Fear of Commitment
Do you have a girlfriend or boyfriend who won’t commit? If you’ve never experienced this yourself, chances are that you’ve had a frustrated friend who wants to know: “How long should I wait for him to commit?”.
I recently contributed to a column on the website Love Evolve and Thrive about how to cope with fear of commitment.
Don’t Put Your Own Life on Hold.
It’s not uncommon for one partner to be ready for a long-term commitment before the other. I think we all have a cousin or friend who’s spent three, four, five, or more years waiting for her boyfriend to be ready to propose or move in. Sometimes this has a happy ending and other times it ends in resentments, heart break, or rejection.
Lack of or fear of commitment quickly becomes a control issue in relationships. Pushing for more commitment doesn’t work. You can’t make your partner commitment (and if you could, that sounds like a recipe for disaster).
Settling for less than the level of commitment that you want, sends the message that you’ll just take what you can get; that you don’t think you’re worth a fully committed relationship. Often these struggles are a reason to look within yourself and explore why you’re in your current relationship. Is it really fulfilling? Is there honest, open, vulnerable communication? Often people find they are staying because it’s comfortable and they’ve invested a lot of time or they have a lot in common. It’s hard to be truly honest with yourself about what you want and whether this relationship is meeting your needs. Women especially struggle with this as we are socialized to put other people’s needs before our own.*
Value yourself enough to ask for what you want. Value yourself enough to choose a partner who wants to commit to you 100%. And value yourself enough to walk away if you’re not getting it.
Life is about living, not about waiting and relationships are about love, not about control. You shouldn’t put your life on hold waiting for your partner to be ready for a long-term commitment. Relationships don’t have a pre-determined time table. The only right time table is the one that feels right to you.
If you’re feeling stuck in a relationship that’s unhealthy, unsatisfying, or just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, counseling in my Campbell office can help! Feel free to email, call, or schedule an appointment online.
*Although this post was written from the perspective of a woman in a heterosexual relationship, of course, both men and women, gay and straight, encounter issues with fear of commitment.
© 2016 Sharon Martin, LCSW.
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