A lot more millennials are choosing not to get married, but is there a reason? Marriage in some circles is increasing and in others, the thought of spending unnecessary wads of cash torments the very core of the individual. Marriage is meant to be about a bond of ever-lasting love, but it can also portray boundaries and limitations to some people, and therefore an irrational fear can grow.
This fear of marriage is known as Gamaphobia – which derived from Greek word ‘gamos’ which literally means marriage. A fear of marriage can be from a general fear of commitment, or it can derive from just spending your entire life with just one person. Strangely, the fear of marriage is also associated with a fear of dying, as something that cannot be explained. Interestingly, there are a number of phobias which are similar in the same respect – there is a phobia of being single, which is called anuptabphobia and there’s a fear of falling in love, called philophobia. Common to contrary belief, gamophobia is common in the 21st century and is reported more so by men. Men are known to fear the financial, personal and social risk of marriage, and see it as a barrier.
A fear of marriage also comes from observation of a marriage that you have witnessed from a young age. For example, your own parents – perhaps they argued a lot and did not spend a lot of time together, compared to what you thought they should be. In observing another marriage that doesn’t seem to be working, can be an easy way out of saying you don’t want any part of it. A certain motivation also comes from a fear of being naked, a fear of sex or attaching yourself emotionally to someone else. You may also experience a poor body image, so you feel you cannot be yourself in front of someone else 24/7. Whilst being with someone else can help these insecurities, the conflict that already exists is enough to substantiate into a fear that becomes a lot more difficult to overcome. Ultimately it is a personality issue that must be fixed in order to see the better sense in being with someone who will make you feel the opposite to what you’re experiencing.
However, if you have some of these symptoms, then perhaps you should consider help from a psychologist or counselor.
- Elevated heart rate
- Panic Attacks
- Elevated body temperatures
Okay so you have identified that you need to possibly seek some advice regarding your fear of commitment and marriage. Gamophobia inevitably if left ‘untreated’ can leave you feeling isolated and lonely. No one wants that and so in such circumstances, it is heavily recommended to consult a doctor where necessary. If you do suffer from the symptoms mentioned for a long period of time and it does not start to improve, then you may need to seek extra help to cure your phobia.
Gamophobia can be treated in a number of ways, and the same course of treatments available are similar to other phobias already mentioned on the blog.
You can have cognitive behavioural therapy or in short CBT. A behavioural therapist counsels the person who has a fear of marriage and will try to raise issues of negative thoughts associated towards marriage. Consequently, the therapist would hold sessions to have healthy discussions and guides to replace the negative thoughts experienced.
Exposure therapy – this is really effective and this is where the therapist makes the person confront head on a setting similar to marriage, by bringing it up and therefore forced to discuss. Though it can be a difficult session, it helps the person realise their irrational fears, whilst the therapist helps keep them calm and relaxed during the session.
Family therapy is also really important and helps the entire family be aware of the situation. Perhaps, allowing other people in and knowing you have a phobia is one way of developing support and motivation for the person who has a fear of marriage.
And last but not least, medication can be used. This isn’t recommended to try until you have tried other therapies which are more effective, but if you do need to go onto pills, these are used to help anxiety and depression.