The scientific fear of commitment name is gamophobia, and it can affect people of both genders; however, for many women, dating a man with commitment phobia can be frustrating. Women often break off the relationship at the first signs of the problem, but every man is strong enough to deal with this issue if he gets adequate help. Giving up on a commitment phobic person is an easy way out. Trying to help him is a responsible approach that can save a good relationship.
Commitment phobia, also called relationship anxiety, can happen for many different reasons. For some men it can have psychological roots that date back to his childhood. Others have had bad experiences in the past. If you are faced with a commitment phobe, you will have a hard time helping him get unstuck, but you must remember that there is nothing impossible for a determined woman.
Let’s take a look at three solid ways to help a man deal with his commitment issues and allow you to take the relationship to the next level.
1. Identify the Commitment Phobia
Identifying that your man is a commitment phobic can be tricky. Some women often mistake this condition for loss of interest and proceed to break off the relationship. If your man is getting more and more distant, it doesn’t always mean that he stopped loving you. Perhaps he is dealing with a fear of commitment. Here are some important signs of commitment phobia:
- His past relationships were non-committed. Commitment phobic men usually have a history of short and non-committed relationships. So when he tells you about his previous relationships, pay close attention to how long they were. There are two options. They were either short – about one or two months- and were broken off by him, or too long without evolving into anything more serious than simple dating.
It wouldn’t be right to say that any man who had short-term or long non-committed relationships is commitment phobic. But if he has such a history, you should view it as a small red flag and be ready to discover other symptoms.
- He has a hard time making plans. You want to go the movies next week or attend a play next month and are asking your boyfriend to join you. A man without commitment problems will either say “yes” or “no.” A commitment-phobe will leave himself some room for maneuver. You will probably hear something like “maybe” or “if all goes well.”
Men with commitment issues have troubles committing to just about anything. Be it a long-time relationship or a simple date. He will always try to avoid straightforward answers and leave himself a way out. Long-term plans scare him. The best he can do is agree to a short-term commitment. Another popular situation is plan cancellation. He can cancel the plans he agreed to, and even blame you for it.
- He is overly sexually active. Men with commitment problems need intimacy just as everyone else does. However, they have trouble getting close to people, which means their intimacy needs are not satisfied. They try to compensate for this problem with sex. Sex is a man’s way to feel close to a woman without making any commitments.
Sometimes sex might not be enough to fill the empty void in a man’s heart. That’s when such men often turn to gambling, drugs and alcohol; however, these problems alone can’t be considered to be commitment phobia symptoms.
- He almost never says “I love you.” Men with commitment problems have a hard time expressing their feelings. They are usually afraid of them. Such a man will rarely give you the words of love, you are looking for. And even when he does, they might sound forced and unnatural. Not because he doesn’t mean it, but because he is afraid of saying it.
- He doesn’t have many friends. Commitment phobia applies to all relationships, including friendships. If he is afraid of being committed to a woman, the same will go for his friends. He has a hard time expressing his feelings and making commitments. Such approach is fatal to close friendships. While a woman in love might sacrifice a lot to wait for a man to “come to his senses”, most friends will just start avoiding him.
- He didn’t introduce you to his family. If you’ve been dating for a long time, a natural course of things would be to meet his folks, but this will not happen if your boyfriend is a commitment phobic. For him such a step means giving up some freedom. If he introduces you to his family, he will have to deal with a lot of questions that he might not feel comfortable answering.
- He makes you do what he wants. When you go out to see a movie or eat at a restaurant, it is probably his choice. He is good at making it seems as if it was your idea. And if something goes wrong, you’ll be the first one to blame. This is his way of avoiding responsibility for his actions.
If at least two of the above points are true, then you are dealing with a commitment phobic. The easiest way out would be to leave this relationship, but what can you do if you are in love? If you are ready to fight for him, you need to go further.
2. Find the Reasons for His Commitment Issues
There are several reasons that can lead to a commitment phobia. If you manage to identify them, you will have an easier time dealing with them. Your goal is to diagnose a disease and to follow through with the right treatment.
- The commitment-phobe feels like a failure. Fear of failure is one of the most popular reasons a man becomes a commitment phobic. He is afraid of not being a good enough partner/husband/parent. Perhaps there were some disappointments in his life that made him feel insecure and unsure about his abilities.
Men are sensitive to failures. When they don’t succeed at something important, they might decide that they will never succeed again. That can make them fearful of relationships since they entail serious responsibility.
- He had a bad relationship experience. This is usually true for men who went through a hard break-up or a divorce. Usually these situations are stressful and a man instinctively wants to avoid being in them again. That’s why he will do everything possible to keep away from a serious relationship.
- He had a childhood psychological trauma. If his parents didn’t care enough for his needs and didn’t show him appreciation, a man can develop a fear or rejection. If as a child your boyfriend was punished too much and made feel insecure, he will try to do everything to avoid a situation where he might feel unappreciated or rejected again.
- He has low self-esteem. If a man has a low self-esteem, he just doesn’t have enough power to make the decisions. That’s why he is not ready to deal with a responsibility of a committed relationship. Every decision makes him stressed, which in turn hinders his ability to think clearly. All this forces him to avoid further anxiety.
- He is feeling unworthy. Due to some psychological problems that can either stem from previous negative experience or bad relationships a man can feel unworthy. This makes him subconsciously avoid any commitment since he believes he is just not good enough for it.
- He is looking for a perfect woman. All men are competitive and are always looking for the best. This can lead to a commitment phobia because a man is afraid that by committing he will miss the opportunity to find an even more perfect partner.
He can also be afraid that by committing to a family life he will miss out on other amazing opportunities such as parties with his friends, traveling all over the world or pursuing a new career. He sees family life as a fence that separates him from his freedom.
- He feels too young. Men are often afraid of commitment because they “haven’t seen the world yet.” He wants to have sex with hundreds of women, visit dozens of countries and drink a thousand bottles of beer. You will often hear him say he’s too young to get married, have children, or make a career. If he doesn’t get help, this “Peter Pan” might stay immature forever.
- He is afraid the relationship will get worse. Many men like the initial stages of a relationship when you go on dates, have amazing sex and pay for your coffee. He has heard from friends or parents that with time relationships get much less exciting. Marriage and kids entail a myriad of different problems.
So he is ready to keep the relationship light and easy and is afraid of any commitment. He genuinely believed that once he commits, it will get worse.
3. Work on Overcoming His Commitment Phobia
Overcoming commitment phobia is not easy. Most likely a man will not be able to do this without your help. If you are ready for all the hardships that are necessary to fight this problem, you will need to focus on some important points.
Remember, your goal is not to fight with his phobia on your own. You need to allow him to do it. All you can do is make subtle hints and pushes to help him on his way. No one can deal with another person’s psychological problems. You can’t fix it, but you can give him the tools.
- Have a serious conversation. If you’ve been in a relationship longer than six months and are suspecting that your man has commitment phobia, you can start by trying to have a serious conversation with him about it. Explain your feelings in depth and be open about your worries. Sometimes it can be just as easy is that.
If a man realizes he has commitment problems, he might be ready to start dealing with them with your help. If you let him know your feelings, it might push him to start making decisions that he views as unpleasant. Overcoming himself will allow him to deal with the problem.
What you have to realize that every step with such a man is a risk. He might get so scared of the conversation that he might decide to run away. This risk you must take. It’s better to end the relationship here and now then do nothing about fixing it.
- Ask him what he wants from a relationship. It seems to be an innocent step but it will help him realize his commitment phobia and perhaps will make him ready to fight it. Play a game. Say you will write down your wishes and ask him to write down his. Then exchange the lists.
Just make sure that there is nothing in your list that can scare the commitment-phobe off. Be careful. This game should help him not make him feel insecure and out of control. Avoid things like “Spending all our time together” or “Having seven children.” You will get a chance to tell him this later.
- Allow him to have his space. After you’re done talking to him, give your beau some space. He will need time to deal with his feeling on his own. Don’t try to push him. Don’t keep asking questions about the conclusions he made or the way he feels right now. He must have some personal time to deal with the new information. Pushing him will have a reversed effect, since he is afraid of losing his freedom.
- Make your commitment-phobic boyfriend miss you. Overcome your love and motherly feelings you have for this man. The worst thing you can do is to hang around him too much. After you’ve done your job and explained your worries, take a break. Go on a vacation or visit your parents or friends in another town. Give him some time to understand how empty his life is without you.
- Take things slowly. A commitment phobic man is different from all the men you’ve dated before or your friends have told you about. You need to take things slowly with him. It will take him much more time to move on to the next stage of the relationship than might seem acceptable to you. You will have to deal with this fact and try not to rush him.
- Make a schedule. In order not to lose yourself in the process of taking things slowly and being afraid of any serious moves, you can make a schedule for yourself. If you have identified your man as a commitment phobic and had a serious conversation with him, make up a schedule of your relationship stages. Write down some deadlines for yourself such as:
- Meeting his parents in six months.
- Moving in together in 12 months.
- Popping the questions in two years.
If nothing happens during the time you allotted for a certain development, then you might consider having another serious conversation. Then wait a couple of months and make the hard decision. Either you have to leave him or ask him to get professional help.
- Don’t rely on your partner. This might sound terrible, but while you are waiting for your boyfriend to deal with his phobia, don’t rely on him. Show your utter independence and readiness to make all the decisions on your own. Commitment phobics are scared of the responsibility. If you try to make them take it, they will get scared and feel like running away as fast as possible.
Try to make him as comfortable as you can for a certain period of time. Allow him to realize that he can feel safe with you and you will not be forcing him to do what he doesn’t want.
- Avoid his phobia triggers. If you’ve been going out for a long time you must know what sets his phobia off. Try to avoid these triggers as much you can without going against your own beliefs in the process. Don’t constantly bring up your fears or thoughts regarding his phobia. You need to allow him to deal with it on his own.
- Stay calm and carry on. Commitment phobic men are always ready to break off the relationship at the first sign of discomfort, such as a fight, but relationships without fights don’t exist. So if your boyfriend starts yelling “let’s break up,” stay calm and agree. Don’t start screaming back at him or do anything to show too much emotion. Allow him to get his thoughts together.
When he calms down, he will most likely come back under the wing of your calmness. But if after he runs off, you’ll start calling, texting and being annoying, he might get scared and leave for good.
- Don’t lose yourself. Losing yourself in a relationship with a phobic man is easy. You will hear some advice that will tell you to settle for what you have. If you make the commitment-phobe too comfortable with you, this relationship will last forever without going on to the next stage.
Is this what you really want? Are you ready to live with a man for years without getting married and having children? If yes, then you are a perfect match for a commitment-phobe. If not, don’t lose your determination.
Commitment phobia can be dealt with. If a man is not ready to start dealing for more than five years, you might need to make the hard decision and break the relationship off.
- Give him something useful to read. Many books have been written about commitment phobia treatment. If your man is ready to fight for a good relationship, give him some tools. Don’t spend time looking for tips on “how to deal with my commitment phobia,” and then presenting them to him any time you see fit. It will seem like pushing.
Find a good book and ask his friend to recommend it to him. Be subtle. You can even send it to his e-mail from an unknown address signed by a different name. Whatever you do, don’t give it to him yourself. You will look desperate and he will feel intimidated.
- Get professional help. When all else fails and commitment fears lead to unpleasant consequences such as anxiety or another mental health issues, get professional help. You can start by going to a therapist on your own and asking for professional advice.
The therapist will give you some tips on how to convince your commitment phobic boyfriend to get some professional help. Don’t be straightforward and avoid forcing him. Be subtle about it. Be ready for an unpleasant reaction to your suggestions. All is fair in love and war. Use all your weapons to help him, and in a while he will be grateful.
- Relax. When you’ve done all you can, allow yourself to relax. Being in a relationship with a commitment phobic man is a hard job. Allow yourself some time to rest and gather your thoughts. Take a look at some fun commitment phobia quotes to lift your mood. You are a fighter but even fighters need some rest.
Respect yourself and the mental effort you make to deal with your man’s problem. Treat yourself as much as you can. It will be unfortunate if you develop your own mental issues while trying to deal with his.
Dealing with commitment phobia is hard, but doable. A man can do it on his own, but he needs some help to realize the problem. Finding a subtle approach and giving space are the two most important tools a woman can use to help a commitment phobic man.
Every girl must remember to pick her battles. If a man doesn’t do anything to deal with his issues, the relationship will become useless to a woman. If he is not willing to fight, perhaps, he is not worth your time, but that is your decision to make in the end.