As a single adult, are you afraid to commit yourself fully in a relationship? Are you in a relationship in which your partner seems reluctant to make a long-term pledge?
Commitment phobia is the fear of committing one’s self fully to a relationship. This happens to both the guy and the lady at different stages of their lives, but more noticeable among guys, because they take longer time to come out of that phase of their lives.
Take, Daniel and Dora as a case study, two young, educated adults living separate lives. 22-year-old Dora is having the time of her life, flirting and going into several relationships with men without getting seriously ‘attached’ to any of them. She gets proposals from several men but tells them (and herself) that she is not ready to “subject herself to any man”. She has commitment phobia.
She clocks 26 and reality sets in: it is time to put an end to the games and get serious.
Daniel, on the other hand, is a fun-loving, happening guy. Everyone loves his persona, especially the ladies. He cherishes his singlehood like a god and avoids any avenue to “get serious with any lady,” because he cannot forgo his freedom in the name of a relationship. He is smart and charming and the ladies come in droves. A certain lady comes along and he makes all kinds of promises with the intention of “settling down” someday, but months turn into years and Daniel is still single. He is afraid to ‘commit’, but he never admits it. In his opinion he is “just not ready”.
This is very common in the Nigerian society: a man can get married, even when he is 50 years old, while the lady must tie the knot before she celebrates her 30th birthday.
Most young adults do not know that starting a relationship is the easy part, while keeping the relationship is the real hard work. People go into relationships seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses and thus never really get serious or check if it has a future. They do not have space in their minds for all the likely difficulties they might encounter, and when things do not go as planned, they use it as an excuse to probably find someone else and start “anew”. There is usually the assumption that there will be another time to get things serious.
Your partner could be commitment-shy, due to any of the following reasons:
(A) fear of losing personal freedom (B)fear of being betrayed (C )fear of being dependent on or being vulnerable to someone else (D)fear of losing financial resource - this is largely common among the males (E)fear of being the victim of abuse (F)fear of making a mistake in choosing a life partner
The above mentioned fears are the major reasons why most young people in a ‘deep’ relationships fail to give 100 per cent to it and thus become reluctant to take the next step until they are much older. This is why there is a large number of single men and ladies seeking companionship. Until this fear is decisively dealt with, it will not be an easy road for them. Even when they finally get married, this fear might probably affect the marriage.
Men and women who are affected by this phobia are usually in a constant state of emotional conflict, due to negative, irrational belief about love, commitment and relationship. They feel that giving your heart and life to someone is an invitation to betrayal, heart break and mental slavery, especially if they have suffered a heart-break before.
They have a history of short relationships and usually give the excuse that they are yet to met the right person before they can “take that step”. Men with this phobia are fast in going after the opposite sex. They are charming with a hidden, selfish agenda, and as their relationships get older the women in their lives take the ‘back-seat’.
The guy who was once attentive suddenly has to be urgently present some other place, so he can “hang out with the boys” more, while he keeps the lady waiting on date-night. Sometimes he could be so polite as to call in to cancel, and on and on….
Should you force partner to commit?
Of course, the general answer will be “No!” That is, actually, the answer.NO! No one, not even a child, will like to be forced to do what they do not want to do.
The lady is usually quick to notice if she is compactible with a guy or not and if she has her way, would force him to commit to her. True commitment, however, is not forced. It is a willful decision by both partners to spend the rest of their lives with each other, despite their respective faults. When the lady or the guy begins to feel pressed to take the next step, faults that were previously overlooked suddenly take center stage, and little things lead on to huge quarrels.
The human instinct for freedom kicks in and begins to seek a way out of the relationship. This is why the guy suddenly notices how “classless, dumb and materialistic she is,” while the lady begins to notice how “over-bearing and stingy he is”.
If you are ready to commit to such a relationship, you have to find out, first, if your partner is also ready to commit before you voice your opinions. Do not put your partner under undue pressure: this can be done during rational, calm and light-hearted conversations. Ask your partner what he or she foresees about your “future together” and how they feel about you.
You are more likely to get an honest answer at this time than if you begin to blurt out your intentions. If overtime, his or her answers remain consistent with your own intentions, then you are good to go. Only then can you tell your partner what you have in mind, then both of you can work things through.