Dating A Commitment-Phobe? Cope And Fix It Fast!

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Few who have dated have not encountered the commitment-phobe in the wild.

Much of the time, when you meet that perfect person (who is witty, attractive, intelligent, and single), it turns out they’re on the market because the idea of a committed relationship terrifies the pants off them… but they’re not going to tell you that up front.

(They might not even realize it.)

Societal structures and gender norms mean by and large, the commitment-phobia stereotype is mainly lobbed at males, and for good reason. Women who wish to have a family often have stricter timetables for finding a suitable mate, and realizing you’re dating a commitment-phobe who may never be ready to settle down can be more than frightening.

commitment phobe how to cope

When you’re dating a commitment-phobe, it can seem very hopeless and difficult to fix… but the key is spotting the signs and weighing them against your absolute needs in a relationship.

With time and patience, a commitment-phobe can be “fixed,” in a sense. A real relationship can be formed, but it’s up to you to decide whether the symptoms and the work are worth rehabbing a partner with cold feet.

Commitment-Phobe Sign #1: You’re Dating An Orphan

Barney and Lily barney stinson

One of the first signs you’re in love with a commitment-phobe is easily spottable. The more you see one another, the more marked it becomes that all contact is in on your territory.

If he or she has parents or friends, you don’t see them, and any attempts to broker a meeting are met with stuttering resistance — which always feels hurtful.

Why It Happens

A commitment-phobe is generally viewed as manipulative, sneaky, deliberately cruel — but more often than not, they’re terribly afraid of another failure, romantically. Shielding themselves from potential painful questions when you’re no longer around is one way of preventing that.

Commitment-Phobe Coping Response:

Be patient. If your love interest holds promise, this is your first chance to show them you’re willing to wait for their comfort. Commitment-phobes very often fear loss of control, and ceding this minor thing initially will indicate your ability to accept their hesitance.

Commitment-Phobe Sign #2: They Fall Off The Face Of The Earth Sometimes

runaway

Most people tend to be in relative frequent contact with their other half — but a commitment-phobe tends to exhibit periods of inaccessibility that can read to the otherwise-adjusted as disinterest, or even a precursor to a breakup.

Why It Happens

The “phobe” part of the word “commitment-phobe” is not just a catchy term — the fears they face entering into a commitment can be very real and very crippling. Occasional space helps the partner wary of getting involved too quickly that their life is still their own — and perhaps, slowly, better with you in it.

Commitment-Phobe Coping Response:

It’s difficult, but giving your partner the agency to direct this bit will help again with establishing a closer bond. They will be assured that you aren’t pressuring them for attention, and you can slowly form a better, more steady relationship wherein the communication gaps are naturally fewer and further between.

Commitment-Phobe Sign #3: Picking Fights

couple arguing

A real commitment-phobe tends to be wary of a bad match, and duly frightened of being dumped cold.

Romantic partners who have these tendencies have some built-in (or acquired) self-protections, which may include suddenly precipitating a fight seemingly over nothing.

Why It Happens

Sometimes, they’ll deliberately test your reactions, which isn’t really fair. Sometimes, they’ll not realize they’re desperately trying to harpoon your budding relationship to avoid potential hurt in the long run.

Either way, this is an issue with a commitment-phobic partner, and one which can be tricky to address. Either you validate the fight and risk getting sucked in, or you don’t, and can appear unresponsive.

Commitment-Phobe Coping Response:

Err on the side of caution. If you’ve been dating a commitment-phobe for long enough to have a disagreement, chances are you know them pretty well.

Control is a scary prospect for any relationship, where giving up some of your self-centered desires is necessary to maintain harmony — and commitment-phobic partners fear losing control over their lives.

In the beginning, it’s best to not escalate the disagreement and try to talk about what’s really bothering them. A commitment-phobe will, due to their own internal turmoil, run hot and cold.

That’s confusing, but if you know what to expect, you can better manage how you cope with a commitment-phobe’s responses while the relationship is still forming.

What to remember when dealing with a commitment-phobe

married

1.) Their issues with love and commitment existed well before you, and are no reflection on whether or not they truly care for you at the start. It takes time to build trust on both sides.

2.) It’s up to you to decide whether the time invested (which will never guarantee a reformed commitment-phobe) is worth the work you will have to put in to make it happen. Because there’s no way around doing the hard stuff in this type of situation.

3.) Tune out the noise. A lot of standard advice involves pressure, ultimatums, and hard-line stances — the exact opposite way to effectively deal with a commitment-phobe. Unless you’re looking to end it definitively.

Have you dated or fallen for a person who is a commitment-phobe? How did you cope?

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