Commitment phobia is the unrealistic fear of making a promise or a vow to be faithful and loyal to another person. It is a common misconception that committing to someone means losing independence. Many people perceive being single as being safe and comfortable, which can be hard to give up. The ‘scary’ parts of being in a relationship, such as revealing your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, is what keeps people with commitment phobia from getting deeper in a serious commitment.
Fear in general is not a bad thing - it is actually an innate part of us that is supposed to keep us from dangerous situations. So if you are running away from snakes or loud noises, you are probably responding appropriately. But, if you find yourself avoiding trusting someone, intimacy, and emotional vulnerability, it may be time for you to confront your fears.
Facing a fear of commitment starts with changing the focus from what you think you are losing to realizing what you are potentially gaining - the rewards of a loyal and loving relationship. Below are five steps to help you accomplish this.
1) Acknowledge that you want a partner
Having clarity on your life goals will help you attain them. If you are ambivalent about finding a relationship, you are going to have a harder time. Identify what you truly want.
2) Admit your fears
Admitting that your fear of commitment has kept you from being in a successful relationship will help you develop strategies to overcome it. Knowing that you fear rejection, change, or loss of independence will allow you to strategize with a friend or therapist (click here to work with a therapist who can help!).
3) Pace your relationship
It is common to get caught up in excitement during the beginning stages of the relationship and then back away when the time comes to making decisions about the future. Others will hold back in the beginning to not get attached. Try to keep the relationship moving at a healthy pace.
4) Make the commitment to your significant other
Get yourself to a place where you can agree to be exclusive in a relationship and put solid effort into practicing your commitment skills. Focus on discussing life goals with your partner and try to reveal your inner self to them. This will give you the opportunity to experience trust, closeness, and intimacy.
5) Empower your partner
If you can recognize the benefits of being in a committed partnership, you and your significant other will be mutually empowered. Encourage your partner to be a high-functioning member of society and allow them to push you as well. Successful people frequently give their partners credit for helping them reach their achievements.
Being with a life partner can be so rewarding. Like everything worthwhile, it does require some risks. Keep pushing yourself and you will be able to experience these benefits, which will outweigh the ‘losses’ in the end.
If you find yourself struggling to overcome your fear of commitment, work with a talk therapist today who can help! Click here to be paired with a therapist who is experienced in relationships and commitment phobia.