Today, both men and women face fears about commitment, especially when it comes to marriage and relationships. If being in a loving and lasting relationship is so fantastic, why are so many of us afraid to commit?
Signs of Commitment Issues
Are you sabotaging your own best efforts to find the right person? You may be if you have some of the common signs of commitment avoidance below.
- You date unavailable men or women
- You end relationships before they get too serious
- You have a long list of requirements for the “perfect” mate that no one could live up to
Why Does It Happen?
A common reason for commitment anxiety is an overall fear of rejection, failure, and loss. People who experienced the divorce of their parents may be especially concerned about this. The idea of losing someone they care about is too much for the commitment-phobe to bear, so they create situations where rejection is impossible.
Other reasons to fear a long-term relationship include:
- Fear of not having the skills to make a relationship work
- Uncertainty about current partner
- Worries over loss of freedom and identity
- Desire for other sexual partners
- Bad past experiences
What Can You Do About It?
If you’re afraid of commitment, ask yourself what scares you:
- Do you worry that you don’t have what it takes to make a relationship work?
- Are you afraid that someone will leave you?
- Do you worry that someone you trust will hurt you?
- Are you afraid of the unknown (e.g., marriage)?
- Would it bother you to have only one sexual partner for the rest of your life?
- Is this person right for you?
These are not easy issues to answer on your own, so feel free to talk to people you trust. Knowing where your fear is coming from will help you move forward.
Talk to your partner about your fears and your desires. Deciding to commit to a relationship or enter into marriage is a major decision. It’s not a blind leap. Know yourself, your goals, and your aspirations. Take the time to learn about your partner’s vision of the future. Ask yourself:
- Do you have similar values and priorities?
- Can you communicate honestly?
- Do you feel safe expressing your deepest fears?
- Can you solve problems and resolve issues together?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, you are building a solid foundation for a long-lasting relationship. If you need help building your couple skills, consider a relationship education class or a book on the topic.
Although a fear of commitment can be deeply rooted in past experiences, it is possible to overcome your fears, especially if you love someone. Realize that committing to someone does not have to mean a loss of your freedom or your identity, and understand that not all relationships fail. Relationships provide new ways of growing both together and individually.
So, if you love your man or woman and want to pursue a committed relationship with them, you need first and foremost to clearly define what frightens your partner about commitment and why.