Signs Fear Of Commitment

Men's Dating

6 Signs You May Have Fear of Commitment

Hunt Ethridge

Written by: Hunt Ethridge

Hunt Ethridge

Hunt Ethridge is the co-founder and CMO of the MatchmakingAcademy.com as well as senior advisor and board of directors at other firms. He has been featured in well over 100 media sources and currently "coach on record" for most of the top matchmaking firms in the U.S. and internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Clubhouse.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

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Good relationships are awesome!  You vibe off each other, someone else “gets” you and you’ve got a copilot for the fun and ridiculous things you get up to.  But for gamophobes, that can seem downright terrifying, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

Gamophobia, or fear of commitment, can rear its ugly head in many ways.  While there is not a definitive if/then list, there are a few signs that usually crop up.  Should you recognize yourself in any of the following signs, you can put in the work to overcome those feelings.  The first step is identifying, so let’s check out the signs that you may have a fear of commitment.

1. Your Relationships Don’t Make It Past the Two-Year Mark

Maybe you haven’t had any relationships, or maybe you’ve had a bunch.  But the key part is making it past the two-year mark. In the beginning stages of relationships, there are a lot of emotions! Your brain is secreting testosterone, dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. 

These are the lust and attraction chemicals that are responsible for all those butterflies and other feelings we get. These feelings can last anywhere from 6 to 18 months.  Then mature love takes over, and those chemicals get replaced by oxytocin and vasopressin — the attachment hormones.

Photo of a brain in a hand
Certain chemicals give people a high early in a relationship, but wear off as time goes on.

If the crazy, puppy-love, moony-eyed phase never wore off, we’d get nothing done as a society! So it’s an evolutionary mechanism. This is also the time that people stop “faking it” and their true colors start to come out. This is the marrow of the relationship — where you feel you truly start knowing someone and all the things that make them twitch. If you find yourself pulling the ejector cord when the lust hormones start wearing off, pay attention to that.

2. Inability to Compromise and Work on Yourself

All relationships have a give and take, and learning how to compromise is clutch.  I remember a guy who was in a new relationship asking me if not cleaning up the dishes immediately after was “right or wrong.”  Bro, there’s no such thing as right and wrong in a relationship.  There’s what you want and what they want. 

If you’re in a healthy relationship, you want to make the other person happy, so you find ways to strike a balance. Let me tell you, I have no desire to sweep and Swift the floor as often as I do, but I DO enjoy a happy wife!

When it’s “my way or the highway,” that signals you are super adverse to change, and any relationship brings change. That’s natural because you can’t grow without change! 

But if you have to have everything in your life a certain way and don’t want anyone to disturb it, you may be self-sabotaging.  We want to better ourselves and learn new things in a perfect world.  That involves a little bit of self-work. But if you think you are perfect and “don’t need to change for anyone,” it’s going to be much harder to find someone that clicks with that.

3. You Consistently Pick Incompatible Partners

“Know thyself.”  That’s one of three maxims inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi in Greece.  The other two are “nothing to excess” and “certainty brings insanity.”) Knowing what motivates you and understanding why you do what you do is very important! However, a lot of us don’t really know or understand fully. I’ve been lucky enough to go to therapy and have been able to “open all my dark doors” and deal with what’s inside, so I am very at peace. 

But it’s not fun to mentally go there sometimes, especially when you don’t have anyone to guide you. So things in your past may be causing you some present drama in your selection of a partner.

You may choose partners with charismatic but toxic behavior that will have a rosy or exciting beginning but will predictably get worse until the relationship crashes and burns.  Perhaps you may find yourself always drawn to the unattainable.  She could be someone already in a relationship or a coworker.  Some people only want to be with married people because there is an emotional distance that is always present.  And if you can start identifying the wrong people, it’s going to help you find the right people quicker!

4. You Don’t Like Making Plans

Plans are about the future. The future involves planning. And if you’re planning something, whether it’s a big move or a weekend getaway, you’re committing to being there. Whether it’s tomorrow’s lunch or this summer’s travel plans, we all need to plan some stuff. When you love someone and want to be with them, you see them in that future. There are a lot of “we” phrases. “What should we do for the holidays?” It shows that you envision a future with them, even if it’s only a week or two in the future.

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If holiday plans have you stressed out, ask yourself if the commitment is too much for you.

But if you get anxious or freaked out about planning anything further ahead than lunch, you may not even realize that you have a fear of commitment. Some people think that planning means they lose their freedom or their ability to make spontaneous choices. And it doesn’t necessarily! It means that you can have someone with you to do those things with.

5. You Like to Keep It Casual

You do like women and you do like spending time with them. But you don’t like the responsibilities you feel come with a more serious relationship.  You don’t want to feel like you have to call them back or need to make weekend plans.  It’s so much easier when it’s just a revolving door of dates.  You can tell all your best stories and jokes over and over.  You love watching her fall for you.  It’s exciting figuring out what each new woman likes in bed!  There is so much less risk of getting hurt or feeling trapped if you just keep everything casual.

This could manifest itself in a lot of points.  If you are not one who likes to talk about their feelings, you may only want to keep women at arm’s length.  While there is nothing wrong with having a friend or two with benefits, if you realize that’s ALL you’ve had, you may have a little inner work to take care of.  Also, we’re all messy creatures with lots of baggage so it’s not like everyone’s going to run the minute you start taking things deeper.

6. You Have Easy Disqualifiers and Can Be Too Picky

A disqualifier is something that, well, disqualifies someone or something else. All of us have our disqualifiers. “I don’t want to date a smoker.”  “Only fitness buffs need apply!”  “Looking for another Ashkenazi.”  That’s totally fine!  You want to make sure you are on the same page and have the same values. And it’s totally OK not to date a dog owner if you’re very allergic. But when the reasons not to date someone or to dump them are super trivial, you may need to figure out if there’s something deeper at work.

Saying that you had to dump her because of the way she chews or because she loves country music is approaching that “too picky” territory. Sure, we all have things that are going to annoy someone else.  But they aren’t generally something that should keep you from dating someone.  There will ALWAYS be something that you can find about someone to harp on.  But there’s no such thing as a perfect person. And in the age of swiping, you’re always thinking that there will be someone better right around the corner.

Do Some Thinking to Decide If Commitment Is For You

Hey, even I had some fear of commitment when I was a young single man. I wanted to see and explore the world and experience women in all their varieties and flavors! When I met the woman who is my wife today, I realized how awesome she was and was more worried about losing her than I was about commitment. And you know what? Commitment is not all that bad.  

Now I gotta go upstairs and make dinner for my wife and little girls because I have a commitment to making sure they eat well!