Commitment phobe is someone who is really scared to take his/her relationship to the next level, like being exclusive or getting married. We all long for “happily ever after” in our love story, but only a few people are able to reach this stage. There are so many parameters and levels of the good relationship that a large part of our generation has turned into commitment phobes.
But does this commitment phobia do any good to a relationship? Certainly not. If you are a commitment-phobe and not ready to commit with your loving and caring partner, you may end up losing the person you love the most in this whole world. So how can someone know if he or she is a commitment-phobe or dating a commitment-phobe? What are some signs and traits? How can you deal with issues associated with it? In this article, I am going to address all these questions. So let’s get started:
Commitment phobe meaning
If you are wondering about the commitment phobe meaning, here is a definition for you:
“A person whose is reluctant to form a commitment in a romantic relationship or a person who exhibits commitment phobia.”
Commitment phobe psychology
Commitment phobia is rooted in fear of making the wrong decisions or losing someone precious to us. The word “commitment phobia” was first used in a popular book “Men Who Can’t Love” in 1987. But it received a lot of criticism on being a sexist idea implying that only men are commitment-phobic. Later the idea was gender-balanced by publishing another work called “He’s Scared, She’s Scared (1995).” But the question arises what really is the cause of commitment phobia? Let’s have a look at commitment-phobe psychology.
Causes of commitment phobia vary from person to person, we all are unique and so are our fears and problems. But on a broader note, many people having commitment issues experience poor romantic relationships, either through observation of others like their parents or close friends or first hand. Stats show that 7.9% of women and 4.2 men suffer from domestic abuse. Those who have experienced child abuse and domestic abuse can suffer from commitment phobia. Some reasons behind commitment phobia may involve the following:
- A commitment-phobe may have experienced a terrible breakup in the past, and he/she was not expecting it, or there were no signs.
- He or she may have been in an unhealthy relationship in past which was initially good, and now the individual is just scared to be in such a relationship again and has some unresolved trauma.
- The individual may have been betrayed in the past, and now has trust issues, subsequently the individual is no more interested in a committed relationship with the slightest chance of getting cheated on again.
- Childhood abuse or any such trauma
- Complicated family dynamics during childhood that is making it extremely difficult to be in a committed relationship
Commitment phobe psychology is simple; a person is just scared to be in a relationship that can hurt them in future in any possible way. It is also somehow associated with avoidant attachment personality where a person just avoids to be with someone for a long time. This attachment pattern can be changed with the help of a professional and loved ones, especially with a little more involvement of the romantic partner. The partner can help by making the individual feel more secure and safe.
Commitment phobe traits
A commitment-phobe struggles with making commitments, specifically in romantic relationships. Being in a relationship with such a person is not easy as you may miss out the one thing you want commitment and emotional intimacy, and the other person may never be ready. I will suggest to you what you can do in such a situation, but first, you need to be familiar with the commitment-phobe traits. So here are some commitment-phobe traits for you to understand the whole concept:
A commitment-phobe is always looking for other possibilities or keeps wondering what if there are better opportunities out there. The commitment phobe thinks that if they commit and settle down with this particular person, they might lose a fantastic opportunity to be with someone more passionate or better or more suited. Other people start to seem more attractive.
A commitment-phobe may find their partner be very irritating and annoying after a few weeks of dating. Their cute habits do not feel cute anymore but stupid and drive them crazy. They feel like they have no choice but to leave as everything has become so stressful. It all feels to much they are not sure they want this situation at all doubts are creeping in.
Everything about the current relationship seems wrong. A commitment-phobe is so negative that the individual tries to only find negative things about the relationship like sex is not fun; my partner does not understand me. The individual may also feel bad because of all these negative thoughts.
Some other traits are as follows:
- A commitment-phobe sabotages good relationships for stupid reasons.
- The commitment phobes negative thoughts are uncontrollable.
- The individual hates to be tied down.
- Short term relationships are their thing.
- The individual does not give their relationships proper time.
- The individual usually falls in love with unattainable people.
- The individual desperately wants to be in a relationship but can’t trust his feelings.
Commitment phobe signs
When you are looking for a serious relationship, but your partner does not seem invested and stresses on keeping the things as they are, you start wondering if your partner wants the same things you do or not. Here I am going to share some signs that will indicate if you are dating a commitment-phobe. But it is really hard to know, and you can only clear your assumptions by talking to them. If you are concerned about the commitment fear of your partner, an honest, open conversation is a good step.
Meanwhile here are some commitment-phobe signs that you will notice in your partner:
They don’t appear to be invested in you or relationship.
This can appear in different ways in your relationship. You have introduced them to almost every one of your friend, they know them all, but you have not met any of their friends. May be they tell you some great stories but do not really talk about their feelings or day to day life.
You may likewise see an absence of interest in making any long term plans. This lack of engagement isn’t generally self-evident. For instance, they may sound excited when you suggest a vacation or a trip but will have an excuse or schedule conflict whenever you try to pick a specific date.
It’s conceivable your partner really wants to spend time with you. They might be just struggling with their commitment and fear of the unknown.
They would prefer not to discuss the fate of the relationship.
If you are seeing someone and like them, you will surely think about the possibility of developing a committed relationship. All things considered, you’re very compatible, you appreciate each other’s conversation, so why not date committedly?
A person having commitment issues will never be comfortable in discussing this. They may change the subject or give obscure answers when you ask how they feel. They may state something like, “How about we simply have a great time without attempting to characterize things.” they may also clearly say that they are not looking for commitment. In the case that you’re searching for a committed relationship, these reactions frequently shown by the individual you’re seeing show you the individual will most likely be unable to offer what you need in the long run.
They struggle sharing deep emotions and thoughts.
The emotional vulnerability brings two people closer to each other. In solid relationships, partners know each other equally better as time passes. You may discuss your pasts, childhood memories, future goals, life reasoning, and feelings, including affections for one another or sentiments toward other people or circumstances.
Somebody who struggles with commitment or fear may not promptly open up, even after months pass by. Your discussions may stay easygoing and cheerful, failing to become more meaningful or addressing any more profound emotions. This difficulty in being vulnerable may show that your partner needs some time to think about it, but it can also be because of commitment and fear.
They talk about the future; however, their plans don’t include you.
It is one of the most clear commitment-phobe signs. A few people who stay away from commitment in their love relationship, struggle to make commitments in different everyday issues. They may not like the idea or of just one future or result. However, this isn’t generally the situation if your are dating someone for a while. It’s anything but difficult to not feel hurt if somebody you’re dating discusses a future that doesn’t appear to incorporate you, particularly if things appear to be getting more progressive from your viewpoint.
Perhaps they keep on arranging vacations and trips for themselves or their companions without welcoming you. Or on the other hand, perhaps they talk energetically and in detail about their fantasy studio apartment they cannot wait to put a deposit on. It is possible that they simply don’t have any desire to or don’t expect you’ll keep dating each other. Possibly they haven’t really thought about a committed long-term relationship. In any case, these signs could likewise demonstrate that your partner is not ready to commit.
They don’t answer your messages or calls for a long time.
If you have been dating a person for a past few months, you will start noticing a certain pattern in their behaviour. They may go quiet after 9 pm while loosening up before bed or not answer you at all during their working hours. By and large, it’s really sensible to anticipate that a partner should not answer during the day at work or as often unless there is a particular reason.
There is a chance that you constantly don’t get answers, particularly when you’re attempting to make certain plans, or you get half-answers that don’t completely respond to your inquiry, you should bring this up face to face. It is acceptable that your partner really does not like texting. But, this can likewise indicate that your date/partner is emotionally unavailable or a commitment-phobe.
Am I a commitment-phobe?
There are plenty of online tests and quizzes that can indicate if you have commitment phobia or not, but these tests and quizzes do not have a solid basis. You cannot exactly know the actual problem as everyone is unique in personality and circumstances. You are unique in your own way, and only a professional can assess your unique situation and pin point the issue. So you want to know “Am I a commitment phobe?” it would be better to speak to a professional. It is not easy to recognize short-lived relationship patterns when it represents bad luck in dating, lack of compatibility and conflicts etc. But here are some signs to know if you are a commitment-phobe or not:
You would prefer not to date genuinely.
If you avoid serious relationships and like casual dating, that does not mean you are a commitment-phobe. You may have one or several reasons for this. But if you strongly feel the urge to end your relationships even when everything is going fine, and you really like the person, there are or may be some unresolved commitment issues that are need to be addressed. Only a professional can help in this matter.
You really don’t want to think about the relationship of your future.
Sooner or later in a relationship, people spend some time to think about whether the person they are dating would be a good match for a long term relationship or not. If they think that relationship will not last long with this person, they end it soon and move on. But some people do not really think about it and certainly do not want to do so.
There’s nothing amiss with needing to appreciate what you have now with your partner. However, a genuine unwillingness or inability to think about the next phase of the relationship could suggest commitment fear, especially if your relationships tend to follow a similar pattern.
You invest a ton of energy in questioning your relationship.
Maybe you do consider the fate of your relationship. You have solid affections for your partner, feel associated and appended, and love to hang out. All things being equal, you can’t quit asking yourself things like:
- Does he/she really like me?
- What will happen next?
- Do I really want this?
- Am I ready to take it to the next level?
It’s quite typical to ask yourself enquiries like these every now and then, particularly in the event that you truly care about somebody and don’t have any desire to lose them. But continuously questioning your relationship, to the point where it creates emotional distress, can suggest commitment fears.
You would prefer not to make any plans.
Am I a commitment-phobe?”Ask yourself some questions like, Do you try not to make plans for a Saturday night date until Saturday morning? Do you give unclear answers like, “Possibly! I’ll tell you” or “Let me perceive how the week goes” when your partner tries to make any date plans.
Do already made plans make you feel stressed, and do you strongly feel to cancel your plans? Not having any desire to make arrangements now and again proposes you’re not actually keen on the individual you’re dating, particularly in the case you’re waiting for the chance of better plans and options.
However, when you do like that individual and appreciate their conversation, yet at the same time feel restless, the issue might be commitment phobe issues.
You don’t feel genuinely connected.
A research from 2010 on commitment in romantic relationships suggests that commitment issues develop from fear of losing a partner. If you feel attached with your partner securely, you will do anything to make it last.
These efforts show your commitment, and can also help in relieving the anxiety the individual feels about the relationship future, particularly if your partner is also looking for a long term relationship.
However, in the event that you don’t feel any passionate connection to your partner, you may not give it a second thought or even think twice about losing them. Indeed, you make some extraordinary memories together; however, you disregard the prospect of never seeing them again. You’re entirely more interested and focused in continuing doing whatever you feel like doing your needs are your priority focus.
In some cases where you are having no emotional connection to your partner it just means your date is not the right match for you. But if you know you are looking for a relationship and never feel like getting emotionally attached with your partners, it may be a commitment phobe issue, fears are keeping you away.
You feel uncomfortable when your partner shows interest.
These emotions may exist without even understating the real reason behind it. For instance, when your date partner says “I love you” unexpectedly, you may feel good and happy. Yet, later, when you consider everything, you start to feel restless and can’t help thinking about what that implies or what comes next. You may likewise want to move away, questioning whether you really want to break up this relationship or not.
Commitment phobe in a relationship
When a commitment-phobe is in love, the whole relationship is nothing but a complicated romance. At one point you will find they are passionate, intense and then all of a sudden it is over, and you do not know what really happened. you get confused, “where was I wrong?, why is this individual cold suddenly?” You start wondering that why the individual chased you and now just doesn’t really care.
It is really painful to be in love with such a person; they will leave a trail of pain, confusion and heartbreak.
When a commitment-phobe is in love
At this time, it is important for you to know that they are also in pain. The reason behind this is they are in love with you. When a commitment-phobe is in love, the individual is really confused, the commitment phobe wants to continue this relationship, but is scared too. They really do not want to enter a relationship where they hurt or disappoint anyone. At this time they feel like they are in a cage, they don’t want to hurt you, but they are sacred about their freedom too. If you want to help them, you need to keep in mind a few things like:
- If they are not committing to you that does not mean they do not love you and it is not your fault either
- If you have responded to them negatively, realize that they created a situation like this so that they can get out of this situation.
- Their fear of commitment is stronger as compared to their need of love and a romantic relationship.
- Their behaviour will not change unless they recognize the pattern and seek professional help.
- You might feel alone in this relationship which is unfair on you.
What you can do?
If you are in a relationship with a commitment-phobe, you need to help them out. I know having a commitment-phobe in a relationship with you can make your life difficult. But it is not the right time to be selfish as you might really be able help that person if their feelings for you are mutual and authentic. If you are really in love with the person this way you can help support that person. Here is what you can do:
- Try to find out what is wrong with your partner like is there any underlying mental health condition or childhood trauma. Try to have an open discussion with your partner; it will not be easy as they will try to avoid discussion so be gentle and do not push too hard.
- Encourage them to seek professional help, and if you feel like you have negative thoughts and blame yourself for everything, you also can take help from a mental health professional.
- If they are willing to change themselves and work on their commitment, fears and problems, be there for them, but if they seem hopeless and are not even trying to change, it is time for you to end this relationship and move on.
Tips for commitment-phobe
Being a commitment-phobe in a relationship it is not easy for you as you might lose the person you love the most in this whole world and cause irreparable damage. So you need to work on your commitment fear. Here are some tips for you:
- If you feel like blaming yourself for failed relationships and lack of direction you are not doing anything good for you, it is only contributing to destructive patterns. You need to stop doing that.
- You can work on yourself, but the best thing is to take help from a professional. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is really helpful in dealing with irrational emotions and thoughts that you have around commitments and negative behavioural patterns.
- Making changes in your life this is not easy, too; it is also a commitment to the betterment of yourself. When you start with this kind of work, you can challenge yourself.
- Meditation is an excellent way to make your mind free from every kind of negative thoughts and fill it with positive energy. You will be aware of the things and events that can trigger you.
- If you are in a relationship, you need to be honest with your partner. I know it will not be easy for you to talk about it, but it will help them understand your situation. Tell them what you feel and why you feel a certain way. Do not be afraid to take their help and guidance.
Commitment phobe Reddit
A lot of people like to ask about how others experience different things. You also might want advice from a real person who is himself a commitment-phobe or in relationship with one. A lot of people look for their answers on Reddit. It is an amazing platform where people can share their thoughts and experiences. I have searched the platform for you, so let me share some of the best commitment-phobe Reddit suggestions for you.
Here is a suggestion by a commitment-phobe to someone who is in a relationship with a commitment-phobe:
“Commitment phobe here. We need to feel very little pressure for us to be comfortable. He lies because he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings and he knows as much as you aren’t together, it would. He probably needs some space. As hard as it will be for you, I think you should give it to him and wait for him to come back to you. When he does come back, play it cool, attach no title to yourselves, just 2 people that enjoy each other’s company.”
Here is what another user says about it:
“One thing I’ve learned in my time on this planet: You can’t force people to act certain ways or feel certain feelings. The best you can do is respectfully and clearly convey you own feelings and thoughts and take a step back to let them decide whatever path they want for themselves. I don’t believe in giving people ultimatums,… But you can tell your bf how you feel (“this relationship is not meeting my needs/expectations”)… And then see if he steps up.”
Here is a commitment-phobe Reddit suggestion for a commitment-phobe:
“I’m not sure why you would need to do anything about it. There is no reason you need to be in any kind of serious or committed relationship, if you don’t want to be. And it’s not just because you are young. This is at any age. There seems to be an awful lot of pressure or assumptions these days that everyone needs to be a full-time relationship, and if you are not then something must be wrong with you. That’s just not true. It’s your life, and you can spend it doing what you want, and sometimes you happen to meet someone that you like being with, and sometimes you like being with them more often than you like being by yourself or doing things without them. But that doesn’t mean that as soon as someone decides they want to spend their time with you, that you are in some way obligated to spend your time with them.”
Another commitment-phobe says:
“Speaking as a sometime “commitment-phobe” I can tell you that in my experience, it’s not so much that we’re afraid of commitment, it’s that we’re afraid of committing to the wrong girl. When accused of being “commitment-phobic”, it’s usually easier to go along with that than to explain that you’re not the person we’re interested in committing to, but the companionship/sex/relationship are nice for the time being. This sort of honesty would tend to put a damper on all of that. Yes, this is fairly obnoxious. I’m not going to defend it, I’m just explaining the mindset so that you can dump him and move on or just accept that the relationship is in fact going nowhere and enjoy it for what it is.”
About 10 million people in the UK have phobias. These can affect anyone irrespective of their gender, social background or age. Commitment phobia is one of them. It does not only affect the commitment-phobe but other people around them. The best part is if you recognize it as an issue and are willing to deal with it, you can get rid of this phobia. It will require your continuous efforts and time, and soon you will be able to deal with your commitment issues in your life.