You have finally found the love of your life after endless soul searching; he’s handsome, intelligent, romantic, funny, and your perfect other-half. He is everything you have ever wanted in a man! However, there’s only one small disclaimer you probably wish you knew of before falling in love with this man: he is afraid of commitment.
Commitment to a relationship takes a great amount of effort from both partners; there are simple rules to follow: no cheating and stay loyal. It can be difficult for men who are used to being surrounded by the ladies to truly grasp the concept of commitment (you might want to read our article What to Do If He Isn’t Making You His Priority). Or perhaps, a previous bad relationship has caused him to say “never again.”
Whatever the case may be, it is important to understand why he is commitment phobic and how you can show him that being with you is not so bad. He may make you question certain aspects about yourself. Am I good enough? Does he not like me? Does he only want me in bed? These unhealthy thoughts can sometimes lead to other mental issues down the line. To prevent this, here are some ways to deal with the commitment-phobic man in your life.
What are the Signs of Commitment Issues?
You have been happily seeing this guy for months and are thinking about making the next move to define your relationship. You have just picked up your phone and dialed his number but after about ten missed calls, he still isn’t answering. The same goes for the dates you both have planned; he just seems to never show up these days. While this avoidance can mean a multitude of other reasons, the most likely reason is that your love interest has a commitment phobia.
How to deal with an uncommitted man? Commitment phobias can be tough to deal with both in and out of a relationship. Thus, it is important to spot the small signs of this phobia before the relationship becomes highly toxic. According to Dr. Goldsmith on Psychology Today, commitment issues can lead to an unhealthy, tear-ridden, and time-wasting experience that is best to avoid. Here are a few of the signs to look for in your man of interest before pursuing any relationship with him:
- When a guy is scared of commitment, he shows less interest in planning dates or meeting up over the course of the relationship. This could be because he is no longer interested in the relationship or simply because he does not want you to get the wrong idea.
- He has a large group of friends, but no close friends. This can show a lack of commitment in his personal life; he may often not want to put in the effort to maintain close friendships.
- Men with commitment issues have a reputation for short-term flings, but zero long-term relationships.
- He has a clear avoidance of commitment-related terms such as ‘love,’ ‘marriage,’ or ‘dating.’
- He avoids his personal commitments. This can be seen in numerous ways: he is always late for work, avoids visiting his family, or even refuses to pay bills at times.
- He is overly selective in his friends and romantic life. His expectations may be too high and he may only be dragging you along for the ride.
- He is attracted to unavailable interests. Unavailability can cover a broad variety of reasons such as being in an existing relationship, being emotionally or physically unavailable, or still dealing with a recent break-up.
- His communication skills are very poor; it may be very difficult to get in touch with him on a daily basis.
- He seems to put more effort into the chase of a relationship rather than the relationship itself. He is the type to look for a good time, rather than dealing with the amount of work that commitment requires.
What Can Cause Commitment Issues?
The roots of commitment phobia in a person varies as each person comes from a different background. However, the most common reason is that this person has been audience to a very unhealthy relationship in the past, perhaps in childhood or as a young adult. Other underlying reasons for a commitment phobia include:
- Childhood abuse
- Trust issues
- Fear of abandonment
- Fear of break-ups
- Fear of not being loved
These possible causations are mostly mental, as the phobia is something deeprooted inside of one’s mind.
Signs a Commitment Phobe Loves You
Can a commitment phobic man fall in love? While he may be afraid of commitment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he does not love you. Sometimes, he may be in love with you but be too afraid to pursue a relationship in the case that it ends, or he does something wrong leading to its end.
A commitment-phobic man who loves you may be a complete part of your life presently, but may not desire any future plans such as marriage. At the same time, there are numerous ways that he shows that he loves you such as meeting your friends and family or allowing you to leave your clothes in his apartment. In other words, he may seem like he’s completely into you, but desires nothing more than to live in the present.
Do Commitment-Phobes Miss You?
After ending an unhealthy relationship, you may wonder if your commitment-phobic ex misses you or thinks about you at all. The answer to this may be conflicting because it ultimately depends upon his personality. If he was in love with you, it seems obvious that he may miss you, perhaps even enough to desire commitment. If he was dragging you along for the ride, it is most likely that he may think about you from time to time, but eventually move on to someone looking for a short-term fling. In some cases, missing an ex has caused an individual to overcome his/her commitment phobia.
He Dumped Me- Will the Commitment Phobic Ex Come Back?
How do you date someone who is afraid of commitment? It can be particularly stressful because while you may want to continue your relationship, your partner may not be as enthusiastic about it. After a harsh break-up, we often feel abandoned and find ourselves wanting our ex to walk back into our lives. This unrealistic expectation can lead to detrimental mental health ailments such as depression. So the question is – Will a commitment phobe come back?
According to Forbes.com, it is a good idea to keep a clear mind about the situation and treat your ex with the same respect you have shown him during the relationship. This goes for your commitment-phobic ex as well. If he has ended the relationship with you, it most likely means that he is not interested in future prospects. You should not be avidly searching for ways to get him back because his commitment phobia is something to be overcome by oneself. Trying to convince him of any different may result in him losing feelings for you forever.
Why Do Commitment Phobes Run?
“My commitment phobic boyfriend dumped me. But why?”
Whether it’s because of the responsibilities or fear of attachment, men with commitment phobias often shy away from any talk of a long-term relationship. A person desiring a relationship with these men may seem clingy or somewhat annoying. Most men are used to having a manly outward appearance with little emotional displays and insecurities. However, men with commitment phobias are the most insecure about themselves.
They desire affection and romance but are not willing to make the commitment to give it back. They may wish to have a long-term partner, but the idea of love may be extremely frightening. Commitment-phobic deal with internal conflicts pertaining to the idea of love on a daily basis. In some cases, they may even be able to convince themselves that they are not worthy of ever being loved and can survive without it. Severe types of commitment phobia may even cause self-deprecating thoughts of not being good enough.
Although commitment phobia is not found in any diagnostic manual, it is very much a real ailment and impacts well over a thousand individuals in the United States. Anxiety often accompanies, causing the negative thoughts that a commitment-phobia individual frequently has. An article on Huffington Post comments that the first step to overcoming a commitment phobia is by working on boosting one’s self-confidence.
How to Help a Man Get over Fear of Commitment
As stated previously, the first step to overcoming a commitment phobia is by working to boost one’s self-confidence. You can help your partner do this by helping him achieve his goals. For instance, if he is unhappy about his body, go to the gym with him. However, it is important to come to terms with the fact that although you may helping him with his phobia, there is a chance that he may never be able to commit. Therefore, being there for him requires mental preparation on your part as well. Here are some ways in which you can help your man overcome his commitment phobia:
- Make an effort to understand what his goals for a relationship are. Commitment-phobic men are notorious for desiring short-term flings or maybe one-night stands. In contrast, you may desire a long-term relationship that eventually leads to marriage. Be sure to have an open conversation about this with your partner and come to terms with what each other wants. By doing this, you will eventually come to an agreement on the future of the relationship.
- Avoid nagging him about his inability to commit to anything. Individuals with phobias are struggling with a large number of internal conflicts as is; by constantly nagging him about why he should commit to you, you may discourage him from doing so. Not to mention, excessive nagging can become quite irritating. especially when the solution is not as readily available.
- Give him his much-needed space. He needs time to figure out what he wants and solve his internal conflicts before attempting to commit to you. Keep in mind that this is not an easy process and there are times when he may not want to be in your presence. The best you can do for him is to be his support system and show that you will always be there.
- Exposure is one of the most effective treatments for someone with an anxiety-related phobia. By introducing him to new people or simply by going out for dates on a more frequent basis, he will begin to open up. This will eventually lead to a positive change in his behavior and may even have him thinking about commitment in a positive light.
- Keep a timeline for the relationship. While he may need a year to overcome his phobia, you may not want to wait as long. Waiting for someone to come around in a relationship may be worth it when the time comes, however, if he never overcomes his phobia, the relationship may be at a dead end. Be sure of what you want and when.
Relationships are one of the most dangerous and thrilling games to play. If done right, they can bear such delicious fruit, but it depends upon both partners. Dating a man with commitment phobia can be a frustrating experience, especially if you are ready to take the next step but he may not be. Never hearing those famed three words from him may cause you to question the authenticity of your relationship. Is the relationship worth it?
When dating a commitment-phobic man, be sure of what you want before tending to his concerns. As selfish as this may sound, there is no definite chance of him overcoming his phobia, and while therapy is an option, there may be a long wait before the relationship commences. Don’t degrade yourself if he does not reciprocate your feelings. Men with commitment phobias often have bad childhood experiences, insecurities, or are simply looking for a good time. Even if he loves you, he just may not want to put effort into the relationship because he feels that he is not deserving.
If he has been shying away from dates or any forms of intimacy, it may be that he has no interest in continuing the relationship and has found someone with a similar mindset. Know the signs before attempting to form any type of relationship with this person. It will save you a lot of tears and eventually heartbreak. If you do believe that the relationship is worth the struggles and pain, attempt to help him overcome his commitment phobia, however, don’t expect changes right away. Overcoming this phobia often takes a long period of time because the fear is deep rooted in his mind. Hopefully, by reading this article, you have come to understand how to deal with a commitment phobic man and know that the fault does not lie within you.
Jason Fladien is an author and relationship coach living in Toronto.
He used to struggle so much in his own love life that he decided to learn everything there is to achieve such level of understanding at which he’d not only be able to completely change his life but also help others to change theirs.
Now he’s on a mission to help others achieve effortless and happy relationships as he believes that relationships are the most important thing in life.