Fear and love are forever at war.
The greatest love tragedies are not found in the "Romeo and Juliet" stories, but in the hearts waging a "fear vs. love" war. If perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18), fear casts out perfect love. A heart emboldened with fear takes longer to embrace real love. And such a heart retreats twice as fast when fear is introduced. The success of relationships, including marriage, is highly dependent on each person's ability to manage their fear and love. The most extreme and radical behaviors seen in a human being, are driven by one force or the other. No one has ever seen more compassion, humanitarianism, or good deed apart from a soul filled with love. Conversely, no one has ever seen genocide, prejudice, or massacres apart from a soul driven by fear. The state of our being, is created by what is filling us. Love is an unrivaled force in what it has the power to create, bind together, bond, release, increase, and thrive among many other things. Fear has the opposing power to ensnare, defeat, destroy, control, paralyze, and dominate among many other things.
The fate of your relational future will depend on which of these two forces wins most often. Most of us are more familiar with love. We desire love more frequently than most other emotions. Love is usually more of an "active" or "intentional" choice or response we make. Whereas fear is usually a "passive" emotion that is reactionary. We are not always aware of the exact moment fear begins to affect us. Making it much more difficult to anticipate when it will become present in any given moment. Once fear has influenced our emotional senses, it is very difficult to realize and decipher our own behavior. Or realize the negative impact our fear driven behavior is having in a particular moment. When two people succumb to fearful behavior/patterns, the relationship will begin to take a negative turn. Peace will leave, defense mechanisms will come out, and fight or flight patterns will ensue.
Another unfortunate discrepancy is that, even when we understand the nature of how fear works, and have a good understanding of our own tendencies and behaviors, we can still sink into the "fog" of fear. As fearful emotions are potently strong on the mind's ability to think logically and clearly. Fear carries a massive weight of assumption with it. And under the power and influence of fear, the mind and body will react very sensitively. As fear is like issuing a serious warning/emergency signal to the entire person's being. In more extreme cases, you will feel an almost involuntary need to take actions that make you feel safe again. If another person is the antagonist, or trigger for the fearful emotion(s), your mind and body will fight to divert it away. Or it will cause you to flee to escape. A person's behavior will depend on the level of fear they are experiencing.
Managing your love and fear begins with a choice. You have to determine and resolve beforehand, what one will do when they experience these emotions. There should always be a clear understanding of what each person wants, what outcome they desire, and be able to clearly identify what is real, and what is "made up" (i.e. idealism, fantasy, romanticism etc). As fear will create false impressions, assumptions, and realities in an attempt to sabotage your relationship. Fear is not an intelligent being, it does not try to understand another person. It does not try to understand the goal of connection, or realize misunderstandings. It is a safe guard designed to protect one from pain. Even if pain does not yet exist. We have to facilitate our fears, or it will facilitate us. It is that powerful of an emotion.
Unfortunately, the roots of fear can be quite complex. So there is not always an easy way to handle it. But awareness is a huge first step. Understanding your triggers and behavior as a result of those triggers can greatly help a person overcome a fear based battle. Living in fear will lead to a lifetime of frustration, missed opportunities, disappointment, and regret. We often represent the worst version of ourselves when we let fear run free in our lives. Fearlessness and love will always feel risky to some degree. But there comes a time when we push through our fears enough, that love becomes the anchor of our being. And fear takes the backseat. This is the pathway to the freedom of love, and the freedom of life.