- in Commitment
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Relationship fear is an inconspicuous little bugger than can disguise itself in many ways. It’s often difficult to detect unless we are willing to look more closely at ourselves and get radically honest with what we see.
Relationship fear can present itself in two ways:
Fear of commitment (running behavior) or
Fear of abandonment (grabbing behavior).
If a person brings fear into a relationship, it is likely to show up in one of these forms.
The irony is the Universe loves putting these fear types together! It is very likely the runner will continually “abandon” and the grabber will continually “smother” hence triggering one another’s fears all over the place. What a brilliant way to bring our shadows to light!
You, my dear one, might have been drawn to this article because you already suspect you could be a commitment phobe and are hoping to find some answers.
So let’s begin by getting absolutely clear.
Are You Commitment Phobic?
1. Do you find yourself picking on insignificant details about your partner? Do you focus on his superficial blemishes rather than looking at his heart and soul?
2. Do you feel the need to create distance after an emotionally intimate conversation? Do you find yourself needing a lot of space in relationships?
3. Do you find yourself running at the first sign of imperfection?
4. Do you have trouble sharing your feelings with him?
5. Do you feel a sense of being “trapped” or “engulfed” by a relationship? Perhaps a loss of freedom or independence?
6. Do you find yourself creating unnecessary drama in order to create a feeling of distance or autonomy?
If you’ve answered yes to a few or more of these questions, I applaud your self-honesty and awareness. You’ve just succeeded in taking the mandatory first step to recovery.
Fear of commitment happens because somewhere along the line, we “learned” that a committed relationship is a bad thing. Whether we experienced it ourselves or watched someone we love suffering and stuck in a bad situation, our psyche determined relationships are unsafe.
I want to express something very clearly to you…
This. Is. Fixable. You are not broken and you can find the relationship you’ve always dreamed of. It’s going to take some time and an uncompromising commitment, but I believe in you!
How Healing Begins:
1. Read, read and read some more (and/or watch videos) on the topic. Immerse yourself in learning all there is to know about commitment phobia. Be sure to find authors and speakers who resonate with you.
2. Practice, practice, practice what you are learning. We rewire our brain when we gain new knowledge and practice new thoughts.
3. Contact a conscious coach or therapist who deals in this area. Sometimes we need a little help and that is perfectly okay!
4. Don’t worry about outcome. Give yourself grace to be on the healing path. You will know when you’ve overcome your fear because your thoughts, behavior and attitude will reflect it.
Kristen Brown, Author & Certified Empowerment Coach – www.sweetempowerment.com
One of the many obstacles that can interfere with maintaining a healthy relationship is the fear of commitment.
It is important to recognize if you are experiencing this.
- Do you feel anxious when your partner talks about marriage or future plans with you?
- What feelings come up for you?
- What does a commitment look like to you?
- What kind of models, as far as relationships go, have you had growing up?
- Were your parents together while you were growing up?
- Are they together now?
Clearly there are a lot of things to think about when we think about the fear of commitment. It is important to be open with your partner and honest about your expectations of the relationship. Many people feel that they have to give up their identity and independence, if they are to get married. This should not be the case.
In a healthy relationship, both partners should have time alone, time with friends, and time together.
I am sure you had your own life before you met this person. It is certainly not required to give this up in order to enter into a committed relationship. Talking through these things with your partner will help relieve the anxiety of the unknown. It is important to know what your partners expectations are for the relationship as well. A conversation about what each of you want your marriage to look like can be very helpful.
Relationships are hard and they take work.
No one enters into a marriage expecting or preparing for it to end in a break up, or a divorce. You have to take a leap of faith since we don’t know how things will turn out. We can only control our own behavior and what we bring to the relationship. Think about what you need from your partner to feel safe and secure. Ask your partner what they need.
It is normal to feel scared to enter into something such as a committed relationship but we don’t our fears to push our partner away. It is important to be aware of your feelings, and share them with your partner, so you can grow together in the relationship.
Trisha Swinton, LPC, LMFT – www.trishaswintoncounseling.com
It’s not uncommon to have a fear of commitment—will love last, will I get hurt, abandoned, rejected, am I making the best choice for myself?
However, some people fear commitment more than others and this fear gets in the way of them finding lasting love. In fact, these people often end up alone or in an unhappy relationship and don’t understand why.
Here are some ideas to consider when assessing the nature of your commitment fears.
#1. You love falling in love more than the day-to-day routine of actually loving your partner
Falling in love is a glorious feeling—the world is our oyster and we want to be with our beloved every minute of every day. Moreover, we can’t imagine feeling any differently, that is, until we realize that our partner is as flawed as we are and difficulties crop up. If, at this point in relationships, you usually decide to bail out, you may be afraid of the effort it takes to forge a partnership that meets your mutual needs.
#2. You didn’t have a great relationship with your parents and to you relationships mean more minuses than pluses
The relationship we have with our parents (or whoever raised us) forms a template of how we think and feel about future relationships. If your caretakers were kind, fair, loving, compassionate, encouraging, and struck a good balance between being there for you when you needed them as well as fostering your autonomy, you’ll likely feel great about a permanent partnership.
If, however, they were generally intrusive or neglectful or an unpredictable mix of the two, made you feel badly about yourself and your abilities, or gave you the impression that closeness and dependence were unpleasant, you’ll probably not be eager for involvement.
#3. Your parents had a dysfunctional relationship and the whole idea of a long-term partnership seems like more trouble than it’s worth
If your parents didn’t model the joys of a life-long partnership and, instead, made commitment look like a battlefield with no end of the war in sight, you might want to run away from repeating that scene yourself. Again, if your template for commitment is more negative than positive, even if you don’t realize that this is the model you’re working off of, why would you seek long-term bonding?
#4. You’ve experienced relationships which have not made you happy or ended well
This is a major reason for fearing commitment. If you believe that you’re not cut out for long-term relationships or that you can’t manage to choose someone who is, it’s natural that you’d feel fearful. It makes sense that you don’t want to invest time and energy in love only to get hurt again.
Without judging yourself, consider what frightens you about commitment and do some serious reflection on how you could think, feel or act differently. Talk with trusted friends or a therapist if need be. Make sure that commitment is a positive, not a negative in your mind.
Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. – www.karenrkoenig.com
When we hear the term “fear of commitment” we often associate it with men who are reluctant to give up the freedom of being single.
Since society tells us this is a man’s issue women often struggle to observe the presence of this fear in themselves. In doing so we don’t give this complex fear the exploration or compassion it deserves.
If you realize you are hesitant to make a commitment to your romantic partner do some exploring to see exactly what’s holding you back. People who fear commitments likely hold subconscious negative beliefs that prevent them from taking the plunge.
To begin this process I suggest pondering the following:
1. Look at your history of commitment hinging decisions (not just those pertaining to relationships).
Do you make decisions trustfully, feeling a strong sense of confidence in your ability to make a sound choice? Or do you dread decisions and passively choose the safest option involving the least risk and commitment possible?
If you struggle with decisions, one or both of the following may be true. You may distrust your ability to make good choices. Maybe in your past people made decisions for you, and from this you gathered that you were incapable of making them yourself. If this sounds like you, slowly rebuild confidence by intentionally making decisions for yourself independently.
Another root may stem from a deep need to be a perfectionist.
When we don’t feel perfection is attainable we avoid committing to decisions and giving things an honest try. Remember that a perfect relationship doesn’t exist. Release yourself from this expectation, and allow yourself to make mistakes as you learn and grow in your relationship.
2. Look at your past relationships and the examples of relationships you’ve been exposed to throughout your life.
What picture did they paint for you? Were they painful? Did they leave you subconsciously never wanting to be in a relationship where escaping wasn't an option?
Often people that are afraid of commitment are deeply avoidant and even avoid their own inner turmoil. Relationships act as mirrors. They not only force unconditional presence with our partners, they force unconditional presence with ourselves. In a healthy relationship running away from emotions isn’t an option, and this can be really scary.
To begin to loosen this fear start by committing to staying present with yourself.
Don’t run away from and distract yourself from your own inner conflicts. Be present with and unconditionally accepting of any emotions you have and attempt to resolve them instead of avoiding them, just as you would a conflict in a healthy relationship with a partner.
If you still find yourself resistant to making a commitment because you think dodging commitment is a viable method to avoid pain, I urge you to remind yourself of the pain you'd endure if you never got over this fear, and never tasted the deep love and security of a committed relationship. This pain would be much worse.
Holly Niederhofer, BA - www.yourbrilliantlight.com
Most people think that it’s men who suffer from fear of commitment. Those messages are in movies, where it takes a special woman to get the bachelor to commit. It is shown in chick-lit books, where the female character usually has a “crappy” boyfriend in the beginning but ends up finding a new guy in the end. This message permeates women and women have come to believe it. What if I told you that men and women deal with a fear of commitment?
Women have their own fear of commitment and it shows up differently for women than it does for men.
If you have had a series of relationships that haven’t worked out for you, here are some other signs that a fear of commitment might be at the heart of the issue.
1. You pick men who are wrong for you
- For anyone who is a serial dater and finds men primarily on the internet, this is a very common thing to happen. However, if you are finding men at work, through friends, online and in a variety of places and it’s still not working out, it might be you and not them.
2. You break up with someone after a few months
- If you haven’t had a relationship for longer than a few months, it might be a fear of commitment on your part. Something happens after a few months of dating, you move into the “love” stage. If you have a lot of fear about love, it might be difficult to move into that stage, therefore you leave before it happens.
3. You point out strange things about men
- This is another signal that you might have commitment issues. Some of these strange things might look like: “His hair is too long”, “He separates all of the food on his plate”, “All of his clothes are in a huge pile in his closet”, and the list can go on. These are lukewarm signs that you take to mean more than they are and you decide it’s enough information to walk away.
4. You get scared to get close to a guy
- Are you scared to fall in love? Are you scared to move in together? Are you scared to say “I love you”? Being nervous in a relationship is normal. Who is going to say I love you first? Are we going to get married? But if you feel fear and panic, it might signify something bigger than just normal relationship jitters.
5. You move in and out of relationships quickly
- It’s normally a red flag when people jump headfirst into a relationship. It usually means they are going to jump headfirst out of the relationship. Jumping in and out of relationships can be a sign that you are not ready for commitment.
Working on your story about men is one way to move past your fear of commitment. Surrounding yourself around healthy and available men is another way to start seeing relationships differently. You may also want to work with a therapist to address any emotional baggage you may carry that is keeping you from being fully present and committed in a relationship.
Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.amandapattersonlmhc.com
One of the biggest barriers for a healthy, loving relationship is a fear of commitment.
While it's usually pretty easy to notice fear of commitment in others when you're dating, it can sometimes be difficult to acknowledge the same fear in ourselves that we may not even be aware of.
Intimacy is scary - we can become afraid that we're going to merge with the other person - and at the same time, we WANT to merge with the other person. Men have these same fears and feelings as well.
See how many of these signs of a fear of commitment sound familiar to you (some of them are very subtle):
- Pining after men who are unavailable or not interested in a relationship with you
- Never feeling attracted to the "nice guys" who want to date you
- Feeling irritated, annoyed, or otherwise "turned off" when a man is pursuing you
- Not wanting to open up to a man too quickly (even about small things)
- "Shutting down" or "freezing up" when a man's energy is coming towards you
- Having stringent external requirements for men who want to date you
- Keeping your heart guarded at all times
- Constantly looking for "faults" in men who want to love you
When I was single, I did ALL of these things at some point or another. My fear of commitment and my resistance to opening up and letting men get close to me was blocking love (and the right kind of men) from coming towards me.
At the heart of all of my resistance to letting love in was FEAR.
The good news is - it's totally possible to turn this around (I did it myself and see my clients doing it every day)! The first step is becoming aware of what's holding you back.
See if you can start identifying what's holding you back and start opening up in baby steps. Start in low-risk situations so you don't shock your system and trigger your defenses.
Often times, it's not the fear itself - but the running away from fear that's keeping us where we are and holding us back from love.
In other words, you want to FEEL your fear - and the rest of your feelings - without acting OUT of them by keeping yourself at a place where the kind of love and men that you want can't get to you.
When we start EMBRACING our fear - and all of the other feelings we'd rather stuff down, run away from, and NOT feel - we start organically moving toward where we want to be instead of staying stuck where we are in the moment.
Helena Hart, M.A. - www.helenahartcoaching.com
We often associate fear of commitment with the male gender but the reality is that many women face the same issue. In order to understand what causes us to hesitate to commit, we need to understand where the fear comes from.
What are we so afraid of?
It is different for everyone, but there are some common fears that hold us back from really committing to love, let’s explore a few.
One major fear that many women face is the fear of losing themselves in a relationship.
You’ve worked hard to gain your independence and the idea of getting lost in love can be terrifying!
The thing to remember is that in the right, healthy relationship you will maintain your identity, your passions, your friendships and family relationships, etc. You won’t have to sacrifice yourself and these partnerships can actually assist us in expanding ourselves.
The right person can bring richness and depth to your life and also allow you to more fully come to know yourself, they can serve as a giant mirror that reflects the good, bad, and the in between so that you can make necessary adjustments to grow as a person and in the relationship.
Another fear is the fear of getting hurt or being rejected.
Your ultimate desire could be to be in a healthy, happy relationship, but we sometimes block ourselves from committing due to these fears. They usually stem from some underlying belief that you are truly not worthy of love. Maybe you were hurt in childhood, you’ve faced abandonment issues, or you’ve dated men who’ve made you feel insecure and unworthy, etc.
To be in a truly healthy relationship you have to be whole within yourself and truly BELIEVE that you are WORTHY of love. In this space, you will lose that fear of rejection as you understand your own value and self worth.
There’s also the fear of missing out.
Feeling that if you commit to this relationship you close yourself off from a possible “better” one… In these moments we have to be true to ourselves, to our wants, needs and desires, if someone’s truly not meeting them it might be best to walk away. If they are meeting them or there is love and potential, try truly BEING in the NOW moment present to the love in front of you and just allow. It will naturally expand or flow away from you but you won’t be blocking the potential.
There are no guarantees in love.
We always want the answers, the security, etc. but the evidence will only lead us so far, from there we have to take a leap of faith. When you trust, you relinquish the outcome to love and you open yourself to receive an incredibly fulfilling relationship. Regardless what happens in the end, every single time you open your heart and love you are better for it, so don’t allow fear of commitment to hold you back.
Ashley Davene, Relationship Counselor - www.ashleydavene.com
“Commitment phobes” (CPs) come in many shapes and sizes.
However, for simplicity sake, we can consider two basic varietals—1) those who consciously avoid serious attachments and connections, and 2) those who remain unaware of their fear. The latter group may even vehemently deny having a fear of commitment and point to all sorts of extraneous reasons as to why solid intimate relationships don’t occur in their lives.
Clearly, if you fall into the first category, you bypass the guessing game involved in knowing whether you are a CP. You may not know the reason for your avoidance of commitment, but you definitely know that seriously attaching to a guy is not your cup of tea! But if you rest in the second category wherein you lack awareness of your propensity to run from intimacy, you’re going to need to practice much more detective work in order to self-diagnose.
Not sure? Check out the six warning signs that you may be a CP:
1. You seek men who also fear commitment. These men do the dirty work for you. After all, what better way to camouflage your own fear than by picking someone whose fear overrides yours?
2. Just as things start progressing to a greater level of attachment, you sabotage any further momentum. For instance, you pick a career path, requiring you to move to another city. Or you accept a project consuming so much of your time you won't have the "energy" to put into a romantic relationship. Again, you dodge the bullet!
3. Your friends highlight your fear of commitment, yet you tell them you just haven't found "the right one.” While this might be true, quite possibly you disregard their insights because of commitment phobia.
4. You somaticize your fear: i.e., your body holds the fear without your conscious awareness. As such, you experience vague symptoms not created by an actual medical diagnosis (e.g. chronic headaches), and these worsen as a potential for commitment dangles in front of you.
5. You nitpick at small flaws. Hey, if something’s wrong with him – you avoid focusing on what might be going on with you.
6. You live in the "I just don't want to get hurt" mode. Hence, you camouflage your CP by focusing instead on your fear of rejection.
Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with choosing not to be in an intimate relationship. However ideally, that should be a “choice,” not something determined by fear. But if fear drives the car, you may wish to figure out and deal with the source/cause so you can then learn how to approach rather than avoid.
Also, I recommend you take on this challenge earlier in life rather than later on-otherwise your fear could become like emotional cellulite—growing thicker and harder to remove with every passing year.
So do you want to conquer your fear?
Do some digging and create a new attitude toward love and intimacy!
Dr. Debra Mandel – www.drdebraonline.com
When confronted with a challenge, the committed heart will search for a solution. The undecided heart searches for an escape.
---Andy Andrews (sayinggoodbye.org)
When one talks of fear of commitment, it’s usually the woman referring to the man in her life. However, this can, also, be a woman’s concern about herself when she resists going forward in the relationship with her man.
Fear of commitment in a relationship means being afraid of marriage; being afraid of living with one person forever.
What is so frightening about the marital bond? When you hear the words, “till death do us part,” what goes through your mind? Are they happy thoughts or scary thoughts? If they are scary thoughts, then you may have a fear of commitment. It’s natural for an ongoing long-term relationship to evolve into a more permanent bond in marriage.
When you find yourself not able to take this next step, you need to question yourself as to why.
It usually comes down to being afraid of the changes that come along with being committed to one person. Marital life can be unpredictable. If something happens in your relationship that you might not like, you may feel trapped.
What are those changes of concern?
Are they coming from your previous experiences with relationships that didn’t work out and you don’t want to risk putting yourself in harm’s way again?
Or did you grow up in a family where your parents’ relationship suffered and they may have divorced?
If so, you may be projecting negative elements into your present relationship that have nothing to do with him.
Below are three additional areas of concern that may give rise to a woman’s fear of commitment in her relationship with her man:
1. What are your expectations of being in a relationship with only one man?
Will he be able to make you happy the rest of your life? Are you afraid of getting bored easily and want to move on? Are you afraid of losing your freedom?
Healthy relationships promote interdependent activates of each other where there’s freedom-of-choice independent endeavors supported for each member in addition to couple time. You have the power to create your own exciting life within your relationship. Only you can make yourself happy.
2. Fear of commitment can be felt when you want what you want and you don’t want to consult someone else or be accountable to anyone else for it.
Yes, marriage does involve some personal scarifies for the sake of supporting the viability of the relationship where each member takes into account the other’s feelings to work as a team and reap maximum rewards for both. Try to look at the advantages of having companionship and sharing your life with someone who loves and cares about you.
3. Are you afraid of having children? Are you afraid of what your role of wife will be in marriage?
Do you think you are even worthy of having a great relationship or capable of doing your part in a successful and healthy long-term relationship?
All of these concerns can be put to rest by discussing them with your man. What expectations do you both have for each other in the relationship? Premarital counseling can also help sort this out so you don’t let these fears prevent you from taking the next step to wedded bliss. Sharing the ride can certainly have its ups and downs but having someone there to hold you and be on your side no matter what is absolutely awesome and well worth the risk of committing yourself to the right man!
Dr. Joanne Wendt – www.drjoannewendt.com
What does commitment mean to you?
How do you show commitment in your relationships?
Commitment is shown on two different levels: in ‘fact’, through an action such as marriage, and in ‘belief and attitude’, for example, staying in the relationship no matter what.
Just because you are married or living with someone does not mean you are in a committed relationship.
You, or your husband/partner, may be in the relationship because you do not want to be on your own and you will leave if someone or something better comes along. This relationship is committed in ‘fact’ due to being married/sharing your lives together, but your beliefs and attitudes are NOT committed.
If your relationship is to succeed, there needs to be a deep level of commitment from you and your partner.
Without commitment, the likelihood of the relationship lasting is really small and no amount of therapy, counseling or coaching is going to help.
Commitment takes time to develop. The longer you are in a relationship, the deeper the level of commitment (not always the case).
On a conscious level, ask yourself: Is this the right relationship for me? If it is, is your goal for the relationship, commitment?
If not, do you have a fear of commitment?
- When you get into a relationship and things start to get ‘too serious’, do you ‘end it’ and move on to the next relationship?
- Does someone telling you they love you fill you fear of being consumed and you feel suffocated?
- Do you value your independence, personal and financial freedom too much but yet still want a partner?
- Is this a pattern in your relationships? If it is, you may have unproductive behavior patterns that are sabotaging your ability to have a loving, fulfilling and committed relationship.
Adults who fear, and avoid, commitment actually want, and desire, an intimate relationship, but because of their fear of rejection and not wanting to fail in relationships and get hurt, they avoid committing in ‘belief and attitude’.
Coaching does not look at, or address underlying psychological causes of fear of commitment. Coaching does, however, help you to understand your attitudes and beliefs about commitment and practical ways to change these so you can have a loving, fulfilling and committed relationship.
Sharon Craig, Relationship Coach – www.coach2connect.co
A fear of commitment is common for many.
Having been hurt in the past or betrayed by someone you loved can lead to many trust issues and even self-sabotage in future relationships. If you have struggled to find a partner unsuccessfully, it may be time to take a long compassionate look at yourself and your own relationship habits.
Many patterns of relationship behavior stem from a fear of commitment.
You may push another person away before they have the chance to push you away, even when they had no intention of pushing you away. Another pattern is choosing men who live some distance away which makes it harder to get closer. Alternatively, you may choose someone who is emotionally unavailable and therefore cannot go deeper with you in commitment.
These are unconscious patterns of behavior that can be made conscious with more awareness of yourself.
It’s easy to get caught up in focusing so much on our partner that we forget about our own behaviors and choices. The more self-awareness you have, the more you learn and the more you grow. With self-knowledge, there is more power to understand your own doubts and identify any unconscious commitment fears.
When we take a step back from ourselves and look at our patterns, we can get a better sense of what we are attracting. We tend to attract to ourselves what we believe we deserve.
What kind of man are you attracting?
Look at the partners you have been with and be honest with yourself about what you are choosing. Also, surrender to what you really want. If you had it, could you really receive it?
Give yourself permission to go for what you want, but do so with self-awareness, patience and compassion.
If you really want a committed relationship, stand in your self-worth and know that you deserve it. We can often be our own worst enemy, especially when we are not conscious and aware of how we are limiting ourselves. Notice if you have any resistance or fear about commitment that is related to how you feel about yourself. If that is the case, take time for yourself to get know yourself before getting involved with another just yet.
When you notice your patterns, stay in compassion and have patience and intent to change them.
Once you are aware of your own behaviors that played into past relationships that did not work, you can take control and choose differently next time. When you make different choices, you are on the road to more positive self-worth and lasting change.
Dr. Lisa M. Templeton, Phd - www.interpersonalhealing.com
The second step is to observe how you respond to these right individuals.
The right type of individuals are those that demonstrate healthy behaviors and responses to you. If you find you become uneasy, reactive or distance, and act on behaviors that are not responsive, then there may be a fear of being close or making a commitment.
In many cases, there may be a fear of someone loving you in a way that has hurt you in the past, and therefore one might find themselves avoiding commitment since it equates to hurt that may have been very traumatizing.
If you find yourself avoiding or instigating behaviors or actions that would jeopardize, or push away this right type of individual, there may be more to explore with regards to why and how that feels beneficial to you and what you are protecting.
Healthy love can feel threatening if you have been hurt in the past.
In many cases, some might find they go to a safe bet of not being involved with someone healthy and loving and rather act on an attraction to an individual or individuals that are not enhancing well being, and are putting personal goals in jeopardy as a way to trauma bond or avoid being vulnerable, due to an unconscious perception of being in control. In many cases, these individuals may serve as a distraction due to not being fully available, whether married or involved with someone for example.
The goal is to determine whether you prefer to continue being in a place of fear or if you would prefer to take action steps to create healthy love in your life.
It takes courage and risk, and only you can make that decision, and yes you may get hurt again, but you also may experience love.
Lisa Bahar, MA, LMFT - www.lcbahar.wix.com
This is a big scary subject because most people that fear commitment are not aware that they do!
They always have “reasons.” And they are good ones! But most times these “reasons” are simply disguises for the fear of commitment.
Most people will say that what they are really afraid of is being trapped somehow. But the deeper truth of the fear of commitment is a conscious or unconscious belief that no one can or will love us.
So, instead of taking the risk of being rejected, we just won’t engage in the first place.
It’s easy to slip into this. It is a kind of avoidance.
We can do it in many ways, and all those ways will make perfect and logical sense to us at the time: like working too much, or not taking care of our bodies, or getting another cat when we already have three! These are just a few examples of potential self-sabotages. There are thousands more. And all of these can become excuses, justifications, and blocks to being in, and staying in, an enduring relationship.
In our heart of hearts we all want to love and be loved. Falling in love and committing to someone means taking a risk. Love requires it.
It is true, there are no guarantees. It might not work.
But from a spiritual perspective, this entire life experience is about love. How you love, who you love, that you love, is the whole point! And letting someone love you, and you loving them is one of the fastest learning paths to a spiritually aware life that there is.
So, take a step. Take the risk. Timing is everything.
Are you ready to really love, to open your heart and find real union with a partner that is ready, too? Then, love will surely meet you. Do you need love to fill up the empty space, or to make you feel good about yourself? Then, love will surely be diverted.
Love is complicated.
Love is simple.
When you are able to love yourself and be open to letting someone love you; and when you are able to love someone else in that same way, love cannot help but find you. And that love may surprise you utterly, and be the greatest love of all.
Diana Lang, Counselor and Author of Opening to Meditation – www.dianalang.com
In college, I was called a “commitment-phobe” by family and friends because whenever a boyfriend seemed to be getting serious about me, I would end the relationship.
For a while, I identified with that not-so-endearing term and all that it meant. However, after years of doing my own inner work of understanding and releasing my own relationship issues, I can look back on that time in college and see that I wasn’t afraid of committing; I simply knew what I wanted in a partner and was willing to wait for it. I wish I had known back then how to differentiate my fears from my intuition!
Relationships, by nature, are going to push our buttons, trigger our insecurities, and demand that we get out of our comfort zone. How do we know when our fear is telling us to leave a relationship, and when it is a sign for deeper work?
There is a three step process that I like to use, and frequently share with my clients, that helps us understand what our resistance is trying to tell us:
1. What is the emotion I am feeling?
Perhaps the resistance to commitment comes up as fear; but it could also surface as anger, annoyance, sadness, or feeling shut down. Name the feeling so you can do something about it!
2. What is the story the emotion is telling me?
Let it speak. This is how you learn where the fear is coming from. What comes out may sound irrational; allow it without judging it. Our minds are filled with irrational thoughts; we want to act on the good ones, and this is how we find out which ones those are!
When we are unconscious of what an emotion is telling us, we could end up making a relationship decision based on an old, worn out belief, or on an unresolved past hurt. We want each step we take in a relationship to be based on real-time facts, observations, and clear senses.
3. What new perspective could I take that will calm me?
This is when we listen within ourselves, beyond the emotion. Is what the emotion saying to you a pattern in your relationships? Is it showing you something new about yourself? Is it warning you about a pattern you are noticing in the other person?
Once you can determine the emotion and what it’s trying to show you, you can discern if it is time for some inner work on past issues to clear the way for moving to the next level in your current relationship; or if you do indeed need to move on.
Before you deem yourself a “commitment-phobe” and run the other direction in an otherwise healthy relationship, take some time to look deeper within yourself for clarity and confidence in your decision-making. Your emotions will guide you to higher ground as you take time to consciously listen, discern, and act from intuition instead of fear.
Lynn Barrette, LCSW - www.dynamiccounseling.info
Fear is a sign that there is a problem. Just like pain—emotional or physical—is a signal that you need to take better care of yourself.
What might this fear of commitment involve?
Fear of loss, hurt, failure (lack of confidence), making the wrong choice, of intimacy and deep emotional connection
Fear of losing a sense of self, becoming an appendage of or subordinate to a man
Fear of being smothered or engulfed
Fear of betrayal, rejection, or abandonment
Fear of another’s commitment to you or lack of commitment to you
Fear of emotional attachment
Fear of change. Change can be scary
Needing to be in control because you don’t trust anyone else
Are you falling in love with someone unavailable or unattainable?
Does the idea of marriage seem boring or a trap. Can you let go of past relationship heartache? Can you let go of past relationship pain?
For most of us, being in a committed relationship may be the hardest thing we ever do.
You may not want to make the effort that a long term committed relationship requires.
You may just not be ready.
On the other hand, it’s not necessarily fearful or irrational to consider wisely before committing yourself fully to another.
You may feel you are compromising your happiness just so you’re not alone.
This fear of being alone often leads women to accept less than they desire, less than they are worth.
When you are committed to becoming the best possible you, you will not be lonely.
Each day is an opportunity to live fully, to embrace life. Deciding to love is an act of courage. To love is to commit ones self without guarantees, and there are no guarantees when it comes to another human being. Are you dedicated to living life fully?
Dr. Mary Ella Viehe, PhD, LMFT - www.makingloveinmarriage.com
It is important to recognize your own baggage and what you are bringing with you from the past to a current relationship.
A fear of commitment can manifest in different ways.
It can be a need to keep your bank/spending accounts separate, a refusal to introduce him as you significant other or the inability to move in with him.
What are some of the beliefs and attitudes you have about commitment?
Do you have trust issues and are you weary of his intentions?
Are you afraid to lose yourself in the relationship?
Be mindful of these issues you may have and how are they manifesting in your current relationships.
Learn from your experiences.
Evaluate what worked for you in the past.
Why did it work and what made it easier to commit in that situation but not others. Reflect on what did not work too.
What needs do you have in a relationship around independence and space? Do these needs influence your desire to commit?
Have you been hurt so badly before that you are just constantly anxious about taking it to the next level and committing to the relationship?
Are you experiencing triggers that increase your fear of commitment in the current relationship?
Commitment is a change in the status of your relationship.
This is a big step and something you want to be as sure of as possible.
Commitment can be scary if you are not ready and feel pressured by external factors.
Check in with yourself to make sure this is what you want. Don’t force yourself to do something you are not ready to do. Check in with him and talk about your fears. If he is rushing you, ask yourself why he is in a hurry. You should be able to set the pace of your relationship. You don’t want to keep him hanging forever, but if he respects you, he will listen and be supportive. If he loves you, he will be able to reassure you and give you the space you need to meet him where he is.
If he dismisses your anxiety about commitment and is not supportive of your feelings, this is a red flag.
Sometimes our anxieties about commitment come from our childhood and what we observed about relationships then. Give yourself the space and time you need to work it out. Sometimes it may be that you are in different places in your life and it is just not meant to be. Others times, you may just need a little patience and reassurance to help you feel safe taking it to the next level and committing. Talk to a therapist.
Work on identifying your fears and where your anxiety about commitment comes from.
It is normal to have some anxiety before becoming mutually exclusive and committing to more in relationship. Take it slow and be mindful that you are listening to your heart.
Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net
Commitment, the act of promising to do or give something to someone.
A simple definition for a complicated word. It is a word that evokes fear and anxiety among many, but how come? Well, it is due to two main key words in the definition, promise and someone. It may not make sense, why would those two words hold so much power? It is in the context.
Let’s start with promise.
To promise something to someone means a longstanding agreement, your word. It involves the future. Staying in the present cam be more comfortable than thinking about what can, and some cases will happen.
Now, what about the term, someone?
People can be very intimidating because on some level your actions impact them and vice versa. That means there is a risk of caring about someone, and yes, the risk of getting hurt. What a big risk it is, the heart is at stake. The pain, the heart ache, and devastation that may rise are all plausible possibilities. But, so are the possibilities of happiness, love, and growth.
We grow by experiencing and learning new things, which yes, involves others. If you stay in your bubble, and don’t let people in close, you won’t grow into your full potential.
With all of this said, how can you tell if you have a fear of commitment?
First, if you have to ask yourself that question, then chances are you have a commitment problem.
Trust your intuition.
You have probably noticed a trend in your life, a pattern, which is telling.
Second, speaking of trends, have you noticed that your relationships with others are distant, surface level, no deep connection? This can involve both romantic and platonic relationships. There is the fear of letting people in too close because then they would have the potential to hurt you.
What about trust though?
Trust is hard because again, what if it is violated? A person who is afraid of commitment is living on the what if’s instead of what is. Distance, distance, distance. Many short term relationships, with no titles, such as boyfriend or girlfriend. Who needs titles because that would involve commitment.
Finally, the tall tale sign that a person is afraid of commitment is as mentioned above, the word itself evokes fear.
The sheer mention of the word causes the person to clam up, heart race, avoidance of the topic, and yes, the all dreaded remarks like, “let’s just see where things go.”
Do any of these sound familiar?
If so, want to change it?
You have already made the first step by recognizing that there is a problem in your life, preventing you from establishing and maintaining fruitful relationships.
Now, try noticing the trends that are present in your past and current interactions with people.
Is it something that you want to change?
If it is not, then change will not occur; you have to want to. Next, set small goals for yourself.
If you push people away, start by letting them in close by showing them the true you. Divulge something personal, allow yourself to be vulnerable. You can do it. You have made a courageous step already by confronting your problem. Good luck!
Robin Ennis, LMSW, CPC – www.prominentpathways.org
Do you start sweating at the thought of being “stuck” with the same partner for the rest of your life?
It can be so easy to see from the outside when someone else is afraid to commit.
We may be quick to say that “they must have a fear of commitment because they’re X age and still not married” or you observe them cheating every time they’re in a relationship.
Maybe you notice that they always seem to be in long distance relationships and keeping people at arm’s length.
In order to identify if you have a fear of commitment, you’re going to need to take an honest look at yourself, including your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Ask yourself these questions and see if any of them resonate with you.
Perhaps people have pointed some of these things out to you before, and you may have been quick to defensively proclaim that you’re not afraid of commitment, but if you can relate to these questions, you might want to think again…
1. Do I seem to have impossibly high standards for potential partners? Would I let friends get away with the types of things that I will not tolerate in a dating relationship?
2. Do I close myself off to becoming emotionally vulnerable and letting down my walls?
3. Am I quick to break up with someone when the going gets tough, rather than try to communicate my concerns and work through things?
4. Do I often worry that all the fun in my life would be history if I were to get married? Or that my partner will try to change me and I won’t even recognize myself eventually?
5. Do I value my freedom and independence more than the idea of sharing my life and my dreams with another person?
6. Have I been finding myself in relationship after relationship with emotionally unavailable people? Do I tend to date “jerks” that wouldn’t possibly make a good life partner?
7. Do I cringe at the idea of people getting married and wonder why people would lock themselves into a situation like that?
8. Have I cheated while being in relationships before? Has it been a pattern for me?
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the red flags that you may see in yourself if you look close enough.
If you’re answering yes to these questions, it may be time to get honest with yourself and figure out what it is about being in a committed relationship that scares you.
Would you ultimately like to be in a healthy and loving relationship but tend to sabotage your chances of getting to that point?
Awareness is the first step.
Marni Goldberg, LMFT, LPCC – www.mindfulmatterscounseling.com
If you are wondering whether you have a fear of commitment – or – “commitment phobia” as it is sometimes called, then a good way of figuring this out is to use what I call the “look back” technique.
This is JUST what it sounds like – you need to look back on all your former relationships to see if you can see a pattern there.
So ask yourself these questions:
1. Do you get nervous when you feel like your partner is getting “too close?”
2. Does it seem like there is ALWAYS something “wrong” with a person you are seeing?
3. Do things start out great and then go downhill historically?
4. Is there a slight feeling of relief when a relationship ends? Think about this even if there is the slightest, smallest sense of relief.
If you answered YES to 3 out of 4 of these, you can be pretty sure that you might have an issue with this.
There is an immense amount of research on relationships that clearly suggests that how we grew up and our family of origin has a strong influence on how we see relationships.
So what to do?
Well, now you might want to think about these questions:
1. What do you think scares you when you think about committing to someone in a relationship?
2. Is there something in your past life (specifically, from when you were a child/teen growing up in your family-of-origin) that might be influencing how you feel about really committing to a relationship?
3. Have you had bad experiences with relationships in the past? For example, have you felt abandoned by someone you love at any point in your life?
4. Did your father or mother struggle with substance abuse (particularly alcohol) while you were growing up?
If you answered YES to 3 out of 4 of these, then it is no wonder that you are struggling with commitment issues in your relationships.
Consider seeking your own therapy or else couples’ therapy with your partner - this will help you figure out what is going on.
Kirsten Lind Seal, PhD, LMFT - www.kirstenlindseal.com
He’s not tall enough. His laugh is annoying. He didn’t walk me to my car/the subway after our date. I didn’t get any clear signals he was into me. Do you find yourself constantly feeling convinced that a first or even second or third date will never go anywhere?
If so, you may have a fear about giving any man a chance to really connect with you. A woman may grow deeply tired of the dating scene when it seems to become a revolving door of disappointments, failing to realize that she’s sabotaging herself.
So how do you know if you’re afraid of commitment when it comes to dating?
--You Zero in on the small things
While it’s important to know your deal breakers, frequently getting hung up on small details about the way a man looks or behaves when dating is a major red flag to me that a woman is hesitant about commitment. She’ll inevitably find something that bothers her in order to protect herself from ever really getting to know a guy--and from him ever really getting to know her.
--You go after/fantasize about men who are unavailable
Many women find themselves ensnared in a series of dates or relationships with men who do not make appropriate long term partners. Getting involved with cheaters, those with impulse control issues, and so called “bad boys” who are enticing yet dangerous, can be a common theme.
When this occurs repeatedly, a woman might give all guys a bad rap, and generalize in order to protect herself from getting hurt. She also may choose to ignore red flags that are present from the beginning, because she’s so enamored with the fantasy of being with this type of guy, when in the end he’s destined to leave her feeling discouraged.
--You use work or other activities as a buffer
If you have a pattern of busying yourself with things that interfere with dating, you may likely have some avoidance issues when it comes to deepening a romantic relationship. Women who are workaholics, in particular, often have trouble in communicating and being with their partners consistently.
As women climb professional ladders more in today’s society, some of us also run the risk of getting obsessive about our careers, and may lose ourselves in our work. While this makes sense, it leaves less room for our romantic lives to blossom, and may serve a protective purpose.
You might notice you tend to do one or more of these behaviors in your dating life. And you may or may not be puzzled as to why, and how to handle dating avoidance or fear of real, long lasting partnership. A skilled therapist can help you to break these patterns, if you so wish, or to work through the personal underpinnings to your dating styles. It can get better.
Katherine Lee, LCSW - www.katherineleelcsw.com
I’m sure there are simple cues that can tell you about your fear of commitment – the extra toothbrush in your bathroom tightens your stomach, you make excuses not to meet their friends or parents, you avoid any serious conversations and just focus on the fun, when you are asked personal questions you pick a fight or turn to sex as a distraction.
But to really take notice of a fear of commitment, start by taking a look at your relationship patterns.
What were the reasons for your previous relationships to end?
Did they end at the time when big decisions needed to be made – to meet the parents, be their plus 1, move in together, get engaged, mix finances etc. These situations force one to be vulnerable with and reliable on the other person. You become accountable to the other person and it is much harder to leave the relationship without hurting the other person.
Another question to ask yourself is: what are you blaming the other person for?
Often when we are unable to see issues within ourselves, we blame the other person for these issues. Try this….insert your name in the blame you are giving to others.
Example: instead of “you don’t open up to me”, say to yourself “I don’t open up to you” and see if that holds true for yourself. See if you have a different reaction to this and if it allows you to view the situation differently. A lot of the time our fear of commitment is in our subconscious and through exploring our previous behaviors we are able to bring it into our conscious.
Fear of commitment, along with many other relationship issues, comes back to self-love and self-trust.
Do you believe you are worthy to have the love of another? Do you trust yourself to be in a relationship and not lose yourself? If you believe you struggle with this, awareness is the first step to making change. Working on loving yourself (and that means forgiving yourself for any mistakes you have made in the past) will help you move forward.
Check in with yourself daily and give yourself the no bull shit test.
Are you being real? Real with your partner but more importantly real with yourself. We as humans have this incredible ability to lie to ourselves but lying just keeps us stuck in fear. And fear is not a fun place to live.
All people deserve to have authentic and committed love. I am rooting for you to have this for yourself!
Shannon Dee, BSW, Certified Life Coach - www.shannondee.ca
“I am just too busy.” “I don’t have time for a relationship.”
If you find yourself saying things similar to these statements you may be creating circumstances to keep yourself so busy that you can maybe date but definitely not be in a committed relationship.
Fear of commitment can take many forms.
One of these is the keeping ourselves so busy that we could not possibly be in a committed relationship. We say yes to every task or job that anyone asks so we have a “valid” reason to not be able to enter into a relationship. This allows us to forego admitting that we are truly afraid of commitment and all that brings with it, in the forms of vulnerability and closeness. So we build a wall by taking on too much and keeping ourselves so “busy” that we don’t even think about what we are missing.
We say things like “I simply would not have the time to devote to a relationship like I should so I just stay out of them for now.”
We hide the fact that we are truly afraid of getting hurt, letting someone into our world and really being in it with another human being.
We make sure every hour of every day is filled to the brink with work, school, volunteering, family tasks and anything else that can arise so we can feel good about all we are doing so that the fear stays hidden.
Overcoming this fear requires the first step of saying no to all the tasks others ask us to do and deciding we are going to take on being in a relationship even if that may mean that we could be hurt or vulnerable.
We find or make the time to connect with another person. We truly let ourselves be emotionally and time available to them. We stop being “Busy” and start being “Available.”
Neesha Lenzini, MS - www.relationshipsinneed.com
Each of us has a past and many aspects of it show up throughout our dating experiences which shapes our expectations, fears, and level of openness with a partner.
When we get hurt, betrayed, or disappointed by others, it can increase the level of fear or of the possibility of future relationships. It can seem easier to avoid getting too close or let someone in. Many times we act out of fear and become unaware of how it can cause us to keep our defenses up and intimacy away. It can be extremely nerve wracking to put your hopes, desires, and trust into someone after being let down.
Getting hurt is inevitable, however once this fear builds and hardens, over time it can transform into a fear of commitment. Explore whether your dating behaviors are consistent with what you’d want a healthy and long-term relationship to look like.
A common behavior of someone struggling with a fear of commitment is self-sabotage.
This behavior interferes with long term goals and works against true wants, desires and needs.
A few common examples of self-sabotaging behaviors when experiencing a fear of commitment may be infidelity, substance abuse, and lying.
Take some time to reflect on your past relationships and see if you can pinpoint what went wrong.
It can take some digging and self-reflection, but the first step towards growth and change is awareness and acceptance. There is hope for you and your fear of commitment! Take the time to reassess your level of readiness for dating or a relationship and then go from there. Taking each date and experience as it comes, one at a time.
Our fears will appear in multiple ways, so acknowledge them and be open with yourself and your partner. Find compassion for yourself through this journey and remind yourself it takes time, patience, and some readjusting along the way to happiness.
Shannon Behar, MFT – www.shannonbehar.com
We are going to do a little exercise to explore commitment fears:
Imagine yourself settling down with the man of your dreams. What does he look like? what does he do? What kind of personality does he have? Now imagine your ideal home. Imagine your ideal children if it includes children. Imagine yourself working your dream job. Sit with this fictional world for a minute and see how that feels.
Now take that scenario and change it a bit. Imagine your man, but not perfect, good but having flaws for sure. Now imagine your flawed home, your stressful but enjoyable job and your messy children.
This exercise can help get your juices flowing to see if you have a fear of commitment.
One big factor that I’ve seen with women is wanting everything to be “perfect.” They never find what they want and find themselves dating person to person trying to fit the first imagined scenario. Unfulfilled, they can never make the next step of the relationship and it dissolves. Because there are flaws with the other person, it sometimes is hard to look back and think… "hmmm maybe I’m struggling with commitment."
If you’re looking outside for happiness and fulfillment, the perfect man will never come along.
If you can imagine yourself with your flawed man, house, children, job, etc. then you might be ready to start thinking about the next step. If that scenario makes your stomach turn, then I would recommend looking in and exploring the possibility that maybe you’re fearful of committing and until that is addressed, your relationships won't work.
Stacey Steinmiller, LCSW – www.ascounseling.com
Many people fear commitment. The idea of being tied down, stuck and with same person for the rest of their lives. For some, this notion is terrifying. Like a noose around their neck. Or shackled to the wall. Fearing commitment keeps you safe, keeps you from getting hurt and vulnerable. However, commitment doesn’t have to feel like a boa constrictor tightening around your body. Commitment can be easy and rewarding.
How do you know if fear commitment?
1. You avoid commitment. Do you run from commitment? Are you the person who says, “let’s wait and see what happens?” It’s okay to wait and see what happens, sometimes. However, are you missing out on life because you won’t commitment?
2. You run away. When you start to feel like things are getting too serious, you leave.
3. You are vague. You refuse define your relationship. You avoid talking about what exactly your relationship stands. This doesn’t have to pertain to your relationships, it can apply to jobs, goals, and the direction of your life.
4. You change things, a lot. Are you constantly on the move or moving? Do you bounce from job to job, location to location, relationship to relationship?
Start to ask yourself: What is it that sends you running? What is it that is so terrifying? What are your fears trying to protect you from?
Spend time with your fears. What do they need? What do they want? Can you give it to them?
Collage your fears, put them out there. Give them room to breathe. This can help create space between you and fears. As well as, help you process them.
Challenge your fears. How can you disprove your fears? Can you find evidence to disprove your fears? Look for role models, who have what you fear.
Remember you deserve to be happy. And you don’t have to fear commitment. Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself permission to be okay exactly where you are. Your fear of commitment has kept you safe. And when are ready, you can start to work through your fear, to have the relationships and life that you deserve, are worthy of and fulfill you!
Margaret Bell, MA, NCC – www.forwardkindheart.com
We are living in a world full of information, choices, and easy access to meeting people to build relationships with.
It can be easy not to notice our inner cues that may be telling us information about ourselves and others.
Stereotypically, men are often pegged as having a “fear of commitment” when it comes to relationships. Men often fear commitment due to a desire to be open and available if they deem someone “better” coming along.
Women often fear commitment because they struggle with sacrificing their independence, time, and energy for someone, especially when they are focusing on bettering themselves.
Many ways in which women improve their quality of life may include: seeking higher education, career advancement, travel, and having a thriving social life.
Women may fear committing to a relationship out of fear of losing aspects of themselves, their interests, lifestyle, and independence.
Women benefit from accessing both their feminine as well as masculine energy. Many women overly access their masculine energy, which expresses itself as being in-control and independent.
The female energy is connected with being loved and cared for which often creates a feeling of vulnerability for women.
Women tend to perceive vulnerability as a weakness, thus fearing any commitments in relationships.
It is essential to remember that any person worth committing to would enhance one’s life, not subtract from it.
Brooke Campbell, MA, LCAT - www.creativekinections.com
Here's something I hear from women, "So many men that I've dated have a fear of commitment".
I have spent a lot of time discussing this with men via surveys, focus groups and one to one conversations.
What I have found is many men don't have a fear of commitment, they have a fear of not being able to make you happy.
They take the idea of marriage very seriously and signing up to be a primary source of happiness or misery is not something they take lightly. Men pay attention to whether or not they feel they are 'winning' with you.
Are they left to guess what makes you happy or is it something the two of you openly discuss and create opportunities to bring more joy into each other's lives?
Men are also paying attention to whether you accept them fully as they are right here, right now or are you falling for their 'potential', hoping they will do an overnight metamorphosis into your perfect husband. There are other factors but these are some to consider.
The second behavior I notice is that many women have a deep, deep desire to commit and be in a powerful relationship but if you have a conversation with them or take a look at their online profile, they come across as "oh, just checking things out, not looking for anything serious".
So often I have asked women why there is this discrepancy and most reply, "I don't want to say I'm looking for a committed relationship or he'll run in the other direction thinking I'm desperate!".
Ladies, I am here to tell you, if he runs in the other direction, LET HIM.
There are plenty of men who WANT a committed partnership, just like there are many women. If you speak openly about it, the guessing game goes out the window and the two of you can spend time getting to know each other based on a shared interest in being open to commitment.
Christine Hart, Relationship Coach - www.christinehartcoaching.com
I want to be in a committed relationship, but…….
· All the good ones are taken
· I’m afraid I’m settling
· I’m waiting for the perfect guy to come along
· If I commit to this guy now, I’m limiting my options
Difficulty making decisions.
Fear of the unknown.
Black and white thinking. Conflict between the head and heart. Wanting something, and at the same time fearing that you won’t want it once you have it.
Belief there is something better than what you currently have…out there…somewhere.
The old ‘fear of missing out’ trick.
Not satisfied with what you have. Realizing if you make a commitment, it means eliminating options that may come along in the future. The perfect guy got away.
If any of the above strike a nerve, you might have contracted “commitment-itis.” Though this disease is serious, it is treatable. Many have suffered through it, healed, and gone on to find a mate, settle down, and have 2.5 kids.
What did they do? They…
a. Realized life is always a mixed bag. Every relationship has problems. A divorced friend, after remarrying, said “You just exchange one set of troubles for another.” The question to ask: “Am I willing to live with this set of problems?” Hence, getting to know that person well before committing is also wise.
b. Chose to work with what is. There is no “perfect person” out there, though “great matches” and “bad relationships” exist.
c. Figured out what characteristics they were looking for in a mate and sought people who matched those qualities.
d. Worked on improving themselves through counseling, spiritual development, and changing in themselves what they didn’t like in others.
e. Looked at the irritants of others as the sand in their oyster contributing to their own perfecting process.
f. Understood this: The less we know someone, the more perfect they appear. The more we get to know another intimately, the more flaws and undesirable characteristics we discover.
By seeking treatment, you, too, can find the cure for commitment-itis!
Charlene Benson, LPC, NCC - www.bensontherapist.com
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
As women, many of us were taught at a very young age that it was our duty to put everyone else's needs first.
We were told that what we wanted for ourselves was of lesser value and importance than serving the needs of others. Some of us were even persuaded to believe that wanting something for ourselves was selfish and even sinful. Many of us were convinced that it was safer to become pleasers and to ignore or deny our own wants, needs and desires.
Unless we grew up in an extraordinarily loving, supportive and forgiving household, self-esteem, self-definition and self-love were not part of our awareness. When one has been trained to bend to the will of others and has accepted the label of being selfish for having personal aspirations, they end up having no clue about what they want for themselves.
The word commitment is also often defined for many as duty (to God, family, husband, etc.) and lives in the mind as an obligation, a ‘have to’ or a requirement.
The Free Dictionary defines a personal commitment as “ the state of being emotionally or intellectually devoted, as to a belief, a course of action, or another person.” Not once do I find the obvious mentioned...commitment to oneself.
In my experience, it is not possible to commit to another without first knowing and committing to yourself.
This includes defining your own truth, values, ethics, vision for life, wants, needs and desires. To be able to recognize a quality in another you must first embody and express (live) it yourself.
If you want your partner to be honest, faithful, authentic, loving, affectionate, thoughtful, transparent, introspective, open-minded, etc., then it’s up to you to strive for and express those qualities yourself. In that way, you will honor your core truths and attract to yourself the kind of relationship you desire.
For a relationship to grow and flourish, it needs a strong base, foundation or core.
Therefore, it’s important for you and your partner to openly and honestly communicate to each other the core values and personal visions that you each individually hold dear.
By expressing and comparing your needs, wants and desires, you can create a shared vision for your life together.
This helps to build a strong foundation on which to create and expand your vision. Each partner also agrees to take full responsibility for their own thoughts, words and actions with regard to the highest good for all concerned.
Elizabeth Powers, Hypnotherapist & Spiritual Counselor - www.empatherapy.com
When we diet, as opposed to investing in a healthy lifestyle, we restrict ourselves.
If we think about relationships as something that feed us, being unwilling to allow ourselves to be fully invested creates something of the same restriction. We end up hanging around the salad bar feeling deprived, instead of getting to the main course and feeling satisfied.
Our unwillingness—or maybe even inability—to commit to a relationship happens for many reasons.
Sometimes it’s simple fear: fear of being vulnerable or possibly getting hurt. Maybe having been hurt in the past, we project that it will happen again. It may be that fears or beliefs about ourselves like feeling unworthy or having some shame about ourselves that feels like we will be judge dare getting in the way.
Sometimes we make up excuses like “All the good ones are taken” or “There are no good ones left for me” become our beliefs and stop us from making ourselves available to love. We protect our hearts by making up defensive reasons not to open and allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
Whatever is motivating our reluctance, walking around the edges of a relationship, rather than diving in, actually does set us up to miss out on something.
In fact, we miss out on a lot of somethings. Our unwillingness to fully commit, or even take a chance of opening up to a committed relationship is somewhat akin to emotional anorexia. We’re getting enough to stay alive, but we’re still starving.
When it comes to our fear of commitment, there is no right or wrong answer.
Everyone is different and needs to get help and understand his or her fears. The important thing is to address and face those fears, unpack them and see where they lead. Going back to the idea of a healthy lifestyle versus a diet, it takes living consciously and making healthy choices that feel good to our bodies and souls and not living in deprivation.
What’s important to know is that choice comes out of a place of strength and clarity, rather than fear.
Once we know the salad bar is a conscious choice, we can set aside our concerns and fully enjoy a new dish at the main table, we have the opportunity to experience, not only our own authentic heart, but an authentic relationship that feeds us on many levels.
Dr. Dori Gatter - www.drdorigatter.com
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