It may have happened to you or to a loved one…and every time we hear similar versions of the same story. Two people talk to each other, then they meet for a while and they really think it’s going to be serious. Then BOOM, one of them says they are “afraid of commitment.”
Surely you have been through this a couple of times before and maybe the person who feared commitment was you. The question is: What does commitment actually mean and why do we fear it so much?
Let’s start with the opinion of a famous psychologist named Niloo, from New York, who specializes in relationships: “Often, when people say they are afraid of a serious relationship, or simply blame poor timing, in fact, they mean that the person next to them is not suitable anymore”.
Niloo also says that this fear is an accumulation of several fears, highlighting the most powerful of them:
The fear of rejection
It may seem counterintuitive, but people are afraid of commitment because they do not want to be rejected. In this way, instead of saying that we are afraid of being rejected, we prefer to use the “commitment” excuse.
Niloo says that every time we avoid a relationship because of the possibility of being rejected, the more we sink into this fear and the harder it is for us to come back from it.
The fear of distractions
We are generally talking about distractions from our goals, especially career-wise. We get to the point where we have a beautiful relationship and the BIG question arises: “Will you be my…?”.
From that point on, your subconscious is only thinking about what’s worse: I won’t be able to dedicate myself 100% to my career, my personal life and career life won’t work well together, etc.
Well, as the psychologist mentioned above, the fear of moving away from your goals only makes sense if your partner is “a danger”. Did they ask you to move to another country? Or maybe they dream of a life in the countryside, surrounded by a garden full of gluten-free and “organic” food. Either way, your interests do not align the way you hoped they would.
Well, in this case, it is not the fear of moving away from your dreams that is the problem, but the relationship itself. Things do not usually take this extreme direction and the truth is that we want to compensate for the insecurity we feel in our relationship, worrying unnecessarily.
Niloo says that “if you really care about someone and that person really cares about you, you can always find a way.” So ask yourself, “Does my partner really care about me?” or, better ask yourself if YOU really care about your partner.
The fear of giving up your independence
This fear usually comes from previous experiences or the fact that you refuse to depend on someone, even if your happiness is at stake. Perhaps a negative previous experience reminds you of the much disliked control questions, such as: “Where are you?”, “How long are you staying?” or “Who are you meeting up with?”
Indeed, these questions either come from jealousy or, maybe a real concern of your partner for you. Whatever the cause, if you have been bothered by such questions in the past, tell your partner that you have a great need for autonomy and that is how you feel best. Talk about it openly.
The fear of getting over a relationship
Letting go of a relationship that you have been very attached to is not an easy thing to do. We talked about this subject in a previous article, right here.
The past always comes with baggage. These fears we have been talking about appear, most of the time, the moment the current relationship turns into a serious one. At that point, you might find yourself in a repetitive scenario.
Dr. Niloo proposes 2 ways to solve this problem.
- Think carefully if you consider your ex-partner a perfect match for you, despite the problems you have encountered while being together. If you do consider them right for you, then, you should try to reconnect in some way. If you thought this through and believe they have been good for you in the past, but that is not the case right now, then meditate on this for a while. After meditating, make sure that you have a closure on the subject and leave the past behind.
- When things start getting serious with your new partner, tell him/her openly your fears because communication is very important, in any relationship.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, keep in mind that you need to honestly acknowledge your thoughts and fears and communicate them.
Now that you’ve learned what lies behind the “fear of engagement,” what can you say about yourself? Have you felt any of the fears above?