I love committing myself to one partner with all my heart and soul – until I hear the wedding bells ring, at which point, I’m on a plane to Antarctica.
The thing is, you’d never be able to guess that I’m afraid of commitment. I’m faithful, I keep fighting for my relationships even when they’re obviously too broken to fix, and I have so much love to give it never seems to run out.
While some people are quite obvious commitment phobes, others hide their commitment fears rather well – even from themselves.
If you recognize these 9 signs, you’re secretly afraid of commitment.
1) You don’t mind talking about your future together… until things get serious
One of the most obvious signs you fear commitment is that you don’t talk about your shared future with your partner, right? People who speak in “I” instead of “we” terms and who avoid all future-based conversations are clearly not ready for a serious long-term relationship.
However, some of us are a little bit more complicated. I, for one, enjoy talking about the future a great deal. In my past relationships, we used to discuss kids, houses, and weddings all the time.
…on a theoretical level, of course. And that’s where the crux of the issue is. I love going into great detail about this sort of stuff because I want to know if my partner is the right person to marry, but the moment I imagine anyone actually asking me to marry them, I freak out.
Suddenly, it all feels a bit too… real.
Sounds relatable? Welcome to the club of people who are secretly afraid of commitment.
2) You find it difficult to open up to your partner
We tend to think of commitment phobes as one single type of person. What I find fascinating is that there are actually many different ways of coping with your commitment fears.
For example, I always open myself up fully and expect my partner to do the same, partly because that’s the right thing to do and partly because I’m terrified of committing to the wrong person, which means I want to know everything about them as soon as possible.
One of my exes, on the other hand, struggled to open up for precisely the same reason – he was scared of forming a deep bond with somebody else, so he didn’t attempt it in the first place.
I kept trying to quiz him, and he kept trying to elude me. We were both scared out of our wits.
3) You don’t put any real effort into keeping the spark alive
Another thing my ex did was to disconnect us from each other through the act of doing nothing. To my great chagrin, this lack of effort and proper communication only strengthened my own fears about the future of the relationship.
He rarely planned dates. He never surprised me. He wasn’t big on spending quality time together and wanted us to co-habit and lead our own separate lives alongside each other more than anything.
After we broke up, he told me he’d sabotaged the relationship through his lack of effort because he was terrified of a true and genuine connection.
In his own way, he kind of let the romance fizzle out because he wasn’t ready to commit to the idea of us in the long term.
Remember – doing nothing is still an action that carries meaning.
4) You run away from conflict or start it on purpose
Avoiding conflict and picking fights at every opportunity sound like complete opposites, but they’re actually just two sides of the same coin.
When you refuse to work on the relationship, run away every time your partner wants to have a serious talk, and don’t communicate properly, it very likely means you’re afraid to commit.
But when you always start arguments over small issues, criticize your partner on a weekly basis, and generally disrupt the stability of the relationship for the sake of drama (that’s me, hi), it *also* means you’re afraid to commit.
You’re just going about it differently. By making the relationship into something difficult and unsustainable, you’re creating your own reasons for leaving. You’re essentially crafting a viable breakup excuse, even though you may not realize it.
Both of these subconscious strategies serve one purpose – to sabotage the relationship to such a degree that it eventually falls apart, saving you from commitment.
5) You question the relationship all the time
Not everyone is as dramatic, of course. Some commitment phobes just question. And question. And question some more.
In other words, they overthink and look for any potential red flag that would be a good enough reason to leave the relationship.
You don’t really like that he’s sometimes late. How much does this bother you? It’s kind of a big deal when you think about it, right? What if he’s late to your wedding one day? What if he’s late to pick up the kids from school? Yes, that would definitely be an issue. You may need to break up.
Your girlfriend’s a bit clumsy. It’s kind of cute, but couldn’t that be an issue in the large scheme of things? What if she accidentally sets the house on fire? What if she steps on your pet rabbit when she’s going to the bathroom at night? Hmm… you really need to think this through.
Now that I think about it, questioning the relationship *does* sound very dramatic after all.
The only difference is that these conflicts take place in your head.
6) You feel trapped
In general, people who fear commitment don’t feel exactly their best when they’re in serious relationships.
Mind you, this doesn’t have to manifest in a suffocating feeling of pressure that haunts your nightmares – chances are, you feel trapped in much subtler ways, such as an unknown sense of discomfort, an urge to be alone quite often, or confusing feelings when it comes to taking the next big steps.
What’s more, some people who feel trapped may seek out other romantic or sexual experiences, while others might not feel that need at all and focus on sabotaging the relationship itself instead.
Whatever it is, the overarching factor is that you’re not exactly happy being in this relationship, although you can’t quite put your finger on why.
Careful, though! It’s important to note that sometimes, this feeling doesn’t necessarily mean you’re scared of commitment itself – it just means you’re dating the wrong person, and your intuition knows it.
7) You keep choosing partners who aren’t right for you
And speaking of which, this one’s also a huge sign you’re afraid of spending your life with one person only. If you keep dating the wrong people, your relationships will eventually fall apart, which means you’ll never have to commit to anyone.
And while you might complain about this and feel really frustrated on a conscious level, your subconscious self may cheer every time things don’t work out because you’ve managed to avoid confronting your deep-seated commitment fears yet again.
People say that the heart wants what it wants, but *your* heart wants what it *doesn’t* want because it’s the safer alternative to choosing the perfect partner and giving them your full and authentic self, only to face a potential heartbreak.
The trials and tribulations of love…
8) You like the thrill of the chase but hate the steadiness of love
Not only do you choose the wrong people to date but you also love the courting phase more than anything, which means that most of your relationships don’t last longer than three to six months.
Again, this doesn’t apply to everybody – some of us truly want to commit, spending years and years with one partner, only for their subconscious self to sabotage everything they’ve worked so hard for – but it’s definitely quite a common occurrence among commitment phobes.
They chase and chase, embracing the thrill and euphoria of falling in love, but once the honeymoon phase is over and conflicts begin to bubble to the surface, they cut and run.
Chasing feels safe because it’s all about acquiring an idealized version of someone. The moment you have to open yourself up to true intimacy with another flawed person, though… that’s when it all explodes in your face.
9) You’re terrified of getting hurt
Care to guess what all the above signs boil down to?
Let’s just cut to the point – deep down, you’re not scared of commitment itself. You’re scared of getting hurt.
If you give all of yourself to the wrong person, you may be dooming yourself to years of heartbreak and pain.
And even if it’s the right person, unforeseeable circumstances might still drive you apart, forcing you to confront your fears of abandonment and those secret worries that you’re simply not lovable or deserving of a happy ending.
But here’s the catch. The more you’re scared of getting hurt, the more you’ll sabotage your relationships, inflicting pain on yourself in the process. Your fear is already hurting you. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When you begin to accept that pain is an inevitable part of life, though… that’s when you make the first step toward healing your own relationship with love.