Run to the nearest exit

I was never told or "diagnosed" as a philophobe, but whilst browsing a long list of fears I came across the term. I explored the various causes and symptoms and found myself more and more in the words it showed me. "Panic attacks", "sensations of hot and cold", "increased heart rate", "sweating", "rapid breathing", and "the urge to run crying to the nearest exit" all seemed to describe me perfectly. And you know when you read some descriptions, and some of the data doesn't quite describe you? I didn't get that. Only more and more of the truth.

Though, reading stories, I seem to be a bit of a special case. Most of those I've heard of with philophobia all seemed to be able to engage in a certain level of intimacy and/or multiple relationships. To all of you out there who fit this, I envy you.

I've only ever had one "boyfriend". I put quotes on that word because I didn't actually like him. I only agreed to his request to avoid losing the friendship we'd developed that year if I refused. We were going okay, but I'd always cringe whenever he put an arm around my waist or tried to hold my hand. Eventually, he asked me if I wanted to kiss him. Since then, I'd avoided him at all costs. When I finally had the courage to say I was too scared to, he dumped me the next day.

It's been about three years since then. Seeing him in the school hallways even now sends a chill up my spine. And I still cringe whenever ANYONE touches me (but I was always like that, my ex had nothing to do with it). I see couples in the hall, together, and I can see that look in their eye, and I can't help but feel jealous. In my head, I'm not afraid of anyone. But in the real world, I'm terrified... and it's only getting worse as time passes.

Everyone else is dating, hooking up and such and they're all wondering what's wrong with me. I can't focus in class anymore, I keep zoning out and I have a hard time listening to people talk to me because my subconscious keeps whispering my fears into my ear. My grades are suffering, and my parents are getting very disappointed, something that I feel terribly ashamed about. It's been so long since I've gone to bed without crying myself to sleep.

Even my Sociology/Psychology class has a whole unit on love and marriage, and every time I attend, I have to resist the urge to "run to the nearest exit crying". Just today, they were exploring the fundaments of a successful relationship and the properties of different levels of intimacy, and I, having moved to the back of the class in preparation of today's trauma, was curled up in a ball, blocking my ears under my hood, as two of my classmates, thinking this was amusing, whispered all kinds of things that made me want to cry. And here I am, on this fascinating website, feeling the last straw snap as I finally tell someone how I feel.

I really do want to be in love with someone. I don't want to ruin it if ever I do meet the right guy someday. But I'm just so scared. I don't want to repel him with my fears, like the first one. I've friendzoned so many in my panic whenever someone even showed a HINT of inclination towards me. I don't want to be cruel to people. I'm a nice person, even if I'm so shy. I want to love, and be loved, and experience everything people say love is for myself... But why do I have to be so scared?

What am I so afraid of?

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