Understanding Commitment Phobia


Commitment Phobia is among the most common phobias which affects the day to day lives of people. Basically, it is the fear of long-term relationships which in turn causes the avoidance of permanent partnership and even marriage. Not so long ago, men were by and large thought to be more commitment phobic as compared to women. However, after various researches and studies, it was concluded that commitment phobia is not gender specific and can affect both men and women equally.

Surprisingly, the paradox here is that the people suffering from commitment phobia run after the very things they are afraid of- intimate connection and long-lasting love. It is mainly the fear of making poor decisions along with the fear of lost options that causes the commitment phobic people to behave erratically. They would walk out of their stable relationships, hurt their partners.

These problems are time and again much more insidious and have adverse effect on the person’s work and home life as well. It becomes tough for such people to improve in their work. This fear also causes difficulty in making everyday decisions resulting in a feeling of being burdened all the time and they feel as if not in control of their life.

Besides other symptoms, commitment phobic people also run after inaccessible partners, partners who are incompatible with them and they obsessively desire partners who are no longer with them. They are prone to self-destruction. In a desperate attempt to alleviate their angst, commitment phobic people use their imagination to conjure up reconciliation scenarios, fantasies which make up for their emotional needs. This in turn harms them more as nothing can be perfect and nothing in their real life lives up to their high expectations. They often set unrealistic ideals and somehow even after finding their perfect match they are able to bring out his/her negative aspects.

While they appear to be ‘shy’, they are actually scared of getting noticed and it’s a way of avoiding a connection with anyone. Commitment phobia can be caused when someone suffers in an abusive relationship. People recovering from an unsatisfactory relationship sometimes develop certain beliefs about relationships and are scared of ‘falling in love’ again.

A child can also develop this phobia if he witnesses or is even if he has been a victim of an abusive relationship in his/her seminal years. Whatever happens in the child’s formative years can shape the way he/she thinks as an adult, too.

Having poor role models or unpleasant step parents can also cause this phobia in the later years. The most common theory is that the mind knows that it was hurt by a loved one and that letting anyone too close again will undeniably cause pain. Therefore the mind subconsciously develops all sorts of defense mechanisms to prevent it from happening again.

Therapies such as Pure Hypo analysis can help people with commitment phobia to a large extent. It is unique and seeks to remove the feelings of being trapped and ‘out of control’ as opposed to just managing the symptoms, which is temporary. Lastly, along with the therapy it is best if the people around the commitment phobic person identify the signs and help him/her to recover.

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