Commitment phobia is fairly common among singles who think they want a long-term relationship, but just can't seem to make the right connection. Fear of commitment may be caused by a number of stimuli including failed past relationships, misplaced trust or dysfunctional early family life. Learn the warning signs to recognize it in others–or in yourself.
The first sign of commitment phobia is overcommitment. Those early days in the relationship when he goes overboard can be very seductive. He may even seem like your dream guy…for a while. If it's moving way too fast at first, that's your first clue. He will often come across as sincere because he is. He really believes he wants a relationship.
When it's time to take your relationship to the next level by planning a trip together, talking about exclusive dating or even meeting your parents, you may begin to see some wavering. This kind of thing goes beyond lip-service commitment and sails into the dangerous waters of actual commitment, which will make the commitment-phobe very nervous.
On the Outside Looking in
Later in the relationship, you may find yourself on the outside. She just doesn't have enough time for you because her life is so terribly busy for an extended period of time. The bottom line is that you aren't high on her list of priorities, and she's never going to have time for you.
Short, but Fiery
People who have commitment phobia usually have a long string of short relationships. They run very hot at first and cool off very fast. They have a lot of friends and social commitments that don't include you, or they consistently choose work over you, even if the work isn't crucial. Backing out of dates at the last minute is an inconsiderate indication that the relationship isn't going to go anywhere. Once in a while may be inevitable. Often is a pattern.
What if the Commitment Phobe is You?
Think about your past relationships. Did you partner seem perfect at first, but then some trivial thing came between you every time? Jerry's relationships on the Jerry Seinfeld show are classic examples. No matter how wonderful the girl, there was always something wrong with her. One had "man hands," one wore the same dress on every date, and one had a terrible laugh. These things grew in significance until poor Jerry couldn't take it anymore. If you allow trivial things to break up every relationship, you might be commitment phobic.
Dating men who should be off-limits can be another sign that you're not ready for a real relationship. If you're drawn to married men, you may be choosing them to avoid commitment. Flirting with other people is another sign of trouble. Flirting can be harmless, or it can be fishing for a replacement. It can be hard to tell the difference, even if you're the flirt.
The Right Stuff
If you have a commitment phobia, you might just be dating the wrong people. Make a list of things you want in a partner and be realistic. Narrow your dating choices to only those who have everything you're looking for. Then slow it down, and let the relationship develop naturally.