You’ve been going out with someone for a while, and they seem great.
You want to move forward in the relationship, only you can’t seem to be able to. You start to feel a little stuck.
It sounds like you’re dating a commitment-phobe — I know from experience this can be frustrating, particularly when you only find out months into dating them.
The earlier you find out, the better — and that’s what I want to help you do with this article.
Read on to know which 9 signs to look out for, and a few tips for what you can do about it as well.
1) They don’t want to label the relationship
One of the first signs that you’re dating a commitment-phobe is that they don’t want to label the relationship.
It’s been a while since you’ve been going out, and it feels like it’s time for the relationship to naturally progress forward.
But when you bring it up, they don’t want to talk about it or say they don’t like to “put a label on things.”
It’s true that labels aren’t always the most helpful — but well, at some point you want to know where you stand.
If you get this kind of response from them, try explaining that you’d like to know what the boundaries and expectations of your relationship are — are you both seeing other people? Do you take each other into consideration when making plans?
They may be more willing to talk about things from that angle.
2) They haven’t introduced you to any of their friends
Okay, you probably won’t be chilling with their best friends right on the second or third date.
But if someone wants a relationship with you, it’s normal for them to introduce you to other important people in their life.
First of all because they may want to know their friends’ opinions. But also, because they consider you a part of their life and want you to fit into it.
If it’s been months and you still haven’t met their friends or family, it seems like they might not expect to have you around in their life for very long.
One thing you could try here is ask them if they’d be down to meet some of your own friends. If yes, ask if they would be interested in doing the same.
3) They don’t talk about the future of the relationship or make future plans
People who want to be together will be excited about all the future possibilities laying ahead of them.
Especially during the lovey-dovey “rose-colored glasses” phase at the beginning of the relationship.
So if they never want to make medium or long term plans with you? Big sign that you’re dating a commitment-phobe.
I’m not saying they have to book a thousand dollar vacation together six months from now after just a few weeks of dating. (Although I do know people who have literally done that — to each their own!)
But if they seem to hesitate at making even casual plans just a few weeks ahead, they’re definitely trying to avoid being tied down in the relationship.
4) They refuse to have any PDA
As you walk down the street, you see happy couples holding hands, hugging, or kissing.
Meanwhile, you and the person you’re dating walk as if you’re roommates or cousins.
You’ve unfortunately stumbled across another sign you’re dating a commitment-phobe.
If someone is committed to you, they wouldn’t be afraid to show it.
So if they’re making a point of keeping distance between you in public, maybe it’s because of some internal discomfort or issue they’re feeling — but more likely, they want to make sure you don’t assume things are more serious.
5) They nitpick for reasons why it won’t work
Maybe you’ve actually had “the conversation” with your partner. Where is this relationship going? Can we agree we’re going steady?
But their answer seems to be a million little excuses for why it’s not the right time, or why it won’t work between you.
The thing is that these things all seem to be rather inconsequential. They’re things you could work on together, or that don’t seem to warrant ending a relationship over.
If this is the case, you might be right — they’re probably just excuses.
Another thing you might hear is that they want to “take things slow,” or that they “need more space.”
I’m not saying people can’t say this and mean it, but combine it with a few other signs from this list, and you’ve got yourself a commitment-phobe.
6) They take days to reply to messages or calls
Everyone has their own communication rhythm and style. Someone might not go on social media often out of principle.
Another person may avoid being on their phone in the morning or before bed. Maybe they just don’t like texting altogether.
It takes a bit of time to get to know each person’s preferences, and find your dynamic together.
This only works, however, if they actually reply within a reasonable period. If you find yourself waiting for days to get a reply, there begins to be cause for concern.
Especially if they seem to be stuck to their phone or constantly checking it whenever they’re with you.
To be fair, notifications can get lost and we’ve all forgotten about a text or call at one point or another.
When it’s a pattern though, it generally points to them not wanting to commit.
7) They don’t have much of a relationship history
One of the clearest signs that you’re dating a commitment-phobe is that they don’t have much of a dating history in general.
Obviously – since they keep running away from relationships!
You might start to notice this if they never bring up an ex, even when it would have been natural for it to come up in conversation by this point.
Or on the contrary, they mention so many ex partners that it’s hard to keep track of them.
The only way to know for sure is to ask. They might tell you directly that they haven’t had a relationship for a while.
But if they get squirmy or give very vague answers, they’ve got something to hide — which doesn’t bode very well.
8) They don’t really open up or share their thoughts
Deep conversations are some of the best you can have. Where you share your innermost thoughts, feelings, fears and dreams with someone else and deepen your bond.
Only… you don’t seem to have any of these conversations with the person you’re dating.
They seem to have a pretty hard time opening up and being emotionally vulnerable.
This is a concerning sign because this is the only way for the relationship to get deeper. Without this element, it will only ever stay surface level and casual.
Again, we cannot jump straight to conclusions. Some people need time to begin to trust someone and let their walls come down.
But it could also be intentional because they’re avoiding commitment.
9) They blame their ex for everything
Everything wrong in their life seems to be their ex’s fault, from their trauma to their annoying tendencies.
They may even blame their ex for their fear of commitment.
And we can get that — people hurt you, and you become careful as a result.
But watch out for this: do they ever admit to any blame of their own in the past relationship? Things are extremely rarely one-sided, and to assume the other person has all the blame shows very little self-reflection and humility.
Whether their constant criticism means they’re still hung up on their ex, or they don’t trust anyone anymore, it’s a clear sign that they’re not ready to move forward in a new relationship.
Where do you go from here?
These 9 concerning signs will help you know if you’re dating a commitment-phobe.
Once you know this is the case, the solution is pretty clear: talk about it.
Share your concerns with them, and clarify what you hope or expect to get out of the relationship.
Best case scenario, you can get on the same page and be able to happily move forward.
Or, you may decide to go your separate ways.
Either way, you can look forward to the next phase in your love life — and it could be the best phase yet, if you tackle it with the right mindset.
You see, I know dealing with things like commitment-phobes, and navigating the dating world in general can be hard. You may even be temped to throw in the towel and give up on love completely.
But I want to suggest doing something different, and much better.
It’s something I learned from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê. He taught me that the way to find love and intimacy is not what we have been culturally conditioned to believe.
As Rudá explains in this mind blowing free video, many of us chase love in a toxic way because we’re not taught how to love ourselves first.
So, if you want to get over dating a commitment-phobe, I’d recommend starting with yourself first and taking Rudá’s incredible advice.