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Fear of Commitment Defined

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Authored by Neal F. Litherland in Relationships
Published on 08-25-2009

There comes a time in every romantic relationship where a couple finds themselves facing a choice. That choice is easily defined; either they wish to commit to each other, or they don’t. However, for some people, that choice is not so easily made. If you find yourself making excuses, or trying to nit pick everything that isn’t perfect about your relationship with your significant other, then you should step back for a moment. You might be suffering from commitment phobia.

A phobia, for those who don’t know, is a psychological term which refers to a person’s irrational fear of something. For instance, a person who has a completely irrational fear of spiders has arachnophobia, a fear of water is hydrophobia… you get the idea. If you find yourself getting short of breath and panicky at the idea of sharing your life with someone else and remaining loyal to them, then you might have an irrational fear of commitment.

What most people do when they find themselves irrationally afraid of something is try and rationalize it. For instance, you don’t want to commit to someone because you feel that you don’t want to give up your independence. Or alternatively, you feel that your partner loves you too much and that you could never live up to those demands. Whatever your reason is, back up and look at it in a rational light. It might be a sign that there is something wrong in your romantic life, and that if you fix it, then your misgivings about commitment might go away.

For instance, is your partner too clingy? Do they not respect your wishes? Do they insist on always having things their way? Those are issues that are real, and should be worked out between the two of you. However, if you’re making up things to be afraid of so that you can justify not committing to someone, then chances are fairly good that you are giving in to commitment phobia.

The most important thing to remember in a situation like this is that if you’re even considering commitment to someone, they’re obviously an important part of your life. As such, you should trust them enough to confide your fears and misgivings in them. Often times if you just sit down with your potential mate and talk out what you’re feeling, then the two of you may be able to come up with a solution. Maybe you just want to go through a trial period of commitment to try out how it feels. Maybe your partner is having similar fears, but they didn’t want to say anything to you, and the mutual confession will bring you closer together. Maybe what you both need is some time apart so you can see what your life would be like without the other so prominently in it.

Whatever solution you come up with, it should be something that you both feel strongly about, and which you are willing to work at. If it’s an irrational fear, then you should come out on the other side of it stronger for the experience.

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