Lack of commitment. It is a relationship challenge that is as common as it is frustrating. Whether through the inability to stay faithful or the struggle to maintain a healthy long-term relationship, countless couples and individuals throughout the ages have grappled with the often devastating effects that a fear of commitment can cause. The good news is that there is hope to overcome a fear of commitment and create lasting change in your relationship.
Why is it so hard for people to commit?
There are a number of reasons why one or both individuals in a relationship may be scared to commit to one another. Some of the most common include:
Fear from past relationships
When you’ve been burned before, it can be challenging to learn how to trust again. Those who have gone through a difficult breakup or divorce may be scared to open up their hearts (and wallets) to another person. Divorce can be emotionally costly as well as expensive, and many people are hesitant to commit or remarry when they are still paying child support or alimony to their ex-spouse. While these concerns are understandable, acting from a place of fear only ensures that you will miss out on the full experience of the committed and healthy relationship that you actually desire deep down.
Lack of role models
Likewise, if your parents or divorced or you have never seen a model of a positive and healthy relationship, you may not even know how to commit. When all you’ve seen and experienced in your life is a series of failed relationships and families that didn’t stick together, it can be difficult to even know where to begin. However, breaking that pattern of dysfunction in your family can start with you.
Unhealthy attachment styles
Many times, people with a fear of commitment are suffering from an avoidant attachment style. This leads them to push others away out of a fear of rejection or trouble opening up. But these behavioral patterns can lead to unhealthy relationships, creating somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophesy. Likewise, if you or your partner has an anxious attachment style, the relationship can quickly become unhealthy and suffer from a lack of boundaries, causing you to feel like you are losing your individuality. The key to a healthy and positive relationship is to work towards a secure attachment that allows both partners to be themselves and experience being fully known and fully accepted by one another.
How can a couple get past a fear of commitment?
Thankfully, there are a variety of ways that individuals can get over a fear of commitment and begin to show a greater commitment to their partners. If you or your partner is ready and willing to do the work, you can both experience the benefits of a lasting relationship that is mutually fulfilling for both people.
Begin your healing journey with the following tips that can help:
Face your fears
Identifying what exactly you are afraid of and confronting those fears is often the first step to breakthrough. Oftentimes our emotions get in the way of what our mind is trying to tell us.
For example, sometimes you may be feeling a fear of commitment because your partner has expressed certain thoughts or behaviors that have led you to feel unsafe in the relationship. In this case, you may need to listen to your intuition and sever that relationship. In other cases, you may be holding your new partner accountable for the actions of a past partner that have nothing to do with them.
Other people may be struggling with commitment due to a fear of losing themselves. In that situation, talking with your partner and setting healthy boundaries for the relationship may be all that is needed to experience breakthrough. In all of these situations, being able to sit with your emotions and work through them is the first step to healing and moving on.
Understand the benefits
Having a full understanding of the benefits that await you once you dedicate yourself to a lasting relationship will go a long way towards breaking through your fear of commitment. After all, why would you want to confront something you are terrified of if you can’t grasp what awaits you on the other side of it? A healthy, committed relationship or marriage can be a tremendous asset to your life, an avenue for continuous growth, and a source of long-term satisfaction. Commitment leads to deeper spiritual growth, passion, and intimacy as you and your partner learn to work together as a team within the confines of a safe and secure relationship.
While a tremendous amount of growth and healing can come from individual reflection and inner work, oftentimes people need a guide in the form of a therapist or counselor to help them process their emotions and apply constructive feedback to their lives.
Participating in counseling, either as an individual or as a couple, can go a long way towards healing from childhood wounds, examining faulty thought patterns, and working towards a better future.
Find a mentor
In addition to counseling, spending time with other couples in happy committed relationships can be a great asset to you and your partner in more ways than one. Not only will you feel encouraged by seeing positive examples of couples who made it work, but you will also gain great wisdom and advice from those who have years or even decades of experience to share. The more you can sit under the teachings of others, the more equipped and empowered you will be to succeed in your own life and relationships.
Whether you are single, dating, engaged, or married – it is never too late to release your fears surrounding fidelity and begin to enjoy the safety and security of a committed relationship. If you begin to view a lasting commitment as a journey instead of a destination, it frees up some of the pressure from the relationship and allows you to explore your own deepest fears, desires, and needs. While personal growth is never easy, it is always worth it, and so is the blessing of a happy and healthy long-term relationship.