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Fear of Commitment: 47 Signs, Whys & Ways to Get Over Your Phobia

It’s normal to have worries when you start dating someone – you’re opening yourself up and being vulnerable. But a fear of commitment will hold you back. 

fear of commitment phobia

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. Now obviously, a surprising number of people have a fear of commitment without even realizing it!

Some of us have had a tough past. We’ve loved and we’ve lost, and it may have turned us unknowingly into commitment-phobic monsters who can’t seem to fully invest in a real relationship. We try *or so we think*, but we just can’t do it.

Some of us may not have even had a horrific past that’s molded us into being noncommittal, but still, some people just can’t seem to commit to a serious relationship. And what’s worse, some of us may not even realize that we’re being so resistant. [Read: What is the best age to get married?]

The rundown on commitment phobia

A fear of commitment is real. It’s a legitimate fear of committing to someone in a relationship. This isn’t just a made-up phrase that people use to get out of being in a relationship with someone they don’t like. It’s a real psychological condition that can have adverse effects on all involved.

Because it’s extremely easy to avoid looking in the mirror and realize that you have commitment issues, the first step is to know the signs. Then, you need to be honest with yourself.

Of course, 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: How to be in a relationship when monogamy is so boring]

The survival of your relationship and your commitment

If you’re in a long term relationship that’s lasted at least a few years, it’s obvious that the idea of the next stage of marriage will eventually enter your head.

But how do you feel about that? Does it excite you? Or does it scare or annoy you? If you feel any emotion other than some form of happiness when you think of marrying your lover, you’re probably suffering from the fear of commitment. It’s not a totally bad thing, but it’s definitely not good either.

You need to know this, everything in life is about stages and evolution. To survive, you need to evolve. If you stop evolving, you’ll stagnate. And it’s the same thing with relationships too.

Romance needs to evolve or one of you may get attracted to someone else. Sexual intimacy has to evolve or one of you may lose interest in having sex with the other. [Read: 9 relationship stages that all couples go through in love]

Why are you afraid of commitment?

The reason behind your fear of commitment can be summed up in one sentence – you don’t want change!

You may be afraid of change, you may be unsure of what could happen in the future, or it could be just about any other reason associated with change.

But it all comes down to this. You don’t want a new unpredictable change in your life because you’re afraid you may not like the change.

But instead of confronting the real fear *change*, you look for a million reasons to justify why you should stay away from commitment. And without realizing it, you’d start picking flaws and faults in your partner just to stay away from commitment.

But once you start picking flaws, you can never truly respect your partner or love them the way you once did. And that moment is the beginning of the end of your relationship.

Admit it, for whatever reason it may be, you’re afraid of commitment because you’re uncertain about what may happen in future. And that thought scares you! [Read: 20 signs he’s a commitment phone who’s too afraid to commit to someone]

The signs you’re afraid of commitment and looking for excuses

It is not a crime to live for yourself, but you have to know when to admit that you have commitment problems. Only then can you grow out of it, fight your fears, and delve into a mature and adult relationship with someone special *if you want to, of course*.

The vicious cycle of dating and hurting people has to stop. Commitment-phobes have the same modus operandi, so it is relatively easy to spot someone who cannot hold down a long-term relationship.

Here are some clear-cut signs that show you have a phobia when it comes to commitment. [Read: 16 signs a guy likes you but he’s scared and unsure what to do]

1. One life. Just one person

Does the thought of being with just one person for the rest of your whole life scare you? But you’re not cheating on your lover with someone else right now, are you?

If you’re happy in the arms of your lover today, why does the idea of living with them for a lifetime scare you?

2. You fear the end of the relationship

No one can promise you that you will surely have a happy ending. Nothing in life is ever guaranteed. But here’s something you need to keep in mind, your happiness and romantic happy endings are almost always in your own hands. [Read: 30 rules to follow for a successful relationship]

3. The lack of sexual variety

The first time you have sex, it’s awesome! But as the years pass by, the sex can start to get pretty monotonous and predictable.

But that would happen only if you allow your sex life to stagnate. Get naughty and wild, and your sex life will always stay on a high.

4. There’s so much you want to achieve

You may think commitment or marriage would hold you back from achieving your goals or your dreams. But is there a real reason behind your paranoia?

A commitment may affect your goals at times, but more often than not, it’s just your excuse. If you ever walk into a crossroad, you have to make a choice and stick to it. [Read: The naughtiest ways to make long term relationship sex feel like a one night stand]

5. You’re perfect just the way you are

This is a great excuse. You’re in a happy relationship and everything’s just dandy. So why would you want to get married just to conform to the rules of society? You definitely have a good point.

But instead of looking at marriage as unnecessary rules set by society, try to see it as a moral commitment you’re making to your lover. Nothing really changes with a verbal commitment, yet your sign of commitment shows your lover that you truly love and respect them.

6. You have a plan

Do you have a five-year plan or a ten-year plan? Sometimes, all of us have long-term plans to achieve our goals in life. But a commitment can’t kill you, can it? If you really need to devote all your time and attention to something else, or if you need to travel because that’s part of your big plan, learn to communicate.

Talk to your lover and explain your plans to them so you can douse their insecurities about the relationship. If you don’t do that, you may just end up losing your lover someday real soon! [Read: 36 memorable life lessons you definitely need to remember]

7. You’ve had many ultimatums

Have you been given an ultimatum by your lover to make a commitment? At times, giving an ultimatum is the worst thing to do in a relationship, because ego and anger always creep into the scenario.

But if you’ve been given a deadline to make a commitment, don’t get angered by the ultimatum.

Ask yourself what you really want, swallow your ego and your pride, and make a decision. After all, most ultimatums are given out of desperation and pain, rather than with the intention of pissing you off. [Read: Ultimatums in a relationship and how to understand them]

8. You’re stuck on bad memories

A bad case of cheating exes and heartbreaks can leave you paranoid about long term relationships and promises of commitment. The past can hurt you and haunt you, but that’s no excuse to stagnate in your new relationship or feel insecure about it.

Take baby steps, one step at a time, until you feel confident and secure about your new lover. You may think you have every reason to stall commitment, but you have to remember that you’re hurting your lover and leaving them confused with your actions.

9. You’re someone who loves their space

Space is the silent killer of romance. At first, lovers cling to each other and want to be with each other every second of every day. But as time goes by, both lovers start to drift just a little bit. But yet, no lover ever talks about it because they don’t want to hurt their partner’s feelings!

If you’re afraid to commit because you feel you’ll lose your own personal space, don’t worry about it.

As long as both of you make the effort to give each other space and grow as individuals, the commitment will only make both of you fall more in love with each other and become better individuals at the same time. [Read: The best way to give space in love and grow as individuals]

10. You always question whether this person is The One

Are you still uncertain about whether this person is the one for you? This is the worst place to be, and your fear of commitment is completely justified. But you’re also being a selfish person.

If the only reason you’re holding back from making a commitment is that you’re not entirely sure you want to be with this person, take a few days or a week and make up your mind.

Don’t ever leave the person who loves you hanging by a thread because you’re too chicken to make a decision, or too selfish to care about what would happen to your lover after you break up and walk away. [Read: 20 genuine reasons why you may be getting bored with your relationship]

11. You haven’t had an actual relationship in forever

Okay, maybe you’ve had relationships in the past, but if you’ve been single for an extremely long time without even being close to being “in a relationship,” it’s a clear sign that you could have commitment issues. [Read: Confession – I’m in a long term relationship and I desperately want to be single again!]

12. You’ve been hurt pretty badly

Many people don’t have a commitment phobia from birth. It’s usually an issue that arises out of a past experience. If you’ve dated someone who has hurt you very badly *cheated on you, dumped you out of the blue, etc.*, then you are definitely someone who’s at risk of becoming afraid of commitment.

In order to avoid that awful feeling of rejection from ever happening again, some of us just turn off the commitment part of ourselves so that we don’t have to go through the pain again. [Read: How to fall in love again after a breakup and get over the fear of getting hurt]

13. You always manage to find something wrong with the other person

Your list of deal breakers is a mile long. You never think anyone you’re with is “perfect.” In fact, you find more flaws in people than you find good things in them.

14. You hate the idea of a label

If the thought of someone calling you a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” just makes you want to run away, then you have a commitment phobia.

If you weren’t afraid of commitment, you would be overjoyed when someone for whom you have feelings wants to make your relationship official. [Read: Is your negative thinking ruining your life?]

15. You break it off with someone for no real reason

If the relationship is going great and nothing is wrong, yet you still feel the need to break up with your partner *for seemingly nothing*, then you could have a fear of commitment.

Some people actually end relationships because things are “too perfect.” This is just an excuse that they use when things start to show signs of becoming more serious, but they’re too scared to let it happen. [Read: 20 valid reasons to break up with someone]

16. You have a problem making plans for the future

If any talk about future plans, whether they’re a week away or two months away sends you running in the opposite direction or cringing like you just heard nails on the chalkboard, you’re afraid of commitment.

You don’t like the idea of saying yes to those plans because you don’t want to have to commit to being with the same person for that long.

17. You cringe at any hint of meeting their parents

Meeting the parents usually indicates that there’s some sort of deep connection with a person. This also means that there’s some level of commitment involved. Otherwise, they wouldn’t want to bring you home.

But if you can’t stand the idea of meeting someone else’s parents and always seem to find a way around it, you most likely have fear of commitment. [Read: 7 clear signs it’s the right time to meet the parents]

18. You never want anything to change

Most relationships progress naturally, and both people end up wanting things to change, whether this is moving faster, meeting parents/friends, or even just spending more nights together.

But if you’re happy with how things are and don’t want to move forward or have anything change between the two of you, you could be afraid of what may lie ahead in the future.

19. You don’t tell them personal information about you

Most people share intimate details about their lives with the person they’re with. They tell them childhood stories, their deepest desires, and even their stance on current issues in the world.

If you keep things only surface deep with your significant other, it’s because you have a fear of commitment. Personal details = commitment. [Read: What is pillow talk and how to make it better?]

20. You don’t see yourself being with anyone long-term

When someone asks you about your relationship with that particular person and you just say, “Eh, it’s okay” because you just don’t see yourself being with them much longer, you may want to reevaluate some things.

In this case, you have a clear fear of commitment and need to think carefully about what you really want, deep down. [Read: All the reasons your relationship is at a standstill]

21. You never want to meet their friends

If you would prefer to endure the entire relationship without having met any of their friends, you have a fear of commitment.

Most people who are afraid of commitment have a habit of keeping themselves at a fair distance from their significant other’s personal life. All the easier to slip out of their life altogether.

22. If they ask to leave a toothbrush at your place, it turns into a major argument

This one is usually the most obvious sign that you have a fear of commitment. If your current love interest is staying over at your place a lot and wants to leave a toothbrush there, but you have an issue with it, it’s because you really can’t stand the thought of their belongings *ahem, them* moving in with you. [Read: How soon is too soon to move in? The right signs to look out for]

23. Your focus is on sex and not much else

When a relationship is based on sex alone, and you prefer it that way, there’s really no need to commit further. You’re getting exactly what you want without having to give any more.

Ask yourself why. Is it because you have a fear of commitment and just having sex keeps them at arm’s length? [Read: How to know if you are not in love anymore]

24. You don’t introduce someone as anything but a ‘friend’

When the two of you run into people you know, do you introduce them? And if so, is it as a “friend”? If you don’t introduce them at all or are only saying that they’re your friend, you’re just scared of committing to the idea that they might be more than that to you.

25. You’re skeptical of the concept of The One

People with a fear of commitment can never see themselves being with one person for the rest of their lives.

If you think that meeting “The One” will never happen, or that it’s just a big myth, you have a serious commitment phobia. [Read: The possible reasons you’re still single and struggling]

26. You need to maintain independence

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be in control of your life and destiny. However, if the thought of someone playing a role in your life’s decision-making processes terrifies you, then you have a problem.

Letting someone into your life is scary, for sure, but it isn’t a bad thing! They can enrich your life and bring great joy. You just need to let them in.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to you not wanting to make sacrifices to please someone else. You feel that if you open your heart, home, and life to someone, you will lose all your independence, which is honestly not true. On the contrary, you will receive love, security, and companionship in return.

27. You gravitate toward unavailable partners

Probably why all your relationships have not worked out is because you unconsciously gravitate towards partners whom you know will not be there till the end.

Whether you date someone much older or younger than you, have massive religious or cultural differences, is married, lives abroad, or is simply another commitment-phobe, you know deep down inside that the relationship will run its course. That means you do not have to worry about committing long term.

Whether you realize this or not, this is a clear sign of a fear of commitment.

All you have to do is look back at your past relationships and you will find that the one similarity they all have is that they were doomed from the start. [Read: Why I went after a bad boy and why you shouldn’t]

28. You judge other relationships

As someone with commitment issues, you probably constantly judge other relationships. Whether it is your best friend’s latest squeeze, you neighbor’s fiancée, or your aunt’s 20-year marriage, you are probably full of opinions and judgments, most of them negative.

You think that their partners are not good enough and that your friends are compromising their happiness just to be with someone.

It’s likely you also think that the life that they have built with their significant other is dull and uneventful. You think, “Who would want that?” and assume that you have a greater sense of independence and fun than them. 

29. You fantasize too much

You probably fantasize about living a life of glamor with the perfect partner. More often than not, this perfect person is someone totally unattainable, like a celebrity or someone who is already married.

You live in your fantasy world more than in reality and you would rather fantasize about having the perfect relationship with someone unattainable than forging a lasting relationship with someone real.

30. You’re very picky

The person you see yourself with has to look, talk, dress, behave and think a certain way for you to even give them the time of day. Your list of requirements is long and you would rather be single than “settle” for someone who does not check all the boxes.

very time you meet someone, you brush them off as unsuitable because they do not meet your requirements.

There is nothing wrong with having standards, but what you have to realize is that the perfect partner is a myth and that your self-obsessed need to control, criticize and judge other people is an indication that you have issues with commitment. [Read: The harsh dating tips to really make dating work in your favor]

31. You’re fixated on a broken heart

If you are still reeling from your last relationship, there is a chance that you are not ready to commit. For example, you may have been deeply in love with someone and even went so far as to believe that that person was the one.

However, things took a turn for the worse when your partner realized that you were not the one and decided to end things.

You probably figured that if you built a wall around your feelings and never let anyone else in again, you would be just fine. If this is you, then you definitely have commitment issues.

No matter what happened in the past, you need to realize that there are plenty of fish in the sea and if things did not work out, it was probably just not meant to be. Wake up, snap out of your self-created misery and move on. [Read: How to truly fall in love with someone else after a bad breakup]

32. You settle because you know it won’t last

It does not necessarily mean that commitment-phobes cannot be in relationships. On the contrary, many like the love and companionship that comes with being with someone.

The only difference is that people with commitment issues do not see things long term and prefer living by the adage, “We’ll see where it goes. It’s fun for now.”

If you have a tendency to date for fun because you know it will not be long term, sleep around, or are in an open relationship, you probably have a fear of commitment. Settling into relationships that you know will not last is a definite sign that you cannot commit.

33. You have qualities that scare off potential partners

Whether it is your loud and abrasive behavior, or the nature of your job that always takes you on the road, you probably exhibit qualities that scare off possible spouses. Without even knowing it, you build obstacles that discourage potential partners from venturing in any further.

This is a way for you to unconsciously build distance between yourself and others. By doing so, you lessen the risk of being intimate with someone. [Read: How to stop being selfish – 20 ways to stop hurting and using others]

34. You always kid yourself

It’s likely you spew so-called philosophical mumbo jumbo like, “I believe that people have more than one soulmate,” or “with seven billion people in the world, I am sure there is more than just one love for me out there.” All these sayings are just to maintain and justify your single-dom.

Additionally, you believe that your past failed relationships are never your fault but always the other person’s.

You have to take a step back and analyze your attitude. Perhaps, the reason why you are saying these things is because you are rationalizing your own fear of commitment.

35. You’re a pro at excuses

This applies to situations that require you to think about the future. An example is meeting your partner’s parents for the first time. Even the idea terrifies you as you know that meeting the folks means taking a small, albeit next step to solidifying the relationship to a more serious status.

You will make up excuses to get out of it, even resorting to falling off the grid for a few days. The same can be said for other scenarios that force you to think about the future. [Read: 16 sure signs you’re not mentally prepared for a serious relationship]

36. You love the chase

Those with a fear of commitment get their kicks out of the chase. Once they get the person they have been working so hard to get, they lose interest.

If you are this way, you are probably a bonafide expert at passionate yet very short relationships. This is because the moment things hint at getting serious, you run for the hills.

Moving in together – The coward’s alternative to a commitment?

These days, lovers move in together all the time. But statistically speaking, couples that move in together before getting married end up separating very soon. Does that mean living together before marriage is bad news for love? Definitely not! [Read: How to make moving in together work for you]

The biggest reason why live-in relationships fail is that couples don’t really take the relationship seriously. They make no commitments and just move in together because it seems like an easier alternative.

If you want your relationship to be successful, make a commitment before moving in together. After all, moving in together should never be used as an excuse to avoid making long term commitments.

Moving in together should be seen as the next stage in the relationship, and the stage before marriage. Thinking along these lines would help you realize just how serious moving in together really is! [Read: 5 things to think about before moving in and 10 things to think about after moving in with your lover]

Life isn’t all good and all bad

You’re afraid of commitment, and that’s alright. Perhaps, you’ve had your share of broken relationships or cheating lovers. But that doesn’t mean a new relationship can’t have a happy ending.

Life isn’t all black and white. There’s always the grey area where anything goes, and what works for one will never work for another. Take a leap of faith and take a chance. It’s true that our mind always remembers the bad experiences and puts a stronger emphasis on them all the time.

And in all probability, you could even forget the good experiences you’ve had over the years with your lover. But most importantly, avoiding a commitment will always lead to the end of your relationship. It’s almost always inevitable. [Read: How to read a man’s mind and find out if he’s ready to propose]

Communicate. Overcome your fear.

If you truly care about your lover, don’t be selfish, speak out and let your partner know what’s on your mind. Also, if something scares you about making a long term commitment, talk to your partner about it.

Communicating frankly may seem uncomfortable at first, but as long as explain your fears subtly without intentionally trying to hurt your lover, they’d definitely be more understanding of your fears and may even help you overcome those very fears.

Remember, you can’t pause life. You can evolve or you can perish. If you believe there’s a happy relationship stage in between dating and commitment that can last forever, well, you’re wrong. And you’d end up losing the one you love too. [Read: How to communicate effectively with your lover]

The root of the issue

Now you know the signs of a fear of commitment, you’ll want to understand what is at the root of yours. Then, you can start the process of healing.

Below is a list of things that often cause people to have issues with getting into a relationship and staying in it. Do you recognize anything in your own life?

1. PTSD or a mild case of it

Some people 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.

2. You’re too young

Age 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. You’re fixated on 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. A lack of closure

Another reason why you can’t commit to a new person in your life is that 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. [Read: How to find closure with yourself after a relationship]

5. You’re not 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.

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? [Read: Is it better to be single than to be with someone?]

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. [Read: How to communicate in a relationship – 16 steps to a better love]

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.

3. Weigh up 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, etc, but rather take a look at how you’re feeling.

The best decision is always the one that does not make you unhappy. [Read: Why it’s great to be single in your 20s]

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 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? [Read: Lack of communication in relationships – How to fix this issue]

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.

[Read: 19 signs you’ve overcome your commitment issues and are ready to get serious]

A fear of commitment may seem genuine, but it’s almost always just an excuse because you don’t like change in your life. Use these signs you’re afraid of commitment and ask yourself whether you really have a reason to be scared.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...