Commitment phobia

“I want a committed relationship, but I am afraid that I may get hurt.” 

” Do you have commitment phobia”? 

We have heard this phrase many times in our life. What does it mean when someone has commitment phobia? 

To understand this, first we have to understand the meaning of commitment. The definition of a commitment is a promise or agreement to do something. An example of a commitment is marriage. Another example of commitment is going into business with someone. 

Commitment is a dedication to a particular organization, cause, or belief, and a willingness to get involved. 

If we talk about commitment in relationships, the main goal of commitment is for each party to feel some sense of security and control. When you are in a contract, you feel comfortable and have some expectations from your partner. 

While doing business with a partner or working for an organization, you will need commitment, initiative and desire to succeed. 

Commitment is a choice. If the thought of it gets you panicked, you have to introspect to understand why. Fear to commit is called commitment phobia. Commitment phobia can impact your ability to commit to anything, leave apart just relationships. It can include fear of deep friendship or reluctance to commit to a job or to your own financial wellbeing. 

We have to look for the reasons behind commitment phobia. In relationships, this can be hidden in some childhood incident such as parent’s divorce or marital problems. It may also be some other past unsuccessful relationships that are still haunting one and stopping from making the commitment. So, the past experiences that instil a sense of fear or passive avoidance of ending up in an unsatisfying relationship can result in commitment phobia. 

As dating and relationship expert and author Laura Bilotta explains, “commitment issues can stem from a number of experiences, including early childhood traumas and recent relationship history, and these commitment phobias can keep you from having happy and healthy relationships moving forward.” 

Job commitment phobia or fear of committing to a working partner is another cause of suffering for many. It may be considered a form of social phobia or performance phobia. 

Clinical psychologist Dr Abigael San agrees pointed out that although it’s not a diagnosable condition, commitment-phobia is definitely real: “There’s a scale, people have it to different extents,” she says. 

Just to add humor to this serious subject, I would like to give an example from a Bollywood movie.  

In Shuddh Desi Romance, Rishi Kapoor donning a dhoti and pagdi as a small-town wedding planner-cum-wedding bandowner asks the hero a simple question: “Tum ladke ladkiya Pehle Ek doosre ke peechhe bhagate ho, aur phir ek doosre se door bhagate ho. Main shaadi karwaoon toh kiski? (young boys and girls, you first run after each other and then run away from each other. Who will I help get married?)”  The hero Raghu, a Jaipur tourist guide replies with a straight face: “Marriages are passe. Look for other business options.” The conversation pretty much sums up the mood of a new generation that seems increasingly reluctant about steady commitment in relationships, particularly marriage.😇😇 

For most people relationships come naturally to life as breathing or making a meal. But for some, however, relationships are not that easy. People with commitment issues, commitment phobia or relationship anxiety generally have a serious problem staying in a relationship or a job for substantially long periods of time. While they can feel love like anyone else, the feeling of losing their partner drives anxiety in them and the hesitation to commit sets in. 

What can be done about commitment issues: 

Let’s explore ways of dealing with it effectively. 

Like most emotional and psychological struggles, there is no “quick fix” or “cure” for intense relationship anxiety or commitment phobia. By exploring your personal experiences, beliefs, fears, and wants/needs you can open yourself up to the possibility of a change. Learning to understand these areas about yourself and your life helps to re-frame or shift your mindset to build a healthier future deeply set in emotions, connection, and relationships.   

First of all, you have to find the root cause of this phobia. Introspect and you may spot the cause, perhaps set in a previous life experience, which is stopping you from committing. 

If you happen to find the cause, know that bad experiences are a part of life. If you experienced trauma or torture in the past, it’s hard, however, it’s not the end of the life. Give yourself another chance, life may throw pleasant surprises at you and it all may come back on track. 

Everyone does face failures and unwanted situations in life, some more than others. However, giving life another shot is a choice we must all make. 

Some tend to set the cause of their lack of commitment in experiences that they never encountered first-hand, but their near- and dear ones did. If you have seen your friend or relative being cheated by a business partner, that doesn’t mean that the same will happen to you too. The same applies to a romantic relationship or other forms of commitments. Don’t hesitate to pursue opportunities to commit in your life just because some others around you encountered unfortunate negative experiences.  

If you just went through a breakup, be it a marriage or a business partnership, take a break and give it some time to heal. Time is the biggest healer.  

Don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Many people face difficult situations in their life and professional counselling and assistance goes a long way in recovery. Think deeply about this option and discuss with those around you who deeply care for your wellbeing.  

I love this quote by Neil Strauss,” Without commitment, you cannot have depth in anything, whether it’s a relationship, or business or a hobby.” 

Commitment is the price one pays for the longevity of relationships, and after all, when it all works out, it’s a price well worth it.  

I wish your commitments find their anchor and bring the best to your well deserving lives!! 

None of the blogs or opinions expressed within is meant as advice to you or anybody else on any matter, including but not limited to, personal finance, health, or other matters of life. If you need advice, speak to a professional!

Published by Anita Vij

A caring mother of 2. A loving wife. An aspiring individual who wishes to share her life-long learnings with the rest of the world.

14 thoughts on “Commitment phobia

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