Authored by Douglas Mefford in Relationships
Published on 06-03-2009
Fear of commitment is a learned phobia. The dread of sharing intimacy with another person or the fear of making promises one feels they may not be able to keep generally develops in people who have been hurt or betrayed in previous relationships. Sometimes these relationships are with family, friends or lovers. Living with this fear can prevent one from being able to build meaningful relationships and can lead to a lonely and unhappy life. While it can be a long and difficult task, learning to overcome this fear of commitment is well worth the effort it takes.
One should carefully examine the events of their past to try and identify just where the fear of commitment originated. One way is to write out your thoughts as you take a look at what transpired in your past to create the present you. Seeing them written out can often provide the clues as to why you are the way you are, and offer clues as to how to change. If such self-examination is hard for you, then engaging the help of a professional councilor may be necessary. Often the roots of this phobia lie in the observation of relationships with your parents, family or the problems of friends.
The fear of commitment is quite often the mask overlaying the fear of being hurt, psychologically even moreso than physically. It is entirely human to seek close relationships with another person. It is regrettable that this intimacy can often be betrayed, and the fear of experiencing that same emotional pain again can cause a fear of intimacy.
The best way to deal with this in future relationships is through an honest discussion of these fears with someone you are trying to build a new relationship with. Explain that while one may not believe the same hurt will come from them, that you do wish to build the relationship slowly so as to be more assured it is right. This may include putting off the discussion of marriage commitments until some future time when the fear has been alleviated through a long-term non-painful relationship. One who has been dealing with a fear of commitment should also resist the temptation to move in together too quickly. This aslo is a commitment that should not be engaged in until time has helped heal the old wounds.
Sometimes the fear of commitment is actually caused by a fear of the unknown. Relationships are not areas of your life that you can completely control, so it makes some people so fearful that they will avoid intimacy rather than risk something happening to them that is not of their personal doing. To defeat this, keep focused on this aspect of your personality and start small by trusting some things. As time goes by and disaster hasn’t struck, you can build on these successes until you have overcome the obsessive need to control every aspect of your relationships. Understand that they are two-way streets and that your partner must have an equal ability to develop the relationship.