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Working Through the Fear Of Being In a Relationship

Working Through the Fear Of Being In a Relationship

Protecting yourself from potential hurt or pain is an instinct, and sometimes, we don’t realize how guarded we’ve become.  Removing our armor and opening ourselves to new relationships can make us feel exposed and vulnerable.  One of the main fears for both men and women is the fear of judgment and rejection because they are “not enough,” and this leads them to conclude that there is no one out there for them.  Sound familiar?  Let’s dig in more with some real-life examples below.



My niece, who is single and in her late 60s, was recently visiting us in Arizona and showed an interest in our new book Open to Love: The Secrets of Senior Dating.  Divorced for years, she had been the sole caregiver for her elderly mother, who had recently passed away.  When I suggested that she should consider dating again, she said that she had already given it a try after her husband passed away. “I didn’t have any luck because I wasn’t ‘good looking’ enough. The pictures other women posted were amazing,” she said.  My comment to her was we are who we are, and we look how we look.  The reality is we want our potential partner to like us for who we are today and not how we could be after a full makeover or if we lost 15 pounds. I told her, “It can feel risky, but go with the real you now!”  She said she could see my point and that it might be the right time to start putting herself out there again. A few weeks later, I followed up with her, and she was excited to tell me that she had been on several coffee dates.  Although she had yet to go on a second date, she said she was having a lot of fun!



Similar to Gloria, I have worked with individuals in my private practice like my client Joe, who came to see me because he was lonely and didn’t know what to do with his life after retirement.  Earlier in his career, Joe had worked very hard to overcome a drinking issue through Alcoholics Anonymous and was able to successfully continue his sobriety.  In his mind, his drinking had cost him his marriage, as well as his relationship with his children.  He didn’t consider himself a good candidate for a new relationship and asked me if I thought he might be able to find someone.  I told him that he indeed had a lot to offer and that he only needed to put himself out there.  I pointed out that he was highly respected in the workplace and that he deserved to find a partner and not to be alone for the rest of his life. After a few months of confidence building, he said that he was ready to try an online dating app.  Within the first week, he met a woman with whom he could envision a real relationship with in the future.


These two stories are only a very small sampling of the hundreds of thousands of kind, loving, and thoughtful people who are lonely and looking for love.  We hope these stories, as well as our own story of meeting on SilverSingles, will inspire you to overcome your fears and to take a risk on love.  Rest assured that there is someone out there that’s perfect for you.  We truly believe there is someone out there for everyone!


Positive vs. Negative Exercise

Make two lists:

  1. POSITIVES: Qualities that others like about me.
  2. NEGATIVES: Reasons I don’t think I am a good candidate for a relationship.


Compare the two lists.  What do you see?  If your positive qualities outweigh the negatives, then congratulations – you are on the right path to finding your next partner.  You have a self-awareness and a perception of relationships that is balanced and positive. If the positive list is not significantly longer than the negative one, it might be a good time to work on building up your self-esteem before diving into dating. Keep building upon your positive qualities as we all know that like attracts like.  The negatives will tell you what to avoid in both yourself and others.  This list can be helpful when creating or updating your online dating profile as well.  

More information and tips on dating and finding the next love of your life can be found in our book, Open to Love: The Secrets of Senior Dating, which is now available on Amazon.  SilverSingles members can receive a 20% discount off of our book by entering the code 20OPENTOLOVE at checkout on Amazon.


Until next time,

Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Frank Powers

“The Golden Dating Doctors”

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