They say it’s easy to fall in love with a commitment-phobe. I have to wonder about the veracity of this statement, but I guess there is a certain allure to the person who is always *just* beyond your reach and refuses to dance by the unofficial steps of the relationship dance. Commitment-phobes come in all shapes and sizes, male and female, young and old but are all marked by one identifying factor… in their mind, relationships signify some sort of “trap” triggering an emotional fight or flight response whether the dater is aware of it or not.
Most commitment-phobic issues revolve around fearing what they need to give up for the sake of meeting another person’s needs. Will she have to sacrifice her clean kitchen and free-spirited travel? Will he have to give up his freedom to go out with Scarlett Johansson when they finally bump into each other on the street?
It’s incredibly easy to think that you may be the one person who convinces this commitment-phobe to let go of their fears and fall into a life-long relationship with you. To be brutally honest… you can’t. Oh, they may commit to you. They may even marry you. But something in their mind will always be gazing at the greener grass everywhere outside of the cozy little love-lined trap in which they find themselves. The only way a commitment-phobe can stop seeing relationships as a trap, is to deal with the heart of their own fears. Not the easiest task.
Personally, I think it’s easy to mistake a commitment-phobe with someone who is just trying to be very careful about getting into a relationship too deeply with someone incompatible. So, how do you know the difference?
It’s all in the core belief system.
A careful selector may say something along the lines of, “I just haven’t met the right person for me YET.” While the CP would say, “I’m not sure there is a ‘right’ person for me [PERIOD]” One is hope based and the other… fear based. The key to sorting out the wheat from the chaff is to look for what kind of relationship message this person sends to themselves and their potential partners. If it’s primarily fear based… you are most likely in a dead end relationship.
But, really, you could spin your wheels all day long trying to figure out if someone is a serial commitment-phobe or not and how easy is that when you have your love-colored glasses on? How about asking instead, whether this person is acting like a commitment-phobe with YOU. The important thing about spotting commitment-phobic signs within your relationship — it’s an indicator that this person is thinking twice about committing to you. Surprisingly… the little signs may be some of the best in determining if you do, in fact, have a non-committer on your hands. Things like:
- not being able to pin down anything more than 2 days in advance
- unwillingness to talk about the future or intentions
- no use of words like “us” or “we”
- unreliable about returning communication
- sudden emotional with-drawl
- fluctuating sexual interest
- blowing hot and cold
- inability to take blame for actions or claim responsibility for relationship issues
- being sequestered into a world free of his/her long-term friends and family
- if you do meet friends or family — them saying things like “we hope she doesn’t screw this one up” or “what is someone like you doing with our son?”
So, perhaps, instead of trying to figure out if you are dating a commitment-phobe, just look at how they are acting in relationship with you… today. Don’t look at the woo-ing patterns of the past… just look at the no-frills part of the relationship today and see what your gut tells you about the person you’re with.