Amy told me about a recent conversation with the man she thought she wanted to marry:
“Am I the crazy one here? Why do I feel needy and desperate when I talk to him all of a sudden? I thought he loved me! I don’t get it. He practically lives with me and I’ve never even seen his place! I’ve never met a man who spent so much time and energy trying to win me over. He took me on some amazing dates and made love to me in ways I never even thought possible! I fell in love with him! I love him!
But when I suggested we have dinner with my parents, I didn’t hear from him for a week! He disappeared. No phone, no text, no email. What the heck? I don’t even know where he was for the last week. He travels a lot for work… But before this, he’d call me from wherever he was. Then, out of the blue, he called me Sunday night to say he’s “not ready” to meet my parents. He says, ‘Can’t we just keep things like they were? I love you, baby, but I really like things the way they are now. Why do you have to screw it up?’”
Sound familiar? Amy is dealing with a man who suffers from commitment-phobia and a deep fear of intimacy.
His own negative self-beliefs about commitment, love and relationships will guarantee that this relationship won’t last. He has no intention of making a commitment to her, and now that she is asking for a little more, he’s finding reasons to back away. My best bet is that he will sabotage this relationship fairly soon and it will be over.
So, what are the signs of a commitment-phobe? See if any of these ring a bell for you:
1. He travels for work and is gone for a week or more at a time. Commitment-phobes, tend to choose jobs that allow for a lot of flexibility to travel, not work in an office and control their own schedules. This lifestyle also makes it easier to be unfaithful.
2. You haven’t met each other’s friends, family and/or co-workers.Commitment-phobes cannot be transparent with their activities. They tend to compartmentalize the different parts of their life. You won’t know what their work life is like and you probably won’t get to know their friends. They have a strong need to be able to hide what they are doing so they don’t have to explain themselves. They can concoct some amazing excuses for why you can’t meet their friends.
3. You haven’t seen his home, and if you have, it looks more like a hotel room. Commitment-phobes have a habit of living a vagabond lifestyle. Their own homes are often nothing more than a way-station to shower, change clothes and sleep on those rare occasions they can’t stay with you.
4. He’s attentive and charming when you’re together. Commitment-phobes move in fast. They use their charm and learned social skills to pursue you ardently until they win you over. Once they have you, the less attractive parts of their personality start to show.
5. He’s a last-minute planner. Planning time with you is a form of commitment to you. The Commitment-phobe is going to be uncomfortable if you take charge of how the two of you spend your time. As part of his normal mode of operation he’s going to want to stay in control of what the two of you do with your time together. If he does agree to do something you want to do, he’ll typically be late or cancel at the last minute.
6. You feel crazy. The Commitment-phobe finds a way to blame you for the situation you find yourselves in and you start doubting yourself and wonder if you are the crazy one. In Amy’s situation he blamed her for “screwing it up” just because she wanted to have him come to dinner with her family. If you confront him he won’t want to talk about it. He might become moody and behave in ways you’ve never seen before in him.
7. He lost interest when things got serious. Commitment-phobes love the chase but not the capture. They have a history of brief, passionate relationships that end fairly quickly. They are usually quick to explain these breakups away as being the fault of the former girlfriend.
Dating a commitment-phobe is a very confusing experience. Not all commitment-phobic men will show all of these signs, but most will show a significant number of them. If you are struggling with this kind of man, don’t deny your experience and make yourself the one who is wrong. Reality-check what is going on with trusted friends. If that doesn’t help you sort it out, seek the help of a professional. If the man you are dating is truly commitment-phobic, your future together can only contain heartbreak.
Do you have any experience dealing with commitment-phobes in relationship? If so, share your experience in the comments below. I’ll do my best to respond in a timely manner.
Larry Cappel is a trained relationship coach and a licensed marriage and family therapist. He can be reached through his website if you’d like to talk about any aspect of your relationship.
I’m here to help. Call me, email me, or simply schedule your own appointment online now. You can also sign up for my monthly health and wellness bulletin. My passion is to helping people to embrace their true nature and to create a loving, successful and wonderful life for themselves and their loved ones. Change is possible. Transform your life into the life you’ve always dreamed of! Don’t wait another day!
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Apr 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Experts, Y. (2013). 7 Sure Signs of a Commitment-Phobe. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/04/09/7-sure-signs-of-a-commitment-phobe/