Fear of commitment is real and it takes a lot of courage to first recognize your problem and ask yourself, “Why do I have commitment issues?” If you have done the most difficult part of admitting your concerns and asking the right questions, then you are ready to assess and address your commitment issues in life.
We reached out to psychologist Jayant Sundaresan, who says, “One of the central signs of commitment issues is feeling anxious. If a person gets restless when they get a feeling that things are moving deeper in a relationship, they might take a step back. They will say that they aren’t interested in settling down or that they don’t care for commitment.
“In certain contexts, this quality might be alluring for other people. The no chasing part might excite the other party. They might wonder if the person with commitment issues is packaged differently. But soon, all these emotions will wither away, and once they start developing feelings for this person, they will demand or at least secretly expect some kind of commitment”.
It’s not an uncommon or unusual trait to have – many of us have a fear of commitment. It could be work-related commitment issues or related to friendships as well. But the most common fear of commitment is seen in romantic relationships. If you don’t sit down and find ways to fix this problem, then it could create havoc in your life.
Why Do I Have Commitment Issues – Expert Answers
When we fall in love, we want to spend all our time with our partner. We want to know everything about them. From their favorite color to favorite movies to what their face looks like when they are asleep. Soon, when the honeymoon phase is over and you will find your relationship snuggled in a secure and peaceful place. This is the part where your significant other might start expecting a commitment from you.
Jayant shares, “When men date more than one person without wanting to stay long with anyone, that is a sign of commitment issues in men. They can even get involved with someone who is married, as married people don’t ask for any commitment. It’s just two people meeting in secrecy and having fun. Any person who has commitment issues in life only wants to see people who won’t demand commitment from them.
“In the same way, commitment issues in females will cause them to build high walls around them. They will date multiple people at one point to avoid falling for any of them. Their doors will be closed for love and commitment. When they think it is leading to something serious, they feel discomfort and find ways to walk away.”
The word ‘commitment’ is often connected to long-term relationships which eventually lead to marriage and children. If just the thought of this is terrifying you, then you are right to ask yourself, “Why do I have commitment issues?” There are many tips to get over commitment issues. Your fear of settling down is probably deep-seated and invisible at the surface. But once you realize you have commitment phobia, you must try to figure out the reason for it. Here are some of the possible reasons you have commitment issues.
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1. Past relationships play a vital role in creating commitment issues in life
Jayant says, “The deeper the relationship, the more painful the heartbreak will be. A bad end of a relationship makes you more vulnerable and makes it difficult for you to start dating after a breakup. If a person you shared your life with suddenly leaves you and claims to not love you anymore, how can you trust someone again? It’s natural to think that your present partner will leave you like your former lover did. This fear of abandonment majorly contributes to your ‘why do I have commitment issues?’ question.”
For most of us, past relationships impact every day of our lives. We are on high alert due to our past traumas. But we tend to forget that the past is gone, and we need to focus more on our present. I kept asking, “Why do I have commitment issues?” and found my answer when I stopped trying to fix my past relationship in my present.
My former lover had serious commitment issues. I began to project those traumas in my current relationship and it created a lot of difficulty for me. I became extremely defensive and protective of myself, even when it was not needed. It was my past relationship that was problematic. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship in the past and not in the present. Why was I protecting myself in my current love affair where I had nothing to worry about? It took a while for me to sort this out and understand that my fear of commitment comes from my past.
Commitment issues in females could be due to past abusive relationships too. Similarly, commitment issues in men could be due to gaslighting or being with a narcissistic and controlling partner.
2. Family history and influence
Jayant says, “Why would someone have commitment issues if they have seen happy and secure parents? If growing up, you witnessed happy and positive relationships, then you might not be so hostile toward commitment. But if you have seen bitter relationships, that might be the reason for your commitment phobia.
“If you saw your parents or the elders in your family fighting aggressively, or if you’re a product of divorced parents, commitment might not come easy for you. Such people don’t have a good relationship to model after. They don’t know how to copy the qualities of a good relationship and paste them in their lives. For them, commitment feels like giving up their control.”
If you are asking, “Why do I have commitment issues”, then upbringing could be the answer. Your family life and childhood are known to have a significant impact on all your relationships.
Why do you have commitment issues? Because you saw the harsh way your parents treated each other. Because you saw your parents’ failed, abusive or unhappy marriage. Such experiences could easily cause commitment issues in life.
It could also be the result of your parents being inattentive toward you as a child, or as a result of them being over-intrusive. They kept invading your personal space and were unresponsive to your growth. If you had helicopter parents, then you might face commitment issues in life.
3. Insecure attachment style
Insecure attachment style is characterized by fear of abandonment and uncertainty of the relationship. Jayant says, “Insecure attachment style is one of the reasons someone could have commitment issues. Your attachment style develops as early as 4 months. It is based on how your caregivers took care of you and comforted you. In essence, lack of parental care makes it difficult for you to trust someone.
In this case, instead of thinking you are with the wrong person or you are in the wrong for having such a predicament, focus on how to fix commitment issues. Maybe you haven’t dealt with your insecure attachment style. That could be the answer to why you have commitment issues.
Deep down, you may think this relationship is not going to work out, hence you avoid giving your partner a proper commitment. This attachment style makes it difficult for people to form deep, emotional connections. Your attachment style is one of the telltale signs you’re not ready for serious relationships. If you are asking, “Why do I have commitment issues?”, then the fact that you don’t have a secure attachment style could be the answer.
4. Why do I have commitment issues? Due to low self-esteem
People who have low self-esteem often think that they are unworthy and undeserving of someone’s love. It manifests in many ways and paves the way for insecurity and jealousy in a relationship. You begin to think you are not worthy of your partner’s love or you think that you are not attractive enough for them.
Jayant says, “As children, there are a billion things we don’t know. We learn as we grow up. We tend to make a lot of blunders along the way. And when people close to you laugh at you for making those blunders or mock at your life choices, it dents your self-esteem.
“This is when you begin to question if you are worthy of a person’s love. You will start wondering if you got this person by a stroke of good luck.” You have this constant fear that they might like someone else and leave you for that person. You are afraid they might outgrow their love for you or they might fall in love with someone else. Such emotions are born out of low self-esteem and lack of confidence. In such cases, low self-esteem gives birth to commitment issues in men and women.
5. Why do you have commitment issues? Because you have difficulty trusting others
If you have trust issues and you are someone who finds it extremely difficult to trust someone, then you already know the answer to: “Why do I have commitment issues?” It’s because you find it impossible to trust someone. Trust issues stem from a fear of betrayal, abandonment, or being a victim of gaslighting and manipulation.
“For instance,” Jayant says, “if you were married once and then got divorced, it could also lead to commitment issues in men and women. They fixate on how it didn’t work out the first time, then how can it work out the second time?
“If you are dating someone who doesn’t know how to fix commitment issues, then they will twist the entire scenario. They will either exit the relationship or create situations where you’re compelled to leave them.
“But the fact of the matter is that people with commitment issues have a pattern. Their pattern is a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Their earlier relationships had the same motifs. They will engineer the whole thing, and break up before things get serious. It’s like a script they are following.”
6. Fear of being controlled
When I asked myself why I have commitment issues, the answer was easy to find out. It’s fear of engulfment. I don’t like being controlled. I was afraid I would lose myself and my identity if I commit to someone. Fear of being controlled or lose control is known to contribute to power struggle in relationships.
This fear of losing control and of being controlled is too high when you are in a committed relationship. Why would someone have commitment issues, you ask? There could be many reasons such as having experienced loss of a parent, emotional neglect, parental substance abuse, and fear of being controlled.
Related Reading: 10 Things To Know Before Dating Someone Who Has Had Many Partners
What Can You Do If You Have Commitment Issues – Expert Tips
Jayant says, “If you want to know the answer and solutions to “Why do I have commitment issues”, then try taking baby steps. Start small. Give someone a tiny commitment that you will go on a date with them. Then move ahead slowly and steadily. Start seeing them more often, set the pace you’re comfortable with. Spend the weekend together if you like them.
“Gradually, increase their level of involvement in your life. If you genuinely start liking them and don’t want to rush things, then go on a trip together. It’s never too late for a travel adventure with someone you like. Later, try cohabitation for a week or so. After a substantial time has passed, and if you still love their company, you can ask them to move in together. You can even reach a point eventually, where you ask them if they want to have their own key. That will let them know you have started your journey of commitment.”
Below are some expert tips that you can try if you have commitment issues.
1. Explore your fears
When you face your fears and explore them, you will find out where this commitment issue is coming from. Whether it is coming from parental neglect or past traumas or inability to build trust in someone. Once you resolve your fear of relationships, the rest will seem easier.
Don’t be under the impression that if you have commitment issues, you can’t work through them. Fear is what drives you to act hostile toward commitment and serious relationships. If you learn how to battle that fear, it will help you understand that commitment is not a scary thing. It’s a beautiful feeling to be in a long-term relationship.
Related Reading: Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships – 10 Characteristics
2. Seek therapy
Jayant says, “The first answer to how to fix commitment issues in life is to seek therapy. It helps you bring everything on paper and look at everything from a different perspective. It makes you dig deeper. You will soon have 20 answers to “Why do I have commitment issues?”, and you’ll be able to look at each of them with a new insight during therapy.
“A therapist will provide you with a bubble of safety where you are free from judgment. You can cry your heart out and express your pent up grief and anger. They will help you process and overcome all your issues.” If you’re looking for professional help in dealing with commitment issues, Bonobology’s panel of experienced counselors is only a click away.
3. Learn to communicate
He says, “Learn to communicate with yourself and with your partner. That’s the most liberating thing you can do. Speak to your partner about your concerns. Voice them out. Tell your partner about your fears without having any expectations from them. If you don’t know how to, then learn ways to improve communication.
Remember that this is your problem. Not your partner’s. All your partner has to do is be respectful and sensitive toward your feelings. Help each other move forward. Sit down and talk to each other about every area of your relationship.”
4. Stop comparing
Jayant says, “If you keep comparing your past lovers to your current one, it will put a lot of pressure on the relationship. Each person has a different way of expressing their love. You can’t expect your current partner to love you like your former lover did. That’s just unfair and sets unrealistic expectations. It’s like you are not giving your current partner a chance.”
Comparison kills a lot of things. You also can’t compare your life with your friend’s life who keeps posting cute pictures with their partner all the time. Please know that social media isn’t real. You don’t know what’s happening in their lives before and after they posted that picture on the internet. Find out how you can break the comparison trap.
All said and done, if somebody doesn’t want to commit to you, don’t force them. Your insistence will suffocate them. If you’re the one who is facing commitment issues, then please know you don’t need to be forever jumping partners because of your fear of commitment. It’s possible to find a partner who will respect your needs and give you time to heal. Don’t push them away just because they love you and want to have a future with you.