If you think that committing yourself to someone is a death sentence, you have a serious problem. Spot the issue and work through it with this guide.
The amount of effort that people put into not being in relationships these days is astounding. It used to be that everyone jumped on the chance to be with the loves of their lives, but these days you have to triple-check whether you see yourself as someone who can explore the possibility of being in a relationship.
Before you can deal with your commitment issues, you have to know why you have them in the first place. Commitment is now misconstrued as a life sentence that denotes permanence and a lack of freedom. Instead of seeing it as a good thing, a lot of people think of it as a hindrance. Most blame their work as a cause for their reluctance, while some freely admit that they do not want to engage in a monogamous relationship. [Read: 12 big signs you have commitment issues]
The root of the issue
Below are a list of things that often cause people to have issues with getting into a relationship and staying in it.
#1 PTSD or a mild case of it. Some are disinclined to commit to anyone, because they might have gone through a traumatic experience in the past. It could be due to abuse, neglect or a very bad breakup. It does not need to be connected to a past relationship, but it does apply to anything that can cause you to distrust people. [Read: 16 signs you’re not ready for anything serious yet]
#2 Youth is also another factor because there’s this widespread idea that you need to sow your wild oats before settling down. There is truth in this, but it’s not the same for everyone. Some people can choose to be with just one person for the rest of their lives, and never regret it.
#3 Your career. One of the things that give us fulfillment in our lives is our jobs. Once we find something that we love, we stick to it. When that job starts to encompass our lives, we tend to forego any other commitments, no matter how enticing.
#4 Lack of closure. Another reason why you can’t commit to a new person in your life is because you’re still holding on to someone from the past. There is a big difference between moving on and having moved on. You have to know without a shadow of a doubt that you are over your ex before you can give yourself to someone else.
#5 You’re not that attracted to the idea of relationships. Wanting to be in a commitment is the most important thing in dealing with these types of issues. No matter how much you deny it, if you don’t see yourself with a person on a long term basis then there’s no point in pursuing the relationship. [Read: Is it better to be single than to be with someone?]
Should you commit to a new relationship or not?
The reasons stated above are all legitimate reasons to not be in a commitment. If you are not ready, then why force it? You’ll only end up hurting the person who cares about you if you don’t fix your issues first.
If a career and your freedom are your priorities, no one can stop you from doing what you want. That’s the beauty of the human race. We have the freedom to choose what we think is good for us. It does not necessarily mean that we are right, but if we’re happy and have managed not to hurt anyone, then who’s to say we’re choosing the wrong path?
How to deal with commitment issues
People don’t see that giving a big part of yourself to a person can yield more in return. When engaging in a relationship, you allow yourself to grow with another human being by sharing your lives and feelings.
Once you find that person and still can’t get used to the idea of settling down, you need to deal with those issues and find the best course of action in order to get what you want and need. Here’s how:
#1 Talk about it. If you really like the person you’re seeing, then you need to discuss these new feelings that you’re having. Tell them about your fears, but assure them that you are willing to work through it. Always know that you don’t have to handle this on your own.
#2 Sow your wild oats. Give yourself some time to do everything that you need to do. Whether it’s an extreme jump in your career choices, a journey to the Himalayas or just a wild night out to get it out of your system, do it. Once you realize that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, you might decide to settle down and find another type of joy with the person that you love. [Read: Why it’s great to be single in your 20s]
#3 Weigh the pros and cons. In order to make the best decision for you and your partner, you have to internalize all the factors. Don’t look at the obvious stuff like time, money, social lives and what not, but rather take a look at how you’re feeling. The best decision is always the one that does not make you unhappy.
#4 Stop comparing yourself to other people. Just because so-and-so is happy with their choice about being single for life, does not mean that you will feel the same way. You need to determine whether you’re only deciding to forego a committed relationship because you saw the same situation in other people’s lives, or because you truly believe that being in a relationship is not for you.
#5 What have you got to lose? It’s a reasonable question because some of you may consider your current status in life satisfying. If you think that being in a relationship can ruin that, then you are definitely not ready to commit. If you do decide that being in a relationship will hardly put a dent in your moderately happy life, why not go for it.
#6 Do you love the person you’re with? Just because you haven’t committed to your partner, does not mean that you’re not allowed to love. If you feel it, then maybe you should consider taking a chance and see what the fuss is all about. Loving someone is not a job, it’s a privilege.
Being in a committed relationship is not for everyone. So many things are happening today that it’s understandable if you’d want to put your energy into other matters. Still, it can’t hurt to acknowledge someone’s feelings for you. Just make sure that you are clear about your intentions and emphasize your views on where you see the relationship going.
Remember that just because you have commitment issues does not mean that your partner does. If the person you like is ready to be in a relationship, then there is probably a ticking clock on your decision. That’s why you need to nip these commitment issues in the bud or else you may find yourself reminiscing about the one that got away.
No one can really predict what can happen when you start a relationship with someone you really care about. That’s what makes it so scary. If you want to take a risk, but feel that you’re not ready, take a beat and see if any of these methods can work for you. No matter what happens after, the least you can say is that you tried your best.
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Those who can’t do, teach. I can neither do nor teach as well as others, but I can try. Aside from being a writer, I am also a physical therapist. My dream is...