Ladies, many of us have been there: you’ve been seeing someone for several months, and then he pulls back when things start to get serious. Or maybe it’s been a while and neither of you have spoken the “L” word to each other, or maybe you’ve said it without reciprocation, leaving you wondering with horror and confusion whether he’s that into you.
Or maybe you’ve been together for several years, and he’s shown no signs of wanting to move in together or tie the knot, no matter how many times you’ve brought it up. Yet he seems perfectly content with the way things are (which isn’t necessarily bad for him, but it may be for you). Your worries and fears about his feelings for you and your future together consume you like you’re in a torture chamber of self-doubt.
Chances are he’s commitment-phobic. As you read above, it can manifest in various forms, like a shape-shifter from folklore, probably because it can come from a cauldron of past trauma.
Common causes include (based on first- or second-hand experience):
- Fear of a relationship ending abruptly
- Fear of being in the “wrong” relationship
- Fear of an unhealthy relationship (due to abandonment, infidelity, abuse, etc.)
- Trust issues because of trust once broken
- Childhood trauma or abuse
- Unmet childhood needs or attachment issues
- Complicated family dynamics growing up
Now, just because he’s afraid of commitment, it doesn’t mean he’s a psychopath and incapable of loving. In fact, the opposite might be true: he feels so deeply and intensely that he becomes anxious as the relationship progresses.
It’s like building up speed in a car race until you have trouble braking enough to avoid hitting a passing train. It’s like enjoying a marijuana high until you become paranoid. It’s like being drunk off your ass until you vomit into your friend’s fish tank. (Wow, that got weird quickly!)
It’s about losing himself in the intensity. And it’s usually all in his head.
According to this TEDx Talk by Dr Trillion Small, overcoming a fear of love often starts with filling a knowledge gap. She had always been attracted to dismissive men because her father left her when she was a child. For nearly three decades, she told herself she must have been unlovable, or her father wouldn’t have disappeared.
Then one day, her father called her and told her, “I’ve been looking for you.”
Learning that her father had been looking for her changed the story she told herself. It filled a knowledge gap. She was lovable after all.
There is no perfect relationship, but if you find yourself in one with someone who fears commitment like Indiana Jones fears snakes, then you have a number of options:
- Open a serious conversation about it
- Encourage him to try therapy (if it’s causing dysfunction in your relationship and he’s willing to change)
- Try couples therapy (again, if it’s causing dysfunction in your relationship and he’s willing to change)
- Take baby steps to practice commitment (like spending weekends together)
- Hire a relationship coach (like me) to get “Claritin Clear” on the issue and action-oriented
- Dump his ass for someone who has his shit together
If the time is right and you need help leaving your relationship anxiety and insecurity behind for some delectable peace of mind, then hit me up here and I’ll be in touch ASAP.
Interested but not ready to commit to a coaching relationship? Take this “Relationship Insecurity Quiz” to see where you stand romantically, get tailored results, and get a special surprise afterward!