philophobia

I haven’t done one of these contingent contemplation posts in a while.

Philophobia is a thing I have. I don’t understand why it’s not a part of everyone.

Philophobia is the fear of emotional attachment; fear of being in or falling in love.

It’s a scary thing isn’t it? When you fall in love, you’re committing your emotions to someone. Everything that that person does will come to emotionally affect you, whether it’s big or small.

My family are people who I love, though I didn’t choose it I guess. But you can very much say that I also have a fear of emotional attachment to them. The thought of losing loved ones is never fun, and I sometimes wonder why I’m given a family, only to have them taken away from me some day down the road. But at the same time, that fear of love gets dispelled when you manage to forget the mortality of things and realize that although other people come and go, luckily enough, my family is here to stay. They’re here for me and love me unconditionally. I cannot help but do the same.

A few years ago I decided to get a pet. It was against my dad’s wishes, and I didn’t have the guts to tell him about the hamster I had bought. Then as I carried the little thing in a paper bag with her new cage at my side, I realized there’s no way I can keep this a secret. Our Hong Kong apartment was only so big, and my hamster will not go noticed. I phoned my dad, telling him of my purchase, hoping that telling him via the phone would lessen the shouting. Funnily enough, he didn’t shout. He wasn’t the happiest, and he worried about the hamster ruining our hygiene (I’m so sure that a 17 gram little hamster will bring the plague to our family. On second though, plagues were started by rats. Hmm.). A few months later, the hamster’s picture would replace my baby picture that he kept as his phone’s lock screen.

My hamster is probably the first and last pet I will ever get. Allergies aside, her passing away impacted me a lot. It’s weird, because I had willingly given my heart to her. And she took that little bit to the grave when she passed away two years later. I realized that I could never be brave enough to get that dog I’ve always wanted. My issue wasn’t with taking care of pets, but with their ultimate departure after you’ve committed to loving them.

Philophobia has followed me into relationships. All my prior relationships consisted of me keeping the guy some distance away. I wasn’t willing to get too involved emotionally, fearing that I will get the worst out of it. I over-think everything, and try to base my decisions on what will hurt me the least in the long run. It just wasn’t worth it to take the risk and ultimately feel the pain. That’s probably why none of them worked out because I always choose to end it, fearing developing the relationship any further.

But here I am, having fallen in love with a guy, and it’s funny because I don’t think I willingly choose to either. I think it probably has something to do with the whole “you’ll know it’s right when it’s right” thing because you can’t help it. Philophobia makes itself more known to me every day because I’ve let myself fall in love. He’s doing his best, but I’m not the most confident of myself relationship-wise. At times, you wonder if they like you just as much as you like them only to realize you can’t gauge that. So you go on to look for signs that can tell you, only to falter at points of doubt. You think of all the ways and reasons you can lose him. Then you let the fear ruin you.

Philophobia sucks. You’re unsure of your next steps, but at the same time you want to take them. And it almost feels like every step further, you feel yourself wanting to pull back because you know it’ll hurt if it goes wrong. But for the first time, I think it’ll be worth it. I just need to get Philophobia out of the picture.

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6 thoughts on “Contingent Contemplation: Philophobia

  1. joyceyl says:

    Karen, I absolutely loved this and I can relate. I didn’t always have this, but over the years in high school and leading into university, I’ve just experienced so much hurt and pain when relationships go south that I’ve really pulled back in the past 2 years. It made me a lot stronger as a person, but that doesn’t mean I want to go through it again.

    It’s hard to make an emotional investment in somebody when there’s a chance you’ll lose them, especially when I’m back and forth between 2 cities. I’ve definitely kept people at arms length and never let myself get into *the real thing*- keeping my single label.

    But as of late I’ve realized that you just have to let things flow naturally because you can’t keep living your life in fear, and to your point: you know its right when it’s right. Glad to hear things are going well for you and hope the bf makes you feel happy every single day 🙂

    • kalyrical says:

      Thanks Joyce! Definitely hard to let go and just go for it but glad to hear others relating. But you’re one of the strongest and talented people I know so I know you’ll be able to let things flow naturally and open up at some point 🙂

  2. Quieter Elephant says:

    Is he Irish, this Phil O’Phobia you’re so worried about?
    I was at Granville Island yesterday and saw a postcard you’d probably like. It had a quote supposedly from Buddha on it:
    Love in the past is only a memory; Love in the future is only a fantasy; True love lives in the here and now.

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