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Old 07-28-2010, 02:17 PM   #1
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Default Commitment Phobia

I came across this article recently and thought that with the divorce rate so high and relationships, in general, so dysfunctional, many people exhibit a great deal of the traits mentioned in this article.

Would you describe yourself as a commitment-phobe?

Have you ever been in a relationship where the other person was a commitment-phobe? If so, what was your experience? How many of the "signs" in the article do you recognize and/or relate to?

Do you think these traits are more common in men than women?

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Due to negative experiences and beliefs (or sometimes a personality disorder), both sexes can suffer from commitment phobia, but more and more men seem to be suffering from this problem (or challenge).

Let's look at some typical behaviours commitment phobic men display in relationships.

Commitment phobic men are tortured souls full of FEAR. They are in a constant state of emotional conflict because of their negative irrational beliefs about love, commitment and relationships. In relationships they create great confusion, havoc, pain, and anguish as their behaviours are often insensitive, unpredictable and bizarre.

These types of men can make women who are saints turn into mad women, as they play games with their minds and their hearts.

I am writing this article from my own personal experience, from experiences my friends and clients have had, and from interviews and research conducted by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol. The interviews were conducted with over hundred men who canít commit, and the women who have been involved with them.

(Ref: Men who canít Love by Steven Carte and Julia Sokol).

Commitment phobic men may display SOME or MANY of the following behaviours:

1. They usually have a history of short relationships and they may never have been married - there is often an excuse that they havenít met the right woman, or they justify their history by saying they still have plenty of time to settle down as they can have children at any age. A favourite line is "someday".

2. If they have been married it is likely to have been for a short time, or, if they have been in a long term relationship or marriage, they will usually have a history of infidelity.

3. They want a relationship but they also want freedom and space so they are often attracted to long distance relationships and busy independent women.

4. They are fast to move in on a woman they are attracted to, and they pursue ardently until they win the woman over.

5. They are very charming. They say and do all the right things and they can be very romantic. They are very good salesmen to get their own needs met, but in reality they have very little concern for the womanís feelings, as they are always operating from hidden agendas.

6. These men are usually very affectionate and loving. This is because in their mind the relationship is not going to be long term, so they feel free to give affection and love, knowing it wonít be forever. It isnít long though before they suddenly start rejecting the woman, by not ringing or not wanting to see her for days, or not including her in weekend arrangements etc. This is because they subtly want to give the woman the message that they donít want a long term committed relationship.

7. Severe commitment phobics play the seduction/rejection game. They canít make the decision to give totally to the relationship, but they canít commit to walk away either. They feel trapped by both choices. They feel love for the woman when they donít see her, but they want to run away when they become involved again.

8. Commitment phobics love the chase but they donít want the kill. This may happen after 1 night, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months or 1 year. They may start sabotaging just as they are about to get married, or just before or after there's a decision made to move in together.

9. They spin stories to justify their contradictory behaviour, and when the woman threatens to leave the relationship they may make promises to change, but they never do.

10. They tend to treat the woman like a mistress rather than a real girlfriend.

11. They tend to limit the amount of time they spend with the women and treat her as a low priority.

13. Commitment phobics behaviours announce subtlyÖďYou will be special for a short time, but it wonít be foreverĒ.

14. They often choose women who are not the type of partner they are looking for, for example they may be much older, much younger, married, or they may have different interests. They use these differences as excuses to end relationships.

15. They can have a history of frequent career change and often work in environments where they have a certain amount of space and freedom.

16. They treat requests for respect as demands and become, angry, obnoxious and rebellious.

17. Severe commitment phobics avoid events or outings that may include the woman's family or friends.

18. They know an ongoing sexual relationship often leads to commitment so they choose to run when things start to head in that direction.

19. They like to feel in control and create time frames that suit them, often treating the woman like a puppet on a string.

20. They donít like structure, particularly in their personal life.

21. They tend to compartmentalize their life and keep their work environment, friends or family off limits. They can create wonderful excuses why the woman shouldnít meet these people.

22. When they get the feeling they need to run, their words and actions are full of mixed messages. They play mind games.

23. A commitment phobic wonít allow the relationship to grow and they have no intentions of ever doing so.

24. They can be moody or aloof and blame the woman for why they are acting so bizarrely.

25. They may withdraw sexually and blame it on the woman for being demanding, or on work fatigue, or illness, or anything else that they can think of.

26. They can have a history of unavailability and inaccessibility .They can be hard to contact, and they are often unpredictable when it comes to returning phone calls. They can even avoid answering calls completely.

27. They lie, or they are evasive and secretive about where they are and what they are doing to create space.

28. Their living arrangements may be rather off-beat. They may have an apartment but they may rarely stay there, preferring to stay at friends places, with parents or ex-girlfriendís.

29. They hate planning ahead because that means commitments.

30. Severe commitment phobics may have very little furniture, not own property or a car, as these represent commitment as well. To some buying a car can be as big a decision as deciding to get married - it can be all too much for them as they donít want to feel stuck with anything.

31. They often donít invite women to their home because of their peculiar living arrangements, but they have no desire to change their situation. Even if their home is comfortable it exudes the feeling that they want to be alone. It is not welcoming to the outside world.

32. They are often unreliable, late and sometimes they donít turn up at all. They are like this with family and friends as well, although this is not the case in their working environment.

33. They are often unfaithful in relationships.

34. They can be overly committed to their work or to their children to avoid spending a lot of time with a woman.

35. Severe commitment phobics rarely lower their defences because they donít want to get too close to a woman, or vice versa. If they do, they usually only give little pieces of their soul in well- planned instalments, except if they are having an affair. Affairs are perfect for commitment phobics as they feel completely safe to disclose and to chase, as commitment is not an option while they are in another relationship.

36. If a man has been married he may void putting his divorce papers through as he can use this as an excuse to keep a woman at bay. This helps him to feel safe from the possibility of ever getting married again.

37. Behavioural inconsistencies are very noticeable with these men when they find themselves getting too close. They become argumentive and abusive, or they create distance. A lot of uncaring sabotage behaviours surface eg. working long hours, taking on extra projects, creating space, not ringing, being late, finding fault with the woman etc

38. They often choose to travel a lot for work, to play a lot of sport, or be involved in many projects to create distance.

39. These men know on some level that they are deceptive and cruel to women.

40. The word ďforeverĒ terrifies these men. Love doesnít scare them; rather it is what love represents to them that scares them. This is due to their negative belief system about love and relationships.

41. They usually end up behaving worse and worse, and they sabotage more and more because they want the woman to end the relationship as they feel too anxious and guilty to do so.

42. Severe commitment phobics can also suffer from claustrophobia and/or a personality disorder.

How you handle a commitment phobic

1. Donít rush into bed with these types of men (or any men for that matter), especially the ones who are very charming and pursue ardently, as they are the ones to be most wary of.

2. Take your time. Listen carefully to a manís history and leave him as soon as you recognize the behaviours before you get involved and hurt.

3. If he tends to exclude you from other areas of his life the writing is on the wall - beware

4. If you get involved before seeing the behaviours, set the pace with this man. Donít allow him to set the pace.

5. Act like you donít need him - stay independent and non-wife like.

6. Realize your love and attention wonít change him but not needing him and giving him space might (thatís if he isnít a severe case!)

7. Actions speak louder than words. Believe what he does, not what he says.

8. Donít expect a close committed relationship Ė be prepared to take the relationship for what it is. These types of men are best treated as occasional lovers rather than potential partners. Donít rely on having a relationship with them. If you do you will never feel emotionally safe or satisfied. You will be left confused, bewildered, angry and hurt.

9. Donít cut yourself off from dating other men Ė keep your options open as it is highly likely he is not saving himself for you, nor can he ever give you what you want, need and deserve.

10. Donít find excuses for his behaviour.

11. Evaluate whether he wants to change and whether he is capable of changing - some men will fall into this category but most wonít. Also evaluate how patient you are.

12. Donít think it was your fault when a commitment phobic relationship ends but learn form it. Make sure you donít get involved with one of these types of men again. Watch carefully for the behaviours.

13. Take care of yourself first as there is a high chance this man wonít be there for you when you really need him, despite his sweet words when he is in the mood.

14. If you are continually attracting commitment phobics, you will need some coaching to get different results.

15. If you are in pain from a commitment phobic relationship you may need some coaching to heal and move forward.

" For your life to change you must change" - Jim Rohn

What does a commitment phobic have to do to change?

1. He has to admit he has a problem.

2. He has to take responsibility for his behaviours toward women Ė that he leads them on and he behaves in an uncaring and cruel way.

3. He has to want to change.

4. He has to be prepared to seek help.

5. He has to look deep within to work out when and how his claustrophobic/commitment phobic symptoms started.

6. He will require coaching or cognitive behavioural therapy to change his negative, irrational thought patterns about love, commitment and relationships. He will also need to explore some of the faster healing therapies to heal, grow and change.

7. He needs some time out from relationships to reflect on his thinking patterns and behaviours.

8. He must develop his emotional and spiritual intelligence and become more aware. Personal and spiritual development courses raise awareness and consciousness and prevent us from sabotaging relationships. (Spiritual development is not about religion).

9. If he doesnít want to change his behaviours he has to be honest and upfront to women when he first meets them. He must tell them he does not want a committed relationship - that he is only interested in a casual liaison with space and freedom, and not to expect any more. Then it is up to the woman to decide whether she wishes to spend time with him on those terms.
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Old 08-07-2010, 09:42 PM   #2
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:08 PM   #3
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I dont fully understand this... why are men that dont want a commitment bad? Or need to be fixed?

I understand avoiding them if you are looking for a commitment, but it honestly just seems weird to me to brand men who dont want to get married as being terrified in some manner, or strange or possibly have a personality disorder.

I also happen to believe that divorce is a good thing. I think that if your marriage ends in divorce, that person wasnt right for you. It gives you a chance to find the person that is. The reason divorce happens is because people arent happy in their commitment, so it makes sense to end it.
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by lozonloz View Post
I dont fully understand this... why are men that dont want a commitment bad? Or need to be fixed?

I understand avoiding them if you are looking for a commitment, but it honestly just seems weird to me to brand men who dont want to get married as being terrified in some manner, or strange or possibly have a personality disorder.

I also happen to believe that divorce is a good thing. I think that if your marriage ends in divorce, that person wasnt right for you. It gives you a chance to find the person that is. The reason divorce happens is because people arent happy in their commitment, so it makes sense to end it.
This isn't what the article is saying at all.

What the article's premise is are men who are IN a serious relationship leading women on when they really are afraid of commitment or don't want one. This is why the article explains behavior that usually occurs when someone is not being honest and direct with a partner that WANTS commitment and a long term relationship that leads to marriage. That's the whole basis of the article.

No one would have a problem with a man or a woman not wanting a commitment if they were honest about it, straightforward, and kept to dating others with the same mindset in casual, to-the-point, romantic connections.

Look over the numbered list as the behaviors presented imply the premise or main point of the article, which is not to merely brand men or women who don't want to be attached.

Also, the article doesn't say for someone to just stay in a relationship that truly isn't right. No one should do that, however there is a difference between being ready to just jump ship and wanting to give up (because all relationships require mutual effort of the partners involved and conflicts will inevitably occur in long engagements) and staying in something that is completely wrong on every level but yet one partner feels entitled to do so anyway. No one advocates the latter. That's never good.

But people should look to find the difference between the former and latter to know what is worth keeping and working on.

Does this make sense?

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on the list described as I know some people might disagree with some of the "signs" listed. I guess it depends on context...the context that in which a lot of those behaviors occur.

Point number 34 on the list: Nothing wrong with working hard and being dedicated to work, for example, but some people do use that as a way to detach and stay busy because they don't want to commit to a partner or communicate about something. It's a way to have a good excuse to avoid.

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Old 08-14-2010, 04:25 AM   #5
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I was in one, yes.

As pointed out above, there is nothing at all wrong with not wanting a commitment. There is something wrong with pretending you want one and giving out mixed messages.
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Old 09-01-2010, 02:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candy_Coated_Clown View Post
I came across this article recently and thought that with the divorce rate so high and relationships, in general, so dysfunctional, many people exhibit a great deal of the traits mentioned in this article.

Would you describe yourself as a commitment-phobe?

Have you ever been in a relationship where the other person was a commitment-phobe? If so, what was your experience? How many of the "signs" in the article do you recognize and/or relate to?

Do you think these traits are more common in men than women?
The attached article really annoyed me (which is fine since I don't expect to agree with everyone). It seemed like one of those all to common man bashing articles designed to make women feel better when their relationships don't turn out the way they hoped.

I've been called a commitment-phobe on many occasions -- as have many of my male friends. The funny thing is that its been my experience that once a guy meets a girl he really likes he moves fast. I got married three months after meeting my wife to be -- to the great surprise of several ladies who had previously labeled me a commitment-phobe.

Its my opinion that guys rely more on their emotions in relationships. They'll subconsciously avoid commitment if the emotional connection is not there. If the emotional connection is there in the next relationship they often end up married or otherwise committed in no time at all.
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Old 09-01-2010, 05:20 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bigmac View Post
The attached article really annoyed me (which is fine since I don't expect to agree with everyone). It seemed like one of those all to common man bashing articles designed to make women feel better when their relationships don't turn out the way they hoped.

I've been called a commitment-phobe on many occasions -- as have many of my male friends. The funny thing is that its been my experience that once a guy meets a girl he really likes he moves fast. I got married three months after meeting my wife to be -- to the great surprise of several ladies who had previously labeled me a commitment-phobe.

Its my opinion that guys rely more on their emotions in relationships. They'll subconsciously avoid commitment if the emotional connection is not there. If the emotional connection is there in the next relationship they often end up married or otherwise committed in no time at all.
It sounds like you are not looking at the article objectively, but rather responding in a defensive tone because you've personally been labeled as such. This article can be about women as well as men. I don't know the personal details of your life or what happened, so I can't say if you were truly a commitment-phobe at one point in your life or if you were mislabeled.

However, some women and men are really scared of commitment for a variety of reasons, regardless of the connection they have with a particular partner and they make it so an emotional connection doesn't continue to develop because each time the connection gets closer, they find a way to sabotage the development knowing it will require more commitment from them, which forces them to confront the fear of being tethered to someone.

They might have been that way from the get-go before entering the connection or perhaps something happened in the connection to bring about fear. Either way, those feelings must be confronted, and honesty and open communication have got to be on the table.

Every relationship takes nurturing, especially if it is to last for a long time. Jumping ship when things get complicated or when a conflict arises (which WILL happen with every single relationship on occasion) is not the way to handle a long-term commitment. If anything, the true test of commitment comes when things get rough, not when things go well. It's easy to stick around when things are great. What will people do when they are tested together? If they can't get past those humps, they are not cut out for long term partnership and need to realize that because there's no such thing as a relationship that never has its challenging moments or "growing pains." That's a myth and fantasy and whoever believes in this myth will constantly be disappointed and running looking for something that just doesn't exist.

I've observed that people who have been happily married for years have this understanding down quite well, among other things. There's no way two people can last together for such a long time if they didn't have this understanding.

Again, this doesn't mean to settle, but it means if something/someone is worth having, then you invest in it, nurture it, and hang in there appreciating the connection, warts and all. Generally addressed, if that person is a waste of your time, then there's no point in stringing someone along promising things you know you won't be offering and can't, whatever the reason might be. I think that's the gist of what the article is saying...people who claim one thing but constantly do another.
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Old 09-01-2010, 05:30 PM   #8
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WOW this post was met for me..I cant thank you enough for posting this
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bigmac View Post
The attached article really annoyed me (which is fine since I don't expect to agree with everyone). (BLAH BLAH - snipped)

I've been called a commitment-phobe on many occasions -- as have many of my male friends. The funny thing is that its been my experience that once a guy meets a girl he really likes he moves fast. I got married three months after meeting my wife to be -- to the great surprise of several ladies who had previously labeled me a commitment-phobe.

(BLAH BLAH - snipped).
Not to nitpick Dearest Love, but it was 4 months. . However, you did propose on our second date. I think THAT rattled a few cages too.
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Old 09-01-2010, 10:08 PM   #10
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Most of the guys I've dated in the past several years haven't made it past the month mark, so it's hard to know if they exhibit the commitment-phobe behaviors detailed in this article. I'm definitely of the opinion that they're relationship-phobes, which, in my mind, is pretty much the same thing as a commitment-phobe. If they prove themselves to be only interested in casual sex and not interested in getting to know me, that doesn't suggest they want a relationship, and by extension, they don't want to commit.

My college/post-college boyfriend, who I was with for 5 years, started exhibiting much of what's detailed in point 7 around our third year together. ("They canít make the decision to give totally to the relationship, but they canít commit to walk away either. They feel trapped by both choices. They feel love for the woman when they donít see her, but they want to run away when they become involved again.") It's eventually what lead to our end.

I moved to Los Angeles while we were still together, which was something we'd talked about doing together. He wasn't ready to leave when I was, since he was next in line for a possible job promotion to manager of his department. So I moved, hoping he'd eventually follow. Although I knew if he got the job promotion, we'd have some re-thinking to do. A few months later, he was unfortunately passed up for the job promotion and it was given to a newer guy in his department. In my mind, the signs were clear that he should leave his job and move to Los Angeles where he could find some better opportunities.

But even then, he wasn't ready to leave, and it became apparent to me that he preferred the distance in our relationship. He missed me when we were apart, but when we were together, he'd complain of feeling trapped and couldn't wait to leave (or for me to leave) so he could go back to missing me by himself. He seemed to be happier with my absence, and in keeping me at arms' length. I finally ended the relationship and gave us both the opportunity to move on.

...Reading some of the points in the list, though, I have to say that some of them ring true for me as things I do myself. I wonder sometimes if I might be a bit of a commitment-phobe. I was raised by a single mom who came out of her tough childhood and young adult experience with a deeply unhealthy distrust of men. I was indoctrinated to it from an early age and sometimes wonder if I absorbed enough of it to essentially keep me a lone star forever. For all my desire for a fulfilling relationship, sometimes I wonder if I subconsciously don't want a partner. I know I don't want to end up single, alone and bitter like my mom...but sometimes I wonder if that path has already been chosen.
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