Our reader sent Love Guru a message, clearly fearing rejection misreading another person’s attention (the message has been edited for style and clarity): “I met a girl at work and she grabbed my attention as soon as I met her. She asked me personal questions, smiled at me with a cute expression and touched me. I know that it’s not normal to do, so I asked her out, but she brought her friend along and soon she was kinda “ignoring” me for some reason. I decided that I shouldn’t make any move on her yet. It’s hard to explain but she’s showing two masks if you know what I’m saying.” Dating coach Maria Christie explains how to deal with the fear of rejection, among others.

Even though you’re ready to open your heart and invite love into your life, it’s completely natural that you may be feeling some resistance and fear deep down. Fear is part of our neurobiology. It lives in our amygdala, in the limbic system in our brain. Unlike other emotions, it bypasses the sensory cortex on its way to the amygdala.

“When someone tells you, you can eliminate fear forever; your next question should be, when’s the lobotomy scheduled,” Rhonda Britton wrote in Fearless living. Fear is persistent, and doesn’t like to be noticed, or caught because if your fear can be named, it can be stopped, so it tricks you into thinking you’re the problem and stops you living fully. These are the dominant fears in dating:

Emotional fears: “I’m afraid of rejection/failure/success.”

Phobias: “I’m afraid of dating the way I’m afraid of spiders, heights or public speaking.”

Denial: “I’m not afraid of anything.”

The truth is, our fears are there for a purpose to protect us, but you can challenge, control, manage and work with them in a rational and confident way so that they don’t sabotage your happiness and joy in relationships and life.

Are your fears tricking you into not taking action? They will manifest themselves at unexpected times and ways, for example, in our self-talk.
Have you ever said to yourself, “Will I ever meet a partner perfect for me?” or “Will he love me as I am?” Have you ever thought, “I am not good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough”? Perhaps, in denial, you told yourself, “My standards are too high/ I’m too picky.”

Perhaps you fear rejection, being abandoned, losing yourself in a relationship, or making a mistake and committing to a partner who isn’t right for you. You’re not alone, these are natural and universal fears people experience, and those who have successful, happy relationships work through them and achieve their desired heart goals. Feeling empowered on your relationship journey involves making smart choices, honouring and loving yourself each step of the way.

It’s worthwhile keeping in mind that attracting love requires a smart, well-managed risk. Without it, you’re minimising your chance of attracting your life partner and happy, meaningful relationship. The secret is to trust yourself and know that whatever comes the way you can handle it. As you know, meeting your life partner and enjoying one of the most important relationships in your life doesn’t happen overnight and isn’t a “find love in 30 days” surface level fix. It takes time, care, and attention, backed by some high-value actions which begin with setting that strong foundation. You need to be strong at your core, tuned in to your needs and confident in your inner compass.

Regardless of where you are on your dating journey, I encourage you to apply these six practical questions to each of your dating fears without over-analysing. Answer them from your heart and let your feelings lead not your fear talk:

1. What is your dating fear
2. Where does it come from?
3. How is it showing up in your dating life?
4. If this fear does come true, what will you commit to doing to ensure you’re honouring and loving yourself during this setback?
5. What five steps you can take to manage and work with this fear, so that you feel safe and trust yourself at each stage of your new relationship journey?
6. What support do you need to keep moving forward?

I have prepared a free pdf guide where you can complete your answers to your top five dating fears. These will help you gain more clarity about possible dating blind spots, dissolve the power of your fears have over you, and put you in control of them – not the other way around.