Guest Post: Ruthi-Star Sela on Fear in Relationships

Today we're going to hear from Personal, Relationship and Life Coach Ruthi-Star Sela, of  She gives us an interesting take on how we view relationships as either "failed" or "successful".

Why are we afraid of relationships?

So many of us are afraid of relationships whether with our current partner or with potential future partner. Why is this such a common phenomena?

There are many reasons why, and just to mention a few:

·    Personal painful past experience
·    Stigma
·    the influence of other people’s stories,
·    Laziness (yes! Yes! Believe it!!)
·    Emotional intelligence
·    Fear

Today I would like to touch on one of the reasons that cause us to be so afraid of relationship, and it’s called FEAR. Fear is a psychologically motivating force in relationships and the cause of constant conflict in personal relationships.

According to some psychologists such as J.B. Watson and P. Ekman, fear is one of the set of basic or instinctive emotions like joy, anger and sadness. All of those emotions play a major part in personal relationships.

Fear is very subjective and is perceived from the viewpoint of the evaluator.

Although fear has many faces, if we break it down a little bit further we find a major reason called “fear of failure”.

Did you notice that many people refer to relationships that ended as “failed relationship”, or difficult and energy-consuming relationships as: “a failing relationship”?

Why do we use this term, and why is it so significant in our present and future relationships?

A person who is only interested in the outcome of an activity would consider it to be an outcome failure if the core issue has not been resolved or a core need is not met– so if for example you had a great relationship with your boyfriend or your girlfriend - but for some reason it did not end up in marriage or any other form of commitment that you would have liked – you would see it as a failure.

But if you think about it honestly and emotionlessly - you will realize that you did not fail in the relationship, or the relationship did not fail – only the outcome was different than you expected.

A failure can also be a process failure whereby although the relationship had turned out to be successful, a person may still feel dissatisfied if the underlying process is perceived to be below standard or level. So what do you do if you categorize yourself in the latter?

First you need to recognize the symptoms: dissatisfaction, nervousness, looking for petty arguments, restlessness, sadness and even arrogance.  If you feel all of the above or some of it - you may have a problem, and you better start asking yourself many questions (alone or with a help of a coach or a consultant).  Probe harder and deeper until you find the honest inner answers that will help you clarify your feelings.

If this is what you have felt during past relationship, but you never actually got to the root of the feeling, you are bound to think of that relationship as “failed ones”. And you are bound to be influenced by that in your current or future relationship.

From what I see in my practice, the fear to fail prevents so many people from pursuing relationships and sadly they find themselves either alone, or with the wrong partners.
So do you want a simple tip from me how to overcome this “fear of failure” that stops you from embracing relationship?

Take a blank page and draw a vertical line in the middle. On the left hand side write: successful. On the right hand side write: failed.

Think of all the relationships that you had during your life and place them under either the left or right hand side of the page according to your views whether they “failed” or “succeeded”.

Then take another page and reverse it: the ones that you listed before under failed – write them under “succeeded”, and the ones that you wrote under succeeded, place under “failed”.

Read this second page carefully and think about it from the reversed point of view. Try to implement what you read in this article about the fear of failure and see if it influences your decision how to define those relationships.

After a while take a red pen and cross off all the relationships you marked under “failed” in both pages. Try to think of it as a clean start. A new blank page.

Go on to pursue your next relationship without the fear, and with a big smile on your face. : )

*     *     *     *     *

How do you rate your previous relationships?  Do you consider past relationships to be great teachers, or do you merely find them to be an example of a failure?

Don't forget to email me at with any of your relationship questions!


Post a Comment