09/07/2012 06:15 pm ET Updated Nov 08, 2012

Running From Love


Do you want to find the love of your life but find yourself sabotaging relationship after relationship? Are you running from love? Do you know what the fear is that you are running from?

I hear over and over from people who email me: "I'm in a relationship with a wonderful man (or woman) and I'm pushing him (or her) away. I don't know why I'm sabotaging this relationship."

  • Do you find yourself finding little faults with the other person right after you decide you really like him or her?
  • Do you find that you are suddenly not as attracted to the other person?
  • Do you find yourself not speaking your truth to the other person but instead editing what you say and then feeling tense?
  • Are you feeling somewhat bored in the relationship, even though you've told your friends that you've found the perfect partner?
  • Are you getting preoccupied or finding other ways to distance yourself from the relationship?
  • Are you not returning phone calls, emails or texts to him or her?
  • Are you suddenly too busy to get together?
  • Are you wondering if, once again, you've picked the wrong person?

What's Really Going On Here?

What's likely going on is that you have a fear of losing yourself in the relationship. And the more you like the person, the bigger your fear of engulfment and commitment gets.


There are a number of reasons you might fear losing yourself in a relationship:

  • You've been taught that you are responsible for another's feelings, especially someone you love. You believe that if your partner is unhappy, it's up to you to fix it, even if it means giving yourself up.
  • You believe that taking loving care of yourself, with no intent to harm another, is selfish -- that being a caring person means you are willing to put yourself aside to do what another expects you to do, even if it's not what you want or need to do.
  • You have a deep fear of rejection, and you believe you have to give yourself up in order to avoid being rejected. You believe that no one will love you if you stay true to yourself. You are trying to control how the other person feels about you by giving yourself up to avoid rejection.

What all these fears come down to is a deep false belief that you have to give yourself up to be loved and to be seen as a caring person. Giving yourself up -- giving up your freedom to be yourself and do what brings you joy -- is a terrifying prospect. As long as you have these false beliefs -- and they might be unconscious -- you will likely find yourself running from love.

You will stop running from love when you are wiling to let go of trying to control how the other person feels about you by giving yourself up and instead risk being fully yourself. You can do this ONLY when you stop rejecting yourself.

How Are You Rejecting Yourself?

  • Do you tell yourself that the other person's feelings are more important than yours and that you have to put yourself aside for the other person? This is a rejection of self.
  • Do you judge yourself if the other person is unhappy with you? This is a rejection of self.
  • Do you make how the other person feels about you responsible for whether you feel you are okay? This is a rejection of self.
  • Do you ignore your own feelings and needs, instead making the other's feelings and needs important? This is a rejection of self.
  • Do you allow yourself to take another's rejection personally, telling yourself that you are inadequate if someone else rejects you? This is a rejection of self.

As long as you are rejecting yourself rather than loving and valuing yourself, you will feel afraid of losing yourself in a relationship. You might want to do the inner work necessary to learn how to love and value yourself enough so that you are no longer running from love.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D., is a relationship expert, best-selling author, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette, and featured on Oprah. To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox" -- the first two weeks are free!

Connect with Margaret on Facebook.

For more by Margaret Paul, Ph.D., click here.

For more on love, click here.