I Can’t Fall in Love: 7 Reasons You May Be Unable To Experience Intimate Connection

Updated October 5, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

From the moment when we can first understand the concept of getting into a relationship with someone, the notion of love seems both desirable, beautiful and romantic. We can't help but smile and think about the perfect person for us, and we strive for perfectionism within our relationships. We usually set high standards for love, but sometimes we don't. Most of us have that dream about meeting the perfect person, getting married, and then living out the rest of our lives in a picturesque “happy ever after” fashion. It seems very easy when we are younger and all we have to do is wait for the moment.

As we get older, however, we discover that finding love and a healthy relationship can be much more difficult than initially anticipated and that navigating romantic relationships can be even harder. Going through multiple people in search of someone who we are going to be with for a significant amount of time can leave us asking ourselves, “When will I fall in love?” or fearing, “I can’t fall in love with anyone”, or even "my wife doesn't love me anymore". Some people may seek out the help of an online therapist to help answer questions like these.

For some, the issue is not finding people that they can connect with and possibly fall in love with but they may have an issue falling in love in the first place and may feel that they are simply incapable of feelings of love fostering a meaningful, intimate connection with someone else. This may leave people instead wondering, “Why can’t I fall in love?” Intimacy and vulnerability can be hard for some people, so let's explore it. 

Fortunately enough, there may be plenty of other reasons that are contributing to your inability to love someone back, and identification of a problem is the first step in solving it. If you feel as though you are unable to love another person, we are going to walk through some of the potential reasons why this may be happening to you and talk about what you can to do about it at this moment.

7 Reasons Why You (Or Your Partner) Are Unable To Let Love in

Are You Wondering, "Is It Normal To Not Fall In Love?"

For those of you who are constantly dodging love but are unable to figure out why some of the most common reasons include:

1. Trauma From Childhood Is Bleeding Into Adult Relationship Fears

How we experience love and other feelings in our childhood sets the tone for how we receive love later on in our lives. Any kind of trauma, no matter how big or how small, can make it extremely difficult for us to accept love and experience a real connection from even the most loving of partners. We may not always be aware that these kinds of problems are taking place within us when we start engaging with others on an emotional and intimate level, seeking a long-term relationship.

Some common childhood traumas that often affect an individual’s ability to love include being abandoned by one or more parents at any age, leading to abandonment issues, witnessing domestic violence (which is a childhood trauma that can also lead to unhealthy relationships down the road), being the target of abuse by one or more parents, being neglected by a parent, not feeling that strong feeling of attachment that one should at a young age (which can lead to attachment issues in relationships later on in life), or having a parent that engaged in negative relationship habits or specific behaviors that made an impression. Having a parents with personality disorders can also create psychological blocks, making real love with a partner more elusive. 

Through successfully identifying these traumas and working through them, people can start learning how to maintain healthy relationships and accept affection from others without feeling guarded or worried about what the outcome might be.

2. One Partner Doesn’t Want To Feel Obligated To Return Affection

We often think that reasons for lacking love are rooted in fear, but some problems affecting an ability to experience love may simply be rooted in not wanting to necessarily be trapped by the expectations that come with love and healthy relationships. Some people may not want to love someone back because they don’t want to feel obligated to return the same level of affection that their partner is giving them. Whether it be in the form of gifts, events, or other forms of giving, some partners may not always have the capacity to reciprocate these signs of affection that are central to great relationships for most people.

If they had someone in the past that made it clear that they were not able to reciprocate certain behaviors and were very mad about it, the person who is unable to love can feel that they will encounter this again and will withhold their love so as to avoid this happening again in another relationship. Negative expectations from past relationships may not be as common an issue for blocking falling in love again, but it is the case for some people who find themselves unable to love a new partner.

3. One Partner Is Worried That They Will Lose Themselves In The Relationship

Before we enter a relationship, we are completely and utterly ourselves. We dictate how we live our lives, who we are friends with and when to spend time with them. We do what we want when we want without fear of anyone else’s expectations.  In short, we feel free. When we enter a serious relationship, on the other hand, we start to form an identity with another person, and while there is still our identity in the mix that is maintained on the side, there is somewhat less freedom than there initially was in our past. Not everyone is able to handle this part of a loving relationship without being absorbed by the expectations of their partner.

Some people will have this overwhelming fear that they will not be able to live their own lives or be themselves within a relationship with another person. Whether or not this is justified by the current strength and health of the relationship, this fear can lead a person to keep their partner at arm’s length so as to keep themselves from falling in love too deep and potentially losing who they are in the process. It is important to know whether or not this is truly a justifiable fear or not before taking any action. For example, if your partner gives you plenty of space but you are worried about being smothered, this can be an issue on your own end, perhaps related to attachment issues you still need to explore. However, if your partner is overly attached, controlling, or has their own abandonment issues, this fear may be justified. In that case, you may need professional help to deal with your or the other person’s psychological issue to find the happiness and true love you seek.

4. Fear Of Being Taken Advantage Of By Someone Else

Trust is the foundation of every loving relationship. You need to be able to trust that your partner will not try to hurt you or do anything to sabotage the relationship, and the trust goes both ways. Trust, however, can be hard to earn and accept as you or your partner may have been in a major relationship with the wrong person in the past where they gave their full trust to someone else, only to have their heart broken in the process. (This lack of trust may also come from relationships early in their life with parents who did not provide stability, leading to feelings of low self-esteem or low self-worth.)

In order to cope with these problems and to prevent them from happening again, people will close themselves off and keep their guard up against any potential breach of affection, so they are not taken advantage of and hurt again or don’t connect with the wrong type of partner in the future. Although this will keep you , it also prevents you from experiencing the joys of love that life has to offer and a happy life with the perfect partner. This type of relationship problem can get in the way, making it hard or impossible to fall in love and have a satisfying relationship with a new partner. The fear of pain is normal, but overcoming it is essential in order to lead a healthy and happy life, heal a broken heart, and feel that you deserve love and emotional support from a particular person.

5. You Or Your Partner Don’t Feel The Need To Engage In Long-Term Relationships

As a society, we have certain expectations for ourselves and for others. Among these expectations is the one that we all need to meet someone, fall in love, and settle down. Because of this, we may feel too much pressure and like we are doing something wrong or are guilty when we aren’t meeting these expectations or simply have no desire for falling in love. This may make us ask ourselves, “Why can’t I feel the love?” rather than, “Do I want to love at this point in time?”

The truth is, this is your life, and that certain societal expectations are not designed to be met if they do not fall in line with your own desires. An inability to love someone else may not stem from trauma or from a desire to avoid it but might instead come from a lack of wanting to fall in love and have a loving relationship with someone else. If love is not in your cards and you are simply looking to connect with others and have short-term relationships, there is nothing wrong with this. Not everyone is destined to find the perfect person and stay with them forever. If this example fits your situation, the best option might be to talk about it with people you are dating, so you don’t create unrealistic expectations or the wrong idea for the other person.

6. The Pressure Or Expectations Of A Relationship Are Too High

It can be hard to fall in love with someone else if you are worried about the mechanics of a relationship and the effort that goes into it, rather than focusing on the raw connection and feelings of desire that happen between you and someone else. For some people, dating and other traditional courting tactics can be too much pressure, and they may avoid love altogether so that they don’t have to go through wondering why they are not falling in love.

If dating simply isn’t for you and you can’t seem to get past feeling overwhelmed by it, you can find solutions such as making dates more casual or trying to make friends before you move into a relationship with someone. This can help ease some of the pressure so that you don’t miss out on opportunities to intimately connect with other people, without worrying about falling in love and starting a serious relationship.

7. Low Self-Worth And Low Self-Esteem Blocking Out Positive Aspects Of A Relationship

You may have heard the phrase, “You need to love yourself before you can love others,” and in some cases, this is true. When you are in a relationship with someone and you have low self-worth or low self-esteem, this can cause you to constantly doubt the positive things they are saying about you or make it hard to believe that they are capable of loving you. Feelings of low self-worth or a lack of self-respect on your part may also make it hard for the other person to want to stay in the relationship, since you are not accepting of the love and affection they are showing towards you and are rejecting their praise.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have individuals who have low self-worth but will rely on their partners to provide them with happiness and reassure them of their worth, becoming dependent on and attached to their partner as the relationship develops over time. Regardless of which traits you or your partner display and the course that it sets the relationship on, problems with self-esteem requires help to prevent it from becoming a problem in future relationships as well as everyday life.

Men who can’t love and women who can’t love  similar traits when it comes to the reasoning behind the inability to love someone else. Hopefully, these 7 reasons listed above will give you more insight into why you are unable to love someone or why your current partner seems unable to love you.

It can also be helpful to read self-help books or blogs about healthy relationships to get a strong sense of what is holding you back from falling in love and reduce the feeling that it’s “only me” who feels this way. Another option that is helpful for many people is having a talk with a counselor who specializes in relationships, attachment issues, and other reasons for finding it difficult to find love. 

Are You Wondering, "Is It Normal To Not Fall In Love?"

Suppose you are seeking out help to break down the barricades in your relationships. In that case, one great resource to turn to besides family or loved ones is BetterHelp, an online counseling platform that takes the complications out of traditional therapy while still providing you with a way to talk with certified counselors who can provide you with the help that you need. There are many different types of therapy dependent on your situation, both for children and adults. Our thoughts aren't always a fact. This world can get tricky sometimes, but there is help out there. A lot of times everything happens for a reason, but it's important to you bring attention to the things that are weighting you down. If you believe that this can be helpful for your current situation, simply click on the link above to get started today. It might be useful to seek therapy services if you have a history of depression in the family. 

Here are the most popular questions about the topic:

Can a person be incapable of love?
Why is falling in love so hard?
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What is a person with no feelings called?
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Why do I reject love?
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