Commitment can be a frightening word for some people because of the proposition of what it means to commit. For many, commitment signifies loss, feeling of being trapped or controlled. Committing to another person involves consideration of another person’s thoughts, feelings and needs which implies a loss of independence in activities and decision-making. Commitment can be defined as a dedication or obligation that binds an individual to a particular person, cause, or course of action. Commitments may be made willingly or unwillingly. ‘If I commit to him/her than he/she might cheat on me or be untruthful to me’ are some of the words uttered by people who have commitment issues, who demand perfection in this uncertain world.
Some individuals who fear committing to a long-term romantic relationship might actually desire a long-term partner while still experiencing discomfort at the thought of such a relationship. They might agree for a long-term relationship at first, but will begin to slowly withdraw from relationship months, weeks or even days later. Some individuals may move from one intense attachment to another with little understanding of what went wrong in previous relationships. As we unconsciously fail to commit, life passes us by. Someone who has trouble committing feels that if they’ll commit than they will lose something close to them. Deep down, the person fears being rejected or feels that the consequences of a future relationship breakdown will be worse than the time they invest in that relationship. They struggle with the feeling that after being committed they will realise that they took a wrong decision. The reality for someone who has difficulty with commitment is they’ll make the wrong decision, but no matter what we do there is always another life we could have lived.
Fear of commitment is often used in reference with romantic relationships only, but it can also happen to a person who finds it hard to commit in others areas of life. People who fear committing to a relationship will often have difficulty committing to other decisions, too. They may have trouble deciding on careers, where to travel on vacation, or even what to eat in a restaurant. People who have commitment issues experience emotional difficulty when faced with situations that require devotion for a long term goal.
The fear we feel comes from something that happened in our formative years. It’s not something we’re born with, but it comes from something we’ve seen, or from an insecurity that has embedded itself in the commitment issues we struggle with. Maybe they have experienced feeling trapped in a relationship before or perhaps they have a history of painful breakups, of hurting and being hurt. Or they may have witnessed the rocky relationships of parents and have the ‘blueprint’ that ‘no relationship ever works out’.
It’s the same with anything. We never have to say ‘forever’ because life is a series of present moments. Think about it; maybe what works now won’t work in ten years, but maybe it will. The fact is all of life is an exploration and wanting absolute certainty all of the time about everything is for narrow thinkers.