Christian Living


Family Matters 05/17/18

Are You Afraid of Commitment?

Kirstin was being pressed to say "yes" to a dating proposal. She didn't know why she struggled to make this basic commitment to date a really nice man in her singles class at church. She wants to eventually get married and have children. But, she will never meet the right person if she doesn't take a chance. As she talked with me more, it was apparent that commitment to anything was hard for her. She was afraid to make a mistake.

John had a similar issue, but it was related to accepting a new job. Everything about the job looked promising, but fear about leaving a good job for a better one took over. He couldn't commit to the change and later regretted his decision.

Alison was afraid to commit when it came to signing up to serve in her church. What if she had conflicts with the times? What if she didn't like what she was doing? What if ... the list was long. Instead of deciding to just do it, she languished in worry about the negative possibilities.

These people are not alone in their commitment phobia. A number of people seem to have problems committing to doing things and more importantly, committing to a relationship.

What are the signs of being afraid to commit?

Here are six questions to consider to determine if you have commitment phobia:

  1. Do I have a history of short-term relationships? Have I had difficulty staying in a relationship and working through it?
  2. Do I wait until the last minute to commit? Am I the type of person who wants to see all options or wait for a better opportunity, thus I avoid saying "yes"?
  3. Do I say "maybe" more often than "yes" or "no" – based on fear that I could make a wrong decision?
  4. Do I use the words, "I might", "perhaps", or "probably" rather than making decisions because I want options?
  5. Do I have close friends or simply have acquaintances?
  6. Am I unpredictable? (If people don't know what I am doing, they can't be let down.)

If commitment phobia is a problem you self-diagnose, try to get at the root of this issue. Usually, some type of fear is the culprit.

Consider your original family and how stable you felt growing up. Then, look at your previous relationship history. Was it problematic? Next, name the fear and face it. Finally, make sure your relationship expectations are realistic. You won't find a perfect person or situation. In life and relationships, hurt and rejection can happen.

You will make mistakes and sometimes you lose out. But, the positive side is that your risks can pay off and bring you closer to your life goals. The key is to not allow fear to drive your lack of decision making or block a potentially satisfying relationship.

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