Commitment Phobia is the fear of making a commitment involving other people in any area of life. The affected person restrain themselves from being committed to a specific matter which involve other people. That matter could be related to personal life or professional life. They are not afraid of making commitments when others are not involved, e.g., joining a job, buying a car, etc. You might have probably met such people in your life who restrain from taking any decision and always try to find an escape from the D-Day.
Commitment phobia found mostly in personal lives than in professional lives due to unavailability of predefined rules and procedures. In almost every profession we have predefined steps to be taken while following a procedure and we know what course of action to be taken at an event. All these measures can’t let a person escape for long from taking the required decision.
But contrary to professional commitments, decisions of personal life taken on the basis of our emotions and sentiments. There are many people who wants to start a relationship and they also stays in relationship for a long time but stay away from being committed. There are many reasons which stops them from being committed. I will discuss about different reasons of commitment phobia later in this article.
Ability to make commitments differs person to person. Some people are very much comfortable and confident about making commitments but some people fear. Commitment issues are rising now a days. If you are with a person who fear being committed then your relationship either won’t last long or get the expected climax. If you ask for a commitment, they would find it much easier to leave the relationship than to take a decision. They feel a lot pressure, stress & anxiety when asked for a commitment which creates a ‘trap like’ situation for them.
You also can’t depend on their commitment (if they make one) because they may deviate from their earlier decision due to their inner fear. Commitment phobia can be found in any person despite their gender. Their inner fear drives their decision making ability.
I have mentioned the major causes and symptoms of commitment phobia below. To have a healthy and long lasting relationship, you need to take care of these when you are starting a relationship with someone. Initially you can’t spot a commitment phobic person at the beginning of a new relationship because they seems equally loving & caring and you can’t identify them just by taking a look at their initial behavior.
If you fall in love with a person who is affected by commitment phobia, you may find yourself in a dangerous state of confusion, hopelessness and stress. It would be better for a long lasting healthy relationship to choose a person who is not reflecting below mentioned symptoms of commitment phobia. If a person is commitment phobic, if not all symptoms but many of them can be easily seen in that person’s behavior.
What are the signs of commitment issues?
Watch out for these signs which are reflected in the behavior of a person with commitment phobia. It is not necessary that all of these symptoms are observed but you may find most of these in a person with commitment phobia:
1. Person with commitment phobia avoid making plans
They are not able to make even small plans in advance due to their inner fear. If you ask them to plan an outing or a date several days in advance, they would not be sure if they can honor the commitment. A person with commitment phobia has an inner fear of failing the promise made for future, due to that fear they avoid to making future plans. They are comfortable with making instant plans or only a few days in advance. They may like their partner very much and want to make plans together but the fear of failure make them cancel everything.
2. They don’t show seriousness
They are never into a relationship seriously. Serious relationship demands commitment and they fear to commit. They may have a relationship but doesn’t involve into it seriously. Their relationship partner always feel confused due to their non committing behavior. A person with commitment phobia takes the relationship casually.
3. They prefer not to promise anything
A person with commitment phobia would prefer not to promise anything to you unless it is mandatory. When it comes to commit anything, they try to avoid that situation or won’t say anything certain. They might say that to try to do the work or may come to the party, even you may find that person at the right place at the right time but they prefer not to promise anything.
4. They avoid naming the relationship & the partner
A person with commitment phobia fears to commit even on small matters. They even don’t like to use words ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ because it does reflect a kind of commitment. They don’t want to name their relationship or the relationship partner. They don’t want it to be called as ‘love’ or something committing. They try to avoid talking about the status of their relationship. They find excuse for everything.
5. People with commitment phobia don’t talk about future
A commitment phobic person don’t want to be in a serious and long term relationship. Hence, they don’t think or talk about future of their relationship. They are not sure about how far their relationship would last. They are aware that the relationship they are in may end any day and they are already prepared for it. only a serious and committed person can think of the next steps in a relationship. They may talk about their future but doesn’t involve their partner in their future.
6. Relationship is not a main priority for person with commitment phobia
A person with commitment phobia have many other thing before relationship in their priority list. For example, education, carrier, etc.
7. Sexually active but not exclusive
All human being have a sexual desire, a commitment phobic also. But their commitment fear don’t let them get into an intimate relationship with one person. Hence, they go for multiple relationships.
8. They don’t seem attached
They don’t feel emotionally invested or attached in a relationship. Someone who wants to go for a long term committed relationship, attach themselves with the relationship and involve completely into it. A committed person have a fear of losing their partner and they try their best to keep everything good.
On the other side a person with commitment phobia is always prepared to end the relationship in case they feel any kind of commitment issues, hence they usually don’t take active part in a relationship. They rarely have serious talks with partner. They avoid meeting their partner’s close guys and also don’t want to introduce anybody to their inner circle.
9. They rarely initiate contacting first
A person with commitment phobia rarely initiate a call or text message. They would hardly start a communication when you are away from them. Even they don’t reply your communication immediately.
10. Person with commitment phobia are impulsive
Commitment phobic act impulsive than acting in advance. They would probably agree to going for a movie today than after few days. There is a good chance they would agree to your last minute plans.
11. They rarely go deep in relationship
Commitment phobic people avoid serious relationships. They are afraid of failing their commitments, hence they don’t go much deep into a relation where they probably may loose their self control and commit something.
12. They actually don’t have an inner circle
Due to their fear, they mostly don’t have true close friends with whom they can share serious matters about them and their life. They may call some of their buddies as their close ones but they are just for name.
13. Past relationship record of commitment phobic
The people with commitment phobia are most probably had a series of comparatively short relationships in the past or a relationship with no commitments. You will find, that person had never been into a serious relationship or married in the past despite having eligible age. If you starting a new relationship with a person having this trait, you need to be cautious.
14. They hesitate to say ‘I Love You’
In a romantic relationship, say ‘I Love You’ is a commitment in itself. It seems only a few words but it demands sacrifices and strong intention for a mutual purpose. People with commitment phobia avoid to trap themselves in a love commitment.
15. They prefer convenience over emotions
A commitment phobic is afraid of emotional commitments and always prefer their own convenience & comfort.
16. Person with commitment phobia often talk unsure
You may find them speaking a lot of words such as probably, probably not, may be, might not, try my best, etc. These small commitments also matter a lot for a person with commitment phobia. You would always find them saying, ‘I probably will be at party by 9’, ‘I will try to be on time’, etc.
17. Person with commitment phobia are unpredictable
People with commitment phobia many time act weird. Someday they may promise something, the other day they may break the promise. Sometime they care for you a lot, next day they treat you completely different. Sometime they call you to wish good morning but on the other day they don’t even pick your call.
18. They left behind of their peers
A commitment phobic person is mostly not found in a serious relation. You will mostly find them left behind in comparison with their peers in terms of relationship. You may found all of their friends either have been married or in a mature relationship but the commitment phobic is still not engaged with anyone despite having passed the perfect age. Whenever they met with their old friends, they usually face these questions, ‘are you still single?’, ‘what are you waiting for?’, etc.
19. Person with commitment phobia are not much expressive
A person with commitment phobia is usually not much expressive. They rarely share there feelings with someone. They try to avoid going personal.
20. They keep on questioning their relationship
As they are not sure about themselves, they are in confusion about their relationship partner also. They usually question their relationship status. ‘Is it love?’, “Do he/she really love me?’, ‘What to do now?’, etc. Such emotional confusion sometime make them leave a good relation.
21. Person with commitment phobia are not emotionally available
If you want to get close to your partner or friend, you need to be emotionally involved with them. Persons with commitment phobia never get emotionally invested in a relationship. They never discuss emotional or personal matters with anyone. Someone who had a hard time in relationship may make them not to be emotionally available.
22. They try to find an excuse
You will most of the time notice them searching for excuses. When it comes to planning something well in advance or sharing their feelings or making even small commitments as going for a date, they always try to find an excuse for the same.
What causes commitment phobia?
Causes of commitment phobia varies from person to person. There could be many possible reasons to this fear. Here are some of the common causes of commitment phobia:
1. Bad experiences
Poor past relationship experience may also cause commitment phobia in a person. Facing bad end of previous relationship may create a psychological fear in the mind which may prevent the person from taking a serious step in next relationship. Having faced infidelity or abandonment or violence or other abusive relationship may make a person to fear from being committed.
2. Influenced by other’s experiences
A person may be influenced by the poor experiences of others. A bad relationship experience of parents, siblings or close friends make a strong impact in our mind. We can’t ignore the wrongs happened with our close one.
3. Looking for perfect relationship
In a romantic relationship, you will find most of the qualities of your partner are those which you like but there may also be some of the traits which you have to ignore. Some person avoid making a commitment until they are sure that they are not in a wrong relationship. They take more time than normal before committing to a relationship. They look for a perfect partner and don’t want any mistake. Their tolerance level is very low hence they find success after a lot of struggle, even in some cases they keep searching.
4. Fear of duty & obligations
A committed relationship comes with respective duties and obligations towards your partner. You need to take care of each other and their expectations. Many people afraid of complying with such responsibilities, they want to be in a relationship but don’t want burden of obligations over them. So, they always escape from making a commitment because commitment creates an obligation. They don’t want to be in a situation when they held accountable towards someone.
5. Trust Issues
If one of the relationship partner have broken the trust of other emotionally or financially or by any other way, it may prevent the other partner from easily trusting someone in future. If the emotions hurt very bad, the person won’t trust anybody in the world and see everybody with suspicion.
6. Fear of being rejected
A section of people is there who wants to play safe and conservative. They have a deep fear about the future situation after being rejected or failed. They fear that they can’t stand that situation if they show serious commitment but got rejected or if the relationship didn’t work out. They fear heartbreak or humiliation. So, they don’t take that risk and play safe by not getting into any serious commitment.
7. Bad childhood memories
It is another common reason of commitment phobia when a kid has some bad memories attached to childhood. When during childhood, a kid has observed a bad relationship between the parents or guardians, it makes a negative impact on the mind of the child. As the time passes this may turn into a fear of being committed which ultimately may result in commitment phobia when he wants to gets into a relationship.
How do you deal with a commitment phobia?
When you get a doubt if you are affected by commitment phobia, you need to check for the above signs and try your best to get rid of it. Here are some of the ways to overcome the fear of commitment.
1. Identify your cause of commitment phobia
It is the first and foremost step to find out the root cause of your fear. Different person may become commitment phobic due to different reasons. You need to know the main reason of your phobia first and make your move accordingly.
2. Discuss about your issues
If you feel commitment phobia but also want to proceed with your partner, then it is a good idea to bring out your inner conflict and discuss your commitment issues with your partner or close friends.
3. Don’t be afraid commitment phobia
Don’t be afraid of taking a second chance even if you have failed earlier. If something bad happened with you earlier that doesn’t mean the history will repeat every time. Good and bad times come and go but you need to learn from your mistakes and never repeat them again.
4. Practice meditation
Practicing meditation is good for keeping your mind calm and focused. Make a daily schedule of meditation at the time of your convenience (preferably in morning) to keep your mind away from negativity. A calm and positive mind boost positive and progressive thoughts in mind.
5. Don’t relate your life with other’s
If you had a bad childhood and saw your parent’s poor relationship it doesn’t mean that it will happen to you also. If you saw your close friend’s breakup, that doesn’t mean that you need to attach yourself with that incidence of your friend’s life. Everybody has their own unique life and circumstances which may look similar but can’t be measured on a same scale. You should live your own life and never get influenced by the mishappenings of other’s life.
6. Take your time to get ready
If you had a bad relationship experience, don’t go for a new start immediately. Give yourself enough time to recover and get ready for a new relationship. Taking a break to understand and solve your inner conflict is a good idea. When you think that you are out of that past trauma completely, that’s the perfect time to consider going for a new relationship start.
7. Get busy to get rid of commitment phobia
Keeping yourself busy is also another way of staying away from depressing thoughts.
8. Stop blaming & take responsibility
Stop blaming others and situations for your failures and start taking responsibility. Identify your own mistakes and prevent yourself from being target of a bad situation.
9. Practice small commitments
Developing commitment habits is a good way of getting rid of your phobia. Try making small commitments like planning a movie together, committing for a vacation together, making plan for the next two weeks, making commitment to buy a house next year, etc.
10. Get company of understanding people
Try to get a company of people who can understand your situation and may help you to tackle it. If someone understands you inner conflict, that person may recommend you a probable solution and may also help you to get rid of your fear. Get supportive friends and family members in your company.
11. Consult a professional for solutions of commitment phobia
If you think the fear is going over your head and you can’t overcome your situation by yourself then you need to seek help of a trained psychotherapist.
Don’t let your bad memories to overtake the good moments of your life. Identify your mistakes and learn from them. You can overcome the state of commitment phobia by getting out of the negativity.
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