Fear of commitment is a plague to relationships. Civilization has long perpetuated “true love” as the only basis for a lasting relationship, and this can be difficult to implement. One of the major reasons frustrated people seek the assistance of a dating expert is to help them overcome this phobia. So, how does one overcome their fear of commitment?
Well, first of all, you have to face the fear head on! If you’re in a relationship with a person who is really struggling to make a decision as to whether or not to move forward, you can show them that you care about them by helping them discover and confront their fears. Some of these fears are obvious but others are subtle.
Being scared of the unknown
New demands and experiences can be very stressful. You never know just what is to be expected, and you get anxious about this. You’re more contented to stick to the familiar than opt for a future that is uncertain. This fear is mainly seen in people who lack self-confidence and such a fear can increase when a lot of demands are made. Read more about self confidence in our article Reaching a Self Confidence Definition to get a better grip on what it means and how to attain it.
Fear of making mistakes
To not want to decide is a decision in itself, and a mistake! This is a kind of fear that is common among people who have a lot of choices to choose from, and the more choices you have, the greater the fear. Having more choices makes you fear that you will regret making the decision later on, and thus you end up delaying the process, hoping that you will not fail or make a mistake.
Fear of losing a loved one
Everybody relies on the support of friends and family. We are so scared of losing people who do not support our decisions such as friends, family, and even children from earlier marriages, because we need their approval. This type of fear is not just about the inability to handle their rejection and anger, but fear of hearing the words ‘I told you so’ if something goes wrong. The truth is, we are all codependent on each other, and our article on Understanding and Evaluating Our Own Codependency can help shed some light on this matter.
Fear of losing control
Everybody wants to feel in control and be able to make choices. Part of the control is in the ability to control when and how a relationship will happen. The most common scenario that occurs is one where everything seems to be going well until you feel that you’re losing control of the situation, so you back off. This article on PsychologyToday.com discusses this fear thoroughly, as well as tools you can use to loosen its grip on your life.
What are the causes of the fear of commitment?
Many experiences make us develop hatred for long-lasting relationships. Perhaps your parents had a divorce when you were young. As you heard them fight, maybe you compared their relationships with what you saw in movies. Movies, particularly action movies, only depict the process where the leading character falls in love, and begins to have a relationship with a passive female and they then show the splendid beginnings of the relationship. The only experience children have about what a romantic relationship is like is with their parents. Consequently, when parents go through a divorce, fear of commitment is embedded in the child and can hinder their ability to stay in a long-term relationship as an adult.
Other reasons for the fear of commitment include negative experiences in earlier relationships. Perhaps your first boyfriend was what you perceived as dependent and clingy, making your relationship very stressful, rather than one that gave you joy. Men could fear commitment due to their fear of not being able to live up to their responsibilities towards those they care for. Or perhaps they detest the thought of being obligated to someone for the rest of their lives.
Much of the information available on the fear of commitment in men is always discouraging and there is even this use of fear of commitment quotes and “catch-all” phrases, like ‘commitment phobia’, ‘emotionally unavailable’, and ‘men and women who cannot love’ that do not really explain anything in detail. What’s even more disturbing is that many people use these phrases as excuses to avoid commitment altogether. Fear of commitment is mostly not well comprehended, even by those with signs of it. This article on Professional-Counselling.com explains the truth behind some of the actual causes of this fear.
There are some cases where someone would fear to commit to you because they feel that “something is missing” in the relationship or in their feelings for you. These kinds of people long to get into a loving committed relationship but they dread being drawn in. This fear can sometimes reach a level of phobia.
So what can you do about it?
If you truly love your partner and wish to have a committed relationship, you must first find out what scares your partner from commitment. Overcoming the fear of commitment is very possible since one only requires a different approach in dealing with it.
Certainly, if you have had a bad experience, you get influenced by it and perhaps expect history to repeat itself. What you can do is read up more on the subject and take notice of what you are silently saying to yourself. Find out what the underlying beliefs you have about the fear are. Write them down on a piece of paper and challenge them as if you were in a debate.
After that, go back to when you last experienced any of the above fears and did not cope well, making you doubt yourself. Ask yourself about the worst thing that could happen, and then once more challenge the beliefs as if you were in a debate. You will be very surprised by how simple that is. You will be able to open up your mind to a different viewpoint.
All it takes is a little self-awareness and determination.