Why Men Fear Relationships – The Unspoken Secret

Most men I coach want a relationship. Usually they are happier when they are in one. They like to have someone to do things with, they like to have regular se*, they enjoy feeling se*y, they like the connection and they like the love. But here’s where it gets tricky. They like the love, but have you ever noticed men seem afraid of it too?

What makes so many men fear love? Well, in my experience, men that I coach, ultimately tell me the same thing – deep down, they fear rejection.

Rejection is part of the secret.


When I tell women this they usually let out a comment: “;Oh please, give me a break.”; And that reaction is part of the problem. I know, I used to think that too.

Men fear rejection in a way that most women don’t comprehend. After all, the man is expected to be the pursuer. So he pursues and it looks like he gets what he wants and then he withdraws. Why does he pull back and withdraw just when things are starting to get really close?

Men are afraid of rejection. Deep down a man may think he’s not worthy, and he makes sure he isn’t worthy so that he doesn’t have to deal with his fear of intimacy and rejection.


Some men grow up without love and are afraid. They may not have had a good model for how to be in a loving, committed, intimate relationship.

And the BIG thing I uncovered is that men feel unworthy at their core. They feel unlovable. And if they feel unlovable, do you think they want a woman they really like to see that? No way! So when things get too close they will pull back or sabotage.

And often the reason the men I coach feel unworthy and unlovable has to do with one big unspoken thing: SHAME — the unspoken secret.

John Bradshaw, in his book “Healing the Shame that Binds You”, defines shame as “feeling defective and flawed.”; And if you think or feel you are defective and flawed, there is no possibility for repair.

What are some typical circumstances that cause a man to feel shame?

Maybe his father or mother criticized him at a crucial age; maybe he was told he was stupid or ugly; maybe his father was very successful and he never felt he could measure up; maybe he was spanked or yelled at in front of other kids when he misbehaved; or he had a learning disability. Most of us have experiences in our past that caused us to feel ashamed.

And once that shame ball gets rolling it’s hard to stop. Men and women hide their feelings of shame and often isolate themselves or choose other behaviors that will guarantee they don’t get involved in intimate relationships.

Shame is a secret. We don’t talk about feeling ashamed. We just carry it with us, secretly.

And here’s another piece of information that John Bradshaw shared in his book “Healing the Shame that Binds You”:rejection, to people with shame, feels like annihilation. Annihilate means “to destroy completely.” Men can feel like they will be annihilated, completely destroyed if they get rejected. So there is no way, with that feeling, they are going to risk rejection and get annihilated.

Men will make excuses about their finances, careers or fitness to avoid relationships.

Better for a man to say: “When I get my finances in order, then I’ll be ready for a committed relationship.” That way he doesn’t have to risk being annihilated. Remember, he thinks he is unlovable and unworthy at his core.


So what can men do to get beyond this fear so they can have the love and intimacy that they really do desire?

I’ve found three things to be crucial: boundaries, self-love and forgiveness.

Men need to set good boundaries to feel safe, to risk being intimate.

They need to learn to love themselves so they can love a woman and be free.

Forgiveness is crucial – both of yourself and others. It’s not about condoning bad behavior, it is about “For Giving love to yourself and others.”

So if you are in a relationship, or for your next relationship, with a good man, remember to cut him some slack. If he’s afraid of intimacy, he might really be afraid of rejection, or worse, annihilation.

Don’t think because a man acts confident, poised or in control, that he isn’t afraid. Some men are better at covering up their fears than others.

As a goddess, you can help ease those fears. As goddesses, we hold the keys to love, compassion, passion, playfulness, and most important of all, femininity. So honor his boundaries, encourage him to love himself, and model forgiveness by forgiving him when he gets scared.

imagine the possibilities…..


© Carol Chanel

Q & A

From Victoria, a 32-year-old restaurant owner in Colorado:

Q: “My boyfriend talks about getting married and when I ask him when he wants to do that, he makes up all sorts of excuses. He keeps saying he wants to have more money saved so that we can buy a house and start a family. I know his parents had a difficult marriage that ended in an ugly divorce, but I’m not his mother. I think his money talk is just an excuse.

So what can I do to convince my boyfriend that he won’t end up like his father?”

A: First, Victoria, great work on understanding that your boyfriend is afraid. That’s the first step. Money is always an excuse. And it usually works. That’s why so many of us use it.

It sounds like your boyfriend was really traumatized by his parent’s marriage and divorce. You can’t convince him that he won’t end up like his father. He has to see that for himself.

What you can do is to ask him what boundaries he needs – you’ll need to communicate yours as well – in order to feel safe to make a commitment.

Boundaries protect us and allow us to feel safe enough to create intimacy. They are crucial in a marriage.

Then encourage him to work on the parts that are causing him pain and fear. Either through coaching, therapy, or spiritual work. Then he can love himself and feel good enough about himself to want to be in a committed relationship.

Also, make sure you are taking care of yourself. So that if any of your issues are coming up – rejection, disappointment, whatever – that you aren’t accidentally dumping them on him. It’s important to talk about how you are feeling, in a non-confrontational manner.

That will allow him to see that things can be talked about and handled in a mature, healthy manner. He doesn’t have a model for that. And I think you will do a wonderful modeling job for him and honor yourself in the process.

Great work Victoria, on seeing the truth and being willing to deal with it. Congratulations!


If you are afraid of love / relationships, or you are dealing with someone who is then hire a trained relationship coach. Coaching is a great way to move forward, especially if you’ve worked through the issues that caused the pain.

Coaching is about moving forward, taking action. So when you are ready for action, and tired of living without love then hire a coach. There isn’t a better modality for action and forward movement.

Happy Loving!!

Carol's Services

I teach people to overcome the obstacles that keep them stuck yet longing for romantic relationships, more self-confidence and inspiration to accomplish their dreams.

We sometimes forget what it feels like to live from our hearts and souls. We forget the thrill of taking the brakes off and flying. Life is dull if we just live from our minds.

Are you - or someone you know - settling, for less than exciting, either in relationships or a career?

You can visit my website at:

You'll find other articles there and more in-depth information about both my services and me.

Carol Chanel
Certified Life Coach

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