It’s fair to say that many of us would like to be in a relationship with someone special. We love the romance and excitement and the idea of being with someone but when it comes down to it committing to a real live, actual person is harder than our imaginings would suggest. In a society where people (and specifically 20-something Millennials) struggle with high levels of F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) and bemoan signing a phone contract for a mere 24 months, committing to one person and one person alone can be down right scary.
Scared? Who me?
A fear of commitment doesn’t always just related to relationships but if someone has difficultly committing in other areas of their life, the chances are good that they will also face challenges in the area of committing to others; be they romantic connections, friends or family. Here are a few tell-tale signs that someone has a commitment phobia.
- They don’t like to agree to plans in advance. Someone who doesn’t want to commit will very often avoid giving a guarantee or promise that they will be available in advance. What if something better comes up or they change their mind?
- Their past relationships are mainly short-term connections. If there is a pattern of short and low commitment relationships, chances are that although there is a desire for companionship to a certain level, there is also a fear of getting too close, or maybe falling into a rut, or just becoming bored.
- They may have lots of friend but none of them are really close. Commitment phobes don’t necessarily only fear romantic connections but fear any commitment to other people.
- Commitment phobes will have a hard time defining relationships. Words like boyfriend or girlfriend will make them nervous and you can forget about the ‘love’ word. Anything that ties them down or restricts their freedom will be a stumbling block to someone who fears commitment.
What can be done?
Being afraid to commit, whether it’s to a relationship or to any other life decision can have many causes. It is a fear that may stem from dread of rejection. It could be triggered by a fear of missing out on something better. A fear of commitment might be caused by unrealistic expectations, looking for perfection or worrying that you will lose control of your life. Whatever the root of this fear is, there are ways to address the problem and move toward a healthier place where commitment is no longer a terrifying prospect.
Admit there is a problem.
It’s easier at time to go through life happily ignoring issues rather than facing them. Acknowledging that you are afraid is the only way that you are going to deal with the fear of commitment. So stop lying to yourself or justifying your behaviour and take an honest look at why you struggle to commit.
Be more discerning.
If you have found it hard to commit to the relationships you’ve had in the past, maybe you need to be more careful about which relationships you choose to get involved in. It’s hard to commit to someone you kind of like but you have some red flags waving. Make sure you have common interests and values. Choose carefully; but be realistic. No one is perfect but there are lots of amazing people in the world.
Try being considerate.
Not wanting to commit to plans or feeling like you want to swap the relationship you’re in for someone better or new, is at best rude and at worst, just plain nasty. How would you feel if someone decided to upgrade you for no better reason than there could be someone better around the corner? Being in a relationship is about considering the feelings of the other person and not just thinking about your self.
Take a chance and trust yourself.
Whether it’s a romantic relationship or a close friend, learn to trust your ability to judge people. If you are drawn to someone you are never going to find out how amazing that relationship could be unless you show you are willing to give yourself to the process.
Make relationships your priority.
Life can get extremely full; work commitments and responsibilities can quickly take up all your time but it’s your relationships that truly determine your quality of life. Put your energy into the relationships that will enrich your life and give you a chance to sow into someone else in a significant way.
Although many people feel this way, we shouldn’t be afraid to love. The ultimate example of what love should be is God. He is love and the Bible tells us that the kind of love God displays has no room for fear. God’s kind of love drives out all fear.
If you are afraid of committing or would like to know more about loving without fear, please leave a comment or click on the link.