Three Strategies to Keep Fear From Destroying Your Relationship

Written by T. Marino

March 7, 2021

Our fears sabotage us, especially in relationships. We know what it’s like to make the same mistakes over and over again, falling back into the same harmful patterns of behavior that destroyed past relationships. Fear can cause insecurity, sensitivity, anger… and in response, we lie, or we lash out at the people we love.

Fear-based reactions undermine trust in a relationship.

Where does fear come from? We’ve been hurt before, in the past. We want to protect ourselves from the pain we’ve felt in our previously failed or unhealthy relationships.

I’ve worked with coaching clients who have been victimized in past relationships. How might that impact a new relationship?

Well, you might feel defensive, or insecure. Even in a new relationship with a loving and respectful partner, you may feel uncomfortable sharing difficult truths or opening up about your past. It is not uncommon to fear what your partner might think or say in response to your vulnerability. Fearing the worst, you fall back on habits like lying or avoidance to protect yourself from the unwanted outcome.

We can’t run from the truth. This is the quickest path to manifesting our own fears in the kind of outcome we’d hoped to avoid. When we carry our fears into new relationships, we run the risk of ruining a good thing.

The good news is, we have the ability to take control of our thoughts and rewrite the narrative. We want to build trust with our partner even when our fears creep into the relationship. Here’s how:

  1. Stay rooted in the present moment.    We can’t live in the past and ignore the present. What happened in the past is no longer your reality. What happened last week, last year, even five years ago has no bearing on your current relationship.  This goes for both partners in a relationship, not only the partner with emotional baggage but also the other who might wield their partner’s past as a weapon in an argument. Rehashing past mistakes or hurt is no way to move forward.
  2. Don’t make assumptions about what your partner is thinking or feeling.  You should not take on the burden of your partner’s emotional response. How your partner decides to respond to your truth is entirely up to them. Don’t assume the worst… give your partner the opportunity to prove you wrong. Lying to avoid confrontation or conflict robs your partner of their choice, of the opportunity to show you grace.
  3. Take control of your thoughts and fears before doing something you regret.  Trigger, thought, action, consequence. Take a pause before acting on your emotional impulses. While you can’t control the things that trigger your fears, you do control your thoughts and your actions.  Ask yourself, is this fear real? As humans, we need security, approval, and control. We often feel fearful when one or more of our needs are threatened. But consider this: If you’re in a trusting relationship, you already have your partner’s approval.


When fear invades, hit “reset.” Are you reacting in a way that reflects your fears from past experiences? Are you robbing your partner of the opportunity to show you grace and love by making an assumption about their point of view?

Don’t allow fear to dictate your actions. But don’t ignore your fears, either. Your fears are trying to tell you something. Fear alerts us to our needs. Look to fear as an advisor and identify your needs so you can find a way to meet them. Better yet, involve your partner in that conversation.

Do you need help recognizing and overcoming the fears that are impacting your relationship? As a Life Coach, it’s my mission to help high achievers embrace their truth to create balance and discover the power in their choices, especially when it comes to your relationships. Reach out to me at or visit my website at