Signs That You (Or Someone You Know) Is A Commitmentphobe….

Sometimes it gets really annoying when people attach the buzzword of the moment to the reason why their relationship failed. “He’s just a commitmentphobe,” seems to be the default reason many women cite for things not working out.  Interestingly, I’ve seen just as many female commitmentphobes as I have seen men…it’s just that women don’t label themselves that way….

So what actually constitutes commitmentphobic behavior?

Generally, commitmentphobic people claim that they are eager to find a lasting relationship and get married, but they fail to find appropriate partners and maintain longlasting connections. Ironically, in these romantic relationships, the commitmentphobic partner craves what he/she fears most: love and connection. This paradoxical craving for a frightening reality leads to a confusing and destructive pattern of seduction and rejection.

The key to understanding commitmentphobia is recognizing that such behavior is rooted in fear—fear of lost options or fear of making poor decisions. The commitmentphobic mind sees decisions as permanent, opening the possibility of being caged or trapped forever with no means of escape.

To assuage their anxieties, many commitmentphobics become fantasy-driven, using their active imaginations to fill in for the lack of emotional security and closeness in their lives. Of course, these fantasies pose additional problems because no potential partner or job can ever live up to the fantasy. Commitmentphobics are also prone to sabotage their romantic lives so they have a reason to walk away.

One potentially misleading aspect of commitmentphobic behavior is that the partner who is actively running away from commitment is the only one with a problem. In fact, commitmentphobic behavior includes “settling” for inappropriate partners, pursuing unattainable partners, and engaging in instant relationship mergers as well as fleeing from good/stable relationships.

So, what are some signs that you or someone you love might be a commitmentphobe?

  1. A long history of short relationships
  2. If married before, it was for a very short time and may have ended due to their infidelity
  3. They are attracted to long-distance relationships or partners who have very little free time
  4. They often move fast – think “instant relationship” type people. They like the excitement of the chase and to lock you the other person in, but they don’t want to be in for the long haul
  5. Severe commitmentphobics play the seduction/rejection game. They can’t feel comfortable giving in to the relationship, but they feel torn about walking away completely – lots of push-me-pull-you drama that strains the  relationship and which is very confusing to their partner
  6. They offer many stories to justify their confusing behavior and make promises to change…but never do
  7. They often choose unsuitable long-term partners (already married, much older or younger, different religions) so they can justify not making a commitment long-term
  8. They compartmentalize their life and keep their partner away from their work environment, friends or extended family
  9. They are often unreliable, late or no-shows to plans they made with you
  10. When things start to get too close or their partner tries moving the relationship forward, they can become arguementative or abusive to create distance
  11. They usually end up behaving worse and worse to force their partner to end the relationship

How many of those behaviors have you undertaken  before? Or, conversely, have you dated someone who has displayed these behaviors?

Dating a commitmentphobic person can be very frustrating and confusing – you’re often left to wonder where the person you “knew” went.  But it’s important to realize that in dating situations you should ALWAYS pay far more attention to ACTIONS…and not to words. Words are easily said…people know how to say what they know you want to hear.  But backing those words up with behavior is the real indicator of a person’s commitment to you (but that’s a topic for another day….tomorrow perhaps?)

Let’s talk about commitment phobes? Are you one? Have you dated one?

Thank you to Wikipedia for some basic definition info and to Simply Solo for the indicators.

Photo credit: bark’s Flickr photostream

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Categories: Discussion

Author:coupletastic

I'm a married publicist who holds a Master's degree in psychology, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'd like to make the world a better place...one relationship at a time.

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9 Comments on “Signs That You (Or Someone You Know) Is A Commitmentphobe….”

  1. December 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    Sometimes I’ve wondered if I’m a commitmentphobe. If I’m not truly into someone it’s like I’m always looking for someone better and wondering if I should dump them. My mom calls it a wandering eye. I’ve only been in “love” twice, but both times I was fully there. I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. Perhaps some commitmentphobes haven’t met the right one yet. It saves lots of money on messy divorce costs.
    I fell hard for a commitmentphobe many years ago. He’s 35 and still out philandering around with young girls today. However, I have to wonder if it’s commitmentphobia or that maybe he just wasn’t that into me.

  2. December 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    5 6 8 9 10 and 11 – my last relationship in a nutshell. I am/was not perfect by any means…) but you are right – actions NOT words!

  3. December 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    My two best male friends are both commitment-phobes. They only date inappropriate or emotionally unavailable women. One friend enjoys the chase, and openly admits he isn’t interested in a relationship; he only wants to “seal the deal.” My other friend is too much of a mess, and knows it. He admires smart, successful women, but he only dates dumb and crazy (as in bunny boiler crazy) ones. He’s also only interested in sex with these women, and loves to complain about how dumb they are. What I find interesting is that they are both excellent friends to me; neither of them hit on me, or act inappropriately when I’m around. I realize that it’s partially because I’m happily married, so I’m totally safe to them. They are both really good men who are deeply troubled. I love them to death, and want to see them happy, but I doubt it will ever happen.

  4. December 6, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten to the point of dating someone who is a commitmentphobe. The bad behaviors get to me very early on and I bolt.

  5. December 6, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    I display a few of those traits, and I never, ever would have labeled myself as a commitmentphobe. Very interesting… hmmmmm.

  6. December 7, 2011 at 5:20 am #

    That sign of being attracted to long-distance relationships is something I had never thought of before, interesting insights!!

  7. December 12, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    Lots of people came here to write a word about your blog or write about their feelings but me? why Am here? because i don’t have any word to share because everything is 100% true.
    keep it up

  8. Val Val
    October 18, 2012 at 5:05 am #

    Here’s part of the problem. Many women or rather, in this case, a particular woman can’t seem to understand how difficult it can be for this man to commit to her especially after having been in three back to back “commited” marriages, that didn’t work out. It’s rather immature and premature to put herself out there like that with a man that admittedly tells her he’s a little shell shocked and wants to slow down and make sure. Despite this man telling her this, why is it that she insists in pressing the commitment issue. She’s being more of a “commitmentPROBE” rather than the man having “commitmentPHOBE”. And perhaps, it’s the woman, by her overeagerness, is what creates a sense of “commitmentPHOBE”. What’s the rush??????? Don’t worry. Be Happy. I’m just saying. PEACE!

  9. Sarah
    November 10, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    The article refers to a “relationship merger.” What is that exactly?

    commitmentphobic behavior includes “settling” for inappropriate partners, pursuing unattainable partners, and engaging in instant relationship mergers as well as fleeing from good/stable relationships.

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