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  • Commitment issues are defined as the fear of or inability to commit to someone or something.
  • This fear of commitment in relationships is often rooted in past relationship trauma, such as one’s own bad breakup or their exposure to a messy divorce.
  • You might have commitment issues if you’re super picky about your romantic interests, you’re still recovering from past hurt, or you bail when a relationship is getting serious.
  • Fortunately, you can overcome your fear of commitment: first, you must acknowledge and accept that you have commitment issues.
  • Then, try to explore where your commitment issues stem from and accept that you had a bad experience, one that isn’t destined to repeat itself.
  • Finally, prioritize your wellbeing, of which involves addressing emotional hardship as it comes and granting yourself permission to love and be loved in return.  

Jess was blind-sided. She came home to find her boyfriend’s dresser completely empty. He fled, without leaving a note or an unresolved fight behind to explain. Jess thinks back to why his last relationship ended: he felt the pressure of commitment and decided he couldn’t take it.

Two little girls spend each morning peering out the front window. They listen for the spinning of tires and looking for the truck that promised to come back, but never did.

Josh nervously glances from a red tie to a grey one. Instead of choosing, he gently places them 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 man who feels he must escape; his sudden leave sparking commitment issues in his former love. They can start and end with two little girls who just can’t understand why their father would leave and never return—they may have trouble trusting 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.

What Are Commitment Issues? Am I Afraid of Commitment?

Commitment issues are the fear of and/or inability to commit to someone or something. They can arise in relationships for many reasons: an individual might have a fear of commitment due to witnessing his parents’ messy divorce, or he was in a messy relationship himself. Whatever the cause, commitment issues can prove problematic to the individual who fosters this fear, as well as his or her relationship.

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

  • The thought of giving up your independence scares you. You don’t want anybody else to have a say in your life. You’re scared to open up your heart and let anybody in.
  • You’ve never been in a committed relationship. You have no desire to enter a serious relationship. You view everyone as temporary or a “fun thing.”
  • You are super picky. You envision a perfect person, one that doesn’t really exist. Still, you let this vision guide your dating decisions.
  • 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 is getting too serious you bail or make up excuses to get out.

How Can I Overcome My Fear of Commitment?

It takes some longer than others, but you can resolve your fear of commitment. The road to recovery can differ, depending on the cause and severity of your commitment issues—but the following tips will get you started with the recovery process:

1. Acknowledge that you have commitment issues. 

As with many other problems, you have to first recognize and accept that you have commitment issues. You can then work on resolving your fear.

2. Pinpoint where your issues stem from. 

Look into 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.

3. Accept what happened. 

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. It may feel that way, but it’s not that way. While it certainly makes relationships hard going forward, you owe it to yourself to give it another chance.

4. Prioritize your wellbeing. 

Make it a priority, from this point on, to challenge your fears, as part of your daily self-care.

It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, in order to foster happiness and a possible relationship later down the road. Any unresolved internal conflict will get in the way.

How Did “Dark and Twisty” Meredith Grey Defeat Her Commitment Issues?

Meredith Grey is one of the main characters in hit show Grey’s Anatomy. The show follows Meredith and the other doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, as they work to save lives, make medical history, and navigate their personal lives all at the same time. This proves to be a significant challenge for Meredith who has a troubled past. Ultimately, 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 the happiest life she’s ever known. “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,” she says.

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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