What do you have in common with George Clooney, Adam Levine and Jack Nicholson? I hope the answer is “charm and good looks”, but if not, it could be because you – like these Hollywood hunks – have commitment issues. Clooney, Levine and Nicholson have notoriously gone through a litany of A-listers and models alike consecutively (and at times concurrently).
A commitment-phobe fears long-term relationships or marriage. Usually the fear stems from some traumatic event they experienced in their past – such as the death of a loved one or being cheated on by a spouse. Men are more likely to fear commitment but women are not immune to it by any means.
You may be at a point in your life where you see all of your friends settling down, getting married and having children. You wonder, what’s the big deal? If you are a commitment-phobe and want to change, it’s time to do some serious soul-searching. You are at a fork in the road and you can decide to let your fear control you, or you can take control of your fear. If you avoid commitment because of a traumatic experience with a partner, talk to someone (a counsellor, a Sydney psychologist, or even just a sympathetic friend). Analyse your previous relationships and determine what went wrong, and how you could handle things differently for a better outcome.
If you think you might be in a relationship with a commitment-phobe, you probably already know it. You knew it the moment you inadvertently used the word “we” when referring to yourself and your…um…”friend” and he winced. If you still need some help identifying a commitment-phobe, here are the tell-tale signs:
- Shifting careers from one extreme to another, multiple times (for example, from nanny to janitor to hostess)
- Refusing to own a pet, a home or a vehicle when they have the means to
- You have been dating for several months yet haven’t met any of his friends
- You leave a toothbrush at his house because you spend most nights there but he promptly hands it back to you, saying “you forgot this here”
- He balks when you ask him to save the date for your friend’s wedding in three months’ time
- He spent considerable time and effort “wooing” you and once you gave him the time of day, he lost interest
If you are quite certain that your guy is scared to commit, you have one of two choices: you can patiently wait for him to change (a female specialty) or you can quit wasting your time and move on to someone who is actually looking for a long-term relationship. There are plenty of proverbial fish in the sea, and believe it or not, some actually want a commitment.
If you picked the former, you may be in for a long road ahead. Do you actually believe that you will be able to change your partner? Or are you afraid of being alone? Realise that you may spend the entire duration of your relationship convincing him that you are worth sticking around for. Your patience and self-esteem will be put to the ultimate test. In the end, you may end up alone when your commitment-phobic partner gets freaked out and bails on you.
A commitment-phobe is not destined for a life of sad microwave dinners and cat hoarding. You can change if you want to. The first step is admitting your phobia. The next step is a desire to change. Remember that one day, when your hairline has receded, your teeth have been replaced by dentures and your bladder control is less-than-desirable, you are going to wish that you had someone beside you who loves you regardless.