How to overcome your fear of commitment

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Fear of commitment is a very real issue for many people. Not only can it have a devastating impact on personal relationships but it may also affect career and lifestyle choices

The first and most important step in overcoming any fear is acknowledging that you have it. Next you have to want to change and be willing to go through a little emotional discomfort as you start to tackle your fears. Here are some simple suggestions to help you move forward.

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Identify what it is that you are afraid of

Fear of commitment will mean different things to different people. Some will be so afraid they stay single while others are fine being in a relationship, but don’t like to be tied down by other people’s needs or expectations.

Are you afraid of losing your freedom or is it that you don’t trust that the person you’re with is the right one for you? Are you afraid of rejection or worried about the responsibilities that you think will follow if you get into a serious relationship?

Each person’s fear of commitment, when broken down, will be unique to them. Once you have identified what you are afraid of you can trace the reason why.

Do some detective work

Often we’re being driven by unconscious beliefs but once they become conscious they lose the power to dictate our lives. A very simple way of beginning to uncover the root of your fear is to write it down. ‘I am afraid of losing my freedom because ….’ Try not to over think your answer.

What comes immediately to mind may surprise you. Maybe it will be ‘… because I want to travel and it will be harder with a partner’ or ‘… because I saw how resentful my mum was when my dad wanted to do things without her.’

Whatever the reason is, once it’s revealed, you will be able to do something about it. You will be much more in control of your fears once you pinpoint exactly what they are.

A problem shared

Once you know what it is that you’re really afraid of, share it with someone. By talking it through with a professional or a trusted friend even the most compelling of fears can begin to loosen its grip on your life.

Really explore the fear, even if it seems irrational. Tell the person you are speaking to that you are trying to overcome a fear of commitment and ask if they will help you get to the bottom of it. By saying what you need you will be less likely to just skim the surface. You need to get honest with yourself and this is often best done through being honest with someone else.

Start making, and keeping, small commitments

When you have uncovered what your fear of commitment is based on, try to tackle it in small ways. For example, if you have been single for years try going on a date. It doesn’t have to be any more than that. It’s about taking manageable steps in the right direction.

If you’re in a relationship where you have been holding back try initiating smaller commitments like booking a holiday or talking about short-term future plans. The important thing is to take it at your own pace. Instead of reacting to the discomfort of the anxiety, try to think around what steps you can take to change

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Fear of commitment is often fear of losing your freedom but you can never really be free while fear is ruling your life, even if you never commit to anything.


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