You’re smart, successful but single. Are you dating a guy who seems to like you, who may say he loves you, but leaves you wondering “will he commit”? Have you been with someone for years, waiting for him to pop the question? Maybe you’re even engaged, but he’s not ready to set the date?
Ahh… men! They can be confusing, can’t they? And we’re supposed to be mysterious! Truth is, men are at least as hard to figure out as women. Who hasn’t fallen for that grand opening game in which they lure us with intimate talks, funny dates, soft kisses, maybe a perfect little heart bracelet, and more? A man can be attracted to you, have mind-blowing sex with you, see you regularly, and be caretaking to a fault and yet deny the fact that you are a couple! Or at the same time be secretly seeing another woman. He may fantasize about a future together with you and speak about those fantasies, but hasn’t the slightest inclination to make it all come true. So what gives? How do you know if you’re wasting your time?
Here’s the thing to remember: A certain level of commitment fears are normal. When a man and woman fall in love and come together, it is 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 have these fears.
So how do you tell the difference between normal fears and hard-core commitment phobia?
Here’s the key:
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.
So how do you tell if he has potential to get over this fears?
Sometimes it is hard to tell if your boyfriend has an unworkable commitment phobia or more normal fears that he is willing to work on. Here is a ten-part checklist to help you tell the difference between normal fears and commitment phobia. In the last several months or year is he:
1. Trying to be self-reflective by talking about his issues and fears with you in an effort to deal with them and move forward?
2. Responsive to you when you soothe his fears?
3. Showing willingness to work on himself by taking growth or spiritual courses?
4. Actively in therapy or coaching?
5. Opening his world of friends and family to you?
6. Introducing you to people as his girlfriend or significant other?
7. Sharing his physical space?
8. Growing in his ability to discuss what he wants for his future?
9. Becoming more open to discussing the next steps in your relationship?
10. Saying “I love you” more easily or at times entertaining thoughts or joking about getting engaged or living together?
If he is moving forward in five or more of these ways, chance are, his fears are more manageable and in the normal range, and he is interested in becoming serious with you.
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 or domineering. Still others may act extremely passive or withdraw. Others disappear on you. Still others cheat. In such cases, you must remember: His fears are not about you. You can’t fix it by being the perfect person or staying with him to “prove” your love. when your partner’s fear is out of control, it is operating at an unconscious level and therefore determines the outcome of any love relationship. In other words, no matter how much love you pour into him, 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 understand: This type of guy does not want to change. 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.
If you’re trying to get your guy to take your relationship to the next level, I’m here to help! You can consult with an expert relationship coach to discuss the commitment issues in your couple. During your complimentary one-on-one phone or Skype session, your coach will share key action steps. These suggestions will soothe his commitment fears and support you in determining whether the relationship has a future.
Remember this: you deserve someone who is willing to work through his fears to be with you!