Sunday, September 17, 2006



Have commitment issues ever caused problems in your relationships? Maybe you played tug of war with a partner who couldn’t commit to you on the level you needed. Or maybe you were the non-committing party in the relationship. Regardless of who was more devoted, chances are that the relationship didn’t grow to become something meaningful. A solid and healthy relationship cannot survive if the level of commitment is unbalanced. The only way to have a healthy relationship is for both partners to be equally committed – sounds obvious, right? But it’s not always so simple. Find out where fear of commitment stems from…

Committing yourself to another person can be an incredibly powerful and gratifying experience. You’re melding your life with someone else’s, for better or worse. There are few greater gifts in life that you can give the person you love. But commitment is nevertheless a risk you take, no matter how gung-ho you are about the person you want to marry. Every big decision in life isn’t made without anxiety, doubt and fear, especially one that implies such finality. It’s what makes the decision real – and there’s nothing more real than committing yourself to someone for life. So how do you really know when your fear of commitment is valid or when it’s just masking unreasonable fears?

Here are five common reasons for your fear of commitment:

1. You think forever is a long time

The thought of eternal togetherness makes you look at the concept of time in a whole different way. If it’s a life-long commitment you or your partner wants, you have to be able to visualize the future and the rest of your life together. This is the person you’ll grow old and grey with, the only person who you’ll ever be intimate with again. Think in terms of finality and be sure to separate whether it’s the actual person you can or can’t see yourself with or if it’s any of next few fears. Some people are commitment phobic because they know they’re with the wrong person. And there’s nothing wrong with that unless you continue to string that person along. Commitment should be viewed as having more to gain than lose, so don’t make any promises to someone who you can’t see your forever with.

2. You fear giving up your freedom

Single people value their freedom, and for many, especially for those who have been single for such a long time, a committed relationship threatens that freedom. Having to answer to another person might not sound that appealing because every decision you make will have to be with your partner in mind, and that seems stifling to many. However, making decisions for your partnership is what love and commitment is all about, and if you’re not willing to forgo a little bit of freedom, then you’re not ready for commitment.

3. Your other priorities are more important

Committing yourself to somebody in mind, body and soul just sounds like too much effort and pressure for you. It might feel like you have to put everything else aside. But maybe your other priorities in life just can’t be put on hold. If your priorities are time-consuming, like finishing school, caring for an ailing family member or getting situated financially, then commitment might not be in the cards for you right now. And that’s perfectly reasonable when you have to prioritize your life.

You have to be willing to put your needs ahead of your partner’s needs in a relationship, so make sure that you have your life straightened out before embarking on a serious relationship.

4. You fear betrayal

You’re never more vulnerable than you are when you’re in a committed relationship, especially marriage. Your vows represent your commitment to one another, but unfortunately these promises aren’t necessarily guarantees. When you fully give yourself to someone, you’re taking on the possibility that your partner may let you down, and that’s a terrifying prospect.

For some, the thought alone of being cheated on is enough to get them to never fully commit to one person, especially if they’ve been burned before. Commitment issues stemming from infidelity become a security blanket to never fully commit. That way, a betrayal won’t hurt as bad if your whole heart was never fully committed. You can never know for sure what a partner might do to you, but you can definitely hedge your bets by choosing someone with integrity and values, and dating him or her long enough to really know their character. In truth, you have to be able to trust your partner with your life.

5. You’re just not ready for it

There’s nothing wrong with not being ready for a commitment to someone. Sometimes it’s your circumstances, state of mind, age, other priorities, or all of these factors combined. Maybe you don’t think you’re worthy or capable of being one half of a successful relationship. If you feel you’re just not ready for it, then take some time out to be alone to learn more about yourself and discover what your needs and wants are for your relationships and out of life. By strengthening who you are as a person, you’ll strengthen a future relationship and your chances of a healthy and long-lasting relationship increase.

If your partner exhibits signs of commitment phobia through his or her words and actions, and you’re ready to commit, you may have to let go of the relationship in order to give yourself what you want and need. You can’t pressure anyone into a life decision as big as marriage and you certainly shouldn’t want to. Chances are that you’ll feel your partner’s trepidation, and despite the heartache that follows this rejection, you have to move on to do what’s best for you.

There’s nothing wrong with being ultimately incompatible, but there is a problem with hanging onto a relationship where there are evident signs of commitment phobia. If you know it will never go anywhere, let go now before you waste too much time.

If you’re the commitment-phobe, don’t ever commit to someone because you feel under pressure to make a decision or just want to please your partner. You have to be honest with what you want and expect out of your relationship. Sometimes it’s the person that’s not right for you and other times it’s your situation in general.

Overcoming fear of commitment will happen when you find the right person, put faith into the prospect of commitment and sift through your fearful emotions to get to the heart of why you want to commit in the first place. It’s OK to enter into a committed relationship with fears, but don’t avoid identifying and evaluating your fears so that you never have to take the plunge. You’d surely be missing out on the best that life has to offer when you give in to your fear of commitment.

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