There is a popular joke today saying that commitment phobia among men is nearly as common as chickenpox among kids. The anxiety, also known as fear of commitment or commitment anxiety, refers to tendency to avoid permanent relationships.
Having relationship with such a man sucks. When we thought all was going alright and when we were ready to move to the next stage, he stiffened when we talked about it. He said nothing, sweat dripped down his forehead… and never returned our calls the days after. Or in milder cases, we’ll find how men with fear of commitment would always try to bend conversation topics that led to the idea of “stepping forward.”
In fact, mild forms of commitment phobia (fear of commitment) is not very rarely found among men. Almost all men in the cultures – where faithfulness and monogamous relationships are much appreciated – are afraid of commitment to some degree due to their reluctance to give up their freedom. The problems arise when the fear has grown uncontrollably to phobia that makes him a commitmentphobic.
Usually, it is very hard to identify if a man or a woman had been handicapped by fear of commitment or not. Why? Because what a commitment phobic fears the most (a committed relationship) is also the very thing he/she craves the most. However, there are some signs of commitment phobia that we can make use of to identify whether a significant one of ours suffers the disease or not.
Commitment Phobia in Men: Why
There are many factors that can cause commitment phobia. A recent study conducted by Karolinska Institute in Sweden even revealed that some cases of commitment phobia might be related to genetic factors. Although the finding is interesting, many still believe that genes contribute only small portion in the increasing trend of the anxiety.
Many believe that it is the changes in cultures – that have allowed women to be more independent – and the advances in information dissemination technology that have greater impacts on traditional man’s feeling of security.
Women now have many more options and can do many more things that were not even imaginable several decades ago. That alone can pester man’s sense of security, not to mention all the news and gossips in the internet, TVs and tabloids regarding modern day lifestyles.
Those are the “modern” things that have costed many men a lot in terms of security feelings that in turn materialized into fear of commitment. There are many other factors that may induce fear of commitment in men.
Fear of losing freedom.
Men are naturally very independent, their way of thinking is very different from women. They love to live their lives the way they like and make decisions for themselves by their own rules. It should not be too hard to understand their reluctance to give up their freedom then. From seeing other fellow guys’ experience, many men have learned that if a woman enters a man’s life, it might mean the loss of freedom: he might no longer be able to do things the way he used to do with his buddies.
Hurtful memories and emotional baggage.
Commitment phobia, or fear of commitment, can also be caused by hurtful memories and emotional baggage carried from previous relationships. Bad experiences such as been betrayed or been financially cleaned up (for those who happened to marry the gold-digger type women) make the thoughts of being in another commitment are too terrifying for some men.
Forever with only one sex partner.
Men naturally love sexual adventures. A commitment will surely make them cut off from that. Even the thoughts of this can make men lose their appetite!
Lack of compromise.
An ideal marriage or any other forms of committed relationships should be 50/50 partnerships. But telltales that many men have heard about marriage are often too scary: “Do it my way or no sex!” said many wives to their husband.
Loss of free time
The root of commitment phobia (fear of commitment) can also be found in men’s reluctance to give up their free time.
Serious relationships require too much time and energy for many men. They think they would have to take her out, dine her, pick her up after office hour and so forth. For them, all the bother just doesn’t match the rewards.
The advancements that women achieved in today’s world makes many men feel insecure about themselves. Because men are naturally provider to his family, the independence of females can make some men afraid. They doubt if their women will really need them or not.
Feeling not ready
With tougher competition in the work and lesser pressure from family and friends to marry these days, men tend to postpone their plan for marriage until they feel ready, at least financially.
Can’t trust women.
Materialism and moral decadence in society that also affect more and more women in the way they think and behave, make many men become afraid to commit themselves in relationships. They fear the possibility of being a victim of a greedy woman who’ll easily switch to other richer guy after sucking their money to the last dime.
Easier access to sex
Because today women are more willing to give free one night stands, many men no longer feel the urgency to have a permanent sex partner. While it is true that this will not necessarily cause a commitment phobia (fear of commitment), a committed relationship will surely cut off this fun from him.
Too much pressure.
It is understandable if a woman wants to ensure the future of her relationship by asking her man about his willingness to move forward. But if she’s demanding it too much, it may make him running away instead of staying.
All in the list above are only a few of so many reasons why men are afraid of commitment. There are many other reasons that I don’t list there because it will make the list too long. Trauma from their parents’ divorce, for instance.
Now that we have learned the things that may cause the commitment phobia in men… how to deal with it? Let’s find out in the next page.
But before we go there, let’s see first if there is a way to prevent such relationship from happening in our lives. Moreover, it is always better to prevent than to cure it later.
How to Avoid
Although there are some signs that can warn us, it is nearly impossible to accurately identify if a man already has an acute commitment phobia or not. Why? Because, a man with an acute commitment phobia often appear as a man with high respect to committed relationship. Most of the time it seems as if they adored it! And many even never realize that they have that phobia!
Maybe the best thing you can do is: be upfront. Tell him exactly what you want out of the relationship, from the very beginning. Maybe you’ll lose him, but it’s okay. Let him go. Remember this saying “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.”
How to Deal with Commitment Phobia
There is no definite answer to this as the cause as well as the personality of the sufferers are different from one man to another. But in every case, patience is the key. Don’t let fear of commitment jeopardize an important, once in a lifetime relationship.
I don’t mean to imply that you have to wait for him indefinitely until he can get rid of his commitment phobia, or until he can be sure of himself that he really wants you. You must be cautious, though. Your own discretion is very vital here.
If, according to what you perceive, he’s really serious with you AND you love him enough to want him as your life partner, then do the steps below. But if not, it would be much better for you to break up instead. No need to waste more time and prolong your misery. A relationship like that will only drain you emotionally.
Sex is not equal to commitment.
Using sex to push him to be committed to you is useless, especially in these days and age. Whether sex is already involved in your relationship or not, never use it to compel him to commit. He might feel being manipulated instead.
Have a serious heart to heart conversation.
Tell him what you want out of the relationship and ask him what his problems are. Offer him your help but don’t push him. Being in a relationship means caring about how the other is feeling, understanding their hopes, fears and their deepest desires. A good relationship is all about helping each other to achieve happiness.
Understand the way men handle their stress.
It is different from women. If something troubled a woman’s mind, she wants and she will talk about it. But men do the opposite: they’ll withdraw to their “caves” to find out what was wrong and how they can fix it THEMSELVES.
So, after telling him what troubled you (this commitment phobia thing), then leave him alone. Don’t try to help him in anyway unless he asks you for it. Because if you do, it will only worsen the situation.
Trying to help without him asking will instead strengthen his fear and give affirmations to it. He will withdraw himself deeper into his cave, emotionally and physically, until the relationship (you and him) is ready to blow up.
Get busy with your own life.
Yes, it’s true. Get busy with yourself, don’t try to help him. Commitment phobia is rarely about one single issue and mostly related to his inner self. He will work it out if you let him. If he’s not willing to work it out, then he’s not into you that much anyway.
Seek help for yourself, if necessary.
If you feel your heart ruptured while waiting him to commit, seek help immediately. Don’t wait until you’re already at the breaking point.
Respect his privacy.
Don’t involve yourself in destructive behavior such as texting or calling him 30 times a day to check if he’s okay. He is not. Accept that fact!
Wait, but live your life.
Give him enough time to work himself out. (But don’t be too long either. You have a life to work on, too!) At the same time, be busy with your own life. Stop meeting him if necessary.
If he’s really in love with you, he will come at a point where he realizes that his biggest fear is not in committing to you, but in losing you! When he comes to this point, his commitment phobia will simply vanished into the thin air!
Good luck, girl!