Vulnerability. We resist it. That’s why it can be so scary to open yourself up. Falling in love marks a transition, and it’s only natural that you’d be afraid of potential failure.

Whether you’ve been hurt in the past or just aren’t sure you’re prepared to fall in love, you could be missing out on someone who can take your life to a new level. If you’ve found yourself avoiding social interactions or staying away from those to whom you know you’re attracted deep down inside, there are five ways to let go of the fear and enjoy the excitement only romance has to offer.

Are you afraid of falling in love? Here are 5 ways to let go of that fear:

1. Learn to Love Yourself

You can’t fall in love with someone else if you don’t love yourself . Yes, most of us feel like we value ourselves, but to truly love yourself is another concept altogether.

How to Love Yourself

If you haven’t yet mastered loving yourself, this is a critical step that’s all too often skipped. Just a few ways to make sure you’re comfortable enough in your own skin to fall in love include:

  • You take time to do things you love.
  • Get enough exercise.
  • You allow time to yourself in your busy schedule.
  • You’re thankful for the blessings in your life.

2. Set Your Boundaries Early

All too often, we get caught up in the excitement of a new relationship. During this “honeymoon period,” it can be easy to overlook our own boundaries and let seemingly little things slip by. The trouble is, once the relationship progresses, you’ve already given the green light to behaviors you don’t approve of.

It can be confusing to your partner to suddenly find you want to change them when these things didn’t bother you before. It’s important to set these boundaries early on in the relationship. If they can’t handle it, you can go your separate ways now before you develop strong feelings that lead to years of hurt.

3. Be Prepared to Give Away Some of Your Freedom

Falling in love requires accepting that your time is not yours , at least not all of it. While it’s important to make time for yourself, you must keep in mind that you now have a romantic partner who has made the decision to make you their priority.

Balancing “Me Time” and “We Time

The trick is to balance “me time” and “we time”. Make time for nights out together, especially as the relationship progresses. However, let your partner know early on that you have your own interests and hobbies that are non-negotiable. If you’ve found the right one, they will be happy to accommodate your division of time.

4. Let Love Happen

One of the biggest mistakes those afraid of falling in love make is looking for love. Yes, it sounds confusing, but think about it. You can only learn so much about a person from an online dating profile. When you start seeking out love, you make the decision to pursue a romantic relationship too early.

It’s ideal to let love happen. Rather than seeking out a romantic partner, get involved in social events and situations in which you’ll meet new people. Do volunteer work. Join a book club. Exposure to new people over time allows you to meet and naturally get to know potential romantic partners without the pressures of being “on the prowl”.

5. Don’t Push the “L” Word

Yes, we want to feel loved, and we want to hear it expressed. However, this will happen when the time’s right. If you’ve been dating for less than a year, your partner may not have developed this level of feeling for you.

How to Tell the Love Isn’t There

While you shouldn’t push your partner to tell you they love you, make sure you’re not getting used. If they say they love you too soon, they could be using the line to take advantage of you.

falling in love

If it’s been over a year with no expression of love, it may not be there, or they may be struggling with deep-rooted issues that should be discussed. Test the waters and get to know your partner. Either they just don’t have the feelings for you a partner should or you have a unique opportunity to grow even closer.

Let Your Vulnerability Shine

Falling in love requires allowing your vulnerability to shine. Yes, it’s scary. Nothing easy is worth doing, and falling in love has plenty of lifelong benefits. From sharing your time together to leaning on each other for support and more, the risk can very well prove to be worth it.

By following these five tips, you can be on your way to finding lasting love. Can you get hurt along the way? Sure. However, when you do it right, you can get back on your feet and try again. When you love yourself and learn how to let go of the past, the sky’s the limit.