Men with commitment phobia
How to Identify and Deal With a Man With Commitment Issues
In This Article
We hear more and more about women who are in love with men with commitment issues. It does seem as if there are more commitment-shy men out there right now as compared to a generation ago. The ease and abundance of dating apps may be feeding into the problem.
Why commit to one great woman when the next one may be just one swipe away? Let’s take a deep dive into what causes commitment phobia and how to deal with a commitment-phobic man.
What causes commitment-phobic behavior
What causes commitment phobia to develop?
First off, let us be clear. Men with commitment issues will have these issues no matter what woman they are with. It has nothing to do with you . So please stop doubting your attractiveness, your intelligence, your great personality, your loving and generous nature. If a guy is scared of commitment, he displays this fear with every woman he dates.
Men with commitment issues are not born that way. Guys with commitment issues learn this behavior from life experiences such as:
Unresolved childhood trauma, such as witnessing their parents’ divorce, especially if that divorce was ugly and not managed with the child’s interest at the forefront.
Other childhood traumas including the death of someone close to the child, such as a sibling, or the sudden disappearance of a close friend or relative, or neglectful or abusive parenting.
Trauma in adulthood, such as being cheated on in a previous relationship. Having gone through a messy divorce can contribute to men with commitment issues.
Some men just value their freedom so greatly that they have commitment issues but these are not at all issues for them (but they are for the women that love them).
These men have an avoidant attachment style of interacting with women.
Also Try: Why Do I Have Commitment Issues Quiz
How can I identify a man with commitment issues
If you want to know if you are dating a commitment-phobic boyfriend, look to his past.
- Has he never been married or lived with a woman?
- Are his previous relationships short-lived?
- Does he have a history of moving around a lot, of frequent job changes?
- Does he say he doesn’t want to have any roots or ties and talks about his desire to be free to do what he wants when he wants?
There are more signs of commitment phobia that we will highlight later in this article, but if you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, it is likely that you are dating a man with commitment issues.
Don’t despair! We will look at some ways to get a commitment-phobe to commit if that is truly what you would like to see happening in your relationship.
10 signs of commitment phobia in men
Not all men with commitment issues display the same signs. But there is enough commonality amongst them that we have put together this list to help you identify the signs of commitment phobia.1. Fear as the relationship progresses
Men with commitment issues will be extremely loving and caring at the beginning of the relationship, especially before he feels he has “captured” you and made you fall for him.
Initially, guys with commitment issues are very open with their emotions and expressions of feelings for you. They seem to be 100% invested in you and the future of the relationship.
Be assured; these are real feelings for the man with commitment issues; he is not pretending. But soon, once he feels you getting too close, this will spark fear in him, and he will feel the need to sabotage the relationship.
Related Reading: How to Express your Love Through Words & Actions2. Mixed messages
You will hear mixed messages from men with commitment issues. Men with commitment issues want to feel close to their partner at the beginning, so they may tell you very early on that they love you and talk about a shared future.
But at the same time, men with fear of commitment will also say that they do not want to feel trapped, that they want to explore the world, that they want to “live life to the fullest”, meaning the ability to pick up and move when they feel like it.3. You’re not introduced to friends
Men with commitment issues do not include you in their friend’s group. If you have been dating for a couple of months and he hasn’t introduced you to any of his friends, it is likely he has commitment issues.4. No discussion about future plans
Men with commitment issues do not include you in any future plans. Does your boyfriend never talk about living together or getting married? Is he perfectly happy with you, and he keeps separate places and sees no need to combine households?
Related Reading: Why Is It Hard for Men to Commit in a Relationship?5. Prefer LDR
They purposefully seek long-distance relationships, which give men with commitment issues plenty of breathing space and independence.6. Prefer busy women
Men with commitment issues are drawn to busy women who have other commitments. They may seek divorced women with children, knowing that the children will be the woman’s first priority and therefore give the commitment-phobe a lot of time on his own.7. They woo women actively
Men with commitment issues go way too fast in seducing a woman they are attracted to. They will be very charming and say all the right things to get her to bond quickly. They like the wooing phase of the relationship, but it doesn’t go beyond that.8. They withdraw gradually
Men with commitment issues will be very affectionate and loving, open with their expressions of love. But once they feel the woman is “hooked,” they will withdraw the very things that attracted her to him.
Men with commitment issues will break dates at the last minute and stop texting as much. They can even end up ghosting the woman when the fear of commitment becomes too intense.9. Sabotage the relationship
Men with commitment issues will sabotage the relationship. If the relationship becomes serious, with talk of moving in together or marriage, they will start sabotaging it by becoming critical of you, self-absorbed, argumentative, rude, and treating you as low-priority.
The purpose of this bad behavior is to make YOU leave the relationship, making things easier for the man with commitment issues because it “wasn’t his fault that the relationship ended.”
Related Reading: Am I Sabotaging My Relationship Quiz10. You will witness bad behavior
As the relationship progresses, their behavior becomes worse and worse. Men with commitment issues want to be out of the relationship but need the woman to make a move so that they don’t feel guilty.
20 ways to deal with a commitment-phobic man
If you sense you are dealing with a commitment-phobic man, but you want to move ahead with the relationship, you may be asking yourself, “Can a commitment-phobic change?”. It is possible, but you need to tread very carefully to fix commitment issues.
In fact, you may need to be quite stealthy and secretive in order to get a commitment-phobe to commit. Why? Because if he realizes what you are doing, he will run away. Such is his fear of commitment.
Let’s look at 20 ways how to deal with a commitment-phobic man, and maybe even get a commitment-phobe to commit!1. Keep the relationship out of the bedroom at the beginning
Men with commitment issues will come on strong, with lots of romance and loving emotions. They love to seduce their partners. If you typically jump rapidly into bed, take your time with the commitment-phobe.
Keeping your body to yourself, pacing the relationship slowly is a good commitment phobia treatment and may help move the commitment needle in your favor. Take your time.
Related Reading: How to Slow down a New Relationship?2. You set the pace of the relationship
Remember: men with fear of commitment will start strong. You need to slow things down and be the one controlling the pace if you want him to commit to you.3. Stay independent
Act as if you don’t need him. He is used to women bonding quickly with him. If you continue on with your own life, passions, outside commitments, this may change his commitment-phobic ways.4. See other men
Keep your other dating options open. This sends the signal that you are highly sought-after, don’t need the commitment-phobe, and, if it ends up that you do not move forward with the man with commitment issues, you have other men to date!5. Take the relationship as it is
Lower your expectations. In other words, this relationship may not evolve into one involving commitment. But if you like this man, accept things as they are and enjoy the moments you have with him. Just don’t expect to fix commitment issues. You are not his therapist.
Related Reading: Glaring Facts About Expectations in Relationship6. You cannot change him
Realize that you cannot change him, no matter how much investment you are willing to make to be with him. In fact, withholding your love and attention may be the best commitment phobia treatment.7. Don’t justify his wrong behavior
Stop making excuses for his behavior. He isn’t calling you? Don’t say, “He is just really busy.” Did he stand you up on your last two dates? Don’t say, “Oh, he is so absent-minded!” When he shows you who he is, believe him.8. Understand your level of patience
Think about your own level of patience. Are you willing to wait it out, to withhold your own loving nature, in order to bring him to a place of commitment? It may take a while.9. Self-care
Take care of yourself first. If the relationship is causing you more grief than joy, it may be time to think about your own well-being and end things. Your physical and mental health is of utmost importance, and only you can take care of it.
Related Reading: The 5 Pillars of Self-Care10. Talk it out
To fix commitment issues, communication will be key. See if the man with commitment issues is willing to discuss a possible change.
Ask him if he wants to change. Is he willing to work with a professional therapist to sort out why he is commitment-shy? Is he willing to work deeply on his emotional issues?11. Communicate your feelings
Share with him how his behaviors affect you. Tell him you are willing to help him feel comfortable with getting close to you. Tell him you understand what may be behind his commitment issues but that you do not represent that same threat. You enjoy his company and do not intend to pull away.
Related Reading: How to Share Your Feelings With Your Spouse
Check out this video to learn more about how you can express yourself in the relationship without inhibitions:
Guys with commitment issues need a tremendous amount of space. You, on the other hand, may want to spend more and more time with him as you feel your attachment grow. Don’t do that.
To deal with a commitment-phobe, you need to honor their need for breathing room and independence. By making him miss you, he will naturally gravitate towards you. Let him figure out his need for you on his own; don’t push it.13. Be honest and build trust
Men with commitment issues that are rooted in childhood trauma put up walls to prevent hurt. By being honest and trustworthy with them, you show them that you are not one of those people that is going to hurt them. They can allow themselves to take down the walls with you.
Related Reading: 7 Important Tips to Build Trust in a Relationship With Your Partner14. Be sensitive to their commitment phobia situation
To build trust with your boyfriend, be mindful of things that may make him uncomfortable. He may not be open to doing “relationship things” like accompanying you to your cousin’s wedding or meeting your best friend. You can certainly ask him if he is open to this, but don’t feel bad if he declines.15. Do as many fun things with him as possible
When you go out on a date, go out. Don’t stay at home, making him dinner and ending the evening watching a film.
Go out and do exciting things, like a museum visit or a boat cruise. He will associate these positive feelings with you, and you will show him that you are vibrant and plugged into the world at large.
Also Try: Do You Have Regular Date Nights?16. Don’t blame yourself
Realize his behaviors have nothing to do with you. He is hardwired this way. It isn’t because he doesn’t not want to be with you specifically. That’s his general behavior in any relationship. So, don’t doubt yourself and take the wrong steps to win him.17. Make efforts if you see a future together
To win a commitment-phobe back, should you want to, work with them step by step. Show them small ways to commit to you, ways that are non-threatening to them. For instance, maybe seeing each other uniquely one night a week is enough of a commitment, to begin with.
Later, when the commitment-phobe is comfortable with that, you can gradually build up to more time together.18. Respect what they are telling you
When they say that their freedom is important to them, respect their wish. If, however, this is not something you are comfortable with, make your choice.
This relationship has to meet both of your needs, and you should not be sacrificing what is important to you in order to make things work.
Related Reading: Freedom in Relationships: The Irony of Having to Work for It19. Show support
Be supportive if he chooses to go to therapy. Don’t grill him on what he talked about with the therapist, but let him share what he is comfortable sharing with you.20. Be prepared
Know, whatever happens, you will come away stronger. If you end up leaving the relationship, you will have learned so much about yourself. If you end up staying, you will have built up levels of patience and understanding that you never knew you had.
Related Reading: 15 Signs of Commitment Issues and How to Overcome ThemTakeaway
Dealing with a man with commitment issues is not easy. You will feel an entire range of emotions, from not understanding him to finally accepting him as he is.
Hopefully, along the way, you will continue to value yourself and what you seek in a relationship. Never forget: the best relationship you will ever have is the one with yourself. Make sure you uphold your own values whatever happens in this relationship with a man with commitment issues.
Eight Common Fears That Men Have of Making a Commitment
Source: Gustavo Linhares/Pexels
Over the years as a clinical psychologist and researcher, I’ve found that guys have eight common fears of commitment, all of which have their roots in childhood and adolescence. The process of picking, projecting and provoking these fears can lead men to recreate their negative relationship scenarios and sabotage themselves when it comes to romance and love. Unfortunately, if a man is not growing and working on his issues, he will often follow these same patterns over and over again with woman after woman—sinking his possibilities of committed love into the netherworld.
I know you may be all too familiar with men’s fears in this department, but bear with me. I want you to have a much deeper understanding of the minds of men. Remember, there is a matter of degree of difficulty: some men are truly mired in their issues, while others are growing and working on themselves. You want to determine if your prospective partner is in the mired-in-quicksand category so that you can get out quickly and cut your losses. But if he is moving forward with developing himself, understanding these self-sabotaging patterns will help you know how to key into his psychology.
1. Fear of Rejection
This is a man who is afraid a woman will suddenly lose interest and abandon him. Because of this, he has a hard time having honest straight talk and is very afraid of conflict. When the inevitable disagreements and differences come up in a relationship, he stuffs his feelings and drifts away. He prefers email or texts when dealing with uncomfortable issues. He doesn’t have the courage to stand up to his partner, so problems fester and blow up. When tension reaches the boiling point, he doesn’t have the cajones to break up. Instead he becomes passive-aggressive, gently slipping away as his texts and calls fade out—or he quickly dumps you before you can dump him. Above all, he fears rejection, a feeling so painful, that it is almost like annihilation, like being completely destroyed. So he slithers around any direct conflict.
Many men suffer from some degree of this conflict-avoidant pattern. That’s because guys tend to have much more difficulty in dealing with stress. Research shows that after an argument, men’s heart rates and blood pressure readings get more elevated than women’s[i]. And they stay elevated. Why? Because men, unlike women, have a more difficult time soothing and quieting themselves down after any kind of upset. So they may pull away and distance themselves emotionally in order to calm down.
Fear of Rejection: The Story of Emmett
Emmett, one of my therapy clients, was a computer security expert who had a history of falling for gorgeous Asian women whom he believed were “out of his league.” Emmett met Riko, a much younger Japanese woman, online. He was awestruck by her delicate beauty. Riko looked up to Emmett and his great intelligence. Nonetheless, he told me in numerous sessions how he was sure she would get disenchanted and leave him. After several months, Emmett was very unhappy with Riko’s passivity during sex. He shared his unhappiness with me but even after my prodding, he refused to tell his lover. Eventually, Emmett agreed to a joint session with Riko. He was very nervous that when he was straight with Riko she would storm out (like his mother, who had a difficult personality). But with support, he was able to speak his truth. Riko was fine about it. She had her own issues about Emmett’s lack of support for her work as a graphic designer. Whenever she brought this up, Emmett tended to clam up and withdraw. But he was committed to therapy and over time the couple worked together and to Emmett’s great relief, became engaged.
Fear of Rejection Warning Signs: He avoids angry exchanges like the plague. If there is a disagreement, he tends to pull away and use text/email or simply does not respond to your messages.
2. Fear of Being Controlled and Smothered
Because of the strong mothering pressure that most men experience growing up, fear of being controlled is also a common pattern. In my experience, men value their independence and freedom even more greatly than women. Remember that in order to define their own separate identities, they really had to pull away from their mother early on in their lives. This battle for a separate identity is, according to some scholars on gender differences, harder for men than women.[ii] As a result, many men grow up with a view of women as weights that hold them down or as controlling objects that won’t let them go. You can hear these fears echoed in the phrases men use, like, “the ball and chain,” and “she had me by the balls.” It’s easy to see then how marriage becomes the definite marker of an imbalance of power—where the woman-as-wife simply takes over the man’s life.
When the fear of smothering is very strong, it leads to classic commitment phobia. Talk of a future makes this guy quiet, nervous, upset or angry. He may be reluctant to act like he’s in a couple when you are with friends or out in public. He may only speak in the first person, saying “I” instead of “we” or “me” instead of “us.” He may keep you away from his friends and family. Guys who are afraid of smothering may be in an on-again-off-again relationship for years—where he always seems to want you when you break up because he then feels free and unencumbered—yet he just cannot pull the trigger and commit when you are together because it feels like he is losing his independence.
If the relationship has progressed to having regular sex, he may need to make an escape by asking you to leave or going home instead of spending the night. He may feel distant and emotionally unavailable to you. He may say he is not sure what love really is or that he is incapable of experiencing love. This is the guy who comes right out and says that he does not believe in love and marriage or getting serious and settling down with one person.
No matter how much love he feels, this is a man who is terrified of jumping fully into a long-term relationship. Bottom line: he believes he can’t be himself and fully be with a woman. In his view, he has to give up the lead role in his own life if he is stuck in a supporting role with you and/or the children. It seems like his golf, buddies, bar days, sports, even the Super Bowl are going to be ripped away by the all-powerful, all-controlling vortex of the couple. For this man, commitment, love and marriage mean being trapped in a cage from which there is no escape.
Fear of Being Controlled: The Story of Jon
Jon, a 40-year old businessman had a series of relationships each lasting around six months to a year. He fell madly in love with brunette after brunette and pursued each of them vigorously until the moment things became serious and “her thoughts of marriage” were in the air. At that moment everything would reverse and he would feel like the hunted one instead of the hunter. Jon would become anxious, agitated and feel like he had to get away from each woman at all costs, as if his very life depended on it. In his last relationship, Jon claimed that he was forced into an actual engagement. But he was saved by an unlikely ally. He told me that right after he gave her the ring, he started having full-blown panic attacks. Jon described them as attacks in which he couldn’t breathe and his chest became so tight and painful that he thought he was having a heart attack. With these frightening symptoms, Jon felt like he had the excuse he needed. He told his girlfriend that something was really wrong with him and he broke up with her.
During therapy, Jon came to realize that his fear of being smothered had destroyed his last relationship and would prevent him from any chance at real love. Only then did he begin working seriously on facing and overcoming his severe commitment fears.
Fear Of Being Controlled Warning Signs: He may act like a super confident captain of industry until he has to say the three magic words or you want a definite date or commitment. Then he turns and runs for cover. Or he may act like your knight in shining armor where he takes orders from you, always looking to please you in a way that feels like he is one-down in the relationship. Until he balks when it comes to moving in together or getting engaged. Only then do you realize that his cooperation was an illusion.
3. Fear of Not Being Lovable
Because of not being prized and validated growing up, a man may have a core unconscious fear that he is simply not lovable. He feels insecure and not-good-enough. This type of guy is looking to you for approval, asking what you think, before he makes decisions. In the beginning, he tries hard and works overtime to make you happy. His feelings depend on what you think and feel. If you are sad, disappointed, afraid, he is really upset and takes it as a measure of his fundamental lack of worth.
The net effect is that he feels emotionally uncomfortable in the relationship, like it is not a good fit for him. He may feel like the woman is out of his league. So when it comes time to take that next step to commitment, to say the "L" word or talk about a future, he is passive, quiet and tends to pull away from you.
Another sign of this particular type is the man that cannot tolerate your innocent flirting with guys or talking about your ex. He gets depressed, moody and withdraws. If you cheat, forget about it: this man will not fight to win you back. Instead he will collapse internally under a mountain of self-hate.
Fear of Not Being Lovable: The Story of Jason
Jason, a 31-year-old internet marketer, suffered from a fear of not being lovable, or worthy. At a local bar, he met Felicia, a sloe-eyed and beautiful Pilates trainer. Jason was tipsy and confident as he swept Felicia away with his quick wit. They wound up sharing that first night together. Felicia pursued Jason, asking him to join her at various parties and events. Jason came along, but usually had a few drinks to loosen up. A few “good” months went by. One night, Felicia met her ex at a party and flirted with him. Seeing this, Jason sulked and withdrew from her. He was not responsive to any of her attempts to reconnect, even refusing to come over for “make-up” sex. A few weeks later, he called the whole thing off, rejecting Felicia apparently before she could reject him.
Fear of Not Being Lovable Warning Signs: He may be very quiet or shy. Or he seeks approval by doing things that are helpful or giving. He finds it hard to talk about his own wants and needs. He is more passive and tends to enjoy solitary activities including sports or computer games. He cannot handle any competition from other guys—it usually spells the end of the relationship.
4. Fear of Not Measuring Up
While the fear of not measuring up is closely related to the fear of not being lovable, it has its roots in men’s biology and in our culture. Men are biologically wired to perform and produce. Plus they have been taught by this materialistic culture that the measure of a man’s worth is how successful he is in terms of power and money. Men often feel they must succeed at everything they do: in school; sports; video games; relationships; as lovers; as parents; and, as breadwinners. Some men feel that if they fail in any of these arenas, that they are losers.
The fear of not measuring up also has its origins in families where boys are driven to be perfect; to get all “A”s, to excel on the football field or by their mothers (often single or divorced) to be the “men of the house.” It’s very difficult if not impossible for a boy or even an 18- or 21-year-old to feel like a man. So you can understand how he might still feel like he isn’t man enough or that he doesn’t measure up.
This particular fear can make it very difficult to move forward into a committed relationship with a partner, no matter how terrific she is. At his core, this type of man is terrified that he can’t give a woman what she deserves or needs. His anxiety can be magnified if he is really smitten with her—so the more he is into her, the faster he thinks he will fail in some irretrievable way.
Often this type of guy needs a “trophy” girlfriend who is sexy and over-the-top beautiful to “prove” that he is measuring up as a successful man. He may or may not have real feelings for her, even if they are together for years.
Fear of Not Measuring Up: The Story of Wayne
Wayne, a 29-year-old event promoter had a strong fear of not measuring up. He grew up with a “Great Santini” father, a career military man who constantly pushed Wayne but rarely praised him. Yet, Wayne turned out to be very successful at a relatively young age winning over club owners with his brash can-do attitude. On top of that, Wayne had managed to win the heart of the stunning Li, a 30-year-old Broadway dancer, who had her choice of suitors. They had been together for two years, but as she pressed to move into his place, he nervously told her he was not sure, that he did not know what love really was. When Wayne’s business slowed down, he began withdrawing from Li so that they were down to seeing each other about once a week. Then, at one of his events, Wayne met a young model and took her right to bed. He began courting the new girlfriend while still maintaining some contact with Li. Finally, Li confronted Wayne and he confessed. Wayne tried to make it up to her but he refused to make a commitment for the future. After a few torturous months, Li told him that she was done. Li packed up the things she had left at Wayne’s apartment and slammed the door while he watched helplessly. That’s when Wayne came to see me.
After a few months of therapy, Wayne realized how he had self-destructed when his business started to fail. His fears of not measuring up had grabbed him by the throat and to make himself feel like a man again he went after the model. Unfortunately, that only worked for a short period of time. Wayne told me that he was ashamed that his fears had driven away the only woman he had ever loved.
With my encouragement, Wayne asked Li to come back. Actually, he begged her. Wayne also invited her to join him in a few therapy sessions. When Li saw that Wayne had true remorse and after he asked her to marry him (with a ring) she did forgive him. They continued in couple’s therapy until after they were married.
Fear of Not Measuring Up Warning Signs: He brags and may exaggerate his accomplishments to the point of lying about them. Winning at work or with women is critical to his feeling OK. If this type of guy experiences a setback in work, he may slink away in shame or like Wayne find another woman to boost his ego.
5. Fear of Being Found Out
As a man gets closer to a woman, he may fear that he will become exposed, because he has to reveal fears or feelings that are “unmanly” or a shameful family secret. This is especially true if he had difficult, demanding parents that shamed him when he cried or acted like a “wuss.” A similar fear of commitment can also develop when a man is ashamed about his history or family. He may harbor secrets about relatives who are in mental hospitals, in jail or just poor.
You may have seen this type of guy depicted on film or TV as the man who can only get married if he completely hides his past. On the award-winning series Mad Men, the super successful hunky lead, ad executive Don Draper, has completely hidden his background and even changed his identity including his name. For a long time on the show, no one, including his beleaguered upper-middle-class wife, knows his true history. Draper’s whole life is about keeping secrets, all driven by the fear of being found out. For this type of guy, opening up and expressing his deeper feelings is impossible because he will have to come clean. And in his world, confession is definitely not good for the soul.
Another variation of this fear has to do with an inner sense of having some horrible and unfix-able flaw. It might be a perceived physical defect like his height or the size of his “package.” Or it might be a feeling of intellectual inferiority, a sense of being a “B” player who’s not good enough to be an “A.” This type of man works harder, tries harder and puts down competitors with sarcasm or contempt.
In relationships, he will often project onto his partner by being super critical and judgmental and looking for her fatal flaw. Unconsciously, he doesn’t want to be with anyone who would be in a club that would have him. In therapy, he says that there are no great women out there and that he is super picky because he deserves “the perfect woman.” As he makes progress in therapy or some other growth process, he will admit that the truth is that he is afraid to commit because he’s afraid he will be found out as the imperfect man.
Fear of Being Found Out: The Story of Guy, the Little Napoleon
Guy was a lawyer who was somewhat short in stature, something that had bothered him since he stopped growing at 14. His brutal father, a big and burly Italian pizza restaurant owner, frequently beat him when he was a child. But Guy was tenacious, studied hard and made it into one of the top law schools. Years went by and with his hard work ethic and pitbull attitude, he became one of the top litigators in Philadelphia.
When I first met him, he was dressed impeccably in head-to-toe Armani. He had dated Sherri, a quiet social worker for three years. She looked up to Guy and was very shy socially. Guy complained that even though Sherri was kind and beautiful, that she was boring, especially in bed. According to Guy, his friends really liked her because Sherri had humanized him, that he was “tolerable to be with.” Guy told me all this with a smirk as if he gave a crap about “being more human.” I wanted to meet Sherri but Guy refused because then “we would gang up on him.” Despite my jokes about how he wanted two women to gang up on him, Guy really was afraid for Sherri to find out the truth about him: that he came from a brutal and humble family of modest means.
Finally, as Guy continued to waffle, Sherri got the courage to have “the talk.” Faced with what he saw as an ultimatum, Guy broke up with her. It was only then that Guy’s progress in therapy really began. He lost a great gal but the next woman he really liked learned about his sad but true history.
Fear of Being Found Out Warning Signs: He denies having any needy-type feelings, like being anxious, insecure, or lonely. He may not be able to use the "L" word. He is extremely judgmental about others, especially if they make demands of him.
6. Fear of Trusting A Woman
If a man had an erratic or manipulative mother and a history of being cheated on, used or disappointed by women, he may have major trust issues when it comes to making a commitment. Mistrusting all women, he vows never to be vulnerable again--because if he is, he will just be hurt. If he took a hit financially in a divorce and/or is wealthy, he may be afraid that women just want him for his money. He may fear that all women are mean, manipulative and exploitative.
Sometimes this fear can develop when a guy is stuck struggling to extricate himself from an ugly divorce or an angry battle with his ex over their children. He may come right out and say that he will never marry again.
Fear of Trusting a Woman: The Story of Kai
Kai was a flight attendant who navigated a difficult divorce from a very nasty alcoholic woman, who was very much like his raging mother. In order to get out, he basically caved in and gave his wife the house that he loved and “most” of his money. When he met Saidah, an earthy warm woman on one of his flights, he was entranced. They had a delightful six months together. But when she started asking about a future, he started to experience her as pushy, just like his ex. He said he didn’t think he would ever be able to live with a woman again—and definitely would never marry.
Saidah was patient and kind. She felt Kai would come around, especially if she nurtured him. But after two years went by with very little movement on Kai’s part, she gave him an ultimatum: move in together or break up. Kai felt put upon and abused. He went MIA, finally writing her a long goodbye letter. Saidah, on the other hand, learned her lesson and went to one of my trained love Mentors. She started dating guys who were more open to creating a committed love relationship.
Fear of Trusting a Woman Warning Signs: He talks negatively about his mother and/or exes. He feels like he has been victimized by women. He may come right out and say he doesn’t believe in love or will never marry.
7. Fear of Growing Up
A man may not feel like he is an adult who is ready to take on the responsibilities of a relationship, children and family life. This so-called Peter Pan syndrome may have its roots in various types of family dysfunction. He may have been coddled by his parents who protected him from the real world, from the possibility of failure. Any difficulty or trial at school might have been dismissed as someone else’s problem and never his responsibility. Or he may have never been encouraged to try something really hard like a competitive sport or an accelerated school subject where trying and not winning or getting a high grade is a real possibility. Or he may have been sickly and had overprotective parents who wouldn’t allow him to play with other kids and compete in sports. Other Peter Pan guys were just ignored by a divorced or missing father and an overworked Mom.
As a result of any of these dynamics, the young man fails to build up his identity as a competent and solid adult male. Internally, he feels like a child, a kid who wants to play, get high, sleep late and work menial jobs with little no responsibility. No wonder then that our Peter Pan is boyish in his leisure activities. He may be a video game addict, who is glued to his game console at all times. Or he may spend many hours watching or playing sports. Or he worries about his health while smoking pot every day. He may be still living at home into his 30s. This is a guy who wants to date and have fun, but balks when it comes to having a committed ongoing and serious relationship.
Fear of Growing Up: The Story of Jermaine
Jermaine was an eternal student, with a master's degree and not a pot to pee in. He worked at Starbucks and lived with his single mom, who was a teacher. His main passion was writing and although he had never published anything, he was always starting a new novel—“his big breakthrough." When Shelly, a frustrated nurse whose dream was also to be a wife and mom, first met Jermaine in a graduate course, she was drawn to his creativity and over-the-top ability to spin yarns. He had a childish air about him that Shelly found endearing. Thus began an on-again-off-again relationship that lasted 10 years. During that time, Shelly would leave Jermaine because the relationship and his career were “going nowhere. ” He would then pull his act together and get a full-time job. They would reunite, but never in a serious fulfilling way. Eventually, Shelly met with me and decided to end the relationship for good. Once she was finally free, she began dating men who actually had their own places and real careers that were also looking to be in permanent relationships. Eventually, through an on-line service, she met the “nerdy guy” of her dreams, a man who was successful and crazy about her. They are married and have adorable twin rascals.
Fear of Growing Up Warning Signs: He acts juvenile, makes ridiculous jokes or even burps or farts like a little boy. In a conflict, he tends to either quickly back down or have a tantrum to get his way. He may be very concerned with his bodily functions or getting ill.
8. Fear That He Can’t Make The “Right “Decision
This type of man has a very hard time making up his mind or trusting his own judgment. When he picks one movie to see, he immediately regrets not choosing another. He is not sure that the company he works at is really the best one for him. This guy is afraid of making a decision that forecloses on all his other options including choosing you. Every time he does so, he has a burst of anxiety and thoughts about other, “better” women.
Fear He Can’t Make the “Right” Decision: The Story of George
Leeza, a 40-something cosmetics manager at a department store, was a stunning blonde who met George online. George was a community college professor who was close to 50 and yet had never been married. Leeza was drawn to George’s brilliant mind and loved the fact that he didn’t have an ex or kids. George took her out for dinner and bought her expensive gifts at high-end department stores. At first, Leeza was blown away. But as the months wore on, she noticed that George was really very depressed and never seemed to enjoy the fantastic activities they shared. He was always worrying about work, reading his “Crackberry,” or quipping that the service or the meal wasn’t good enough.
After about nine months, Leeza wanted to know where things were heading in the relationship. George said that he just didn’t know for sure if marriage was for him, although he thought it was time and Leeza was really terrific. Leeza asked him to figure out where she stood but all he could say was that he was afraid of making a mistake. With the encouragement of her Love Mentor (see Chapter Five), Leeza finally left him and started dating other guys. George begged her to come back. After he went into therapy and attended some growth courses with her, Leeza did take him back, under the condition that they get engaged. George says it was the best decision he ever made.
Fear He Can’t Make the “Right” Decision Warning Signs: He is very intellectual. He tends to overly think things through and obsess. He is always second-guessing himself. Often this type of guy needs to be left to realize what he’s lost.
You can think of the Fear-O-Meter as a continuum of intensity of the eight fears. They can occur at normal level, where they are being faced and overcome or they can be exaggerated to the point that the man is so neurotic as to be unable to move into a committed relationship.
Signs of Extreme Commitment Fears
When men’s fears of commitment are extreme, they can play out in many different ways. Some men become addicts: compulsive video game-players, eaters, drinkers, or workaholics. Others become argumentative, contemptuous, critical or domineering. Still others may act extremely passive or shy or withdraw from any meaningful conversations about the future. Some act more like hypochondriacs or child-like. Others disappear on you. Still others cheat. When fears are extreme and the guy is acting out in response to those fears there is often nothing that can be done. Their fear is operating at an unconscious level and therefore controls the outcome of any love relationship. In other words, it goes nowhere.
Once the deeper fear is triggered, whether it is by the prospect of seeing each other more regularly, discussing a future together, moving in or getting engaged, a man with extreme fear will at a fundamental level do all he can to pull back. He is not willing to examine himself, his motives or his fears. Here’s what you need to get: this type of guy is fundamentally happy with the status quo of his love life and does not want to change. Therefore, it’s best to get out quickly and cut your losses. No matter how hard or unfair it seems. You’re better off leaving because if you stay, all you will end up with is a lot of wasted years you can never get back, not to mention bitter disappointment and heartache.
All of us are faced with two conflicting urges: to merge and become one vs. being independent and free. When a man and woman fall in love and come together, it is normal and common to have fears come up about losing one’s separate sense of self, one’s space, one’s own identity, and unique pursuits and interests. Both men and women experience these fears. This is reasonable—compromises have to be made in order to have a relationship. Time needs to be set aside. After all, how many times has it happened that you get involved with some guy and wind up having little time for your girlfriends?
It is normal in the development of a new relationship for your boyfriend to have doubts, to have some measure of virtually all the fears we have been talking about. The key variable here is this: If a man’s fears are at the normal level, they do not stop him from moving forward over time into increasing intimacy and commitment.
Sometimes it is hard to tell if a guy has an unworkable commitment phobia or more normal fears that he is willing to work on. You have to examine whether your boyfriend is trying to be self-reflective and willing to grow. Is he taking growth courses, on a spiritual path, or in therapy? In the last several months or year, is he making progress in his ability to move forward with you? In opening his social world of friends and family to you? In sharing his physical space? In his ability to discuss what he wants for the future? In his willingness to express love for you? Is he growing more open to taking the next step in moving forward together, i.e., moving in together or getting engaged? If he is moving forward in many of these ways, it shows that his fears are more manageable and in the normal range.
Helping Him Overcome Normal Fears
If a guy is truly into you and willing to grow, he will face down his fears and make it work with you. Especially if you accept his need for space and independence, validate his worth and continue to nurture yourself. Remember, he will tend to project his fears and negative expectations onto you and even unconsciously provoke you into being angry, critical or distant. If you understand this, you can practice loving kindness and not engage in that negative pattern from his past. You can show him that love is possible. You can gently let him know that, as James Baldwin says, To defend oneself against a fear is simply to ensure that one will, one day, be conquered by it; fears must be faced.[iii]
Helping a guy face his demons is not so easy to do. Especially when you have your own issues about love and commitment, as well as your own needs, as we all do. In my newly revised book, Love in 90 Days, I show you how to handle the baggage from your pastiv that will allow you the freedom to not drag old wounds or bitterness into your future. So you will be able to love from your best and highest perspective of self and, in so doing, inspire your beloved to find his strength and courage.
Phobia of obligations in men: why are men afraid of obligations
Why are men afraid of obligations? Commitment phobia in men can be the result of many deeper causes than meets the eye. From distrust to immaturity and from fear of the end of freedom to reluctance to fall in love, here is a detailed analysis of why modern men can experience commitment phobia, even when it comes to their commitment to their longtime girlfriends or partners in a living relationship. nine0003
1) Men may see commitment as the end of their freedom
One of the most common reasons men fear commitment is that they may see it as the end of their freedom. Guys may be afraid that being attached to their girlfriends will tire them out with their responsibilities, and they will never be able to live their carefree life again.
The thought of informing their partners before going to the pub with friends, or sending the typical soft "I love you" or "I miss you" messages from time to time, guys can relate the thought of commitment with the termination of their relationship. carefree lifestyle. nine0003
2) A guy might be in a relationship to have some fun.
Some guys might be in a relationship to have some fun. Their idea of a relationship may only revolve around dating, movies, sex, late-night phone calls, text messages, and other fun things that couples do. Commitment may not appear somewhere on the horizon.
3) Fear of being exclusive to one girl
Men are afraid of commitment because it means being exclusive to one girl emotionally, physically and sexually. This fear makes little sense, but the thought that it's not even possible to playfully flirt with girls can prevent a guy from becoming committed. nine0003
This can be especially true for guys who have never hooked up with a girl before.Commitment phobia may be the result of facing an onslaught of verbal abuse or heartbreak in a past relationship. | Retrieved
4) Bitter memories of past relationships and breakups
The classic case of once bitten, twice shy applies when a guy has gone through a bitter breakup from his previous relationship. Intrusive memories of his ex's bad behavior and the painful aftermath of a breakup may be why a guy is afraid of being betrayed. nine0003
It's hard to forget someone, especially an ex. A guy may run away from the thought of commitment if his ex-girlfriend cheated on him or broke his heart.
Distrust in a relationship can be the reason why a guy is afraid to make commitments. Guys may not put it straight, but being able to trust your girlfriends goes a long way when it comes to long-term relationships.
6) Immaturity: men mature later than women. nine0006
Because they biologically mature faster, women are likely to think about things like reassurance and long-term security in a relationship much earlier than men.
This can lead to disagreement between the couple and their demands for long-term commitment from each other. In fact, a guy may not be afraid of commitment, rather, he may simply not be mature enough to make commitments.
7) Fear of boredom: Equating obligations with everyday and boring life. nine0006
This usually refers to obligations in terms of marriage. A guy may think that his life will be reduced to a minimum, except for the boring and everyday routine when he wakes up, goes to work, long commutes, help around the house and the like.
From putting your socks back in the drawer and washing the sink after eating, from watching the same shows on TV at night to a typical couples weekend, men can be afraid of falling into a life rut after committing a crime. The thought of sinking into a constantly boring routine can keep a guy from proposing to his girlfriend. nine0003
8) Fear of falling in love
Falling in love itself can be a fear for some guys who don't want to commit simply because they don't want to fall in love.
Some guys may claim that they are immune to soft feelings of love, trying to flaunt macho. And this image of a tough guy can prevent a man from immersing himself in a serious relationship.
9) Not committing can be an attempt to buy time to make sure the relationship is
Men may not say it out loud, but commitment phobia can be a mask used to buy time. They may want to check if they are sure of their feelings for their partners. In such a case, not committing is simply an attempt to buy time.A guy may fear that commitment will rob the relationship of excitement and the spark of physical intimacy.
10) Fear of ending a healthy sex life
Guys might think that announcing commitment to their girlfriends could end a healthy sex life. He might have thought that the girl would take him for granted and would no longer give all her best in bed, or that she would change her beautiful underwear for boring granny panties. nine0003
Men may also think that the spark in their relationship will go out when they commit, and that their girlfriends will no longer feel sexy.
11) Commitment phobia can be the result of divorce in the family.
A person's outlook on life is significantly influenced by his upbringing and family. If a man has seen his family's marriages end in bitter divorce, he may be scarred for life. Even if his own relationship is perfect, he may fear that it may end bitterly. nine0003
The sight of a bitter divorce battle between parents, aunts, cousins, and other family members can push a guy away from commitment to a relationship.
12) Men can tie commitments to financial support
Men who like to be perfect gentlemen with their girlfriends may be concerned about additional financial responsibility when it comes to serious relationships.
From paying checks on romantic dates to expensive gifts on birthdays and Valentine's Day, guys can be afraid of commitment just thinking about the extra cost of maintaining a relationship. nine0003
13) Fear of change
A guy may have an idea that his gay girlfriends, the spark of physical intimacy and many other elements in their relationship will change once they make this decision.
Fear of change and psychological barriers to change can be anything to do with a guy's phobia of commitment.
14) Uncertainty that a girlfriend has had more sexual partners in the past
A guy may not want to commit because he is not sure that his girlfriend has had more sexual partners than he has in past. He may always be under pressure to think about her former partners and previous sexual experiences. nine0003
This can push a guy away from being attached to a girl who has been in bed with more guys than the number of girls he has been with.The media and popular culture usually portray men with commitment phobia in a certain way, a classic example of which is Charlie Harper in Two and a Half Men.
15) Pop culture influence: Men can be made to act like commitment phobias.
Men are portrayed as fearful of being perfect in films, books, plays, TV shows and other media platforms. In many forms of popular culture, women are shown as commitment loving and men as commitment phobias. nine0003
This typical image reinforces the commitment phobia in the minds of guys who may have different commitments.
16) Guys may associate commitment with emotional baggage
While women may associate commitment with happiness, safety, security, and romance, some guys may be in the mood to instantly associate it with the burden of additional emotional baggage. The thought of commitment can be seen as an increase in the partner's emotional dependency. nine0003
Favorite phobia of a bachelor
Why there is a fear of intimacy
and indeed partnerships.
Psychologists call this phenomenon intimophobia, not at all implying by it the fear of physical intimacy and sexual contacts, as psychiatrists originally meant. It is the fear of really close emotional relationships. nine0003
I'm sure you've also met a charismatic man in your environment with money and a position in society, who subtly feels what a woman needs, who knows how to charm, speak her language, look after her, be irresistible in bed and be successful in business, but completely elusive and absolutely unsuitable for marriage. To the great dismay of women who fall in love with such a man, promiscuity is his preferred form of sexual interaction, which essentially symbolizes not only freedom of choice and freedom from all obligations, but also the ability to feel psychologically autonomous, and therefore not experience feelings that cause pain. Where does this initial fear of mental pain come from? nine0003
People who do not spend time on intimacy quite often manage to reveal their talent, become great or simply successful in their field. Perhaps that is why a huge number of intimophobes are among artists, artists and politicians. I will say a banality: behind every great man is his mother. For an intimophobic man - to the same, if not to a greater extent. Moreover, impulsive, demanding and inconsistent. Scenarios may vary, but the result can be expected even in kindergarten. As a rule, from infancy, such a boy is surrounded by all-consuming maternal love, but this love is more like suffocation in hugs and a contrast shower. Mom, for no reason visible to the child, can both fall in love and reject. nine0003
This situation is more common in families where the mother brings up her son alone, or where the role of the father is absolutely insignificant for various reasons: the father works a lot, is rarely at home, or is deprived of the right to an advisory vote due to the wife's authoritarianism. But it doesn't change the essence. The mother keeps telling her son: you are the only one, the only man in the house, hope, support, my protector, you must learn, be, become ... Moreover, often the mother gives the boy the feeling that if he does not cope, she will leave him, refuse to be with it, and therefore, increases conditioned dependence and fear of loss of attachment. The child understands: if I don’t cope, there will be no mother, and mother needs to be protected. Therefore, he tries his best to comply. And it’s good if the mother was satisfied with the result at the first stage. But more often this does not happen, and everything goes to the extreme - the mother is never satisfied with the results of her son, she stimulates and stimulates the boy to be better and better, reaching the extreme point in her perfectionism. A serious protest can become such a point when a boy, and sometimes already a man, finds strength in himself and separates, leaves such a mother. He leaves just to go somewhere - into the unknown, into any relationship, into the army, into the war, just to relax, because the pressure of his mother seems to him worse than any male battles. And this is, in fact, the best thing that can happen to him. nine0003
If a boy lacks mental strength, he dutifully "corresponds" to his mother's needs, tries his best, suffers, suffers, but goes to the goal. The goal seems to have been achieved, but the uterine fear of the need to meet the unrealistically high demands of a woman remains. And it doesn't matter who this woman will be. For a man, it becomes necessary to avoid any relationship where he falls into dependence, especially emotional. Such an experience is a great heartache. And there is no experience of overcoming this pain. There is an unconscious need to be the best, to always go towards the goal, but there is no understanding why he needs this goal. Like in fairy tales: after the wedding there is no plot. nine0003
If the boy has not learned love other than the son's love for his mother, then he has no experience of relationships with a woman "not a mother" and at the moment when they appear, he experiences an unconscious feeling that incest is taking place. As a result, it is sexual relationships that are the first to deteriorate, and a man is looking for a new woman, and younger, younger! Arising in the area of the unconscious, such fears lead to a conscious desire to stay away from anyone who can be recognized as a relative. Therefore, such an individual rushes from woman to woman, at the risk of being branded as a womanizer and womanizer, but the essence of throwing is an escape from his mother, from whom it is not so easy to escape, because she seems to him everywhere. nine0003
Yes, thanks to his mother, such a man knows well the needs of women: he knows how to be courteous, pleasant in communication, and look good. After all, mom demanded the same: don’t be rude to mom, say “thank you”, don’t be silent, comb your hair! Women find him understanding, sincere, sometimes even generous. Generous, however, for the time being - generosity, alas, eventually turns into an extreme degree of stinginess, if it is already about partnerships, and therefore dependent relationships. That is, a temporary partner, a mistress, a man is ready to buy a car, but his wife will have to report on all, even minor expenses. Addiction and hypercontrol are twin brothers! nine0003
Men often come up with rational excuses for such behavior. The range of reasonable explanations is wide: from "all women are fools" (with ornate variations "I have not met one that could ... was ... fit ...", "I am a confirmed bachelor") to "everyone is so beautiful that I cannot choose one" .
But, in fact, both mean: I have not met a woman who could replace my mother, in unity with the opposite message: God save me from falling under maternal influence once again, yes, under any influence! Even when relationships develop in a generally positive way, intimophobes (both men and women) subconsciously look for the rake that they can and must step on, looking even where everything is completely cloudless. You will not envy a partner in this situation: just at the peak of the relationship, an intimophobe can suddenly disappear, show aggression, start behaving repulsively and frighteningly. Thus, he breaks up with a partner, making himself unworthy of a relationship, justifying all maternal promises. nine0003
Women also have plenty of reasons to avoid close relationships and acquire intimophobia as a defense: unhappy love, infidelity in previous relationships, disappointments after the first marriage, material difficulties caused by men. It is much easier for a woman to find many excuses why not to live in a couple. But just women can get married almost automatically, pushed by social norms: a woman should be married, and let's wait and see how things go there. Plus, she has an advantage - she can always give birth to a child "for herself." Yes, more often than not, the mother's patterns of behavior will be imbibed by the baby, but who cares? Yet not alone! Judgments about men in such women always speak of their experience or the experience of their mothers, usually negative. Such women are often afraid to dissolve in a relationship, lose their "I", disappear as a person. And again, the key is fear, which justifies the formula: if something does not suit me in this relationship, I can always look for someone more interesting, sexier, richer, better. nine0003
By the way, intimophobia is not always hidden under the mask of intimophobia. Sometimes men and women, tired of the numerous questions of relatives, friends and acquaintances "why are you not married? / Not married?", put on a mask of rejection of close relationships, but in fact they simply do not yet see the utilitarian benefits of marriage for themselves. After all, there is a great variety of models of marriage, contrary to Tolstoy's assertions. And finding a person who will satisfy most requests on a reciprocal basis is quite realistic, which, in fact, explains the large number of non-traditional marriages in the philistine understanding, such as, for example, guest or same-sex marriages. After all, it is quite possible that the parental model proposed as a model can be so terrible and unacceptable that repeating it is rather a step into the abyss than to happiness. nine0003
It happens that a couple simply initially has different rates of rapprochement, for example, a man has already realized that he is ready to marry and live with this woman all his life, and a woman still wants to "check everything thoroughly". Or "the girl has matured", and the man wants to understand how "adequate and pleasant she is in everyday life." These are clearly cases of a different order and are far from intimophobia. Therefore, it is important to take into account the socio-cultural conditions of a person's maturation in order not to break the permissible pace, not to spoil everything in the period of ascent. nine0003
In general, even intimophobes get married. Men choose women who are not very educated, but beautiful, with no prospects for professional growth, potential models or housewives. It is on such that a man’s confidence in his own irresistibility, wealth, and success is unshakably affected. Women with intimophobia are more focused on sexual satisfaction and choose an instrument of sexual pleasure rather than a person, although personalities can also slip through.