I’ve seen a number of patients recently experiencing Commitment Problems this is usually due to a negative past relationship where they have been very hurt, either in an intimate relationship or with a parent, people become very fearful of commitment. Men seem to more vulnerable to this problem than women often due to that fact that women tend to be a lot ‘braver’ in allowing themselves to become emotionally hurt.
Men and women with problems on commitment are very tortured and full of fear. They are in a constant state of emotional conflict because of their negative irrational beliefs about love, commitment and relationships. In relationships they create great confusion, havoc, pain and anguish as their behaviors are often insensitive, unpredictable and just downright strange.
Commitment phobics can make people who are saints turn into crazy people, as they play games with their minds and their hearts.
Below is a list of the types of behaviors commitment phobics will typically show;
- They want a relationship but they also want freedom and space so they are often attracted to long distance relationships and busy independent women.
- These people are usually very affectionate and loving. This is because in their mind the relationship is not going to be long term, so they feel free to give affection and love, knowing it won’t be forever. It isn’t long though before they suddenly start rejecting, by not ringing or not wanting to see them for days, or not including them in weekend arrangements etc. This is because they subtly want to give the message that they don’t want a long term committed relationship.
- Severe commitment phobics play the seduction/rejection game. They can’t make the decision to give totally to the relationship, but they can’t commit to walk away either. They feel trapped by both choices. They feel love for the person when they don’t see them and are not in a relationship, but they want to run away when they become involved again.
- Commitment phobics love the chase but they don’t want the kill. This may happen after 1 night, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months or 1 year. They may start sabotaging just as they are about to get married, or just before or after there’s a decision made to move in together, usually as the relationship is ready to move into a different phase.
- They tend to limit the amount of time they spend with the person and treat them as a low priority.
- Commitment phobic people often will say they want a relationship, but they won’t say they want a “no strings attached” relationship.
- Their behaviours announce subtly…“You will be special for a short time, but it won’t be forever”.
- They may start to choose people who are not the type of partner they are looking for, for example they may be unsuitable, or they may have different interests. They use these problems as a reason to end the relationship. The fewer boxes they tick the better as the partners that really scare them are the ones that seem to tick all the boxes and they can’t actually find a problem.
- They know an ongoing sexual relationship often leads to commitment so they choose to run when things start to head in that direction.
- They like to feel in control and create time frames that suit them, often treating the person like a puppet on a string.
- They don’t like structure, particularly in their personal life.
- They tend to compartmentalise their life and keep their work environment, friends or family off limits. They can create wonderful excuses why their partner shouldn’t meet these people.
- They prefer not to include their partner in their weekend or holiday plans.
- When they get the feeling they need to run, their words and actions are full of mixed messages. They play mind games.
- Commitment phobics don’t allow the relationship to grow and they have no intentions of ever doing so.
- They can be moody or aloof and blame the relationship for why they are acting so bizarrely
- They can have a history of unavailability and inaccessibility .They can be hard to contact, and they are often. They hate planning ahead because that means commitments.
- They are unpredictable when it comes to returning phone calls. They can even avoid answering calls completely.
- They are often unreliable, late and sometimes they don’t turn up at all. They are like this with family and friends as well, although this is not the case in their working environment.
- They tend to blame and find fault with the people they are with, and use this as an excuse to end good relationships.
- They can be overly committed to their work or to their children to avoid spending a lot of time with a partner.
- Behavioural inconsistencies are very noticeable with these commitment phobics when they find themselves getting too close. They become argumentative and abusive, or they create distance. A lot of uncaring sabotage behaviours surface eg. working long hours, taking on extra projects, creating space, not ringing, being late, finding fault with their partner etc
They often choose to travel a lot for work, to play a lot of sport, or be involved in many projects to create distance.
These people know on some level that they are deceptive and cruel to people and often have a lot of guilt and shame about it.
The word “forever” terrifies these people. Love doesn’t scare them; rather it is what love represents to them that scares them. This is due to their negative damaged belief system about love and relationships.
Those who experience Commitment Problems usually end up behaving worse and worse, and they sabotage more and more because they want the other person to end the relationship as they feel too anxious and guilty to do so.