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Fear of Commitment

by Sonya Schwartz

A fear of commitment is a pretty common trait for anyone to have. While typically seen in men, women can suffer from a fear of commitment too. Settling down and tying your boat to just one person for the rest of your life, can seem like a hugely intimidating and off-putting prospect for many. 

However, that’s not to say that commitment issues cannot be worked around or worked through. It is perfectly possible for people with a fear of commitment to be in a long-term relationship with an individual - and be very happy too.

Here, we look at how to deal with commitment issues so that anyone can have a committed relationship without any fears that these issues will cause the breakdown of the relationship overall. 

17 Ways To Work Through A Commitment Phobia

It is not necessary to use all these ways at once to work through a commitment phobia, but it can be helpful to implement just a few of these ideas at once to help people with commitment issues as quickly as possible. 

If you want to have a romantic relationship with an individual who seems to struggle with the idea of commitment to the point of anxiety, you need to understand that it is a two-way street. It isn’t just their problem to solve, you need to make allowances for their fears too if you want the relationship to last.

1. Take every day as it comes

A key idea to take on board if you are in a relationship with a person with a commitment phobia is the fact that some days will be better than others. On good days, your partner will want to be in a serious relationship with you forevermore and won’t be able to think of life without you. 

However, on bad days, they will want to run away from your commitments to each other and start dating again. You just have to be aware that even after a lot of work to help deal with their issues, they are still likely to rear their ugly head at some points.

2. Talk through fears

talk through fears

Talking through specific fears for your future will help you both achieve a greater understanding of one another’s viewpoints. Your partner may be blissfully unaware of a fear that plagues you about your commitment issues. Or it could be that if your partner is the one with commitment issues, that they are unaware of how their fears affect your happiness. 

3. Communication

One of the ways that you can keep those issues and fears at bay is by communicating with each other a lot. Be open and honest about what you are both feeling and the issues or anxiety that either of you is feeling. Doing so will help you both come to terms with the commitment issues one or both of you have. 

Plus it will also allow you to understand each others’ reasons for feeling that way. In doing so you can start to treat the causes, not just the symptoms of a commitment phobe’s fear of long-term relationships. 

4. Know your triggers

If you are the one with a fear of commitment, but you want to make your partner happy by being in a long-term relationship with them, you need to know what your triggers are. 

Ask yourself what brings on the acute periods of anxiety that transpire when you think about being in a committed relationship? Knowing what your triggers are can help you stop them from occurring or give you the strength to tackle them head-on so they don’t send you into a downward spiral that is ultimately very destructive to your partner and your relationship. 

5. Understand your partner

Knowing where your partner is coming from can also be a way that commitment may come easier to you than in your previous romantic relationships. Knowing what their issues are and understanding their reasons behind wanting to be in a committed partnership can be highly beneficial to the overall health and success of your relationship together. 

Plus deepening your knowledge of your partner will only ever strengthen your commitment to each other as you’ll have more respect for one another.

6. Concentrate on happiness

concentrate on happiness

Romantic relationships are actually meant to make us happy. If you concentrate on the fact that your romantic relationship is making you happy, commitment may come easier to you as you will have identified that your partner is the one making you happy. 

If they are, why would you want to run away from them, just because the notion of settling down with one person is scary? Being happy isn’t scary, so if an individual is one of the reasons you are so happy, there is no need to be afraid. 

7. Work on the root problem

Commitment issues are often the result of anxiety built up elsewhere in your life. You won't actually fear being with your other half for the rest of your life - if you did, you simply wouldn’t be with them. Instead, you need to find out the reasons behind your anxiety of commitment and why you have a fear surrounding a romantic relationship that lasts. 

Have you been hurt in the past? Did something in your childhood happen that makes you think being with just one person for the rest of your life is a bad thing? 

8. Don’t let past bad experiences color your judgment

Once you have figured out what the root problem is behind your fear of having a serious relationship, you need to make a concerted effort not to let it color your judgment. 

Often, a bad experience will tell us that being in a relationship that is long-lasting and committed is something to run away from. But that really need not be the case. The person you are in a relationship with will not have been responsible for previous bad experiences, so don’t treat them like they were. 

9. Be fair to your partner

Regardless of whether it is you who has anxiety about being in a relationship with just one person, or it's your other half, you need to be fair to one another. 

If your partner wants a long-term relationship, and you don’t, you need to be open and honest about that. Don’t just act like you don’t want to settle down by philandering elsewhere. You need to give them the full picture so they can make a decision that’s good for them. 

10. Figure out past issues

If you have been broken up in a bad way before, or are still reeling from a destructive relationship, you need to figure out a way to work through those past issues. Signs you need help are if the same issues keep cropping up in every relationship you have ever been in. Don’t let those past issues shape your future. 

Tackle them head-on, so they cannot define what you do or who you are with. It can be highly detrimental to your overall well-being if you do. 

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11. Talk about the future

talk about the future

Sometimes, it can be best for a relationship where one of you is afraid of commitment to simply rip the band-aid off. Start talking about the future, therefore. Doing so may make the commitment-phobe in the relationship realize that it is not such a scary notion after all. 

Simply making plans so that you know where you both stand and what you both want means that you both have confidence in one another. That confidence is another form of trust which only ever helps strengthen a relationship in a very positive and constructive way - even for commitment-phobes. 

12. Have other interests

Sometimes people have a fear of a relationship or commitment simply because they are too dependent on one another. They’re actually very insecure as a result which can be negative for the overall health of their relationship. As a result, it can be really helpful to have other interests. It means that you put less pressure on the relationship as the one source of happiness. 

By taking the pressure off, you will always materially improve your chances of the relationship working out in the long term. 

13. Spend time apart

Another way to alleviate that pressure is to have some time apart. It doesn’t have to be a planned regular thing and it doesn’t have to be anything as serious as a break, but simply getting out of one another pockets can be a really healthy thing. 

It means that when you do meet up again, you have missed one another and are refreshed and exhilarated by the prospect of spending time together. 

14. Meet the family

Another good way to rip the band-aid off when it comes to tackling a fear of commitment is to meet each other’s families. As a result, you’ll realize that doing so is not as scary as either of you initially thought. 

Instead, it will strengthen your relationship as you will gain a deeper understanding of where each other comes from. You’ll therefore know why you both act and behave as you do. 

15. Be upfront

Being honest about whether you actually want a long-term relationship or whether your partner’s commitment issues are affecting you is key to sorting through any commitment anxiety. It is a way of improving communication between you and your partner which will only ever help a situation. 

It means that you both will have all the information needed to make an informed decision about what you want to do about your future. Do you want to be together? Or not? Only by being upfront about whether you see the relationship as a serious thing or just a bit of fun, will you actually be able to do the right thing by one another. 

16. Don’t be codependent

Oddly, some relationships don’t last because a person’s fear of commitment goes totally in the other direction and becomes codependent. If you can, don’t let your relationship end up like this. Codependent relationships rarely work out well as it means that if something goes wrong within it, you have no one to turn to. It can actually make your fear of commitment even worse. 

17. Seek help

seek help

Sometimes, commitment issues run really deep for big psychological issues - often stemming from childhood trauma or similar. For that reason, it can be highly beneficial to you and your relationship if you seek help from a professional as and when you can. Doing so will be good for you and your partner. 

FAQs

What causes fear of commitment?

There are so many things that can cause fear of commitment. Bad experiences and bad breakups can all add up to a person not wanting to commit to a partner that they would otherwise like to spend their time with. It often comes from a fear of rejection in the future. 

How do I overcome my fear of commitment?

Overcoming your fear of commitment can be done as long as you are willing to communicate openly with your partner about how you are feeling. It is also key to tell them why you are feeling that way. Doing so will allow you both to know where you stand throughout your relationship. 

Are Narcissists afraid of commitment?

Narcissists are not necessarily afraid of commitment though it can be the case. When narcissists seem to be afraid of settling down with a person, it's more that they are not thinking of the other person. They simply are only ever thinking of themselves and their wants. 

What are signs of commitment issues?

Commitment issues are often exhibited by a person by being highly evasive about their future and what they want for their future with you in it. It will sometimes be displayed by a person not turning up to key dates or events, or simply going off the grid for a while. 

How do you know if a commitment-phobe loves you?

Other than having your commitment-phobe tell you that they love you, other signs that they do is that they do keep coming back to you - and they don’t cheat on you either. Importantly, if a commitment-phobe is in love with you, their friends will tell you they’re acting differently from how they did in the past. 

Dating Someone With A Commitment Phobia- Summary

Dating someone with a commitment phobia can be tough. It can often mean that you are in the dark as to whether they will wake up to the fact that you are great and stay with you, in direct opposition to how they have behaved in their lives beforehand. Make sure you have your needs met and that you are upfront about what you want. 

If they’re a good person, they’ll either stick with you because they love you, or they’ll have the guts to walk away as they know they’ll never be able to give you what you want. 

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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