Commitment phobia

The Hague Psychologist / Commitment phobia


This commitment-phobia may be due to an earlier trauma. It could be from an abusive relationship with a relative. If this has happened to you, trusting again is something you may not be ready for. When someone you love or are connected to betrays you, the healing process is a deep one and can take some time. There is a disconnect between your feelings and what you believe life is supposed to be like. When something devastating occurs, your ability to see the world as kind may be shattered and you find yourself always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

People with a commitment phobia do want a long-term connection with another person, but their overwhelming anxiety prevents them from staying in any relationship for too long.

Commitment phobia is something I see in my practice often and happens to both women and men. The key piece is fear. Fear of intimacy and deep emotional connection. People with a commitment phobia want a long-term connection with another person, but their overwhelming anxiety prevents them from staying in any relationship for too long. If pressed for a commitment, they are far more likely to leave the relationship than to make the commitment. Or they may initially agree to the commitment, then back down days or weeks later, because of their overwhelming anxiety and fears. Commitment-phobic persons are tortured souls full of fear. They are in a constant state of emotional conflict because of their negative irrational beliefs about love, commitment and relationships. They display some of these behaviours:

They want a relationship but they also want freedom and space.They have a history of short relationships or never been married.They are very charming and usually very affectionate and loving at the beginning.They know an ongoing sexual relationship often leads to commitment, so they choose to run when things start to head in that direction.They spin stories to justify their contradictory behavior.They can be moody and blame the other person for why they’re acting so bizarrely.They lie, or are evasive and secretive about where they are and what they are doing to create space.They are often unfaithful in relationships.They can be overly committed to their work or to their children to avoid spending a lot of time with the orther person.Behavioral inconsistencies are very noticeable when they find themselves getting too close.They become argumentative and abusive, or they create distance.  A lot of uncaring, sabotaging behaviours ( working long hours, taking on extra projects, creating space, not ringing, being late, finding fault with the other person).They know on some level that they are deceptive and cruel to other person.They end up behaving worse and worse, and they sabotage more and more. This is because they want that the person to end the relationship, as they feel too anxious and guilty to do so.The word “forever” terrifies them.Love doesn’t scare them, it’s what love represents to them that scares them. This is due to  their negative system about love and relationships.

The fear of commitment can be overcome. The first step is being open to change, and wanting to make the changes in your life and your thinking that can help you be less anxious in future relationships. Here are many strategies to help someone with commitment phobia, depending on the severity of the anxiety. If it’s so severe it’s preventing one from even considering dating, much less finding the person of their dreams, then it may be time to seek out psychotherapy. A trained therapist who’s experienced in working with people with commitment issues can help a person understand the cognitive distortion they’re telling themselves, and how to turn them around. Counseling may also be appropriate for anyone who’s gone through a round of serious relationships, only to have them end when the person couldn’t take the relationship to the next step. A person will also learn in therapy that open communication with their partner will reduce the likelihood of there being any future surprises or trust issues.