Any tips for not being a commitment phobe? I dont think I am one but you never know who is reading.......
They usually have a history of short relationships and they may never have been married - there is often an excuse that they haven’t met the right woman, or they justify their history by saying they still have plenty of time to settle down as they can have children at any age. A favorite line is "someday".
If they have been married it is likely to have been for a short time, or, if they have been in a long term relationship or marriage, they will usually have a history of infidelity.
They want a relationship but they also want freedom and space so they are often attracted to long distance relationships and busy independent women.
They are fast to move in on a woman they are attracted to, and they pursue ardently until they win the woman over.
They are very charming. They say and do all the right things and they can be very romantic. They are very good salesmen to get their own needs met, but in reality they have very little concern for the woman’s feelings, as they are always operating from hidden agendas.
These men 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 the woman, by not ringing or not wanting to see her for days, or not including her in weekend arrangements etc. This is because they subtly want to give the woman 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 woman when they don’t see her, 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.
They spin stories to justify their contradictory behaviour, and when the woman threatens to leave the relationship they may make promises to change, but they never do.
They tend to treat the woman like a mistress rather than a real girlfriend.
They tend to limit the amount of time they spend with the women and treat her as a low priority.
Commitment phobic men 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 often choose women who are not the type of partner they are looking for, for example they may be much older, much younger, married, or they may have different interests. They use these differences as excuses to end relationships.
They can have a history of frequent career change and often work in environments where they have a certain amount of space and freedom.
They treat requests for respect as demands and become, angry, obnoxious and rebellious.
Severe commitment phobics avoid events or outings that may include the woman's family or friends.
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 woman like a puppet on a string.
They don’t like structure, particularly in their personal life.
They tend to compartmentalize their life and keep their work environment, friends or family off limits. They can create wonderful excuses why the woman shouldn’t meet these people.
They prefer not to include the woman 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 woman for why they are acting so bizarrely.
They may withdraw sexually and blame it on the woman for being demanding, or on work fatigue, or illness, or anything else that they can think of.
They can have a history of unavailability and inaccessibility .They can be hard to contact, and they are often unpredictable when it comes to returning phone calls. They can even avoid answering calls completely.
They lie, or they are evasive and secretive about where they are and what they are doing to create space.
Their living arrangements may be rather off-beat. They may have an apartment but they may rarely stay there, preferring to stay at friends places, with parents or ex-girlfriend’s.
They hate planning ahead because that means commitments.
Severe commitment phobics may have very little furniture, not own property or a car, as these represent commitment as well. To some buying a car can be as big a decision as deciding to get married - it can be all too much for them as they don’t want to feel stuck with anything.
They often don’t invite women to their home because of their peculiar living arrangements, but they have no desire to change their situation. Even if their home is comfortable it exudes the feeling that they want to be alone. It is not welcoming to the outside world.
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 women they are with, and use this as an excuse to end good relationships.
They are often unfaithful in relationships.
They can be overly committed to their work or to their children to avoid spending a lot of time with a woman.
They may create distance by having affairs, mentioning another woman’s name etc.
Severe commitment phobics rarely lower their defences because they don’t want to get too close to a woman, or vice versa. If they do, they usually only give little pieces of their soul in well- planned instalments, except if they are having an affair. Affairs are perfect for commitment phobics as they feel completely safe to disclose and to chase, as commitment is not an option while they are in another relationship.
If a man has been married he may void putting his divorce papers through as he can use this as an excuse to keep a woman at bay. This helps him to feel safe from the possibility of ever getting married again.
Behavioural inconsistencies are very noticeable with these men when they find themselves getting too close. They become argumentive 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 the woman 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 men know on some level that they are deceptive and cruel to women.
The word “forever” terrifies these men. 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.
They usually end up behaving worse and worse, and they sabotage more and more because they want the woman to end the relationship as they feel too anxious and guilty to do so.
Severe commitment phobics can also suffer from claustrophobia and/or a personality disorder.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." -Aristotle
This list makes it sound like all commitment phobics are very manipulative, conniving people. I don't know if this is always true. I have commitment-phobic guy friends who are still really good guys, and would actually like a good, strong, healthy relationship, but it's almost as though the freeze up and panic when that possibility comes to them.
I've noticed it's usually because of at least ONE bad relationship that they get like this. My "ex-on-a-break-whatever" guy hasn't been able to really commit to a woman since a serious girlfriend of his cheated on him about six years ago. They'd been talking about getting engaged, and at some point, she got curious and cheated with another woman. You'd think he'd think that was hot, but he's got a zero-tolerance policy, and he ended it. He hasn't had a serious relationship since, until I came along. Once he realized that after 2 1/2 years we were more serious than he'd originally thought, and long-distance to make things "worse," he panicked and had to step back.
It's still difficult for me to understand, really, but I have a totally different outlook on commitment. He would periodically tell me - usually during times when we were having a lot of fun together - that he needed to do everything he could to keep himself from "falling head over heels in love" with me, as it was still uncerrtain as to whether I'd be able to pull off relocating. A flattering thought, sure, but not much help to me. I still don't feel as though he was being manipulative or abusive to me those 2 1/2 years, although he certainly showed signs of commitment phobia - he even outright admitted it one day, and then proceeded to panic about it. For him, I don't think the fear was of commitment (to me) itself -it was of the "what ifs". What if we'd made it into the same location, started dating, and six months later drove each other crazy? What if he expected me to be nervous around him all the time and wouldn't notice that I wasn't? What if I ended up despising him after I'd dated him for awhile? What if I'd gotten offerred a dream job that required me to move, and he wouldn't be able to move with me? Basically, "What if I wind up devastated again?"
Indeed, any of that could possibly happen. For me, I wasn't so much afraid of the "what ifs" so much as the thought of spending the rest of my life wondering "What could've happened if we'd taken that risk and given it a real shot?"
Commitment-phobic guys also ALWAYS ask their platonic female friends - such as my witty, charming self - "Why can't I find a girl like you?" They then proceed to continue finding girls who are the polar opposite. Because finding "girls like me" is scary business. These are the guys who really put the "OY!" in "boyfriend."
I understand where you are coming from Coffee. I certainly didn't mean to put commitment-a-phobes in a bad light. I was merely trying to give common characteristics of such a behavior.
I hope it helped...even a tiny bit.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." -Aristotle
Thanks, Dave. That does help. As does your list of characteristics - I always wonder about commitment-phobia, and I'm wondering if there are different "types" of commitmentphobes. I feel like I'm delving too deeply into psychology - a discipline I know very little about. And I doubt this particular affliction is in the DSM IV and all, but I really think there are the narcissist commitment phobes - those who dont' like the idea of committing to someone because that requires them to think about someone other than themselves, and the anxious commitment phobes - those who are so afraid of the possible consequences of taking this step that they screw things up out of panic in order to "protect" themselves. Understandable, of course, but a very lonely way to live if you refuse to take a risk once in awhile.
I'm no expert, but I do know that people do some pretty stupid things when they're frightened. Just watch "Night of the Living Dead."
I can't BELIEVE I just compared relationships to zombie invasions. That must mean something horrible for me...
Thanks so much for shedding light to this... With some exceptions my boyfriend matches the criteria perfectly... The age difference, the emotional inconsistency, the jealous behaviour, the inability to break up, oh-my-god.... I never thought of it that way... So... any advice what to do about commitment phobics? How to treat them, how to treat the relationship? Will he ever change, can I change him? Can I help him get over his phobia?
As someone who dated a commitment phobe for over two years, I can tell you that there is nothing YOU can do. It's all them. They have to decide whether or not they feel someone is worth overcoming their fears for. And most of all, they have to decide whether or not their ready to grow up.
You can try to show them how great you are until the cows come home, but if they're only waiting for that other shoe to drop in order to have an excuse not to commit to you, then it's all for nothing. The more you try to "change" them, the more they're likely to run away.
"Are tangerines really just oranges that didn't want it enough?" - Random Greeting Card
Thanks Coffee for your reply... Guess then no action is required from my part. I know he has to grow up and has to learn to trust again... I'm trying to give him the space he needs but be there for him at the same time, and I'm not giving him opportunities to be suspicious or jealous because he has a strong tendency, hoping that he will relax eventually. He is very scared to risk and to make the wrong decision, he is scared to stay with me because he knows we get closer and closer and more emotionally dependent on each other, but he is also scared to leave, cuz what if I'm the best thing that ever happened to him and he will lose that...
I really don't know what would be best for him, if I broke up and give him his freedom back so he doesn't have to do it? But how can I when I know he loves me...
I'm glad this thread has been bumped because I was just looking at this thread earlier yesterday. In English I'm going to be doing a synthesis paper on living together before marriage but for my big research paper I'm tossing between that same topic or commitment phobia. I think I'm in the same boat as far as being in a relationship with someone who has commitment phobia.
Kelley is right that you can't do anything to change how they feel. However, I'm just as curious as you on how one overcomes commitment phobia. On one hand it is healthy to have these types of fears of a lifetime commitment and such but it reaches a point to where the fears interfere with life choices and then they become too afraid to take a risk and began sabotaging the relationship. Heck... if 2 commitment phobics were in a relationship they'd probably jumping for joy...wouldn't last long but they'd be happy. LOL.
Anyway, I think we need more articles and such posted here.
Also... what about those of us with the partner that have commitment phobia that have expressed that they DO want to change and not be afraid anymore. What can THEY do? I mean, obviously they aren't going to magically get struck by lightning and go "HEY I'm not scared anymore!"
On a second thought... I might be dating a commitment phobic but I just realized that I was like that in my previous relationship - how could I miss the connection. My ex even called me commitment phobic or something similar many times, and I didn't want to fully commit to him because something just didn't feel 100% about him, but this time, with a different person, there are no second thoughts... This is weird, maybe commitment phobia is relationship-specific not person-specific... Meaning you might act as a commitment phobic with one person but not with another...
Dude, seriously. So many of the items on that list peg the guy I was most recently involved with (not the guy I was agonizing over on the boards). Holy cow. I always knew relationships freaked him out (he went through a baaaaad divorce), but I never really dug into the whole "CP" thing.
He doesn't have all of the traits, but he has many. I'm with the others .... how does one overcome such fears? And the thing is, do they ever really know they are a CP or is it something that is met with a lot of deinal?
"Some love stories aren't epic novels, some are short stories. But, that doesn't make them any less filled with love." ~ Carrie Bradshaw
"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." ~ Semisonic
I've been doing a study on my boyfriend and another sign is when you say something or ask them a question they respond with another question. Like "Why do you think that?" etc. Another way to avoid the subject especially if it's about something commitment related.
---------- Post added at 09:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:49 PM ----------
Atleast this is what I've been able to come up with in the past 2 years... and especially the past 2 months.
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