Why are some men commitment phobic


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.

  1. Has he never been married or lived with a woman?
  2. Are his previous relationships short-lived?
  3. Does he have a history of moving around a lot, of frequent job changes?
  4. 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 & Actions

2. 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 Quiz

10.  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 Relationship

6. 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-Care

10. 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:

12. Be sure to give him his space

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 Partner

14. 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 It

19. 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 Them

Takeaway

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.

The Fear-O-Meter

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.

Normal Fears

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.

11 Important Reasons Why Some Men Are Afraid of Commitment

Let's be clear about one thing: Not all men are afraid of commitment.

So, if you want to know why he's not ready yet, here are some reasons some men are afraid of commitment:

1. They're afraid of losing their freedom.

Men value their freedom and independence and are afraid that a woman will take it away from them. They fear that they will have to ask permission to do what they are now free to do. Some men do not like to include their woman in the decision-making process and prefer to be independent. They want to be able to leave the toilet seat up and do all the little things that are likely to annoy their significant other.

And being able to do whatever you want means a lot to a man. Therefore, for many men, freedom sometimes means more than love.

2. They have trust issues.

A man must trust a woman. Of course, a man can have a casual relationship with a woman he doesn't trust. But when it comes time to commit himself to someone, he looks for someone honest and loyal.

If a man has been betrayed in the past, men will be afraid to enter into a new serious relationship, and it may take some time before a man can trust a woman again.

3. They still want to be with different women.

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the only correct one.

Some men don't want a serious relationship because they want casual sex or multiple relationships before settling down.

There is no right or wrong number of partners that a person must have before building a serious relationship with one of them. Someone wants a hundred, someone wants a couple of dozen, and someone is immediately ready for “one”.

But this is something that everyone decides for himself.

4. They are not mature enough.

When someone is young and full of lust for life, they are often not ready to get married and have children. They are not yet ripe for this, and this is normal.

However, being mature does not have to have anything to do with age. Maturity and age don't always go hand in hand. You may be 40 years old and still not ready for a serious relationship.

A man must grow up and let go of many habits and thoughts in order to be ready for a serious step. Some men are never mature enough and you can't force them to grow up.

If your man is still a teenager at heart, regardless of his age, you should find someone who is mature enough for a relationship. He may eventually grow up, but it may take a long time, and some will never grow up.

Everyone matures at their own pace, and some take longer than others. In addition, women tend to mature earlier than men.

5. They are afraid of being rejected.

Many people are afraid of being rejected, especially men. When someone enters a serious relationship, they take a leap of faith and become attached.

Fear of rejection isn't just about dating; this also applies to serious relationships. There is nothing worse for a man who proposes a marriage and receives the word “no” in response. To prevent this from happening, some guys simply give up on the relationship. So they are just protecting themselves.

6. They are afraid of exposure.

Everyone has secrets. In a serious relationship, couples get to know each other for who they really are. They discover all the skeletons in the closet, dark secrets, fears, insecurities and a person's past.

While some people enjoy sharing this part of themselves, some people are afraid of it. They do not want anyone to know their real ones, so they avoid a serious relationship.

7. They have other priorities.

Many things can happen in a man's life that make him unable to focus on his personal life.

After all, maintaining relationships requires a lot of time and effort. Maybe a man has some goals that he needs to achieve before he is ready to settle down. Maybe he works hard on his career or helps his sick parents.

8. They feel pressure.

A woman can appear desperate, needy, clingy, possessive and controlling just because she is madly in love. Women tend to move faster than men when it comes to relationships. And already on the second date, she can plan how many children they will have in the future. And it puts pressure on the man.

9. They are afraid of change .

Everything changes in a serious relationship. When two people just meet, it's very different from when they live together. Going on dates and having fun is not at all like sharing household chores and discussing responsibilities with another person.

A serious relationship means that things will not be very fun, but serious. That's what some men think. They are also afraid that the woman will change. Men do not want their beloved to turn into a capricious, tired wife who makes them wash dishes and take out the trash.

10. They are afraid of monotony.

Serious, long-term relationships tend to turn into relationships where everything becomes “old”, and men are afraid that they will become bored in the relationship. When passion leaves the relationship, the man also wants to leave the relationship. This is why some men don't like the idea of ​​a serious relationship.

11. They are unsure about a relationship with a particular woman.

Maybe the two of you are too different and he thinks you have nothing to talk about. Maybe he always imagined his wife with green eyes, and yours are brown. When a man is not confident in a woman, it is better to let him go. However, sometimes he just needs time to decide if he would like to live with this woman.

So, if a man does not want to build a serious relationship, you need to understand his reasons. All a woman can do is show him that he will not lose his freedom when he makes a commitment to her. Show him love and hope he understands that losing someone's love is worse than losing some freedom.

What else would you add?

10 reasons why a man avoids emotional attachment to a woman the partner suddenly becomes cold and indifferent.

And we are at a loss as to what to look for the reason for such a change.

And such stories are very common. Take Mr Big from Sex and the City. How hard it was for Carrie to have a relationship with her beloved man, who did not let go, but did not let him get too close!

Let's not forget that men and women view relationships differently. Research shows that men are more likely than we are to remain emotionally isolated in love and marriage.

Why does the partner avoid emotional attachment? There are several explanations.

1. He is a gambler

Still from One Day

One of the clearest reasons a partner remains emotionally aloof is that they don't take you and your relationship seriously. Men generally love adventure. Sometimes they deliberately look for a partner to dispel boredom or increase their self-esteem.

If you cannot always understand what kind of relationship you have, and your chosen one often suddenly disappears from your life, also unexpectedly returning, coming up with a million reasons and excuses - unfortunately, you are dating a player.

2. He is a perfectionist

Perfection is good. But some people can be in search of the perfect couple all their lives. Regardless of how you behave, such a partner will always find fault with something. He will relentlessly try to change you because you are not perfect (and you can't, no one can). Such relationships almost always end according to one scenario - the man gives up fruitless attempts and leaves.

3. He is too independent or too dependent

A scene from Sex and the City

Neither extreme is good. You may have met men who are constantly seeking approval or are very dependent on the opinion of the mother (even about whether or not to date a particular woman). Others, on the contrary, are so independent that they never show their emotions in order not to look vulnerable. Even in front of the closest people, including in front of the beloved woman. With men from both categories is not easy. They avoid emotional attachments in every possible way.

4. Experiences of difficult relationships

Another common reason why a man is afraid of new connections or does not want to be emotionally involved in them is that he has already experienced a toxic relationship. In any new girl he likes, he is afraid to see the features of the woman who hurt him, so he very slowly and carefully moves towards rapprochement.

5. He is a workaholic

A still from Jerry Maguire

Some men are at work all the time, even when they are sleeping, having breakfast or talking to you. For them, their career is in the first place, and there is simply not enough time to work on relationships. Work for such men is the center of life, and love always remains somewhere on the periphery.

6. Financial instability

Most men think that they should be the head of the family and the breadwinner. And the question here is not in the outdated views, but in the most elementary psychological attitudes from ancient times.

If he does not have financial stability, believe me, this will greatly shake his self-confidence and peace of mind. This will automatically affect the relationship with you. If he feels he can't buy you what you want or contribute to household expenses, he may begin to close in on himself and emotionally withdraw from you.

7. Troubled childhood

Frame from the film “Friends with Sex”

As we know, our personality is the result of past experiences, including childhood experiences. Our childhood shapes our future.

If your man's parents broke up, did not give him enough attention and care, or even subjected their child to psychological or physical abuse, it is not surprising that in adulthood he remains emotionally distant in a relationship. Under all of the above circumstances, he may have difficulty with trust or self-expression.

8. He doesn't think he's good enough for you

Maybe you have a very prestigious job with a great salary. Or nature rewarded you with the looks of a Victoria's Secret model. All this can cause anxiety for your partner. He may be afraid that at any moment you can meet another person more worthy of you. His self-doubt and fear of losing you can affect the degree of emotional intimacy.

9. Personal problems

Still from the movie “Cat on a Hot Roof”

Perhaps your man has some kind of personal problem that you don’t know about, and in which he is not yet (or at all) ready to involve you. This problem can weigh on him so much that a man decides that until he deals with it, he cannot afford close relationships. The same applies to possible family problems (sick parents, for example).

10. You have different goals in life

It may happen that you are both too different, and it seems to him that your relationship is preventing him from achieving his goals. For example, he was planning to move to another city for the sake of his career, or he was going to fly to study in another country, but then he met you, and now he faces a difficult choice between his plans and a relationship that has barely begun.


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