Greatest Relationship Fears
Maintaining a long-term relationship can be daunting. Though we hope for the best, we all have insecurities and fears, especially when it comes to our partners.
While we know communication is important, we often keep our biggest fears to ourselves because admitting them can be just as scary as having them. It doesn’t help that we tend to overthink, making the fears seem bigger than they actually are.
But hey, knowing that we have the same fears probably means we’re not over-reacting, right? Covering trust to commitment issues, we spoke with 16 Singaporean women about their greatest fears in a relationship.
1. Guys who treat me as an ATM
When I was 16, I had my first boyfriend. As he knew my family was well-to-do, he’d make me pay for his food and shopping expenses. Sometimes, he’d even ask for an allowance.
It was only a year later that I realised he was nothing but a gold-digger so I dumped him faster than you could drop loose change in a kopitiam.
Now, before I date anyone, I make sure they’re dating me for me. I don’t want to be used as an ATM again.
2. My partner getting bored of me
All my relationships ended with my ex-boyfriends saying, “I just don’t love you anymore”. No warning, no nothing. It just sucks so bad when you fully commit to someone only to have them realise that the life you guys built together isn’t what they want.
The worst part is that I can see it happening in the relationship I’m in now, and it hurts so bad.
3. Addiction to substances
I’ve been with my boyfriend for five years and we’ve gotten into countless fights over his substance abuse. It started out as a “fun” thing that he was trying with his friends but while they grew out of it, he got more addicted.
It got to the point where he would lie to me about where he was so that he could get his fix. I couldn’t take it anymore and threatened to call it quits and fortunately, that announcement caused him to sober up. Now, he’s clean and he’s promised to stay off drugs.
In spite of that, I can’t help but feel anxious—what if he lapses into the habit again?
Pei Ying, 27
4. Cheating and lying
My friends warned me to keep an eye on my partner when we went on exchange. They said that most people break up during this period because one would cheat on the other.
Though I outwardly dismissed their warnings, I was secretly worried. I never told any of my friends, but my partner doesn’t have the best track record. He hasn’t been faithful to any of his ex-girlfriends.
5. Not having my efforts reciprocated or appreciated
I was in a long-distance relationship. Though we didn’t get to talk much because of the time difference, I’d make him welfare packs from home and bring him sweaters when the seasons turned. I even stayed up all night for that 15 minutes I could talk to him before he went to school—things were always to his convenience.
But over time, we talked less and less. Turns out, he was lying and cheating on me with multiple girls. After I dumped him, he begged for another chance, but once bitten, twice shy. I’m dating a new guy now and though I really like him, I’m afraid to be taken for granted again.
6. Drifting apart at different stages in life
I’m two years older than my boyfriend and honestly, it scares me because we’re at very different stages of our lives. I know in uni there will be a lot of opportunities that you want to go for and it may require sacrifice—I’m just not sure I’ll be able to handle it.
I don’t want to stop him from doing what he wants because I’ve had those experiences, yet I’m afraid that if he chooses all those things over me, our relationship will end up becoming distant.
7. Being vulnerable
For me, vulnerability is the hardest and scariest part of any of my relationships. I’m used to hiding my emotions and shutting people out because I fear what might happen, which makes it difficult to let people into my life.
I’m afraid my walls are too hard to be broken down and that I’ll end up alone because guys will give up trying.
8. Not being good enough
My partner is very accomplished in his field of work, while I’m just starting out. I secretly fear that I’m not talented, good, or pretty enough for him.
I know some of his friends think I’m a dead weight pulling him down. He repeatedly reassures me that I’m the only one for him, but sometimes I wonder, what if his friends are right?
9. Wolf in sheep’s clothing
I feel that when you start to date someone, it’s difficult to know their true character in a short period of time. I was dating a guy that seemed like a gentleman; he was really polite and sweet.
Turns out, he had a lot of misogynistic, racist and homophobic opinions and no empathy at all. He managed to keep them all to himself, until our first big fight where he said some appalling and, hurtful things. I immediately called things off.
Now that I’m ready to date again, I keep looking out for red flags when talking to potential love interests. I’m not going to tolerate verbal abuse from someone like that again.
10. Unable to fit into my partner’s family
I’m quite the introvert, and for that reason, I’ve trouble making small talk and meeting new people. I’d worry that they wouldn’t like me, or that they’d think I’m weird because of how quiet I am.
Now that I’m dating someone from another ethnicity, I fear my race and religion will create an even greater barrier for me when I try to fit in with his family.
11. Differences in lifestyle
They say opposites attract. That’s how my ex-boyfriend and I got together. I was drawn to his down-to-earth nature, ambitious career goals, and 15-year plan.
The beginning of the relationship was thrilling, but only when things started to cool down did I get annoyed by his unwillingness to try new foods and his dislike of travelling. In the end, the relationship broke down because we were just too different.
We couldn’t agree on anything and ended up fighting constantly. It was a miserable phase of my life that left me scarred. From then on, I’ve only dated guys with similar backgrounds and personalities because I’m afraid differences will drive another relationship apart.
12. Bad sex
I feel that sex is a significant part of my relationship because I have a really high sex drive, and my love language is touch. I’m not asking for a guy who is always fantastic in bed—just someone to care about my pleasure as much as his.
I’ve been told sex with your partner is supposed to get better over time, but what if it doesn’t? Right now, the guy I’m seeing barely satisfies me. He just can’t seem to last more than five minutes, and promptly falls asleep after. It’ll become a deal breaker for me if things don’t change, but I do want this to work out.
My ex-boyfriend was a great guy but I didn’t like him as much as he liked me. Still, I stuck around because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by ending it.
Every time I initiated a breakup, he would beg me to stay. He also threatened to kill himself if I left so I stayed for another two years. However, the unhappy relationship led me to cheat on him with my current husband.
I’m genuinely afraid one day I’d wake up and realise I’m not in love with my husband, and I’d stay in the marriage just because I wouldn’t want to hurt him in the same way.
14. Commitment issues
I’ve had two long-term relationships before, and both of them lasted about three years. Though I wasn’t unhappy in either relationship, I started picking the relationship apart at the three-year mark.
I’m starting to worry that I’m sabotaging my relationships because I’ve commitment issues, despite wanting to settle down.
15. Not wanting children
I’ve told my partner that I don’t want to have children multiple times. He’s said he doesn’t want them either but I can’t tell if he means it, or if he thinks I’m going through a phase and that I’ll grow into the idea of having children.
I love him very much and I’m afraid that if I don’t end up giving him a child, he’ll secretly resent me or feel like there’s something missing in his life.
16. Getting too comfortable
I affectionately nicknamed my boyfriend my “little sloth”, because his favourite thing to do is take naps. In the beginning, it was nice cuddling in bed all day, but being a driven person, it gradually wore me down.
I started to realise that I wasn’t doing anything valuable with my time and that I used all my energy trying to get him out of bed instead of focusing on my own life. I love him so much but I’m afraid the relationship may be hindering my progress in life.
Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Often, our fears stem from bad experiences. However, it’s pointless worrying about something that may never happen, or that’s out of our control. Instead, it’s more prudent to invest in trust, and communicate with our partners.