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My Boyfriend Has a Phobia of New Places

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From an 18 year old in the U.S.: My boyfriend has a very specific phobia. He gets panic attacks while driving to places he’s never been. He has a certain few places he can drive to, in a close vicinity to his house, but he’s never been to my house. He will drive to it, get as close as maybe a quarter mile away, start to panic, and turns around.

I try to be supportive but this is incredibly frustrating, and I can see it being detrimental to our relationship in the future. We can”t go on dates, we can’t go anywhere but to his house. I don’t know what to do.

My Boyfriend Has a Phobia of New Places

Answered by on -


You are correct. He seems to have a specific phobia. Unfortunately, all you can do is encourage him to get treatment. He has to do the therapeutic work to get over this. You can’t do it for him.

The good news is that phobias can be treated. Desensitization therapy and relaxation techniques are very successful. Sometimes a medication is also recommended as an adjunct to the therapy.

I hope your boyfriend is interested in treatment. His phobia will continue to dramatically limit his life. If he won’t agree to therapy, he is essentially asking you to accept that your life together will be limited by his disorder. Then you have a difficult decision to make.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

My Boyfriend Has a Phobia of New Places

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). My Boyfriend Has a Phobia of New Places. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 24, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.