Commitment Phobia – 5 reasons why you can’t commit to a relationship

“Taapsee and Vivek have been living together for the last eight years. Taapsee cherishes hopes of getting married and having children someday, but Vivek is not interested in setting up a family. Taapsee has not lost hope yet, but she has begun to feel that she may never realize her dreams. Should she remain with Vivek? Or should she call it quits and find somebody else who is on the same page as her? Such thoughts keep revolving in Taapsee’s head now-a-days. The pain she feels is hard to describe. She has known Vivek for so long that he seems to be an essential part of her. But she has discovered that Vivek has no intentions of taking the next step in their relationship and wants to remain just as they are.”

You know that sinking feeling when your long-term partner wants “something more” out of your relationship with him or her. You feel trapped and are desperate to get out of it somehow. You feel you have commitment phobia. You think, “Here’s another relationship that didn’t work. It was going so well–why can’t it stay like this forever?”

You see the hurt and disappointment in your partner’s eyes. You feel bad for your partner, but you just can’t bring yourself to take the next step in your relationship.

People with commitment phobia do want long-term relationships. However, there is so much anxiety surrounding commitment and relationships in their minds that they are unable to devote themselves to their partner. Some may commit to a relationship, only to break it off later when their anxiety gets the better of them.

Here are 5 reasons why you feel you cannot say “I do!”

(1) Feeling vulnerable

commitment phobia vulnerable

You’re afraid to be wrong. What if you invest too much into the relationship and then it doesn’t work out? You’re afraid of getting hurt. You may have had a past where your relationships broke up badly. You may not have fully recovered from the earlier hurt. You’re probably carrying around baggage from your previous relationships. Or you’re simply too proud to “fail.” No matter what the reason, the central factor in your commitment phobia is fear. Fear of pain. Fear of emotional injury.

One way you can tide over this feeling is to tell yourself to take a chance. Tell yourself that even if the relationship does fall apart later, at least you tried and gave it your time and effort. You need to start accepting the fact that you cannot control everything that happens in your life.

(2) Feeling “cornered”

commitment phobia cornered

Freedom is an overrated concept. Nobody is truly free–we’re all enjoying various degrees of freedom. Your commitment-phobic self probably thinks that investing deeply in a relationship will “trap” you. You’d rather enjoy the many benefits of your casual relationship without bearing the costs of a committed bond. You enjoy the “freedom” that comes with a no-strings-attached relationship and you want to keep things that way.

(3) You think you’re too busy.

commitment phobia too busy

This is especially true if you work in a high-pressure environment. You’re so caught up with the daily trials of life that you feel you have no time or energy to devote yourself to another person. You’d rather not deal with the mess of a committed relationship. That’s commitment phobia alright! You feel that by getting serious with someone, you’re wasting precious emotional energy that you could otherwise use elsewhere in your life.

Time can be cruel, so you should grab every opportunity you can get. Don’t let the person who feels so right for you slip by because you may not meet another like him or her.

(4) You want something better.

commitment phobia something better

Why would you want to be stuck with someone when you can get a “better person?” Humans are on a lifelong search for better alternatives to what they have at present. It could be a career, a hobby, a lifestyle, or a relationship. You’re probably never satisfied with what you have currently–your commitment phobia compels you to look for the next “upgrade.” 

When you think that you could have gotten someone better, remember that your partner could think the same way about you. Instead, your partner chose you and is willing to put in effort to work at the relationship. You owe it to yourself to try to make it work.

A commitment does not have to make your life come to a standstill. It does not have to change your lifestyle. You can include your partner in your life choices. You can travel with him or her. When both sides want something earnestly, they usually find a way.

(5) You think you still have time.

commitment phobia still have time

If you’re in your twenties, you’re probably thinking of this reason. You tell yourself, “I still have lots of time. Why should I commit now?” Even if the person in question is someone you feel very strongly about. This reason is tied to several others mentioned previously–wanting to get someone “better” and being dissatisfied with your current choice.

Many of us feel regret at making the wrong choices. Holding out because you think it is not the “right” time may make you regret your decision. Time will not wait for you, so you shouldn’t wait for the right time, either.

Traditionally, commitment phobia was considered a male issue. With the empowerment of more and more women, both genders are equally afflicted now. First, you must understand that a fear of commitment is perfectly normal. However, it’s important to work through your emotional baggage, your fears and doubts, and your concerns in order to ensure that you do not unnecessarily end a potentially fulfilling relationship. You could start a journal to express your emotions, or you could talk to friends, or even a relationship counsellor.

Now that you understand what’s ailing you, would you like to do something about it?

If you feel you have commitment phobia, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our relationship experts for free at


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