Everything to know about commitment phobia!
I’ve noticed a steady increase in commitment phobia over recent years. Why is that? What scares people this much about being in a relationship with someone that loves them? Anyone who is looking for a serious relationship wants something stable and long lasting with someone who is willing to invest. So why the cold feet when things begin to get serious?
Is there anything you can do when you notice that your significant other has commitment phobia? What if you're starting to realize that you have a fear of commitment? Does that mean your relationship is doomed? Where is this feeling coming from? What can you do about it?
If any of these questions on your mind, you've come to the right place! Commitment phobia can really hold the person back from being truly happy but fortunately, there are tools that you can implement in your daily life. Not only will these help you in your current situation, they're going to help you find long-term solutions that will protect your relationship in the future.
Where do commitment issues come from?
As we begin, let's take a moment to define commitment phobia. It ca be characterized by a fear of committing to another person. Interestingly enough, this doesn't only pertain to romantic relationships. It also can be seen in the workplace or when making promises to family or friends.
How a commitment is reacting?
A commitment-phobe will steer clear or making promises for which they will have to assume responsibility. In my line of work, I often encounter clients who come to me for help because they've fallen in love with someone who can't commit. They're frustrated and insecure about their situation, they have no idea what to do. They worry that if they pull away and try to use the “Chase me and I'll run technique” the other person will happily walk away.
Commitment phobia does not just pop up out of the blue one day. It is linked to a deep desire for independence. Falling in love with someone who does not want to commit can be very challenging and can lead to a lot of heartache.
So before we dive into what to do, let’s take a look at where this feeling stems from.
Why is he/she struggling with commitment phobia?
A person who struggles with commitment phobia and relationship anxiety often went through a painful experience in their past. It doesn’t always have to be linked to a previous romantic relationship (though this is most common). It can also be linked to feelings of insecurity and inadequacy that stem from a person’s childhood.
Being made to feel like you were not good enough by someone that you loved can leave deep scars that can resurface in the form of relationship phobia. One a subconscious level, a lot of people don’t want to allow themselves to wind up in a vulnerable place again and end up getting hurt just like they did before.
Though that is the most common reason behind this phenomenon, it is not the only one. It is also not uncommon for people to look for the “easy way” and have all the benefits of a relationship, without actually having to accept all the responsibilities. It’s kind of like having your cake and eating it too. You can hang out and sleep together, but they don’t actually have to commit to you. If one person wants something serious and the other doesn’t, the person who’s ready to invest in a solid relationship can end up getting very hurt.
In order for you to get a better idea of what’s going on here, I want to give you some signs to look out for if you’re trying to figure out if the person you have feelings for is afraid of committing or not.
What are the signs of commitment phobia?
You might be sitting here thinking, “I have a feeling the guy I'm dating is a commitment phobe” or “I think my she might have commitment issues.” But is there a way to know for sure? There are definitely some telltale commitment phobia warning signs that you can keep an eye out for, so I wanted to list some of the main ones right here.
Right off the bat, I want to tell you that if you recognize some of the signs in the person you have feelings for, don't panic. Yes, it is going to be a challenge to construct a solid foundation for a relationship with them, but if you know my philosophy than you know that I always say that nothing is impossible in love as long as you're willing to work for it. After we go over the signs of commitment phobia, I'll go into what you can do about it.
So, is this person commitment phobic or not? Here are the 5 best signs of fear of commitment.
1. He or she always wiggles out of introducing you to their friends and family
This can be especially suspicious if you've been dating for a while now. The person who gets nervous at the thought of getting too involved with your personal life could be trying to ensure that they can make a clean break.
That said, if you've only been dating for a few weeks and do you want to introduce this person to your parents over dinner at the house, it's normal that they might find it to be a little bit premature. Some people aren't commitment phobes. Instead, they just don't want things to move too fast. Pay attention to timing and your partner’s reactions to the idea of getting more involved in your life.
2. They obviously steer clear of the L word or saying “boyfriend or girlfriend”
Admitting that you love someone is a huge deal. A lot of the people I encounter that have commitment phobia will say things like, “I'm just having fun right now,” or, “I don't really like to label things.” This keeps them safe from being accused of leading someone on.
This doesn't mean that they don't feel anything for you - it means that they don't want to suddenly find themselves in a relationship. Many people feel like saying that you love someone is the same as saying that you want to be with them. This is perfectly normal, but to someone who is afraid of commitment, it's scary.
Similarly, be wary of a person who makes an effort to avoid talking about how they feel about you.
3. A person with commitment issues will avoid talking about future with you
Remember, a person who is afraid of getting into relationship can have many reasons to feel this way. The fact of the matter remains the same - he or she does not want to make plans for the future that involve another person.
Planning something in the future with you can make things feel considerably more serious.
4. He or she often goes M.I.A
The person with commitment phobia does not like to feel like they're on call for anybody. If they're dating someone and it feels like things are getting more serious, they might just drop off the face of the planet to prove (to both of you) that they still have their independence.
I don't want to scare you with all of the signs. If you've begun dating someone and your only complaint is that he or she needs some time two themselves from time to time, there is no need to panic.
Everybody needs some alone time, so my advice to you is to think about whether your partner is extremely hot and cold and sometimes needs to feel completely disconnected from you, or if this person is just making sure that they dedicate time to their personal life as well (and therefore creating balance in the relationship). I say this because the latter is actually a crucial element of a healthy relationship!
5. They see you more as friends with benefits than a in a relationship
The person you're developing serious feelings for may have relationship anxiety if it feels like the only thing they want to share with you is sex. Passion in the relationship is a great thing of course, but is that all you're sharing? Do you go on dates during the day then go to places like the beach or amusement parks?
Or does this person call you up after 10 and make you feel like a booty call?
Are you often intimate but see that this person shies away from talking about relationships (both yours and those others), meticulously avoids the L word, wiggles out of meeting people that are important to you, and disappears for long periods of time? Well, we might be seeing signs of a commitment phobic man or woman.
So what can be done?
How to handle commitment phobes
Some people will tell you that you should run full speed in the opposite direction if you come across someone with relationship anxiety. I am not going to tell you what you need to do, I'm going to tell you what your two options are.
A. You throw in the towel because you don't want to try to convince someone to be with you.
B. You decide that this person is worth the effort and you begin to implement the tools I am about to give you.
As I said above, this isn't going to be a walk in the park. It's going to be a bit of a hike, but if you're wearing the proper hiking boots, you can make it to the top!
You have to put your needs FIRST!
The very first thing I want you to start doing is putting your own needs first. I know that it feels natural to want to give and give and give to this person, but you must not make it easy for them to take you for granted. If you feel that he or she is pulling away, give them some space.
The worst thing you could do would be to make them feel suffocated. A lot of people panic and try to do anything they can to get closer to the person. They send twenty-five text messages, they call over and over and over, they even start messaging the person’s friends in hopes of finding out what's going on.
As you switch your focus to yourself, work on becoming the best version of yourself. Making sure that your life looks the way you want it to, and do a new, very interesting things. First of all, it's going to boost your self-confidence and your self-esteem. When this happens, you naturally steer clear from needy or clingy behavior (which are two things that can make someone with commitment phobia run for the hills!)
Being attractive is your challenge!
It also will make you more attractive. People who are loving life and give off a very positive energy attract others like moths to flame. So if you want to make a person want to spend more time with you, you have to inspire them. Keep in mind that you don't have to be obvious about your intentions. Don't send this person pictures of your trip to Joshua Tree and say, “We would be having so much fun here together!” Don’t send them a photo of you jet skiing saying, “I can’t wait to do this with you!”
I know might sound counterintuitive, but hear me out. What you should do instead is this: post these types of pictures on your social media pages. Keep the caption simple and don’t gear it towards your “target.” Upon seeing these pictures, he or she will see how much fun you’re having in your life and will be inspired to be a part of it.
Stop initiating contact all the time, don't reply the second you receive a message… Ideally, you should use the “Chase me and I'll run” technique.
I know that these situations are delicate and challenging, and I want you to know that it’s OK to walk away if you realize that this person isn’t going to give you the love you deserve.
I also want you to know that if your gut tells you that this person is worth fighting for, you can always reach out to me right here for help. I can help guide you from A to Z and we can design the perfect action plan suited to your specific situation.
I wish you all the best!
Your coach when you’re dating someone with commitment phobia