Gamophobia: What to do about the acute fear of marriage?

For many people, marriage is still one of the most important and most beautiful events in their lives. Others see no point in committing in this way, or simply consider marriage obsolete. However, there are also people who are completely afraid of marriage. There’s even a technical term for this: marriage phobia!

what is all of this? Where does this fear come from? Can you successfully counter this? and how? BILD der FRAU spoke to Julia Dernbach of the “Arztphobie” portal, which deals with doctors’ fears and medical treatments, as well as fears of all kinds, including mariphobia, and provides information and offers help.

Fear of marriage: This is the length of marriage phobia

Bild der Frau: When and how did the term marriage phobia appear? How did he establish himself?

Julia Dernbach: Although the term exophobia is relatively unknown to the general public, it has been in use for a surprisingly long time. It was first documented at the beginning of the 19th century. 1805 To be precise, nuptophobia is generally translated as “fear of marriage.” If you look at the etymology of the word, this is also understandable. Gamos is a Greek word meaning “marriage.” And what should be known phobias. However, equating fear of marriage with fear of marriage is not entirely accurate. This phobia is generally the fear of a serious relationship or a permanent bond. Fear of marriage is a very specific manifestation of this disorder.

How many people can be affected?

There are no specific studies on the prevalence of marriage phobia. The statistically recorded figure of 5.01 million masked individuals in Germany (Statista, 2021) is an interesting figure, but more than drawing conclusions about allegations of marital fear would be unacceptable.

What are the main causes of gamophobia?

As is often the case with social anxiety, the causes of exophobia usually lie in the affected person’s past. For example, children of divorce often suffer from this very phobia. People who grew up in troublesome circumstances often associate marriage with negative emotions. The same applies to victims of abuse. Those who received little recognition from their parents in their childhood are also prone to developing marriage phobia.

In addition to gradual stimuli, traumatic experiences are often responsible for the sudden onset of this fear. For example, the death of a parent or a loved one.

It’s always good to face what you think you’re afraid of

What can be done about it?

It always depends on how strong the mariophobia is. If it’s just thoughts and feelings that pop up in your mind from time to time, professional treatment is usually not necessary. Open conversations with your partner are helpful, as is dealing with your past and future. What experiences have you had with relationships so far and what do I wish for? If the form is mild, it is also a good idea to counteract the perceived fear. Pushing it aside makes it more spread out and therefore bigger than it already is. Consciously dealing with the subject of the phobia – in this case marriage – often works wonders. Visiting a dear friend’s wedding for example. A relaxed atmosphere can help associate positive feelings with the topic of marriage.

On the other hand, if the exophobia is so pronounced that those affected are experiencing real panic attacks, they should definitely seek professional help in the form of classic psychotherapy.

What are the chances that the fear of marriage has really disappeared?

This depends on the severity of the fear and on the person affected and their living conditions. There is no general answer to this. Those who are fortunate enough to be able to live in a stable personal environment will deal better with fear of marriage than those with insecurity at every turn. Gamophobia is not different from any other phobia.

Advice from others: yes, effect: no

What mistake should one not make during “treatment”?

Putting yourself under pressure is always a bad approach. It is not written anywhere that every relationship must inevitably lead to marriage. Nor is it a law of nature that people can be happy only in one relationship without exception. Affected people should also not listen to supposedly well-intentioned advice from parents, friends, or other people associated with them. Talk about it yes, influence it no. Everyone is different, everyone processes impressions in their own way. There is no scheme. It is important to be honest with yourself and give yourself the time you need.

Anyone who is already experiencing panic attacks due to marriage phobia should seek professional help. It is important that those affected have a good feeling, that is, do not choose the first healer who will come, but listen to themselves and make a decision on that basis. The same applies to psychotherapy: do not rush things! It is important to take your time and take one step at a time.

What is your advice to people who suffer from estrus, or at least think they have it?

Listen to yourself! This seems esoteric at first, but people basically have a strong sense when something is wrong with themselves. Once you have determined that you do indeed suffer from ergophobia, don’t ignore the problem. It can never be completely ignored, it always lurks somewhere in the subconscious ready to explode. And then you are emotionally unprepared, and your phobia hits you too much.

Be honest with yourself and be sure to talk to your most important people about your problems. Just expressing an assumption is often a huge relief.

If you then decide that you do indeed suffer from (extreme) mariphobia, don’t be shy about seeking professional help. Things have improved a lot in the recent past, but there is still a certain social stigma attached to psychotherapy. This is of course complete nonsense! Everyone needs help at some point. And when the time comes, there is absolutely no shame in taking advantage of them.

More information is available at


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