If Your Partner Says These 4 Things, They Might Be Scared Of Commitment
Commitment is a word that holds so much weight, and yet, many people define it differently. In college, I thought commitment was going on weekly dates with someone and not getting ghosted. Three years out of college, and needless to say I view committed relationships from a very different perspective. That's one of the reasons it's so important not to assume that you and your partner are on the same page, especially if you notice your partner says things that suggest they might be scared of commitment.
Depending on where you or your partner are in life, varying degrees of comfort with commitment is totally normal. However, the only way to know exactly where they stand is to talk about it. "Ideally, you want to have conversations about what each of you wants in a relationship early on so you can gauge if you're on the same page with each other," sex and intimacy coach Irene Fehr tells Elite Daily.
If you're in your first year of undergrad, having a partner who's afraid of commitment will likely be much more manageable than if you're both settled in your careers and you want to start a family ASAP, for instance. The thing is, it's all too easy to stay in relationships with people hoping they will eventually be ready, only to wind up four years down the line and still confused about what they want. If your SO drops any of these lines (or something similar), then they might be scared to take your relationship to the next level.
1. "I'm not ready."
If your partner is brave enough to be honest with you by directly telling you that they aren't ready for the kind of relationship you're interested in, then the silver-lining is that you know how they feel. However, dealing with this type of candidness can be tricky because, IMHO, this makes it so tempting to take on the challenge of trying to change their mind. Sadly, this doesn't always work out in the end.
"There’s nothing wrong with your partner having some amount of commitment fear [if they] are ultimately willing to try to overcome their fears and commit to you," dating and relationship writer Demetrius Figueroa tells Elite Daily. But it's also important to beware of partners who aren't able to commit now and probably won't be able to ever commit in the future. "If you want a commitment and your partner is too afraid to ever commit to you, that’s a deal-breaker," says Figueroa.
2. "I don’t like labels."
"Rather than being direct, if your partner has commitment fears, [they] may try to hint at their commitment fears," explains Figueroa.
According to Figueroa, when someone says they "don't like labels," that almost always means that they aren't in a place to offer you the commitment they think you're looking for. Once you have this information, it's up to you to decide if you are happy without a commitment or if you are looking for something more serious.
3. "I’m focusing on my career now."
If someone tells you they are focusing on their career, or they regularly emphasize their work as their biggest priority, then according to noted psychotherapist LeslieBeth Wish, Ed.D., author of Smart Relationships: How Successful Women Can Find True Love, this might mean commitment is off the table.
"They [may be] in a stage of life where other priorities such as career are more important," Dr. Wish tells Elite Daily. "If you have been a couple for more than a few years without talk of engagement, living together, or marriage, then that stage could last longer than you want."
Both Dr. Wish and Fehr agree that people who aren't being direct about not wanting a commitment often do so so they can continue to enjoy the perks of the relationship without the investment. "Often someone might say [things to avoid commitment] when they are in nice situation but not one that they ultimately want, which makes it it's too tempting to leave," says Fehr.
4. “I don’t want to ruin a good thing by defining it.”
"The specifics of what they say may differ, but what they’ll say if they’re afraid of commitment will either be some variation of delaying commitment, downplaying the importance of commitment, or by avoiding defining or labeling the commitment," explains Figueroa.
By avoiding the direct acknowledgment that committing to you is an issue for them, they aren't allowing the issue to be addressed. However, if you want to get to the root of the issue and see if there's potential for a commitment from them in the future, then you're going to need to have an honest conversation.
"The most productive way to deal with a partner who you suspect might be afraid of commitment is to encourage open dialogue and getting specific about their commitment fears," says Figueroa. "A fear of commitment is never as simple as 'I’m afraid of committing,' it’s always more complicated than that."
If you've had multiple conversations over the course of your relationship about taking your commitment to the next level but your partner still isn't on board, then it might be time to make a firm decision about how long you're willing to wait. Ultimately, there's nothing wrong with giving someone the time they need to work through an issue, as long as they aren't just buying time so they can plan their next solo move.
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