But fear of commitment can manifest in other areas of our life, too. So if you are hiding behind a disconnected, unhappy relationship but know there is something wrong, it’s time to look with a wider perspective.
Editor and lead writer Andrea Blundell explores the lesser known signs of commitment phobia.
9 hidden signs you have commitment issues
1. You give your all to projects and jobs you deep down don’t care about.
If you spend all your time and energy doing things that deep down you don’t care about, including work, you can’t get hurt. If it goes wrong, you don’t care.
So on the surface you can seem to have no commitment issues. Look how hard you work! Look at what you accomplished! But it’s fake. As you aren’t committed at all. You don’t care about any of it. You are just keeping busy.
2. There are a lot of unfinished things in your life.
An unfinished novel, an online course you paid for then never even started, a membership at a boxing gym and you went twice….
You tell yourself ‘it just isn’t for me’. But the truth that you know, deep down, is the opposite. You like and want the course/project/goal so much, it scares you. So you avoid it.
3. You feel like you are trapped leading someone else’s life.
Is there this endless sense that life is dragging you along for the ride? But it’s not the life you meant to have?
Or do you feel like you are acting out some character in a film, but it’s not really you?
When we are afraid to commit to what matches our personal values and truly matters to us? To the people who truly attract and inspire us, and situations we care about? We end up always settling for other things instead. The end result is a life we feel alienated and lost in.
4. You are rubbish at decision making (and leave it to the last minute).
Do you umm and awww even over simple decisions? Like what new fridge to buy? Or what restaurant to go to? Are you always afraid you’ll make a mistake and miss out on something better?
Do big and important life decisions get left to the last minute, meaning you miss out on important opportunities, or make stupid decisions under duress?
Yes, commitment issues can mean you surround yourself with people you don’t like, so you risk nothing if it doesn’t work out. But sometimes it’s more that you avoid any real connection, even if you do like them.
You find reasons to not work things through and get closer as people. And this can mean you project problems onto anyone else but you and become a blame expert.
6. You hear yourself agreeing to things you don’t. Often.
Hear someone laughing at a mean joke then realise it’s you? Nod your head when someone spouts nonsense even though inside you are thinking, what is he talking about? Or find yourself saying ‘yes, of course’ when you mean to say, ‘that is really not fair’?
Fear of commitment can also mean being afraid to commit to our beliefs, to being tied to an argument, or to having people ‘trap’ us into a box.
7. You are always freelance, or on contract, or looking for a better job.
photo by Priscilla Du Preez
Not committing to a job, or endless work dissatisfaction, are also possiblesign of being a commitment phobe. This can be endless freelance jobs.
Or, if you have a steady job, it can look like not progressing in the company or going for promotions or doing your best, as you ‘don’t plan to stay there long’. You spend free time looking at job ads (but rarely applying).
8. You move house often. Or hope to.
Fear of commitment can even manifest in where we live. This can look like living in one place but always looking at real estate ads, or spending hours weekly on ‘how to live abroad‘ sites.
And if you are always travelling, always on the move, or even a digital nomad? If it comes along with endless short term relationships and unstable jobs, and deep down you are exhausted and unhappy moving all the time? Then you might need to look at your commitment issues.
9. But you have lifestyle habits that are repetitive and boring.
Do you often eat the same things again and again at certain restaurants? Stick to the same exercise routine long after the fad has changed? Wear the same outfit again and again? Or even buy the same clothes in different colours?
The funny thing about being a commitment phobe is that we can chase endless change in the parts of life that benefit from stability, then cling to ‘sameness’ in less risky areas, as if trying to compensate.
As for trying therapy….
Either the idea makes you feel trapped and suffocated and you blow off therapy as ‘for other people’. Or, if you have tried therapy, you probably left after one or two sessions. The therapist was weird, or you didn’t feel comfortable, or you were just sure it wouldn’t work.
But therapy is like a relationship. And like any relationship, it takes time, and, yes, commitment, to know if it can work. It’s recommended to try four sessions before making a decision.
And if it’s not the right ‘type’ of therapy, don’t decide ‘all’ types are not right for you. It’s highly unlikely there is not one, out of the now over one hundred types of therapy, that can benefit you.
Instead, a commitment to therapy more often than not leads to an ability to commit elsewhere in life, meaning an improved career, family life, and relationships.