Back in the day, a commitment was all about an engagement ring or walking down the aisle. So, in times when dating newer people is easier than ever and marrying late in life is the norm, commitment may not mean the same anymore. Though commitment still matters.
Aman Bhonsle, relationship counsellor explains, “These days, commitment in a relationship is about making compromises and understanding each other’s temperament to the extent that the two of you work as allies. It’s about the fact that in spite of being different people, you can negotiate the way forward and stay focussed about the survival of the relationship.” At the same time, many will be commitment-phobic no matter how loving and devoted you are to them. Here, with the help of experts, we spell out some of the reasons why your partner may be commitment-phobic.
The past is something that haunts many people, thereby stopping them to commit to their present partner. Viveck Shettyy, life coach says, “If your partner has been through a major tragedy or hurt in a previous relationship, he/she will strongly resist getting into another commitment. The fear of going through the same trauma again is what stops them from commitment.”
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People get insecure about the kind of attachment they may have with their partner once they start dating. Amanpreet Nagpal, consulting psychologist says, “People seek a kind of closeness that may be uncomfortable to their partners. This condition leads to anxiety and eventually commitment phobia. Problems like these cause obstacles and have a negative impact on the long-term commitment potential of the partner as well.”
Loss of identity
Nowadays, everyone works hard to be independent. Nagpal says, “While, a reciprocal relationship celebrates each other’s uniqueness and helps deepen commitments, a bond where one fears losing themselves completely while conforming to a partner’s demands and expectations have the opposite effect. This leads to a feeling that you are better off alone than being confined in a relationship where you may get annihilated.”
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With everything at our fingertips these days, people have lost the patience to be available for each other and have got intolerant towards each other’s behaviour. Nagpal adds, “Human emotions are complex and need time to get conducive for relationships. But people expect their partners to understand them at the speed of light. And, when this doesn’t happen, it leads to intolerance. Such people don’t give their relationship the time to nurture itself and get easily hurt. With constant hurt, they develop commitment phobia.”
Lack of attachment
In the growing years, it is important to develop a healthy attachment or bond with people. Niharika Mehta, psychologist, Hiranandani hospital, Vashi says, “Usually, attachment starts with parents. Absence or disruption in the development of attachment leads to a hesitation in adult life, especially when it comes to dating. Because they were not provided with the affection and bond as children, fear of being stuck or committed in a similar situation in adult life results in commitment phobia.”
It is difficult to rebuild broken trust, especially if it’s been done by someone you trusted. Mehta says, “It is possible that you trusted your partner or friends in the past to keep a personal secret, help finish a task or be there for you. You may have been humiliated, insulted or bullied by people who meant a lot to you. And that is why, you think a 100 times before committing, as you’ve lost faith in them.”
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This may refer to unexpected or forced breakups or loss of a loved one. Mehta says, “One-sided breakups makes one think, ‘What if this relationship is also like that?’ The fear that they will experience a similar emotional pain discourages people from commitment. This applies to the loss of a loved one too, particularly in an accident or due to an illness. Losing people because you have no choice results in immense emotional pain. To avoid feeling any such pain, individuals avoid commitment.”
Dealing with a commitment-phobic partner is very important. Viveck Shettyy, motivational speaker and life coach says that the solution to the problem lies in first understanding the extent of it. “If the individual had completely stopped dating before you started dating him/her, intense counselling sessions by a therapist may be the need of the hour. The therapist can help the individual understand the contradictions in his/her thought process and thus turn him/her around. If it is a milder form of phobia, open or free-flowing communication with a partner may reduce the trust deficit and the element of anxiety associated with it” he concludes.
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