Do YOU have a fear of MARRIAGE? Psychologists reveal red flags that indicate you’re suffering from wedding PHOBIA – and how to overcome the little-known condition

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Written By Maya Cantina
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  • If the idea of tying the knot terrifies you, you might have gamophobia
  • Gamophobic individuals feel ‘suffocated’ at the idea of long-term romance
  • But there are ways that you can overcome the crippling fear of commitment

Does the thought of walking down the aisle turn your stomach – even though you genuinely care about the person who would be meeting you at the altar? 

You might be suffering from gamophobia, that is, a fear of marriage. 

According to Psychology Today, the fear ‘surpasses typical commitment issues and encompasses a crippling specifically tied to enduring romantic relationships or marriage.’

The fear of romantic commitment could be so serious as to interfere with day-to-day life, the article added.

But psychologists have now suggested the best ways to overcome it.

If the thought of walking down the aisle turns your stomach, you might have gamophobia – that is, a fear of marriage or serious romantic commitment (stock image)

There are three main underlying causes that can trigger gamophobia.

One, someone may have had ‘past traumatic experiences’ around relationships.

‘Those who have suffered from abusive relationships may develop a deep fear of commitment as a defense mechanism to avoid emotional turmoil,’ explained the article.

Second, some may fear the loss of independence that follows committed relationships and marriage. 

In particular, the perception that commitment comes with the ‘absence of autonomy’ leading to feelings of suffocation and resistance to the idea of relationships.

‘Driven by this intense desire for autonomy, some come to view long-term commitment, such as marriage, as a threat to their individuality,’ the article detailed.

Third, general ‘underlying’ issues could lead to a case of gamophobia.

Deeper psychological issues – including attachment disorders, low self-esteem and a fear of intimacy – could all be factors. 

There are ways to help your partner who's struggling with gamophobia - including establishing shared, meaningful rituals and creating alternative commitment rules for the relationship (stock image)

There are ways to help your partner who’s struggling with gamophobia – including establishing shared, meaningful rituals and creating alternative commitment rules for the relationship (stock image)

With that, research has found a correlation in having parents who weren’t married and being non-committal in adult romantic relationships.

Regardless of the causes behind why someone suffers from gamophobia, there are two major ways to help partner’s cope with it, per Psychology Today.

The first is to essentially establish any number of rituals amid your interactions and day-to-day life as a couple.

This would mean creating any sort of meaningful routine around something of shared importance. 

The outlet recommends starting out by identifying ‘symbols or metaphors with personal significance, representing aspects like growth, unity, resilience, or shared experiences’ around which to build the ritual or rituals.

Practicing the rituals might become part of everyday life, or take place at longer intervals – in every case, consistency being key.

For instance, a couple who loves trying different types of food could alternate cooking new and interesting dishes for each other every Sunday night.

That said, feel free to be flexible around the particulars of the rituals as time goes on.

The second suggestion to help a partner with gamophobia is to agree on ‘alternative partnership options aligned with your partner’s comfort and values.’

Of course, this may require more compromise on the part of the partner who would prefer a more time-honored expression of commitment, namely in the form of a traditional marriage. 

A ‘customized commitment agreement,’ for instance, would involve ‘outlining guidelines that define the relationship’s parameters, tailored to reflect the unique values, preferences, and goals of both partners.’

For instance, a couple might get married, but choose to live separately.

Alternatively, a companionate relationships means prioritizing companionship and friendship, along with emotional intimacy, over romantic or sexual intimacy. 

This could establish a ‘safe haven’ for the gamophobic partner, and hopefully eventually make them comfortable enough for more romantic or sexual modes of connection.

‘Once you create a safe relational haven, you can turn your obstacle into opportunity, building connections that defy the odds,’ the article concluded.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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