Whether in life decisions or relationships, commitment is a very scary concept for most of us. Oftentimes we find ourselves taking any and all measures to combat the stigma attached to the word “commitment”. With apps like Tinder and reality dating shows making the centuries old practice of courtship obsolete. Our society has encouraged this one-night stand, hookup culture, in pursuit of a “no strings attached” style of relationships. One filled with meaningless and frivolous sex, devoid of emotional connection. I am guilty of partaking in this sort of behavior and avoiding real connection and intimacy. Throughout the years however, I’ve learned a few things about how me may actually be sabotaging ourselves in order to avoid any commitment.
There are people who may actually be happy living life with no commitments and no relationships, but I truly am convinced one night hookups are simply temporary fixes to a much bigger emotional issue. No one can truly be content with that lifestlye. So why do some of us still continue to be afraid of commitment?
1. Being vulnerable is uncomfortable.
Human beings are creatures of comfort. How often have you heard the phrase “get out of your comfort zone”? That’s because we like routines. We continuously strive to find purpose in our lives that it often can come off as quite vain. We feel a benevolent being created some grandiose plan for our lives that we have to find. This belief is a selfish one. By feeling entitled to some sort of purpose we can tend to get stuck on our journey when fear gets in the way. When we’ve had a plan of how our life is “supposed” to be, to only suddenly get thrown a curveball, we question everything. We tend to believe that we were wrong all along, we become guarded from the world because we fear being seen as a failure.
But by continuing to be fearful of being truly seen we are never able to connect with others, because the truth is, everyone has fears. It’s those fears that drive successful people to become who they are.
Now, of course we must always be careful with who we share ourselves with. But we should always allow ourselves to take risks and be vulnerable, even if we may end up wrong, there is always a lesson we learn from every single relationship we have.
2. “The grass is always greener” theory.
If you’re anything like most people I know, you’re very competitive. Competition is a natural part of us. We always want the newest and fastest cars, the best technology, and we apply this theory to relationships as well. By desiring the best partner in romantic relationships, we constantly search and strive to find a “perfect” person who, honestly, doesn’t even exist.
Life is not meant to be black and white. It’s a beautiful array of various shades of gray. It’s never a choice between being in a relationship with someone or moving to a new state to begin a new career. It’s possible to have both. The problem happens when you move and start a new career and then immediately decide to pack up and move again without fully giving that job a chance, the same can apply to relationships. You have been going on dates with a new guy who happens to have a beard. But you prefer a clean shaven guy, so you instantly tell yourself that beard guy is never going to lead to a relationship because of some “flaw” you perceive. So when you do find that clean shaven guy, you dump the bearded dude instantly, even though he chose you.
3. Feeling trapped.
This may be more common in guys, but can be equally found in girls as well. How many times have you heard a friend utter “I feel stuck” or a “I’m suffocating”? Well, I’ve heard so many iterations of this phrase that it almost means nothing to me. It’s just a common phrase that people in relationships say. They don’t actually mean it. Because to me, if they really felt that way then why would they continue to stay in that relationship? I know when something is unpleasant for me, I don’t continue to do it.
People tend to over-dramatize their lives and complain about their relationships and current situations. Somehow complaining became the way we connect with others.
The truth is, the people who claim to feel trapped are actually just scared to face their emotions. Whether it’s in their romantic relationships of life in general, people run away from change. We feel trapped in our job, yet we don’t look for other opportunities to grow. The truth is, a simple mindset shift is all that is needed to course correct our behavior. Simply by changing the way we behave and respond to change will allow us to grow out of the feeling of being trapped.
4. We don’t want to grow up.
Committing means growing up. Most of us have a real fear of becoming full-fledged adults with mortgages and families to support. There’s comfort in being dependent on someone to look out for our well-being. But that comfort halts us from growing up and learning. By staying comfortable with dependency we stunt our growth as humans and suffer real consequences as a result. We end up wanting a romantic relationship but never fully being able to detach from th dependency we’ve come to rely on, which in turn doesn’t allow another person to come into our lives. We aren’t able to grow with another human and so we are never really able to have that long lasting relationship we desire. We sabatoge our potential by being stubborn and holding on to the dependency that doesn’t even serve us anymore.
5. Our baggage.
Whether it’s that we are a child of divorce or had a difficult breakup recently, we can hold onto these feelings like a liferaft, which make us fearful of a new relationship. But we can’t let our past define our future or our present. Just because your parents’ relationship didn’t work out, doesn’t mean you don’t know what a healthy relationship is. I’m sure you have healthy friendships, which means you are fully capable of committing to a romantic relationship. And just because the last guy you dated ghosted you and didn’t have the decency to break up in person, doesn’t mean that every guy will end things that way. Commitment does involve risk; we essentially are taking a huge plunge into the unknown, and investing energy into something that could fail. But we can never be absolutely certain of anything that happens in our lives, so why do we think that we can be certain of our romantic relationships? We can’t.
Fear of the unknown will always keep us from doing anything in our lives, including committing to things. If we can just break free and face our fears we may see enormous growth and live a life beyond our wildest dreams.
As always I love hearing comments and feedback so drop a comment below. Share any areas in your life where you have experienced being a commitmentphobe and how you overcame those fears.