Is your boyfriend avoiding the question? Find out if he can commit
Relationships are relatively easy things – quite enjoyable and fulfilling even. It comes naturally for many, just like breathing. Many look forward to building lasting relationships and look forward to the dating stage that grows into something so much more. There are others, however, who are intimidated by the whole process.
Relationships are a challenge to those with commitment phobia. Although the term “commitment phobia” is not a diagnosis, per se, it is an actual state of being that many experiences. The main problem those who have commitment issues is that they find it challenging to stay in a relationship for the long-term. They still feel love, just like everyone else, but the feelings and emotions are more intense and could be intimidating and scary for them. Once anxiety with regards to the relationship has taken root, it can snowball into something insurmountable and overbearing for the person to handle.
It is these overwhelming anxiety that prevents people from developing and staying in a relationship for long periods – even though they do want to. They don’t look forward to that moment when they are pressed for a commitment. Because of the fears and anxiety, normal feelings could be misunderstood and mistranslated by the person experiencing commitment phobia. In the end, a potential relationship is pushed away.
Symptoms and causes of commitment phobia
There are many reasons why people admit to being intimidated by a relationship and the thought of commitment. Commitment phobia is typically caused by a past relationship that proved to be too traumatic for the person, making them uninclined to try again.
Some reasons are:
- Fear of the relationship ending abruptly with no warning signs
- Fear of not being in the “right” relationship
- Fear of repeating an unhealthy relationship that included abandonment, infidelity or abuse
- Having trust issues because of hurt from the past
- Childhood trauma or abuse
- Unmet childhood needs or attachment issues being attributed to future relationships
- Complicated family situations whether from the past or in the present
It is essential to know that there are many causes of why someone would have commitment issues when it comes to your relationship. Understanding them would be beneficial in how you would approach the next steps. If you’ve started to think that you are the problem why he is scared to commit to your relationship, the opposite could be true.
You haven’t met anyone from his side
Commitment phobes tend to compartmentalize their lives because of the anxiety that overlapping instances bring. If you have been together for more than a month with someone and have never met any of his friends, family, or co-workers, then he might be afraid of commitment. To introduce a special someone to his circle is a risk and at the same time shows he is serious and considers the relationship to have long term potential. To avoid this vital step in a relationship gives off a strong hint that the person does not see what you two have to last.
It was mentioned earlier that commitment-phobes want to have long term relationships and all its perks but are usually intimidated by them. The same rule applies: he might want to introduce you, but the feeling of wanting to hide that part of him is stronger. He wishes to avoid being caught like a deer in between headlights and having to explain himself in any situation.
You haven’t seen his home
Someone afraid of commitment lives a vagabond life – no one has been to his house. Moreover, if you are that lucky girl, you would only realize that their place is more like a hotel than a home. Having a place where he merely passes by to have a shower, change clothes or nap, and not something more permanent like a home is a sign that he applies the same concept on relationships.
You might be a couple, but you usually stay anywhere else but his house when you chill. You might think that your boyfriend is just shy, but it could indicate something more serious.
He’s a last-minute planner
Planning takes commitment. Moreover, if you’re dating someone with commitment issues, you would realize that long-term plans don’t work out with the guy. You have difficulty booking a flight and scheduling a vacation three or four months ahead because he has not looked that far forward or is afraid to. After all, he does not even see the relationship past the “this is for keeps” stage.
He backs out of plans on the last minute
Commitment-phobes also strive to maintain control over their schedules, so if you try to plan something for the both of you, chances are he would be late or cancel at the last minute. A guy backing out last-minute means he let his anxiety get the best of him. He had a hard time deciding if he could push through with the date or activity, then got freaked out at what could happen five dates after and the future; hence the last-minute cancellation.
He loses interest when things get serious
It is surprising to find out that the charming, charismatic guy you’re dating is a commitment phobe. These type of people love the chase but not the capture. His best foot is placed forward during the dating stage, which made you fall for him fairly quickly. Eventually, you start wondering why he seems too preoccupied to hang out with you, or bored when you’re together. Once they feel the chase is over, they start getting the anxiety of commitment and lose interest quickly when things get serious.
When you start talking about the future or even something as simple as getting a puppy which hints of anything long-term, you can feel the tension rising in the conversation. He starts panicking subtly and tries to avoid the subject or merely brushes it off.
Dating a commitment-phobe is very complicated because of the roller coaster ride they bring you into. One day he’s all prince charming and after a while starts giving out mixed signals – mainly due to the inward battle he’s going through regarding commitment.
A person interested in building something for the long run with you will act like it. They are sure of their actions and intentions. They will make time, they will exert effort, and they will be transparent. The opposite of this is a warning sign of someone afraid of commitment.
He isn’t into labels
“What are we?” you may ask your romantic interest. “You know I’m not into labels,” he replies. He might add, “What’s important is I love you.” In the end, you’re strung along a non-relationship-relationship which you can’t clearly describe to others. You guys might be together for a year, and he still considers you two dating.
He is attracted to unavailable romantic interests
When you ask about his past (and he was actually open about it), you realize a pattern – he’s only interested in those that aren’t available to enter a relationship. Whether it’s an unavailable woman, a one-night stand, or a short fling, he only wants the thrill of chasing someone he can’t permanently capture. This is one sign of someone who prefers something fleeting over commitment.
How to approach someone with commitment issues
So, you’ve got yourself a commitment-phobe. What now? Below are some ways to approach someone with issues when it comes to commitment.
1. Ask him directly
It will significantly help if you, as his partner, gently ask him to open up about his fear of commitment. This is the first step in addressing the issue and hopefully eliminating it.
2. Understand his point of view
Once he’s opened up about the reasons, you need to understand that it won’t be easy, especially if you want more and he’s choosing the opposite. From here, you need to decide on the next steps of the relationships. If he says he will work on it because he does see something with you, then you need to hold your ground and heart to fight on.
3. Take it one day at a time
If you’re relatively new in the relationship, then it would be best to enjoy each other without focusing too much on forever. This will only add unnecessary pressure on the guy, which could make him push you away without giving you a chance.
4. Decide if he is really the one
If you’ve been together for quite some time and a strain on the relationship is growing because of the elephant in the room not being addressed, then it will be up to you to decide certain things. It could mean ending the relationship and saving yourself more pain and heartbreak by enduring to no avail.
Being a commitment-phobe is not a bad or negative thing. Some people don’t want to be tied down to a relationship or long-term arrangement with anyone. It might have been a traumatic experience in the past, something they’re trying out for a while, or a preference – there are justifiable reasons for not wanting a relationship.
What’s essential with dating a commitment-phobe is communication. Both partners must be clear on their relationship status and on the same page as to what they want out of it. A woman who wants a husband from a commitment-phobe will end up badly hurt and disappointment.