Can’t Fall in Love? 11 Reasons Why

Updated: October 30, 2023
Categories: Self Development
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Can't Fall in Love

Introduction

Are you someone who has never fallen in love and wondered why can’t I love? If so, read on. It’s crucial to know why an inability to love is important to figure out. This understanding might come from the answer to another question: Why don’t I feel love? The answer to this question connects with the first one. We need to be open to love so that we, too, can receive and feel love. In this article, we’re going to look at 11 psychological reasons that could help you understand why you’re unable to love and in turn, experience love. But it’s also key to understand if the reason you can’t experience love is normal and then learn how you can overcome your fear around it. Yes – we need to know what the options are so that we can not only experience love but also fulfilment because as cliché as it sounds, we are social beings, and not only do we learn about ourselves through our relationships with family members, and friends, but we also develop and grow through them – if we’re lucky.

Can’t Fall In Love: Psychologic Reasons

Fear of Commitment

This is a commonly known reason for why some relationships break down – “he had a fear of commitment” but do we ever ask what this is about? Well, there are various reasons why someone might fear committing to someone but one of the deeper reasons for this is a fear of vulnerability. Some people may have never experienced loving relationships or healthy love and when they meet someone who seems to be offering these, they get scared, they simply do not know what to do with this kind of romantic love. They cannot give it what it demands of them; a deeper level of authenticity and connection. So these people do not experience long-term love, and when the relationship ends (because of relationship-destructive behaviours and mixed signals), they wonder “Why am I so hard to love” and end up reinforcing their belief that they were right not to trust the relationship – creating an unhelpful relational pattern that keeps them stuck and unhappy.

Past Relationship Trauma

Another reason that you might wonder: “Why am I so hard to love” is because you’re simply not ready for a relationship. You’ve been in love or have experienced many failed romantic relationships that have made you set up a fortress around your heart. Your heart is not trusting and open to potential partners because you’ve had it broken one too many times. This guardedness serves a very valid function for you, it keeps you safe, but it also means like Rapunzel in her tower, you remain alone and isolated. Even when you do venture out and allow yourself to meet new people you might see red flags where there are pink ones, or none at all. This makes you retreat into your safe world, your tower and remain isolated and alone. So if you’re wondering why don’t I feel love, think instead about whether you’re allowing love in, rather than assuming it’s because there’s something wrong with you.

Childhood Trauma

Many people have experienced problems in their childhood, and for some children, this can be traumatic. It can help explain why they find it hard to experience healthy relationships because they never really had any or something happened that affected their ability to trust. As children, we need to feel safe to experience healthy connections with our caregivers. As adults this need for safety and sanctuary does not disappear. We might experience some of this with our friends and family, but we try to create it with our significant other because usually, this is the person we want to be closest to. But, if you experienced childhood trauma or (subconsciously) thought: “I don’t feel love” you might also find that as an adult you are unable to find trusting relationships. This may be because you seek the wrong partners and recreate unhelpful dynamics, or it might be because you do not even allow yourself to enter into meaningful relationships. Your childhood trauma has a far-reaching impact for your life.

Low Self-Worth

If you’ve ever had the thought: “Why am I so hard to love” you are also revealing something about how you view yourself. This statement assumes that there is a fault in you that makes you unlovable – it is a blaming question and needs to be questioned. When we believe we’re unlovable it’s because we’ve internalised messages from those around us, whether those were explicit or implicit. For example, if you were often criticised or shamed, your self-esteem would be diminished. Or maybe you weren’t criticised but you felt ignored and invisible, or unimportant. This is what I meant when I said earlier that we develop through our relationships with others. If those around you, whether they were family, friends, colleagues, or partners, said or did things that made you feel bad about yourself in some way, they may have contributed to this core (subconscious) belief of “I am unlovable because I don’t feel love”. This lack of self-worth will affect you not only in love, but in all interpersonal relationships.

You Identify as Aromantic

Now if you have never fallen in love, it could be something else entirely. You may be what is known as aromantic, or “aro” as it’s also known. This describes a person who has little to no romantic attraction to others. This should not be confused with asexual, as some aromantic people can still experience sexual attraction, whereas some do not. Some people feel okay about identifying as and being aromantic as they are not bothered by a lack of romantic relationships because they do not experience a desire for them. However, for some, it can be a cause for concern, but one that they ultimately accept about themselves. But this does not mean that aromantic people do not get married or experience relationships – they do because companionship may still be important to them. But, if you have wondered: “Why can’t I love” then maybe consider that you may have a different relationship orientation, especially if you notice something about yourself that seems to be atypical when it comes to traditional relationship norms.

Mental or Physical Illness Interfering

Sometimes not being able to fall in love might have to do with opportunity. If you’re experiencing enduring difficulties with health, whether that’s physical or mental health problems, you may not be in the best position to find love. This does not mean that you need it any less you may feel the desire for a special someone even more keenly than you did when you were well. But when we are physically unwell, this also impacts our mental wellbeing. We might experience low mood, anxiety, stress, or all of these, and these can compound loneliness. Of course, if you’re feeling sad and lonely, or anxious, rather than experiencing a physical health problem, you’re likely going to experience these more strongly by the lack of love in your life. This further highlights the importance of social contact and connection and the need for safety in our relationships.

Fear of Losing Yourself

You may have made a decision and told yourself: “I can’t love” and you may or may not be okay with this deep down. But, let’s look at why this might be the case in the first place. Some people have had relationships, or come out of a long-term one that has made them learn about not only what they might want in a relationship if they decide to enter into one again, but also realise what they don’t want. Indeed, when we’re with a partner, we can become enmeshed with one another; forming similar routines, eating together, sharing friends and interests, and sometimes feeling restricted in ways, but compromising anyway. Then we sample life without the person, this may bring some very real difficulties but another thing it brings is more freedom and choice. At first, this can make one feel a bit lost and ungrounded. But when this passes, we feel the benefits and this is hard to give up, but can there be a happy medium?

Fear of Abandonment

If you’ve ever experienced abandonment, whether that’s been in childhood and/or since, you’ve experienced rejection. Abandonment and rejection form the root fear that most of us have when it comes to relationships. Indeed, we seek safety in our deeper connections, this offers a sense of security and trust and validates our existence in those relationships and at a deeper core level. When, however, we experience being left, hurt, rejected in ways, or abandoned, we develop a fear because of how damaging this can be to us. This fear serves to develop a function in future relationships, it creates an internal working model for us, or a blueprint that we can use in future relationships. We learn that to be and stay safe, we must guard against abandonment, and how does one guard against being abandoned? One either does not enter into romantic relationships, does but does not commit, or self-sabotages and leaves before being left. But all this does is falsely reinforce the deeper question that went unanswered the first time we were hurt: “Why am I so hard to love?”

Expectations Too High

If you’ve never fallen in love or have but never managed to sustain a relationship and find yourself asking: “Why can’t I love?” it might be because your expectations are too high. Now this might sound like you’re being asked to settle, but assuredly, you’re not. Let me explain; when we grow up on a cocktail of Disney films, Hollywood, Bollywood, and all that jazz, we believe in a perfect partner that will sweep us off our feet and make the kind of grand gestures we see in all of that trite. You might say “Well, no actually, I don’t expect all that, just someone to understand/accept me/*insert other requirement here*. You may be right, but your expectations may still be a bit skewed. Indeed, no person in the world will be perfect for you, or exactly what you want or need. It’s because we’re all so unique and affected by so much in our worlds, that we simply cannot fit one another. We have to be malleable, and flexible, and this means making compromises, in our requirements first, and then, with our potential partners, as long as the important things like values, can align. Otherwise, we end up with no one.

You Love Being Single

This one may follow from not wanting to lose yourself, or perhaps it’s about wanting to explore yourself. You may enjoy your freedom too much and love your independence. This may be why it’s not a matter of can’t fall in love, but rather, why you don’t allow yourself to. You stop yourself from getting uncomfortably close to potential partners because you enjoy the early phases of a relationship, or you simply avoid them altogether and just date, or do situationships, or the friends with benefits thing. So if you’re ever asking yourself “Why can’t I fall in love?” you may want to think about how you feel about committed relationships and whether you value your singledom too much. If you do, that’s of course fine, as long as it is truly the case and not a cover for avoidance of commitment due to a fear of being hurt. If it’s the latter, you may find the shininess of single life begins to dull over time, but by then it will feel even harder to change.

Waiting For The Perfect Moment

Now you may not be asking why you can’t fall in love, rather, you may wonder “Why don’t I feel love”. This could be for many reasons so you would have to think about this for yourself, but one sure reason might be because you’re waiting for some perfect moment when the stars align and Jupiter is in Saturn’s orbit, and the cow flies over the moon. What I mean here is, that you may be focusing on your career, finding the ‘one’, feeling perfectly ready, or some other condition that you’ve placed on finding love. It is okay to do this if you’re simply unable to give time to a relationship, but, if it’s been this way for too long, or if the condition you’re placing is unrealistic, you’ve created an obstacle that allows you to avoid finding love, and being loved in the way we all need at some point. There is no perfect moment so you’re waiting for a time that doesn’t exist – what might this do?

Is It Normal To Not Feel Love?

If you believe that: “I don’t feel love” you may also wonder if this is normal. The answer is as complex as the question. Indeed, if you’re not feeling love, this does not mean you’re not loved, it may be a problem of perception. You are unable to feel love but it is there. For some people, it may be true that no one around them makes them feel loved, in which case, it is normal that they do not feel love. But we have to wonder why there’s no one to show love. It might be because you’re very guarded and keep everyone at a safe distance. Indeed, there are many reasons why it might be happening, and why when context is accounted for, we can see the logic in a lack of love – but this does not mean you’re unlovable.

I Can’t Feel Love: How To Overcome The Fear

Talk To A Therapist

Many of the reasons you may wonder “Why can’t I feel love” are likely to relate to fear, and this is even if on the surface that doesn’t seem to be the reason. Talking to a therapist will allow you to explore things more deeply, without judgement, and with safety. If for instance, after reading this, or even before, you know the reason you’re unable to fall in love, you still have much to learn. For example, what are the deeper reasons for your inability to love or be loved, how did they emerge, what do they teach you about yourself, how do they impact you, and what might change? These are just some of the things you can be helped to explore in therapy.

Practice Opening Up to Others

If therapy isn’t an option for you for whatever reason, but you know you’re guarded when it comes to matters of the heart, you might want to practice opening up. This does not mean that you open up about your deepest and darkest fears to just anybody, it means think about the least threatening thing that you don’t share, for whatever reason, and start with that, with someone you trust and see what happens. If you feel encouraged, go further, but only if you feel comfortable doing so. The more you do this, the easier it will become, and the more you will do it.

Build Supportive Friendships

Another thing that can help us stop feeling and asking things like: “Why am I so hard to love” are our friendships. People can often get so preoccupied with finding love that they forget that they can get it in other ways, not just romantically. If you have few friends, or lots but still don’t feel supported, you may need to consider taking a ‘friendship inventory’. If after this, you notice that your friends bring you down instead of building you up in ways (and this can be subtle), then you have to think of what this is doing for your ability to love yourself. This is important because it impacts what you will accept in a potential partner too.

Think About What You Might Want in a Relationship

Now if you’re worrying because you often think: “I can’t love” you might need to think about the kinds of partners you go for. You might be picking the wrong kinds of people, or finding potential in places where there are a lot of the wrong kinds of people (online dating, anyone?). This is where you have to stop and take a break from the search and ask yourself, either by yourself or with a therapist, about what you want in a relationship. This may show you that what you seek, and the types you seek it from do not marry up very well (pun intended). Or, it may show you that you’re being unrealistic in some other ways, and you can reorient yourself before you resume the search. Maybe then, you’ll be, not luckier in love, but have increased your chances because you’ve reflected on things and made real adjustments.

What To Do If You Fall In Love

Take it Slowly

Ever heard the expression “fools rush in”? Well, this is why you want to take it slowly. This is especially true if you notice a tendency to dive head-first into relationships. This can feel intense for you and your partner, and add pressure. So, ease up on the gas and enjoy the ride.

Communicate Openly

If “I don’t feel love” is your mantra then another thing to consider when you do is how you communicate. When you’re feeling any kind of fear or anxiety about your partner or their words, or behaviour, be open but be constructive. It might help to sound things out with friends or a therapist first if you find you often feel this way, as communicating fears too often to a new partner can also add pressure and stress.

Try to Live in the Moment

This relates to the other tips. When we live in the moment, we’re present. We aren’t in the past, and we aren’t overthinking about the future. We live and love in the now, and this naturally influences the future, usually for the better. Try to treat this relationship like it’s a new experience, and don’t mire it with the old, or lose it before it’s begun.

Set Boundaries

Boundaries are important for all of our relationships, so they’re especially important when it comes to our partners. There will certainly be fewer boundaries but there should always be some. For example, just because you’re in love, you should not forsake your friends, family, hobbies, or your own needs. Your boundaries are there for a reason, so don’t lose them and yourself, in the process.

Table Of Contents
Introduction
Can’t Fall In Love: Psychologic Reasons
Is It Normal To Not Feel Love?
I Can’t Feel Love: How To Overcome The Fear
What To Do If You Fall In Love
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Rehanna Kauser Private Therapist
About The Author
Rehanna Kauser, Psychologist
Rehanna has studied Psychology and Counselling Psychology at four UK universities. She enjoys working with individuals, couples, and families, and also loves learning, and writing. Having always been fascinated with the human mind and behaviour, her interests marry well with her naturally caring disposition, and affinity toward helping people.
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