Fear of commitment: what is behind it and how to overcome it

One of the typical complaints heard around the table when a group of friends meets to eat ends up being the fear of some men’s commitment, although sometimes it is we ourselves who discover that this fear is part of us and that it is conditioning the development of our life as a couple.

Unburdening yourself to people you trust, listening to each other’s experiences in this regard, and, if possible, ending up with the occasional laugh can be not only liberating but even therapeutic. But even if it helps us cope better, the reality is still there and is part of your love life, whether it is you who is afraid of commitment or it is your partner.

But what is really behind that fear?

What is behind the fear of commitment?

Each couple is different. We start from two people with their own identity and their union generates one more life, that of their own relationship, which in turn also has its own character. It is not easy to give a single answer, but there are factors that are repeated in most cases.

Even Newton’s laws of physics would serve to explain one of the causes behind the fear of commitment: It is said that every action corresponds to an equal and opposite reaction. With this we want to pay attention to a fact: that fear of commitment also greatly influences the attitude of the person with whom you have the relationship. But in what way?

On the one hand, someone who feels fear of commitment deep down feels fear of ceasing to be himself when being with another person. While the one who feels fear of abandonment tries to limit the freedom of his partner trying to prevent him from abandoning him. In principle, all this happens unconsciously. But in one case or another, the common element is the fear of suffering, only manifested in each situation in one way.

Causes of this fear

As we have said before, it depends on each case, the personal history of each one and the type of bond between the two members of the couple. However, these could be some of the causes behind this fear:

1. High individualism

Although it is not a sine qua non-condition for fear of commitment, it is a fairly common trait among those who suffer from it. Nor does there have to be selfishness or self-centeredness behind that attitude, but it is true that they put their individual needs before the collective ones.

In the case of couple relationships, the fear of commitment connects them with the idea that entering into a romantic relationship will entail a kind of loss of one’s identity in addition to the sacrifice of time to dedicate and the effort to maintain the relationship.

2. Old fears

Every time we fall in love, those emotions that we recorded during our childhood return to the present as an unconscious reference that goes with us. And not only do happy hours return, so do moments of fear, frustration, etc.

Like a distant echo that repeats itself through time, an old fear reappears; Very old situations in our personal history may be marking our way of relating without realizing it, although also the fresh trace of the most recent failed relationships with a painful ending will make us protect ourselves from new experiences to avoid suffering again.

3. Fear of compromise in all plots

That is to say, that fear of being committed as a couple is not only something that happens to him in sentimental matters, but his reaction of fear of commitment transcends beyond the personal (although in reality he is still connected):

It permeates the dynamics that are imposed when facing a shared project in which to get involved, in the links with implicit agreements of collaboration or reciprocity, in work or private life.

Whatever it is, the position of the one who feels this fear is to live by staying installed in that kind of limbo of indefiniteness where to stay at the gates of any path or on tiptoe in its beginnings without daring to take it, to enter the full experience and find out.

Millennials, a case apart

Each generation is a renewed and improved version of the previous one, but if there is one that exponentially exceeds this natural progress, it is the case of millennials.

They were born with a completely different version of the world than anything before. It is becoming more and more common for any everyday element to have a virtual part if it is not in its entirety, everything is speed, immediacy, and avidity for novelty. Far from being overwhelmed by a new challenge, they dive headfirst, without thinking.

Their ability to move from one topic to another at the click of a button also forges their attitude towards life, they are knowmads (“knowledge nomads”), and that allows them to discover new interests in a matter of seconds and broaden their vision of the world, which it does not present as many barriers as those born in previous generations can perceive. Although it can also have a cost.

When the time you have is what it is, covering that wide range of interests means dividing it up in small doses of dedication, and staying on the road the ability to fully delve into the experience. There are experiences that to be full and show their nuances, require time, total immersion, and patience.

Therefore, for those who observe millennials without understanding them and label them superficial and detached from all responsibility, I would recommend prudence and reflection. If something characterizes this generation, it is the vindication of values ​​consistent with their way of understanding life, although their priorities have a different order from theirs.

The dynamics of the relationship between the youngest are still one more extension of how they think, feel, and act. And yes, that is also conditioned by how everything works these days. They were born under a reality that is new to us when it is natural for them.

The world changes and they also change with it. No, it would not be fair to speak lightly in your case of fear of commitment.

How to overcome it?

When this is the underlying problem in a couple that has been together for a long time, and that prevents them from evolving towards another level of their relationship, it can be very useful to have the help of a professional specialized in couples therapy.

Likewise, if an individual person discovers that this is the obstacle that makes it difficult for them to establish deeper relationships in various areas of their life and enjoy aspects that only then would they access, they could turn to a specialist to try to redirect this aspect.

In any case, if something we have mentioned is familiar to you or makes you connect with some facet of yourself, think that trust and openness to others are wonderful experiences. That if you are brave enough to look inside and accept your fears, you also have the courage to try to open up to others.

Dare to grow, learn and improve yourself. Dare to discover yourself in another new role, to love deeply, and live the fullness of that experience with that special someone who makes you see the world with different eyes. Because it’s worth the challenge, whatever happens.