- Commitment issues can cause one to fear and even run away from the potential of love—but commitment-phobes can overcome their fear and let love in.
- That said, commitment issues can seriously hinder a relationship, especially if one partner is ready to move forward but the other is not.
- While it might feel like you’re protecting yourself, putting up walls due to your fear of commitment is actually working against you: It keeps out the potential for happiness.
- It’s never too late to overcome your commitment issues—while it’ll likely take some time and hard work, the first step is deciding that you deserve a loving relationship.
A few years back, I went through a bad breakup. And ever since, I’ve isolated myself from the world of dating. But recently, I met someone who piqued my interest.
I allowed myself to get to know him and found that I really enjoyed his company… until he asked me to be his girlfriend. I felt myself entering the “flight” response: I came up with every excuse in the book and listed every reason why we would not make a good couple. Meanwhile, my heart was threatening to jump right out of my chest. I was panicking. Much to my surprise, he responded by putting his arm around me, and saying, “Okay, let’s not label it right now.” I’d told him about my past relationship and my resulting commitment issues before. A few weeks later, he asked me again and I eagerly said, “Yes.”
I finally allowed myself to explore the possibility of love again. It was almost like there was a switch in my brain that I had to manually turn off. Fortunately, I decided to get out of my own way and flipped that switch. While it wasn’t an immediate, miraculous fix (I’m still working on resolving my fear of commitment), it was enough to move forward in the right direction.
Long story short, the answer is yes: Commitment-phobes can fall in love. As Adina Mahalli, Master Social Worker from Maple Holistics, explains, “Fear and love are not mutually exclusive. This means that it’s entirely plausible that someone who is afraid of commitment can indeed fall in love.”
But how can these commitment issues affect one’s relationship and how can they ultimately resolve these issues to let love in?
How Can Commitment Issues Hinder a Relationship?
I finally let someone in. But this happy ending was a long time coming. For years, I kept people out and circumnavigated prospective relationships. There’s no saying what could have been for certain, but there was potential for a whole lot of love and a whole lot of happiness—which, if you’re struggling with commitment issues like myself, you could be missing out on too.
“A relationship is predicated on the fact that you and your partner are committed to moving forward together,” Mahalli explains. “If you’re not on the same page, then there’s a chance that this relationship won’t last long,” She goes on to explain that your fear of commitment could hinder your relationship both physically and psychologically—even when you’re excited or hopeful about where your relationship is going.
“You might be afraid to label the relationship or take it to the next level physically. Someone who is only willing to give so much of themselves before holding back is putting the brakes on the relationship and preventing it from developing into something more real. This can work against them because commitment-phobes often confuse the excitement of the relationship with the familiar feeling of anxiety, which means that they hold themselves back from real feelings of happiness within the relationship itself.”
Is It Possible to Overcome These Issues? How?
I am a testament to the fact that you can overcome your commitment issues. I did so by finally realizing that I was in my own way—and while it would take some time and work to truly overcome my fear of commitment, the first step was to realize that I deserved to love and be loved in return. Sure, I was opening myself to vulnerability, too—but it’s been well worth it.
Mahalli echoes the importance of opening yourself to the potential of love and happiness: “One of the ways to overcome these issues is by understanding that your commitment issues are holding you back. You can’t numb the negatives without also numbing the positives. This means that, in the interest of fully enjoying life, you have to allow yourself the potential of feeling pain, in order to fully experience the potential of feeling pleasure,” she says. “As with overcoming any fear, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Push yourself slowly out of your comfort zone and focus on the rewards rather than the risks.”