Strong women are good at handling just about everything life throws at us. Sometimes it’s a juggling act and the struggle is real, but we handle it because we pride ourselves and define ourselves by our strength and independence. One of the only things that really scares us is falling in love, because it requires us to go outside of our comfort zone in so many ways.

1. IT REQUIRES US TO BE VULNERABLE.
For a strong, independent woman, there isn’t anything in this world quite as scary as being vulnerable. We rely on our own strength daily to get us through life’s challenges, so it’s scary to let our guard down for anyone without being absolutely sure he’s trustworthy and reliable.

2. IT BRINGS TO LIGHT OUR ANXIETY/TRUST ISSUES.
If we have anxiety and/or trust issues, we’re well aware of it already but it’s not something we dwell on because that’s the best way to exacerbate those issues. When we’re talking to someone who could be a contender to win our hearts, those issues suddenly roar to life and we’re forced to acknowledge how scared we really are of getting close to anyone or trusting a guy again.

3. IT FORCES US TO TRUST A LITTLE BIT.
Even if we can’t fully open the trust vault at first, we know that the guy in question is new in our lives and hasn’t done anything to deserve being distrusted. We’re strong, but we’re not heartless, so we have to open up and give him just a little bit of trust, and that’s not an easy thing to do.
4. IT TAKES US OUT OF OUR SELF-SHELTERED SOLO LIVES.
When we’re living the independent life and avoiding men like the plague they can be, we’re really sheltering ourselves from the uncertainty that romantic relationships bring. We almost always know what’s going to happen next in our lives, because we’re making all the decisions. When we’re faced with the prospect of involving someone else in our lives, it means that we won’t be completely in control anymore and that scares the hell out of us.

5. IT MAKES US HOPE FOR MORE THAN WE CAN GIVE OURSELVES.
It seems like hope should always be a good thing, right? Well, it can actually be really scary because hoping for something good to happen also involves acknowledging the possibility of something bad happening. Many strong independent women became that way by being disappointed over and over, to the point where we stopped hoping for anything we can’t provide for ourselves.

6. IT MEANS WE CAN’T BE SELFISH ANYMORE.
One of the best things about being an independent woman is having complete reign over our world. Dinner is whatever we want, there’s never a battle over what to watch on TV because it’s always up to us, and we can starfish all over the bed/hog the covers all we want. We relish the opportunity to be completely selfish, and we know that finding love again will mean having to share our world and compromise again.

7. IT MEANS WE HAVE TO RISK GETTING OUR HEARTS BROKEN AGAIN.
For those of us who’ve had our hearts pulled out of our chests and stomped on multiple times, we remember painfully how it felt and how hard it was to duct tape it back together. We really don’t want to go through that again, and the thought paralyzes us with fear.

8. IT MAKES US REALIZE THAT WE’RE A LITTLE BIT AFRAID OF COMMITMENT.
After we’ve been through the wringer a few times, we really do develop a bit of a fear of commitment. It’s not the same kind of commitment fear that players have (fear of being tied down to just one person), it’s a general fear of having anyone in our lives in such a serious capacity. We have to take it slowly when going into a new relationship, because each stage is scarier than the one before it.

By Anna Martin Yonk for Bolde