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Afraid of Catching Feelings? How to Face your Fears and Overcome It

afraid of catching feelings

Being afraid of catching feelings is something we all feel. Whether it is a coworker, a friend with benefits, or your BFF’s sibling, it is a struggle.

As a kid, you might catch feelings for your cute substitute teacher. And then maybe at work, you crush on your boss or coworker. And you may even be afraid of catching feelings for the person you’re sleeping with.

Trust me, I get it. I have been there. Haven’t we all? Catching feelings is a weird term. It is like catching a cold. And why’s that? Well, catching feelings is usually not something you want. If you do catch feelings it likely means pain, heartbreak, or a big old dramatic mess.

Having feelings for someone appropriate is wonderful, but when you catch feelings, you are usually stuck caring for someone that doesn’t care back or can’t care back. [Read: How certain types of attachment styles will keep you from harmony]

Why are we all so afraid of catching feelings?

Like I said, catching feelings is like catching a cold. It is something that sucks and something you can’t shake. But why is that?

Well, catching feelings is becoming attached when that isn’t your plan. You can’t help it if it is ten times worse than when you do want to feel something. You want to focus on work, but get distracted. You want casual sex, but get jealous when your partner rolls over to text someone else.

The fear of catching feelings is real because usually sharing those feelings is difficult if not impossible, and those feelings are often met with rejection.

What does it mean to catch feelings?

Catching feelings is often unexpected. You go into a first date maybe planning or hoping to catch feelings, but you don’t go into a job interview or dinner at your best friend’s house expecting feelings to arise.

Having no anticipation for feelings to erupt is difficult. Without preparing, you are stuck in this danger zone of feelings.

Another thing about catching feelings is the vulnerability that comes with feeling something. You now risk being hurt. And a lot of people avoid hurt at all costs. [Read: How to respond to a rejection the right way, even when it hurts]

Why are you afraid of catching feelings?

The basic reason most people fear catching feelings is being hurt, but it goes beyond that and can be a lot more intricate. Once you realize why you’re afraid to catch feelings, you can face it.

You can begin to work through your fear of catching feelings and actually put effort into a relationship. Catching feelings very well may lead to heartache, but without those feelings, you don’t get the good feelings either.

So trying to discover why you’re afraid of catching feelings can help you face the fear and move forward.

#1 This isn’t someone you should have feelings for. If this is the case, it may be the only reason for being afraid of catching feelings that should actually halt you. Having feelings for someone you work with or a teacher can create a lot more problems than it is worth.

Of course, there are exceptions, but often this is the sort of crush to shut down before someone gets hurt more than emotionally, but also professionally. [Read: How to stop having feelings for a crush]

#2 You’ve been hurt before. This is probably the most common reason to be afraid of catching feelings. It certainly is for me.  And it is a tough one to face. If you have been hurt in the past, you fear giving in to your feelings again.

You expect to get hurt if you have feelings so you try to avoid said feelings. So how do you stop this from controlling you? You just let it go and take the risk. Realize that without that faith in your feelings you will never be able to be truly happy. Always wondering when you’ll be hurt is no way to live. [Read: Pistanthrophobia and the reasons behind your fear of trusting someone]

#3 You don’t like feeling vulnerable or weak. There is always a sense of vulnerability when you like someone. When feelings are involved you give a bit of yourself to another person, and it makes you vulnerable.

But with giving up control, you are actually stronger by having faith and taking a risk. It is totally understandable to be scared, but you are letting weakness take over if you deny yourself a relationship due to fear of being weak. [Read: Learn what it means to open up to people]

#4 You don’t want to depend on someone. For those who are independent or have been burned by their reliance on someone else, it can be terrifying to depend on someone. And whether financially or emotionally, loosening your control can cause a lot of anxieties.

Remember that no matter your feelings or relationship, you are your own person. And only you can decide how you feel about you.

#5 You don’t want to stir up old feelings. Discovering you have feelings for someone new can bring up old heartbreak. In fact, crushing on someone new can put you right back in the headspace you were in with your last romance.

It makes sense that it would make you nervous to catch feelings. But realizing each person is different and every crush and relationship is different can help you shake old feelings.

#6 You don’t want things to get complicated. Complication is something a lot of people want to avoid. Feelings do indeed make things complicated. Maybe you wanted casual sex so you could focus 100% on work, but are now catching feelings. You may end things so they don’t get messy.

But sometimes life is supposed to be complicated. You can’t avoid confrontation and awkwardness forever. Relationships take work and effort and even drama at times. But all of that is worth it for a good and healthy relationship. Realize complication is only part of having feelings.

#7 You’re afraid of change. For those who like the same restaurants, the same clothes, the same TV shows, it can be hard to break out of your comfort zone. And catching feelings is definitely out of a lot of people’s comfort zones.

But comfort zones are overrated. Sometimes stepping out of your norm or routine is exactly what you need to be truly happy. [Read: How to be emotionally available so you can actually feel love]

#8 You don’t want to care more. People say that whoever cares less in a relationship has the power. Therefore, you don’t want to admit to your feelings because you may give up the power.

You risk more hurt if you care more. But that is what makes those who care so much stronger. A relationship is never 50/50. Somedays they are 90/10 or 70/30 or 55/45. Just giving into your feelings, no matter how strong, is what makes you feel your best.

#9 You know it can’t last. Some of us just cannot wrap our heads around a lasting relationship. Maybe your parents divorced and you never saw a happy lasting couple. But that does not mean it doesn’t exist and that you shouldn’t try for it.

If you think, “why bother feeling something for someone when eventually it will end,” realize you can break the pattern. Just give in to your feelings. [Read: The hardships of being afraid of love]

#10 Face things you’ve avoided. When we go through a breakup or a big life change, we swallow down any bad feelings or feelings we haven’t dealt with. But when you catch feelings for someone, it lifts a lot of other feelings back up to the surface.

In order to face your romantic feelings, you often have to face other things you may have avoided. But it can make you so much stronger.

[Read: How to lose the fear and guide your own mind]

Are you still afraid of catching feelings? I sure hope not. But if you are, just know that you are not alone. And whatever causes this fear can be worked on.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...

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