OK. Raise your hand if you know that you've dated—or worse, completely fallen in love with—a commitment-phobe. You know the type—uber-charming, great on dates, sometimes even better in bed. Fine. Funny. Ambitious. On so many levels, he seems like the perfect catch.
That's until you're a few months in and you discover that he doesn't like to plan more than a week in advance, he can't remember the last time he was in a serious relationship, he hates using titles, he doesn't have many close connections (to family, friends, or anyone else) and, anything that sounds even close to the "L" word is like a cuss word to him.
No matter how hot 'n heavy things were in the beginning, give it half a year (if he sticks around even that long) and if he doesn't get ghost on you, you'll find yourself getting tired of having the same "So, what are we doing? Where is this going?" conversation/argument with him.
As a result, things end. Problem is, not too much time goes by before you find yourself in this same kind of situationship with another guy who also displays the signs of being a commitment-phobe.
What's the problem? I'm not talking about with him. I'm talking about with you.
Why do you find yourself constantly attracting commitment-phobes into your head and heart space? From personal experience, I've got a few reasons that you should think long and hard about.
You’ve Got Daddy (or Mama) Issues
One of my favorite quotes is "Adulthood is about surviving childhood." While I wish that wasn't the case, the reality is a lot of us didn't see healthy relationships as children.
If your parents were never together or they divorced when you were young (and if that is the case, check out "Effects of Divorce on Children's Future Relationships"), sometimes it can either make you attract a situation that is similar to the one your parents had or cause you to work overtime to try and convince someone to commit to you because you may not know what reciprocity in a relationship looks like.
Not to say that this reason applies to everyone, but if you're constantly in "relationships" with guys who won't commit to you, looking back at what your parents modeled to you certainly can't hurt.
Relationships Are More Like Projects for You
Listen, whomever came up with the whole "I can change him" motive for being with a man who already shows serious red flags, they should be committed; not to a man but to an institution. Not only is it unhealthy—and semi-manipulative—to try and make someone be what you want rather than accepting them for who they are or moving on to someone else, but it also turns them into a project.
A person shouldn't be a project.
If you can't recall the last time you dated someone and the goal wasn't to try and turn them something else, no wonder you keep attracting commitment-phobes. You're not dating guys who are ready for the kind of relationship you desire. You're choosing guys who you think show the potential of wanting a relationship. Maybe. Someday. To a commitment-phobe, "someday" can be an eternity.
You Don’t Treat the First Three Dates Like (Semi) Interviews
I don't care what anyone says, the first few dates are interviews in a comfortable setting. You're both trying to figure out if you're mutually-attracted, if you have similar values, and if you want the same things when it comes to a relationship.
If you're giving me "push back" on this point because you're thinking I don't want to put too much pressure on him so early on, guess what? You're signing up for him being on one page, you being on another, and possibly discovering two years from now that you totally wasted your time.
One of the best ways to not get involved with a commitment-phobe is to 1) ask a guy what his last serious relationship was like and 2) ask him if he's looking for one—and yes, to do this during the first three dates with him.
If when it comes to the first question, he has no idea and with the second one, he says he wants something casual…take him at what he said. FACE VALUE. Otherwise, you're headed towards kickin' it with at least a pseudo commitment-phobe. I'm 98 percent sure of it.
You Never REQUIRE Reciprocity
Reciprocity is a mutual exchange. You plan a date; then he plans one. You call to say, "Good morning"; he texts to say, "Good night." He knows your love language is "Words of Affirmation", so he sends you cards. You know his is "Quality Time" so you go to a few games with him. Relationships that have reciprocity in them don't need to go "tit-for-tat" to keep up with who's doing what. Things are so balanced, it's hard to keep up anyway.
But when you're the one doing most of the work, not only does this show that you are more committed than he is; it also reveals that he has no intentions of doing more than what he already is. And you know what? Chances are, if you pulled all the way back, you'd see he's not doing much. (He probably never was.)
A commitment-phobe will stick around for a woman who will give her all without REQUIRING he do the same.
A man who wants a commitment will be bothered if he's not consistently doing his part. Then he will rise to the occasion so that mutuality is evident—to you both.
You’re Afraid of Commitment (and Don’t Even Know It)
A lot of women who attract commitment-phobes don't realize that it's because they aren't as ready for a commitment as they might think.
Case in point—if a woman who really wanted to be married went on a first date with a guy who said that the thought of being a husband makes him break out into hives, her response would be along the lines of "Thanks for dinner. Take care." It's nothing personal. He simply doesn't want what she does. Why waste time?
If you are in the hamster wheel of dating commitment-phobes, ask yourself if you want to be in something serious as much as you think. Maybe you keep picking men who are wishy-washy about relationships because it's easier to blame them if things don't work out than to look within to ask, "If I want something long-term, why am I constantly settling for the opposite?"
I can personally vouch for the fact that the moment you're like, "I want what I want and I can wait until I get it", the commitment-phobes will start to evaporate. You may not get as many texts or go on as many dates but hey—you're after quality not quantity, right?
Someone who is committed to more than a date this weekend. Someone who wants just what you want—a healthy and happy long-term relationship.
No hesitation. No excuses. No phobia.
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