Why Some People Don't Want To Fall In Love

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated May 15, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include suicide, substance use, or abuse which could be triggering to the reader.
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In his 1989 hit, "Wicked Game," Chris Isaak sang, "I don't wanna fall in love– the world is only gonna break your heart." For some people, Chris Isaak's song captures how they feel about falling in love: they want to avoid getting hurt, so they steer clear of romantic relationships. 

Other people may decide not to fall in love because they have different priorities for their lives, or maybe not falling in love is normal for them because they don't experience romantic attraction. Let's explore why individuals might have different attitudes about falling in love and what that can mean for a person's health and lifestyle.

Some people are aromantic

An aromantic person is defined as someone who doesn't experience romantic attraction. Being aromantic can be normal and healthy, so whether to fall in love or not may not be a matter of choice for someone who identifies this way. 

Some aromantic people may not want intimate relationships at all, while others create loving and fulfilling close relationships on a basis other than romantic love. This kind of relationship is sometimes known as a queer-platonic relationship

Other aromantic people may be in relationships with partners who do experience romantic attraction. These can be seen as romantic relationships even if one person doesn't experience romantic love themselves. 

Difficult childhood experiences

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A common reason that people may decide to reject love and romance is wanting to avoid having their hearts broken. The person who makes this kind of decision may have seen firsthand what can happen when a relationship goes awry. Perhaps they experienced childhood trauma and saw difficulties in their parents’ relationship. Challenging divorces or separations and intense custody battles may emotionally harm the children involved, affecting how they approach adult relationships when they grow up.

Wanting to avoid the pain you saw your parents go through is normal. It's possible to live a rich, healthy life as a single person, so doing that might be a valid choice for you, and it might even be the best choice. It's also possible that you might eventually decide to take a chance on falling in love and discover that you can make different choices from your parents and have a happy and successful romantic relationship with someone.

Whether to take that chance or to remain single is a choice only you can make. However, if you're uncertain about whether avoiding love is the right choice for you, or if you're worried that your family life growing up might be negatively affecting the way you make decisions about your relationships, you may want to talk to a therapist or other trusted person about it.

Religious celibacy

Some individuals say that they are done with love or choose never to experience it because it goes against what they believe in a religious or cultural sense. For instance, Catholic clergy, monks, and nuns often take vows of celibacy and are expected to serve God rather than have a partner and a family. Celibacy is also a spiritually significant life choice for some practitioners of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and other religions.

In some cases, individuals who become celibate for religious reasons had experienced love and physical intimacy at some point before they decided to dedicate their lives to what they see as a higher calling. Assuming the celibate life for religious reasons can be a difficult decision to make and difficult to maintain. 

Those who are devoted to their religion may see celibacy as a meaningful sacrifice for their faith. Some faiths expect people who take vows of celibacy to maintain those for the rest of their lives, while others allow monastic or another celibate religious status to be temporary.

Prioritizing work

Some individuals decide to avoid falling in love because they feel it's better to prioritize their careers. Having an intimate partner may mean maintaining that relationship, and maintaining a relationship typically takes an investment of time and high quality effort for even the best couples. That time and effort can be worth it, but it's also time and effort that may be spent away from working on your career. 

Finding a satisfying work/life balance can sometimes be more difficult for those in a relationship because their partner's needs and desires are worth being considered. If the partners have children, there may be even more demands on their time and energy. These demands can sometimes have a negative impact on a person’s mental health. 

Deciding that you want to prioritize your career and avoid falling in love can be a valid choice for you. Making that decision with a clear-eyed vision of what you want for your present and future can be a way to respect your own desires and goals. It avoids the problem of potentially being unfair to a partner who would have a legitimate claim on your presence in their life.

Prioritizing your career can temporarily be something you do, especially if you're starting a new path. Or you may find that it's something that works best for you in the long run. Either way, you may want to talk about your goals and priorities with someone you trust if you need a sounding board to see whether your life is heading in the direction you hoped. 

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Not willing to give love a second chance

Sometimes people want to avoid falling in love with any potential partners because they have already tried it once or even a few times and didn't have a positive experience. Maybe the relationship just wasn't that fulfilling to them for any reason. Perhaps they were so incompatible with their partner that the relationship was full of unpleasant conflict. Or maybe the relationship was abusive and traumatizing.

People unwilling to give love a second chance might be doing it for health reasons, such as wanting to prioritize themselves and work on their healing. They may have decided that being single is the best option for them and be happy with that lifestyle because being alone doesn't always mean being lonely.

Some people who have experienced difficult or traumatic relationships or a traumatic childhood may develop a fear of falling in love. These individuals might want loving relationships, but because of past hurts, they are afraid to try to fall in love again. If this is your situation, it might be beneficial to you to discuss those issues with a licensed therapist, even if, in the end, you decide that romance and relationships aren't for you after all.

Things to consider

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Deciding whether it's worth it to pursue a romantic relationship depends on various factors. Ask yourself: 

  • Is that relationship something you want for yourself? 
  • Are you willing to prioritize your partner over your job? 
  • How do you feel about living alone? 
  • Is being single something you can embrace and enjoy, or is it something that might make you feel sad and lonely?
  • Are you wanting to fall in love because you enjoy the honeymoon stage or are you seeking a long-term relationship with your partner?

Although our modern culture tends to prioritize romantic relationships above all else, a situation that philosophy professor Elizabeth Brake calls amatonormativity, it can be essential to recall that life is full of many kinds of relationships. We have relationships with family members, friends, coworkers, and colleagues. Some people create their own types of loving, intimate relationships even without experiencing romantic love. So even if you decide that a romantic relationship isn't in the cards for you, you won't necessarily be lonely if you have a strong social support network.

Also, deciding that you want to avoid falling in love for now doesn't mean you have to stick with that for the rest of your life. You may find at some point down the road that it’s time to pursue a romantic relationship with someone. Whether you change your mind and take a chance on love or decide to stay single for the long term, knowing yourself and what you want from your life can help guide you to make the best decisions for you and help you meet your goals.

Navigating love and relationships with therapy

If you are struggling with issues around love and relationships, or if you want help sorting out goals and directions that you already believe are right for you, you may find it helpful to talk to a licensed therapist. Some individuals might prefer in-person meetings with a therapist who works in their area, while others might decide online therapy is the best way to go. 

Studies have shown that online therapy can effectively deal with anxiety, depression, or similar issues stemming from concerns about love. In one study, 64% of patients experiencing symptoms related to social anxiety disorder responded positively to internet-based therapy. The treatment came from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a widely accepted method of helping patients deal with complicated emotions. With Internet-based CBT, therapists help people reframe unhelpful or negative thoughts, so they can learn to manage social situations and interactions in a healthy manner.

One online platform that helps connect people with licensed therapists is BetterHelp. Through an online therapy platform such as BetterHelp, you can find a therapist who will work with you to explore your feelings about love and relationships. Because you'll be working with your therapist online, you can have your meetings in the comfort of your own home, and you will have the opportunity to contact your therapist through call or text, depending on what works for you and the therapist you are seeing.

Read below for reviews of BetterHelp therapists from users who are experiencing issues with love and relationships.

Counselor reviews

"I was nervous to start BetterHelp, but Jilla Lavian has been welcoming and easy to talk to from day 1. She listens and asks questions that really make me think. She has also taught me some useful mindfulness visualization techniques that have helped my relationships and my stress. I am so glad I am working with her and happy I found someone who I felt trust in very quickly." 

“Karyn's perspective on my life and my experiences, particularly in my relationships, has opened my eyes to things I've never been able to see before in my own personality and behaviour. She challenges me! She affirms me! She laughs with me! When I cry, she talks me through it and lets it happen! It's been so helpful and wonderful to have an outside perspective on my feelings during a pandemic, especially. She's helping me become the best version of myself.”

Takeaway

Whether to allow yourself to fall in love or to stay out of romantic relationships altogether can often feel like a complicated decision to make. Choosing not to pursue romantic love isn’t a sign that something is wrong with you, it may just mean you find satisfaction in other relationships. No matter what you're experiencing, speaking with a licensed mental health professional can help give you the clarity to work toward the healthy, happy life you deserve.
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