Commitment Issues? What to do when you’re dating a commitment-phobe
Which isn’t to say that commitment-phobes don’t deserve some sympathy. Men and women with commitment issues tend to have a deep fear of intimacy, and their feelings are borne of a learnt negative opinion of love and relationships. Ultimately, their sense of dread about making a commitment becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the relationships they pursue are doomed.
Identifying a Commitment-phobe
Sad though the situation is, if you’re hoping for long-term love but are dating a commitment-phobe you’re probably better off out of the relationship. Entering into any romantic relationship thinking you can change the other person is a bad idea. How can you tell if your partner has commitment-phobia? Ask yourself:
What’s their pattern? Have they had lots of short, non-committed relationships in the past?
Do they disappear from your radar for days, sometimes weeks, at a time?
Do they often fail to reply to your messages?
Commitment-phobes are the ones who don’t introduce you to their friends or family. They’re the ones who almost never have you over to their apartment. They tend to compartmentalize their lives so that the romantic and personal and professional hardly ever overlap – if you’re excluded from the other important aspects of their lives, this should be a red flag.
Many of the worst offending commitment-phobes are in fact incredibly charming at the start of a relationship – but what starts off as exciting and spontaneous can soon become unreliable and erratic. If what you’re looking for is a serious relationship, eventually you must forget the idea that your partner was romantic and attentive in the beginning – a commitment-phobe isn’t invested enough in your relationship to keep this up. If their part-time love is not enough, it might be time to start looking elsewhere…
Dealing with Commitment-phobia
Once you’ve identified the fact that you’re in a relationship with someone who has commitment issues, be pro-active in trying to solve it. If you’re unhappy with your situation, don’t make the mistake of doing nothing about it. You can’t be afraid to admit to yourself: “This isn’t what I want.” You should feel no guilt if you say: “This isn’t what I signed up for.”
Chances are that your partner has been told that they’re a commitment-phobe before – or they’ll at least have some awareness of the fact that they prefer to keep things casual. Since this is the case, don’t be afraid to broach the subject in a conversation with them. The trouble is that commitment-phobes don’t like conflict, and people with commitment issues are pretty good at making you feel like the crazy one. Stand up for yourself, stick to your guns, and a true commitment phobe will run for the hills1.
Dating someone with commitment-phobia can be both painful and confusing. But coming out the other side of it you’ll be much stronger for having had the struggle. Think of it this way: you’ve successfully avoided the inevitable heart-break of trying to make a future with a commitment-phobe, and are free to pursue a relationship with someone who is seeking a similar level of commitment as you. Plus, you’ll have your eyes open the next time a smooth talker with commitment issues tries to date you!