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A woman somewhere in the world was just blind-sided; she came home to find her boyfriend’s closet, dresser, bedside table suddenly empty. He fled, without leaving a note or an unresolved fight behind to explain. There’s a little girl, or many little girls, spending each morning peering out the front window. They’re listening for the spinning of tires and looking for the truck that promised to come back, but never did. There’s a nervous man deciding between a red tie and a grey one. Instead of choosing, he places them both gently back in the drawer and leaves a concerned woman sitting at a bar alone down the street.

These are all examples of how commitment issues can cultivate. They can start and end with a nervous boy who feels he must escape; his sudden leave sparking commitment issues in his former love. They can start and end with a little girl who just can’t understand why her father would leave her and never return—she may have trouble ever trusting a man again. And they can start and end with a man who has lost his wife, a man who has trouble now committing to even a casual date—his fear of falling in love and losing that love again, much too great.

Commitment Issues Explained

Commitment issues are just as they sound: they’re the fear of and/or inability to commit to somebody or even something. They can arise for many reasons: perhaps an individual has a fear of commitment due to witnessing his parents’ messy divorce; or he was in a messy relationship himself; or maybe he is just naturally scared of making big decisions like committing to a college. Whatever the reason for development, commitment issues can fester and hinder one’s life greatly.

Signs You May Have Commitment Issues

Sometimes it’s hard to determine if your fears are normal or if they go a few steps farther. The following can help you decide and may mean you have some serious commitment issues:

  • You’re very fearful of the idea of giving up your independence. You don’t want anybody to have a say in your life but for you. You’re scared to open up your heart and let anybody in.
  • You’ve never been in a committed relationship. You have never had the desire to date anybody seriously. You view everyone you may come to like as temporary or a “fun thing”.
  • You are super picky. You envision the perfect person which nobody will ever match up to.
  • You’re still recovering. Someone in your past hurt you, whether that was a boyfriend or an estranged father. Your heart is still broken and you’ve built up a wall that can’t be broken.
  • You make excuses. When it seems like something may be getting too serious you bail or make up excuses to get out.

How to Handle Your Commitment Issues

Commitment issues are hard to handle and can be even harder to get rid of. It takes some longer than others, and the road to recovery can differ depending on the cause of the commitment issues and severity of them. However, anyone with any degree of commitment issues can follow the following steps to begin this recovery process:

  • Admit that you have commitment issues. Like with many other problems, you have to first recognize and admit that you have them.
  • Pinpoint where they came from. You’ve got to do some exploring of your past. There’s likely something or somethings that caused you to fear commitment for years to come. Pinpoint that, and you can work on dealing with it directly.
  • Accept what happened and work on moving on. Just because someone abandoned you in your past, or something didn’t work out as planned, that doesn’t mean you are doomed for eternity. While it certainly makes relationships hard going forward, you owe it to yourself to give it another chance.
  • Prioritize your wellbeing. This not only means combating these fears, but taking care of yourself in general. It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, in order to foster happiness and a possible relationship later down the road.

Commitment Issues Combated by “Dark and Twisty” Meredith Grey

Meredith Grey is one of the main characters in hit show Grey’s Anatomy. The show follows Meredith and and her doctor friends as they work to save lives, make medical history, and navigate their personal lives all at the same time. This proves to be significantly harder for Meredith, who grew up in a very troubled home with very troubled parents; her past makes her fearful of commitment and hesitant to care for anyone but herself, hence why the other doctors begin to call her “dark and twisty”. Though she has multiple near-death experiences before completely opening up, Meredith eventually allows her heart to love and lives a very happy life with another main character Derek Shepherd.

“At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don’t keep other people out. They fence you in. Life is messy. That’s how we’re made. So, you can waste your life drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.” –Meredith Grey

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