Commitment phobia could impact both men and women. The age-old idea of only men being commitment phobic has fallen to ground and such a fear is shared by both the genders today. The main issue of this psychological condition is that the partner involved is also traumatically affected. The initial stages of the relationship involve making the partner feel secure about the relationship by assurances and verbal confessions about future needs of a long-term companionship. This makes the person involved with the commitment phobic trusting the latter, only to be taken aback and hurt when she/he walks out at the time, to seriously and sincerely declare their relationship.
One who is afraid of commitment would often have many failed emotional relationships in the past with the justification of never having found the right person. Even though you might just be the perfect match, it is possible that they would find something wrong with your lifestyle in order to justify his/her fear. There would be consistent contradiction in their declaring of love for you and the actions which might hurt or injure the trust built on basis of the verbal assurances.
Cause of Commitment Phobia: The root of the fear is the need to feel in control. A commitment phobic will feel that after a point of time there is a need to withdraw from their lover in order to have an 'upper hand' in the relationship and feel in control. Such a feeling might not be conscious. While the commitment phobic is pursuing their partner, they are also keeping in mind the way to get out of the relationship. Thus, any compliment given is empty flattery, for it presupposes their exit when the time comes.
They are also afraid of facing the truth of their emotions. Coming from unstable backgrounds, commitment phobic people are very lonely and afraid of pain. The parents might have had a loveless and emotionally numb relationship. There could also be instances of physical and sexual abuse apart from the mental trauma the patient goes through as a child. Bailing out is their defence against being hurt any time in the future.
Thus, the only thing they are doing in the relationship is to make sure they have the power in their hands (via complimenting and making you believe in them) and to make you depend on them. Once you are dependent and look for a solid assurance of their existence in your life, they will walk out. Due to the fear of getting hurt, no amount of emotional intimacy and efforts seem to be sufficient for them to believe in you. However, remember that it is possible to cure the condition with proper psychological and emotional support.
Contrary to popular belief, both men and women suffer from commitment phobia. The root of this fear is sown during the early years of the patient's childhood and a vicious cycle arises in which the patient withholds from forming a full-fledged relationship with anyone, blaming the failures on incapacities of the partner involved. This cycle can end only with the individual effort and support of companions and lover.
Treatment of Commitment Phobia: The main aim in treatment of commitment phobia is to change the way the patient thinks about relationships. If you know someone who is a commitment phobic or if you are afraid of commitment, then here are five ways to deal with it:
Way 1- Accept Yourself
You are looking for a perfect partner in an ideal context. You want a long-term loving relationship, but you have experienced throughyour life that such relationships are filled with pain and assume that eventually all relationships are only bundles of pain. This is manifested by your tendency to obsessively find something wrong with your partner. You know that your partner is loving and doing everything they can to make the relationship work, even then you find something wrong with them. When you think about commitment, you feel suffocated, bored, or at danger because it would require you to let your guards down to a person, thus becoming open to being in pain again. Accept yourself. Don't distort who you are. Write down all you feel about relationships and accept it. Think about the past relationships you have had and admit that your fear has led to breaking up of many emotional relationships in the past.
Way 2- Understanding Your Condition
Become aware of what is mentally happening when you are running away from commitment. By knowing what is exactly happening when you are walking out of a relationship, you will be able to handle and help yourself well.
Way 3- Find The Root of Your Fears
Explore the sources for what you feel about relationships and commitment. Discover incidents in childhood which slowly disillusioned the image of loving relationships. Consider your ex-partners and admit their merits as well. By finding the root of your fears, you will be able to become aware of it when you are in the act of bailing out on a great relationship.
Way 4- Hypnotherapy
Through hypnotherapy, you will get to know the root of your fear. The process also involves creation of an unconscious transformation in the patient in the form of thoughts, feelings, and attitude. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Lifespan Integration are also helpful ways to treat commitment phobia.
Way 5- Consciously Think About The Pros As Well
Think about the loving relationships you have wanted and understand that relationships are filled with ups and downs. Every person is guarded naturally against pain and you do not have to excessively fortify your emotions. Write down all the good things about your lover. Also note down the things you find faulty about them. Then, ask yourself if your act of complaining is much like the desires your parents or closed ones might have imposed on you. Know that every person has a set of incapacities, and as long as it does not affect their love towards you, you should not be worried by it.
Way 6- Imagine The Ultimate
If you are not going to work on the commitment phobia, realize that you will never be able to establish the loving relationship you have always wanted. To make sure that you do not end up missing out on the wonderful experience, you have to weigh the relationship wholly. As mentioned earlier, write down both the pros and cons. Weigh your fears and decide what you feel.
Way 7- Control Your Urges to Walk Out
You might be urged to leave the moment you find an imperfection in the other. Assure yourself to understand your partner. Take your time, but do not walk out. Learn to stay and work on the issues that the other might have.
Way 8- Communicate
One of the main problems that commitment phobic people have is that they do not talk about their problems, as they believe to open up about their emotions would mean to be vulnerable and to lose their power in the relationship. If your partner loves and cares about you, then open up to him/her. Let him/her know how you feel. This would prepare the other for any tough situations in the future, and you would also learn to judge and trust the other.
Way 9- The Time Is Now
You might think about all the bad things in your current relationship and talk it out. However, remember that you might just be missing out on a beautiful experience because of your fear. If you want to work on your commitment issues, the time is now. Learn about your partner more and judge your relationship objectively. Be aware of any fears that arise and their source. Answer the fears rationally and do not suppress them. Slowly, talk to your partner and deal with the phobia.
Way 10- Love Yourself And Build Strong Relationships
The first step to treating any phobia is to accept oneself and begin the process of being compassionate to oneself. Love yourself. Often, there is a fertile ground of low self-esteem boiling under the over-confidence about demerits of the other. Accept your incapacities as well as merits. Build your relationship with honesty and gradually let open the doors of your love. You do not have to suppress any of your fears. You have to confront and answer them. By communicating with your partner and remembering to receive their love without complaint, you will be able to overcome your fears completely.