Gamophobia is characterized by an excessive fear of marriage and long-term attachment in a relationship. This syndrome is common in people who have had a negative experience with their marriage or family in the past.
What is Gamophobia?
Gamophobia/ Fear of Commitment/ Fear of Marriage is a rare psychological disorder. This syndrome is characterized by an exaggerated, irrational fear of making a long-term commitment to a relationship (usually marriage). Gamophobia is classified as a group of anxiety disorders (specific phobia) such as fear of heights, fear of insects, fear of blood, etc.
Thoughts of getting married or being in a long-term relationship cause the patient to become anxious, insecure, fearful, and tense. Some even became panicky and out of control. There are many types of specific phobias, but Gamophobia is less well studied. Therefore, many people feel bewildered and worried when they have unreasonable fears about a long-term relationship or more specifically, getting married.
Currently, there are no accurate statistics on the percentage of people with fear of marriage. However, it is estimated that about 12.5% of Americans suffer from phobias, of which the most common are fear of needles, fear of blood, fear of spiders, etc. The percentage of people with Gamophobia syndrome is not high, estimated at under 1% of the population.
Similar to other specific phobias, Gamophobia can be accompanied by other irrational fears such as fear of abandonment, fear of intimacy, and fear of trusting others. Although exact statistics are not available, experts have found that the rate of people with this syndrome has increased significantly in the past 15 years and the risk is higher in young women.
Recognizing the syndrome of fear of marriage
Similar to other phobias, phobias are characterized by irrational, exaggerated and disproportionate fears of the problem. We often have a fear of dangerous things, such as barbaric acts or unexpected accidents. However, people with claustrophobia have irrational fears about marriage and long-term commitment in a relationship.
Gamophobia is only defined when the above symptoms persist for at least 6 months. The manifestations of this syndrome are quite similar to those of other specific phobias – except for the cause of the fear.
Signs of fear of marriage:
- Feeling fear, insecurity, anxiety when thinking about getting married or staying in a long-term relationship
- Feeling depressed, worried about relationships
- Have ended many relationships because the other party wants a long term or proposed marriage
- The fear of marriage causes the patient to choose relationships and even not want to fall in love because he does not want to have a long-term relationship with anyone.
- Some people panic, lose control of their emotions and behaviors when they think about getting married or have thoughts of a long-term commitment in a relationship.
- There are behaviors that avoid marriage, such as not dating or only dating objects that do not require a long-term commitment, actively terminating relationships in a short time, etc.
- People with phobia of marriage always have negative thoughts about marriage and often imagine bad scenarios if they get married.
- Feeling uncomfortable, tending to avoid when others ask about marriage problems or long-term plans with a lover. Some people even become irritable, angry, and behave out of control.
In addition to extreme fear, people with Gamophobia also experience a number of physical symptoms when thinking about a long-term attachment to another person. Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath, wheezing
- Chest pain
- Heart attack
- Increased ventilation
- Dizziness, dizziness
- Red face
- Unusually hot and cold body
- There is a tingling sensation
- Nausea, abdominal pain, epigastric discomfort and other gastrointestinal symptoms
People with phobia of marriage realize their irrational fear but can’t control it. These symptoms will last for at least 6 months and greatly affect quality of life. Gamophobia is different from anxiety, wondering when faced with the decision of whether to get married or not.
Causes of fear of marriage
Currently, experts have not been able to determine the cause of the fear of marriage. Similar to other specific phobias, Gamophobia is often the result of a combination of factors. Of these, past negative experiences are the most important factor.
Causes and factors that can cause Gamophobia:
- Negative experiences from childhood: Experts have found that people with Gamophobia often have unhappy families, witness parents quarreling and engage in violent behavior from an early age. This creates a negative attitude of children about marriage and gradually develops into an unreasonable and excessive fear.
- Failure in marriage: Nowadays, divorce and separation is no longer a strange issue. After a broken marriage, both people will suffer emotionally. In addition, witnessing the people around them constantly failing in love also makes many people have negative thoughts about marriage. This factor contributes to the development of irrational, exaggerated fears about long-term attachment.
- Influence of culture: In some countries, women are disadvantaged in marriage and men must have the financial resources to pay for complicated wedding procedures. These factors have also been implicated in the development of an irrational, exaggerated fear of marriage.
- Heredity: Similar to other specific phobias, Gamophobia is also hereditary. In patients with phobias, experts find the amygdala is overactive. This organ is responsible for governing and controlling fear, anxiety, and insecurity. Overactive amygdala makes some people overly fearful of certain issues that are not really dangerous.
According to many experts, the syndrome of fear of marriage is the result of genetics combined with psycho-social factors. In it, it is often related to the negative experiences of marriage of family members or the patient himself.
Effects of fear of marriage (Gamophobia)
Fear of marriage is classified as a specific phobia next to the fear of blood, needles, spiders, etc. However, Gamophobia has received little attention and research due to its low incidence.
Many people confuse the syndrome of fear of marriage with those who are celibate, who want to live freely and comfortably instead of being confined in a marriage relationship. This confusion prevents many patients from being examined and treated early. Compared to other forms of phobia, Gamophobia has less impact on school and career, but mainly affects relationships.
The excessive and irrational fear of getting married makes people with this syndrome always avoid marriage proposals, constantly change lovers, and even do not fall in love for fear that the other person wants to have a long-term relationship. Unreasonable fear “accidentally” causes patients to lose those who truly love them.
Moreover, having to forcefully end the relationship also causes suffering for the patient. People with Gamophobia syndrome still have feelings for their partner. However, they do not want any commitment of long-term commitment. This makes the other person think that they are not really serious in the relationship and decide to end it to find someone more suitable.
People with fear of marriage will face many problems in relationships. By overreacting when others ask about your marital status and long-term intentions in the relationship. Conflicts and conflicts may occur, causing patients to gradually withdraw, communicate and make friends less. Limiting relationships will also cause certain difficulties in the process of studying, working, living, etc.
Similar to other specific phobias, patients with marriage phobia will face many physical health problems such as stress, insomnia, high blood pressure, physical weakness, etc. Extreme feelings of pain and despair when parting with a loved one also lead to the development of other psychological problems such as anxiety disorders, depression, and eating disorders.
People with Gamophobia syndrome themselves realize the exaggeration and irrationality of their fears but cannot control them. To forget reality, patients tend to use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs and find it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Many people choose toxic relationships to avoid guilt and regret when they have to end the relationship.
Diagnosis of fear of marriage
Currently, Gamophobia is not recognized as a psychological disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). If this syndrome is suspected, the patient should go to the hospital for a diagnosis. Gamophobia will be diagnosed based on clinical symptoms and sometimes doctors will also screen for factors that increase the risk of the disease.
Marriage phobia is diagnosed only when the following criteria are met:
- Appears immediate reactions of anxiety, fear, and stress when it comes to marriage and long-term commitment
- There is a feeling of extreme suffering alongside fear and insecurity
- Unreasonable fear causes many problems in personal life – especially with relationships.
The above symptoms must have persisted for at least 6 months and are not related to social anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Because it is not yet recognized, the doctor will diagnose Gamophobia syndrome as a specific phobia or anxiety disorder.
How to overcome the fear of marriage
The irrational fear of getting married takes a toll on life. In addition to being alone, the suffering, anxiety and insecurity caused by this syndrome also exposes the patient to a variety of physical and mental health problems.
Treatment intervention is essential for claustrophobia despite numerous difficulties and challenges. Depending on the specific situation, the doctor will advise the appropriate method. Currently, the most commonly applied methods are psychotherapy and the use of drugs.
1. Psychotherapeutic intervention
Psychotherapy is the first choice when treating phobias, including phobias. The goal of this method is to help the patient overcome the fear and learn to control the irrational, excessive fear.
In the long run, the fear of marriage will be reduced and the patient can experience life to the fullest instead of the constant anxiety and fear as before. Before the intervention, the specialist will evaluate the specific condition and select the appropriate method for each patient.
Psychotherapy is applied to patients with fear of marriage:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a form of therapy that helps patients change their thinking in a more positive way, thereby controlling fears and helping patients develop healthy relationships. Currently, CBT is the most commonly applied psychotherapy method due to its many benefits.
- Exposure therapy: Exposure therapy (exposure therapy) is performed by exposing the patient to a fear of increasing intensity over time. When the patient has fear and anxiety, the specialist will teach relaxation techniques such as muscle relaxation, deep breathing, etc. This process will be repeated over and over to help the patient learn to control the anxiety. fear and reduce irrational, excessive fear.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reset (EMDR): EMDR is a widely used psychotherapeutic technique. This technique is performed using eye movements for the purpose of soothing emotional trauma. EMDR is applied to patients who have a fear of marriage after experiencing a bad marriage or witnessing violent acts by their parents.
- Psychodynamic therapy: This therapy will help the specialist better understand the patient’s unconscious thoughts and expectations. Once the patient’s psychology is well understood, the specialist will choose the appropriate intervention direction.
Psychotherapy is highly effective in treating the fear of marriage and other phobias. To increase effectiveness, the specialist may recommend the patient to group, couple or family therapy interventions in addition to individual therapy.
2. Drug use
Medication is not the preferred option for claustrophobia. However, if the patient is often anxious and stressed, the doctor may prescribe some medications. Co-existing depression and other anxiety disorders will require long-term medication as the mainstay of treatment.
Medication is not helpful in controlling irrational and excessive fears. Therefore, patients must combine drug use with psychotherapeutic intervention.
Medications that can be used for patients with Gamophobia syndrome:
- Sedatives, anxiolytics
- Beta-blockers (used when the patient becomes panicky)
3. Self-improvement measures
In addition to medical methods, patients also need self-improvement measures to overcome their fear of marriage and long-term commitment. These measures help reduce excessive fear and help patients learn to control their emotions and change distorted thoughts about marriage.
Self-improvement measures for fear of marriage:
- You should share your health status with family or close friends. When others understand, the patient feels comfortable and motivated to treat.
- Making a habit of journaling daily is also an effective way to release emotions. This measure will help patients control anxiety, stress, insecurity, etc. At the same time, they have the opportunity to reassess their own thoughts and feelings, thereby adjusting their behavior and perception properly. than.
- The fear of marriage makes the patient prone to extreme stress, insecurity, anxiety, fear and distress. Therefore, it is advisable to take daily relaxation measures such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, massage, using essential oils to relax the mind, etc.
- Should talk, share with people with a complete marriage to change negative thoughts. Positive energy from those around will help patients have more faith and hope about marriage, thereby reducing excessive fear and anxiety about a long-term relationship.
- Build a healthy lifestyle, do not use alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
- Participate in community activities and take meaningful actions to increase confidence, compassion, and love. Many studies show that volunteering significantly reduces negative emotions and learns to better control personal emotions.
What to do when your lover has a fear of marriage?
The fear of marriage is a psychological disorder, not just celibacy. If you notice that your lover has symptoms of this syndrome, you need to stay calm to give the right course of action. In fact, knowledge about Gamophobia syndrome is quite limited. Therefore, most patients are not active in examination and treatment.
People with phobia of marriage still have sincere feelings for their partner. However, their fear of attachment makes them reluctant to go any further and never have words of long-term commitment to the relationship. They tend to shy away when you talk about marriage or discuss long-term plans. Some people can even become tense, irritable, and angry when you keep mentioning the bondage.
The fear of marriage is different from the reaction of not wanting to get married when you are not ready. If you suspect your lover has this syndrome, you should stay by your side to share and encourage your lover to seek help from a doctor/psychologist.
With your support, the patient will be motivated to participate in treatment. In addition to individual therapy, both may also have couple therapy. Through this therapy, you will better understand the psychology of your partner and know how to support them to overcome their fears to experience life to the fullest.
Gamophobia is a rather uncommon psychological disorder. If you suspect you have this syndrome, you should actively seek medical attention for timely examination and treatment. Controlling fear will help patients feel more comfortable in relationships and not have to deal with persistent stress, pain, and insecurity.