Mental Health

Ways To Overcome The Fear Of Commitment

Humans deal with a lot of things, like fear, and in this case the fear of commitment. You may be wondering why, but one of the leading causes is the Fear of The Unknown.

People tend to fear what they can’t predict or expect. In fact, you may even be scared to commit to that job or savings you’re working on, because you don’t know what will happen along the line. And it can be very frustrating, especially if you care about what you are trying to achieve. You may fear that you will not be able to pull it off or that it may even not be worth it at the end of the day. This can be a roadblock in achieving and experiencing so many things in life all because we are afraid of what could happen. It is important to identify your issue so that seeking a solution will be easier for you and those around you.  

What Does The Fear of commitment mean?

A man afraid to commit

Being scared to commit refers to the inability to dedicate yourself to something for a long time, it could be a job, a city, a relationship, or a goal of yours. However, you do not have to be, or at least choosing not to give yourself to something any longer shouldn’t be a choice based on fear. It is usually not uncommon for people who avoid long-term relationships to find out they have commitment issues. A lot of people tend to use these phrases casually, but it’s actually a more complicated issue than it seems. Most of the time when people talk about commitment issues it’s often in the context of romantic relationships. And someone dealing with this problem will often show fear or unwillingness to commit to a long-term relationship. 

It typically refers to you or your partner’s inability to talk about the future or not desiring to take things to the next step. Being unable to commit may make it harder for the relationship to go forward or last. 

8 Signs You Have Commitment Issues.

There are some things that may indicate you’re afraid of committing to someone, even though it’s not always easy to recognize them. It may be difficult to realize whether it’s just bad dating luck or something more significant. However, there are patterns or choices you may want to pay more attention to. Here are some signs that may offer some clarity. 

You have a long elaborate list for your ideal person.

Now not to be misunderstood, having a standard isn’t a bad thing but actually great to have. But when it’s time to talk about the things you desire in a partner and a huge scroll is needed to jot them down, it might be a sign.  This could in a way prevent you from finding your significant other. Because you will strategically nitpick to the point you talk yourself out of pursuing something serious often bailing on those that are promising. It could often come off as no one is actually good enough and you may base the whole situation on that.

You don’t want to date seriously 

Choosing to date casually and avoid serious relationships doesn’t automatically translate to being afraid to commit. You may have one or more reasons for being that way. But if you like to end things when the relationship looks like it’s moving past the casual stage even though you genuinely like this person you’re seeing, you may have some pending commitment fears.

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You haven’t healed from past relationships 

A man who is still hurt from his past relationship and has a fear of commitment

You may still be affected by previous relationships, and you knowingly or unknowingly carry those beliefs over into your present relationship. Which will automatically let you believe that your present partner will hurt you just as your past one did. And as a result, you keep everyone at arm’s length. You believe that this way, which is by not investing in the relationship, you’re not going to get hurt. 

You back out of dates at the last minute 

So you and that person have been talking and it seems you both like each other a lot, and now you’ve both decided to have a date…. Well until now. You start to feel overwhelmed the moment things start to move with that person, and you’re like “Ummm let’s take a pause shall we?” Then you decide to take a rain check. If you find yourself making way too many excuses or taking way too many rain checks before going on dates, it might be a sign.

You don’t think about the future of the relationship

Are you the “let’s just enjoy the ride” kinda person? Most of the time many people spend at least a little time considering if their partner would make a good long-term match. And if they can’t visualize being with that person in the long run, they might choose to end things. But some people don’t even give the future any thought at all, in fact, they don’t want to. Now, there’s nothing horrible in wanting to enjoy what you presently have with your partner, but when you’re really not able or willing to think about the next stage of the relationship despite how much you like this person could suggest a fear of commitment, especially if this is something you ALWAYS do in your relationships. 

You’re surrounded by too many things and people

With the fear of commitment a person might overindulge social activities in order to appear unavailable

A person can be busy and have a lot of work to do. But when you like to build a large network of various friend groups in an already busy work life, essentially leaving no room for dating it could be a sign. It’s like you’re already trying to create reasons as to why you’re not able to date.

 “Hey, Mike when are you gonna settle down or at least go out with someone?”

Mike: How could I? I’m sooo busy, I have a really busy life and I can’t possibly make the time out to date!

When you like to preoccupy yourself with so many “activities” it might be a sign. 

Relationships are a prison 

Fear of commitment can let a person view relationships as a prison

When you think about your married friends or family members, you feel their lives must be boring and that they’ve trapped themselves. You cling to this idea that freedom only exists when you’re single and that relationships are a prison. You mostly just prefer to stay in relationships that are chaotic and are clearly going nowhere, oh, or just go from one short-lived relationship to the next. With this mindset, you’ll never choose to settle down or commit, because you just feel like you’re going to be caged for the rest of your life.

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You spend a huge amount of time questioning the relationship 

Too many doubts in a relationship due to fear of commitment

Let’s say you do think about the future of your relationship. You have strong feelings for your partner, you feel connected and attached, and you basically enjoy spending time with them. But you really can’t help asking yourself questions like:

“Do they really love and care about me?”

“Am I sure I’m ready for this?”

“What’s gonna happen next?”

“Do I really want to be with them”?

Asking questions about your relationship isn’t a bad thing, but questioning what you and your partner have or how you feel can become an issue. It’s okay to ask these questions from time to time, especially if you really care about someone and don’t wish to lose them. However, if they become an obsession or all you can think about, it may put a strain on your partner and relationship in total. When you seek way too much validation from your partner it can interfere with your relationship or cause emotional distress, which could suggest commitment fears. 

Signs Of Commitment Issues In A Partner 

Okay so you’re ready for a serious relationship but your partner is not. They seem okay with the current stage of things and then you start to wonder if they want the same things you do. The following signs could mean the person you’re seeing has commitment fears, however, it’s quite hard to know for sure if these are signs of fear of commitment unless you speak to them concerning the matter to discover the reasons behind their behavior, although it is highly unlikely that a person dealing with commitment issues will reveal that they are. 

In the meantime let’s look at some signs of commitment fears in partners:

They’re less devoted to the relationship or you

Partner unable to invest due to fear of commitment

This sign isn’t always a one-way street. It could show up in a lot of ways. For example, they could know all of your friends but they never introduce you to theirs. They can talk about a lot of things but seem less interested in talking about their emotions or daily life, including yours. You might also notice some lack of enthusiasm in making plans that aren’t in the near future. However, you may not always catch their disinterest, as most can be very subtle. However, when they always have an excuse for everything, for example, a trip or vacation you suggest, it could mean something. Whenever the “big steps” start to happen they tend to withdraw. It’s possible they cherish the time they spend with you, but they just struggle with the commitment involved. 

They don’t want to open up or have deep conversations about the two of you 

The fear of commitment in a partner let’s him not communicate

Choosing to be emotionally vulnerable with someone can help you become closer. What makes a relationship strong is when both partners choose an emotional vulnerability space. Where they learn about each other little by little as time passes. Such as talking about the past, childhood experiences, life principles, life goals for the future, and emotions, and feelings for each other and others. When it’s hard for your partner to partake in this process, where they just always prefer casual and lighthearted conversations and not the ones that can bring you both closer it could also mean they’re scared to commit. Although it can also mean that they need more time, if they’re dealing with the fear of commitment, they may never be ready no matter how much time goes by. 

They don’t want to talk about the future of the relationship 

The fear of commitment not letting a partner talk about the future of the relationship

When your partner is less concerned about your relationship in the long run it could be a sign. When a person loves something they like to see how things go in the long run. And in the case of a relationship, both partners might start thinking of the relationship progressing, after all, you’re both compatible and enjoy each other’s company so why not take things to the next level?

However, a partner dealing with the fear of commitment may have a hard time talking about progressing things. Most of the time they just find ways to change the subject or give inadequate replies when you ask how they feel. In return, they can give him replies like “ Let’s just have fun and not define things.” And in other cases, they may flat-out tell you they’re not looking for a commitment. So if you’re looking for commitment, they may not be the right one for you as they can’t offer what you want and need.

They talk about the future but you’re nowhere to be found in it

A partner with the fear of commitment is finding it hard to see the future of the relationship

It can really hurt when someone you’re dating talks about the future but you don’t sit anywhere in it, especially if things seem to be getting serious, at least from your perspective. Some people who avoid commitment in romantic relationships tend to have a hard time making commitments in other areas of life. They might not like the idea of feeling trapped or tied down to a person’s future or outcome. Your partner may plan trips and vacations for themselves or even their friends without inviting you. It’s possible they don’t see the relationship go far. But these signs could indicate that they aren’t ready to commit. 

They don’t properly communicate digitally (no text no calls)

A partner who can’t digitally communicate properly in their relationship due to the fear of commitment

After dating someone for a while you might start to notice a pattern in their response such as late texts or calls. You may notice that they wouldn’t call or message you for days without explanation. In general, it’s within reason to expect your partner to respond within a day most of the time. Your partner could be busy but it’s important they communicate that to you, instead of ghosting you. Although it can also mean your partner doesn’t like to text, but it can also mean they’re emotionally unavailable. Regardless of what it may be, they may not be able to commit to anything more. 

If it bugs you that your partner doesn’t reply to your messages, especially when you’re trying to make plans or are getting lazy replies that don’t fully answer your questions, you might want to consider bringing this up in person. 

Why Do I Have Commitment Issues?

Many things can cause a person to not want to commit themselves to someone or something. There are a number of factors that can contribute to a person developing a fear of commitment. They often include fear about the relationship, such as fear of being hurt, fear of being with the wrong person, and fear of things not working out between you two. 

Another reason a person may develop the fear of commitment is if they experienced trauma in their past relationship or had it pretty rough after a breakup. They could become scared to give themselves to someone thinking history might just repeat itself. Your childhood experience such as your upbringing and family history can also play a very big role in how you view long-term relationships. So many of these experiences and traits can influence how you behave in a committed relationship. Which could make it difficult to tell whether a partner doesn’t just want to commit or is practically dealing with commitment issues. 

I Want To Change, How Do I Overcome The Fear Of Commitment?

In some cases it’s not always the fear of commitment, not everyone wants to have long-term relationships, there are many people who just enjoy staying single or dating different partners while doing things like settling down and getting married. While there are others who are ready for long-term relationships, just not with one person, however, if you feel as though you’re actually scared of investing and then decide to hold yourself back from being in a committed relationship and want to deepen your commitment, you can consider these approaches:

Personal therapy 

If you identify with some of the signs above it can help to talk to a therapist. Getting therapy is a great way to begin to discover some of the reasons you find it hard to commit to someone.  It is a judgment-free space you can be in to understand more your commitment issues. If the fear of commitment causes anxiety or emotional distress, therapy can help in that area as well. And if your partner’s behavior is affecting your own mental health, a therapist can also offer support in one-on-one sessions. However, you could also opt for couples therapy to work on this issue. 

Couples therapy 

If you love your partner and you genuinely want the relationship to succeed, but you find yourself being held back from taking the necessary steps towards commitment, you can agree to go for couples therapy with your partner. True that intimacy and commitment are not the same, however, if one of each is affected, you may have a hard time with the other, as they often relate to each other. If you don’t know how to go deeper into your relationship with your partner, it could disturb your ability to connect with them intimately as well. A skilled couples therapist can help you and your partner navigate through your feelings and challenges, and head for a stronger partnership. 

Be more vocal 

It’s possible to assume you’ll get over it or your issues towards the idea of commitment will change over time, but it may not. It’s better to acknowledge your fear and talk to your partner about it. If you care about them and they for you as well, it’s good to share your thoughts and feelings about your fear in the relationship. Let them know what you’re afraid of, if possible. This can help your partner understand you better. And both of you can come up with simple solutions that can make things easier.

For example, you could be scared of committing because of a past breakup, how bad it was, and how long it took to get over it, and how you need more time to get used to being in a relationship again. Your partner, who loves you, will understand and be patient and move at a slower pace with you. However, if your partner doesn’t know these issues and notices how you take the relationship, they may think of the worst. So communication will always be important. 

Practice commitment 

There are some things you can start to partake in that’ll slowly help you become more committed, and overcome your fears. 

Try these steps:

  • spend the night together 
  • hold hands together in public 
  • tell your family and friends about your partner 
  • take a small trip together 
  • talk about the things you’d like to do together during different times of the year 
  • make long-term plans together
  • go house hunting 

When you do these things, you begin to slowly accept commitment in your relationship. And if your feelings of fear or anxiety kick in, just talk about it with your partner. 

Date someone you know who respects you and your needs 

When you’re dealing with commitment issues, and you have a partner who disrespects you in and out of your relationship, it can be hard to overcome. Although, no one should be tolerating a partner who finds it hard to respect them. A relationship can never really progress if disrespect is residing in it. During the process of finding time to feel secure in a relationship, it is best to date someone who isn’t forceful and can understand your situation and help you get through it. 

However,  it all depends on what exactly you need in a partner. For example, it can be helpful to date someone who leads a busy lifestyle, as it may be a good fit if you know you are in need of alone time and a lot of space. In other cases, if you don’t enjoy constant physical touches, a partner who’s more hands-off may be a better choice than someone who needs a lot of physical affection. 

Is It Fear Of Commitment Or The Wrong Partner?

When someone is wrong for you, there’s a high chance you already know about it. It could be from the start of, or during the relationship. And in a situation of being scared to be lonely, you may choose to overlook some incompatibilities. Many people endure a lot of hurtful things in a relationship simply because they like the idea of being in a relationship or have FOMO (Fear of missing out). But it is better to save yourself before you are way too deep or invested in that relationship, however, it is never too late to stop seeing someone who doesn’t value you and is obviously just the wrong partner for you.

On the other hand, a person who is afraid to commit doesn’t necessarily deal with FOMO, they just don’t want to be vulnerable. If you’re dating someone who has made it clear that they want to be serious with you, and you find it hard to accept and commit to them, then you could be dealing with commitment issues. It’s always important to ask yourself deeply why you’re making a decision towards your partner, this way you can know if it’s based on fear or the person just not being right for you. 

Take away

Love is a beautiful thing, but it is possible to be scared to love someone, and it can happen not because you’re particularly scared to commit, but just anxious about the whole thing. It’s normal to be nervous about feeling something so deep for someone. However, if you can never bring yourself to allow things to go further with your partner it could be that you are scared to commit. Fear of commitment can make dating more difficult. But with a little bit of extra work and honest communication, things could work out for you and your partner. 

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