There is no official diagnosis for it but it is a real thing. It is something that many struggles with, sometimes without even realizing that they are affected by it. Some say that the individual is not mature enough to handle grown-up life decisions while others find themselves continuously around the “wrong” crowd. Commitment Phobia is not a myth- it is a real issue.
From a young age, we are taught to “not be emotional,” yet we are asked to be vulnerable in relationships. It is almost as if we are being asked to set ourselves up to fail. Committing to someone means being emotionally intimate with someone and THAT can be scarier than many other forms of intimacy. Allowing someone to see YOU at your most vulnerable state is terrifying.
What does commitment phobia look like? You may picture someone with the typical ideas of “just want to be single and have fun” but the root is a lot deeper than that. If you are single and loving your life, not wanting to be in a relationship- do what feels right. You may not be struggling with commitment phobia. An individual dealing with this does want a relationship; he/she wants the butterflies and fuzzy feelings that come with caring for someone but when the responsibilities start growing, it may start- for lack of a better word- suffocating them. That’s when the idea of ghosting or breaking up suddenly enters.
In other ways, commitment phobia can also create some neediness in others. It is not as extreme as co-dependency but I personally view it as a sabotage technique used to push others away. With our everyday problems, we seldom have time to add on taking care of someone who can be emotionally needy and at times draining. Resentment and avoidance become part of the relationship and the distance makes it easier to separate, leaving one feeling like the victim of yet another failed relationship.
But…you haven’t met the right person yet…right? There is such a thing as the “right person” but the wrong time. It does not matter how “perfect” your Mr/Miss maybe, but if you are not ready for a relationship, you will walk right past them or maybe even count them as one of your failed attempts.
Sounds scary and sad? Good news is that there are things you can do to gain better control of your fear.
- Clarify your needs
What is it that actually you need? Are you happy being single? Are you wanting a relationship? Or is it more about the chase for you? What do you need?
- Evaluate your expectations
Perfection does not exist. There is no one out there who will be able to satisfy 100% of all of your requirements on your “list.” I am not asking you to settle- in fact, that is the last thing I’m asking you to do. I am asking you to see the flaws in others and ask yourself if that is something you are willing to work with.
- Set boundaries
What are your deal breakers? Do NOT compromise with your deal breakers. Ever. You may not think it’s a big deal at first but it will build up.
- Seek therapy
The cycle continues until it is broken. We repeat what we see- consciously or unconsciously. An outside (and professional) perspective can help with identifying the patterns and work through any obstacles.
- Accept the good and the not so good
Somedays I believe in bad, and some days they are just lessons I needed to learn to get to a better place. As I mentioned earlier, vulnerability is scary but it is essential for genuine connections that we crave. Are there people who have and will hurt you? Yes. BUT are there people who will love and accept you with your flaws and idiosyncrasies? ABSOLUTELY.
So take a step forward. There may be days you find yourself running two steps behind but you are in control, even when it doesn’t feel that way. Soon you will realize that you are not going backward anymore. And as always, Zenergy Counseling is available to support you in your journey to finding true connections.