Commitment Issues Explained [How to Deal With Them]

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You’ve probably heard the expressions ‘fear of commitment’ or ‘commitment issues’, but what exactly do they mean? What are commitment issues, how do they manifest, and how can they be overcome? This article addresses these questions and provides practical solutions to conquer this fear of commitment.

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What Is Commitment in a Relationship?

Commitment can have different meanings for each couple. For some, a monogamous relationship is the only way to show dedication, while others attest to faithfulness in open relationships.

Commitment, however, goes further than sexual fidelity with your partner. It’s expressed by shared future plans, hopes, dreams, and a sense of security. So it’s vital that you and your partner clearly define what commitment is to the both of you.

DID YOU KNOW? Those who are in committed relationships sleep better. Some studies have shown that couples who share a bed experience enhanced Rapid Eye Movement (REM), resulting in better sleep cycles.

What Are Commitment Issues?

Commitment issues are often found in romantic relationships but can also be observed in all areas of life. Those with commitment issues experience emotional difficulty whenever facing any long-term commitment—whether it’s a partner, job, or other challenging situations that require complete dedication.

Commitment issues, however, have the most evident impact on relationships because the foundation for each intimate relationship is the willingness to commit to the other person.

When one of the partners cannot or is unwilling to commit, the relationship is bound to suffer.

Commitment issues in relationships manifest as an unwillingness to discuss the future or make any long-term plans. When such topics come up, the person with commitment issues will withdraw and may even disappear for a while.

DID YOU KNOW? According to some studies, 5% of men and 3% of women have commitment issues, confirming the long-held belief that men have a more challenging time committing to a relationship. And even though there may be signs that he loves you, this doesn’t mean that your man wants to commit to you.

Why Do People Have Commitment Issues?

There are many reasons why a person experiences commitment issues. It’s essential to understand these reasons because they can be the key to solving the problem. Consider some of the following underlying causes behind commitment issues.

Childhood Interpersonal Communication

Childhood is the most critical formative period in life. If a child’s interpersonal communication wasn’t based on love and commitment, this behavior (or lack thereof) would likely be replicated in adulthood.

Past Relationships

If someone has had a past relationship that ended badly, they may be afraid of being hurt again and avoid commitment.

Fear of Abandonment

The commitment issues meaning can also be explained in terms of abandonment. When someone is afraid of being abandoned, they shun commitments to avoid future abandonment.

Trust Issues

Trust is the building block of every relationship. If a person has difficulty trusting their partner, it can be challenging to commit fully.

Physical/Emotional Abuse

If a person has been a victim of past abuse, it can be challenging to overcome vulnerabilities and commit to another person and a relationship.

Personality Disorders

What is the nature of commitment issues in personality disorders? Some people suffer from borderline or schizoid personalities, meaning that they detach from social relationships and have difficulties expressing emotions, and may seem apathetic in close relationships.

Recognizing these commitment issues or signs that your partner has such concerns is the beginning of realizing solutions to get over them.

DID YOU KNOW? Those with commitment phobia tend to break up with their partners, then get back together, which can go on indefinitely or until the other person decides they won’t get back together.

Key Takeaways

Commitment is a vital part of romantic relationships because it gives a sense of security.
Commitment issues can be observed in all areas of a person’s life, not just in romantic interactions.
Childhood intercommunication, past relationships, history of abuse, and personality disorders can cause commitment issues.
Therapy can be an excellent way to overcome commitment issues, but communicating with one’s partner is also critical in overcoming such matters.
Refusing to make plans and emotional detachment are signs that indicate fear of commitment.

How to Get Over Commitment Issues

Commitment phobia may not be an issue in short-term relationships or flings. Some even prefer these types of relationships because there’s less emotional entanglement. But if you’re in a relationship and want it to succeed in the long run, you must work on overcoming commitment issues.

Consider the following steps to help you overcome the fear of commitment.

1. Identify the Reasons behind Your Fear

Knowing the cause of your fear can help you overcome it. So before doing anything else, try to pinpoint the exact reason why you’re afraid of commitment. There are various types of commitment issues, and when you discover your concern, you can start by treating the cause, not the symptom.

2. Talk to Your Partner

After you’ve identified the cause, the next step is to have a serious conversation about your issue(s) with your significant other. Tell them what’s bothering you and why, and try to get them to understand and validate your feelings. Together, you can develop ideas on strengthening your connection and increasing your level of commitment.

3. Go to Therapy

It’s essential to admit to yourself: ‘I’ve got commitment issues’. A therapist can help a couple navigate problems or situations and suggest exercises to increase intimacy and commitment. Since commitment issues are a problem for both partners, couples therapy would be beneficial if both agreed to tackle the problem together.

4. Practice Commitment

So what does commitment issues mean? As previously noted, acknowledging a problem in your relationship is vital. But one of the best ways to overcome this issue is to practice commitment. Start small with little gestures that show your partner that you’re committed to them and slowly increase your level of commitment.

DID YOU KNOW? Some of the best relationships have started as friendships. If you have a best friend, consider getting out of the friend zone and becoming romantically involved. You could have a great relationship.

Signs of Commitment Issues

If you’re not sure whether your partner has commitment issues, consider some of the following signs you need to look out for.

Not Serious About the Relationship

Sometimes both parties agree on a casual relationship. But if one partner is looking for a serious, committed relationship, and the other doesn’t want this, it’s a sign that there are some commitment issues.

Avoids Making Future Plans

When someone is avoiding commitment, they may sidestep short- and long-term plans. Even if you simply want to make plans for the upcoming weekend, they’ll probably come up with an excuse for not wanting to plan for such.

History of Short-Lived Relationships

Our past relationships shouldn’t be a factor in how our current relationship plays out. Still, if your partner has never had a long-term relationship, it may be a sign that they’ve always been afraid of commitment.

Casual Friends Only

As previously noted, the commitment issues definition includes such problems in all areas of life, not just romantic relationships. If you understand that your partner doesn’t have any close friends—only those they hang out with—this can also indicate their unwillingness to develop an attachment to anyone.

Difficulties Displaying Emotion

We need to show our emotions if we want the other person to know how we feel about them. If you notice that the other person has difficulties displaying emotion (physically or verbally), it can signify a severe fear of commitment.

Poor Communication Skills

Dating someone with commitment issues can affect communication in a relationship. Those with commitment issues often want to share their thoughts and feelings but don’t know how to. Sometimes, they have trouble communicating even the most minor things.

Self-Centred Behaviour

Those with commitment issues can often come off as self-centred. It may seem like they don’t care about anyone but themselves, but this may not be the case. They could simply be afraid of rejection and act like they don’t care to avoid being hurt.

Lack of Investment

What’s the nature of commitment issues associated with subtler concerns of behaviour? One of the less obvious signs of commitment is a lack of investment in the relationship. When you feel that the other person is not trying to move the relationship forward, it could mean that they’re afraid to commit, which is why they refuse to take the initiative to do so.

Ghosting

Suppose you’re dating someone and having a good time—then, they ghost you. They won’t return your calls or texts for several days but may reappear. They withdraw when things get too serious, thereby avoiding commitment at all costs.

Avoids Talks About the Future

If you’re still unclear about what causes commitment issues, one reason is fear of the future or the unknown. If your significant other is unwilling to discuss the future and more serious commitments (marriage, cohabitation, children), it means they are scared of committing in the long run.

DID YOU KNOW? Being ghosted can increase desire for the person ghosting you. The action of ghosting is a form of rejection, and many feel a strong passion for the person that rejected them or wants to be with them to prove them wrong.

How to Live With a Partner With Commitment Issues

You may be wondering how to help someone with commitment issues. Fortunately, there are several ways you can go about it.

First, remember that being a good girlfriend or boyfriend means that you should accept the other person for who they are, with all their faults and shortcomings—even if they won’t be able to commit to you as much as you commit to them.

Try to understand the causes that have made your loved one emotionally distant and afraid of commitment, and then give them the support they need. And don’t forget: communication is crucial. So make sure you both communicate your feelings openly.

How to Deal With a Man With Commitment Issues

As previously noted, men are more likely to experience commitment issues than women. So how do you deal with a man in a relationship who has commitment issues?

First, slow down the pace of the relationship. Then, remind him that you’re independent, and even though you’re not obligated to stay with him, you want to be with him.

If he does admit, ‘I have commitment issues’, don’t be judgemental. Hear him out; let him know you understand, and you’re willing to work on overcoming those issues together for as long as it takes.

Are Commitment Issues a Breaking Point?

When you realize you’re in a relationship with someone who has commitment issues, you need to decide if you want to stay in the relationship. Commitment issues, however, don’t need to be the breaking point in the relationship, as long as the other person is willing to acknowledge them and put in the work required to overcome them.

Together, you can learn how to fix commitment issues step-by-step. But you need to consider everything and decide if you’re willing to take the time and energy necessary to overcome your partner’s problems. The relationship should make you happy. If you feel that it’s draining your energy and there’s no significant progress, it may be time to stop trying and walk away.

DID YOU KNOW? Being honest about what bothers you is the best way to approach a breakup. If your partner’s commitment issues are problematic, it’s best if you let them know so as not to confuse them. Cutting off all contact is also advised when breaking up with someone.

Conclusion

If you’re asking yourself, ‘why do I have commitment issues’, we’ve provided a list of the most common causes behind the fear of commitment. Even though such concerns may make your dating experience and relationships more challenging, they’re not impossible to overcome. Once you’ve identified the reason, you can work on overcoming commitment issues once and for all. You can still find love and happiness.

FAQ

What are signs of commitment issues?

Refusing to make plans, difficulties expressing emotion, rejecting serious commitment, and avoiding conversations about the future are signs of commitment issues.

What does it mean if a girl has commitment issues?

Girls can have commitment issues, too. If a girl has such concerns, she may have experienced a traumatising event in her past that has made her withdrawn and suffer fear of commitment.

Should I date someone with commitment issues?

What are commitment issues that you could manage in your relationship? As previously noted, you can help your partner overcome such problems. But you need to decide if you’re willing to put in the effort and give them the time to conquer these concerns with you.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I've loved writing since I can remember, and back in high school, I started loving psychology as well. So I majored in it while dabbling in spirituality and yoga on the side.

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