The Other Commitment-Phobe: The Stigma Against Women Willing To Wait
Most romantic comedies are based upon the same premise: Boy and girl meet, girl likes boy, boy may or may not like girl, they date, some sort of conflict happens and they end up together.
I would be willing to say based on my vast experience with romantic comedies that a majority of them center around the girl hopelessly liking the boy, not the other way around. Guys on TV and in real life are cryptic, hard to read and most of all, commitment-phobic.
Men are consistently portrayed as the ones who are avoiding the “relationship talk” because most of the time, that is very true. Whether it's because of testosterone or any other male hormone, something in a man's nature makes him want to steer clear of any kind of commitment.
But, what about the other way around? What about the women who fight commitment? Why don't we ever talk about them?
In my over a decade-long experience dating all sorts of guys, I have found myself to be a true commitment-phobe. I understand this is the classic behavior we attribute to men, as they do avoid relationships, but I also feel this way. As the only girl who feels as such in my group of besties (who all thrive in relationships), I can't help but think I must be missing an inherent female gene.
I felt this sort of resistance from deep within my body from the very first time I started “dating” my first boyfriend in fourth grade. As soon as we became the newest couple on the playground, I was instantly scheming of ways to dump his ass. I felt tied down, and suddenly every other boy looked cooler.
Twenty years later, I still feel this way. No matter how great the guy I am dating is, time after time, I have the same suffocated feeling with almost all of them.
This isn't a secret from anyone. All of my close girlfriends even started calling me “Spooks” when I started to date someone new. They knew all it would take was one semi-serious gesture to make me go running for the hills.
I always found it weird that I couldn't fall ridiculously in love like all of my best friends, but I couldn't help it. Did it prevent me from dating anyone? No. Much like how I imagine men do it, I just forced myself to move past this initial knee-jerk reaction and continue on.
After a few months of dating, I would lose interest altogether and move on. The bulk of those relationships all started and ended the same way. After uncomfortable breakups — because it was me, not them — I watched these great guys go off and date other women.
I was genuinely happy for them. I knew I just wasn't made for relationships, and they were. Simple as that. No hard feelings.
Now that I'm older, wiser and probably ready for love, what gives? Where did this all begin, and how can it be stopped? It took time to realize that this whole “commitment phobia” thing is a natural crutch for me, and it's now time for me to grow.
I certainly don't want to live alone forever, so some changes have to be made, and I have to change my mindset. When a token commitment-phobe guy finally settles down, is this how he feels? Is it the "time to grow up" and "don't want to live alone" mentality that sticks?
It is literally a terrifying thought that this could be how all men feel as they are on the brink of a new relationship. We do attribute this characteristic to them as a whole, after all.
So, dear love hopefuls, now comes the time when I must admit that against all odds, I have, at times, gotten over this phobia and fallen in love. For a while there, I was convinced I wasn't capable of love, so there is hope to convert a commitment-phobe.
As a girl who can be looked at as a rare glimpse of what guys feel while they embark on a new relationship, I wish I could reveal a magic way to cure a commitment-phobe, but I cannot. It's hard for us to realize that being in a relationship doesn't equate to being in a foreign prison with only one meal served a day.
The best I can say is we have to realize the right relationships add value to our lives, and they don't limit us or take anything away. It's just hard to keep that in mind when we're constantly fighting good relationships before they start.