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I used to complain a lot when it came to finding love. I often blamed it on the idea (a concept that I looked at as fact) that it was just too hard to find a good man. One that would commit and be faithful. And one that I actually liked. Most men simply didn’t want to commit, I thought. They were afraid they would miss out on something by being tied down to one woman. I would utter these words with pure conviction to any of my friends who would listen, believing them wholeheartedly.

That is until a man wanted to get serious with me.

All of a sudden the roles reversed. I was the one who became hesitant. After years of soul-searching (I’m always searching actually), I realized I was the one who was afraid to commit. As crazy as it sounds for a woman who one day wants a family, I suffered from commitment-phobia.

Here’s how psychologists define commitment-phobia or anxiety (they use the terms interchangeably). It’s defined as generally having some serious problems staying in relationships for the long-term or even getting into long-term ‘situations.’ When I thought about my own romantic life, I realized that I hadn’t been in a long-term relationship in years. I often shied away from being in one when the opportunity was presented to me on at least several different occasions. But here’s the thing, I wanted to be in a relationship. Still, I ignored my hesitation, thinking that those particular men were just not the right ones for me. I soon realized that it wasn’t them, it was me. And I mean this in the least cliche way possible.

According to the article, “What is Commitment Phobia and Relationship Anxiety?” by John M. Grohol, Psy.D., people with commitment-phobia want a long-term connection with another person, but their overwhelming anxiety prevents them from staying in any relationship for too long. In fact, if the individual is hard-pressed for a commitment, they are far more likely to actually leave the relationship than make such a commitment.

My commitment-phobia had nothing to do with being a cheater or holding on to some pain from the past. Let’s be clear: I am not one of those. Instead, it had more to do with me putting “everything into one basket” as they say. The thought of giving up a level of my independence for one person who may not be around for long didn’t seem logical to me. Why put in the effort only to be disappointed? Patty Pessimistic, I know, but this was my thinking. I didn’t want to put a man first. I couldn’t. And for years, I didn’t. I have yet to do it. But the difference now is that I am open to it.

The other part of my commitment issues came from the fact that I wanted to wait until I felt 100% sure about a person or the situation before being exclusive. I know it sounds a bit naive because you can never be too sure about anyone or anything, but I was a control freak. However, love can’t be controlled.

Fast-forward to today and I can say that I am in a much better place. I still get anxiety now and then when I think about being with one person for the rest of my life. But this time around, it’s not enough to keep me from wanting and cultivating a relationship. Love is a risk, and I’ve learned to be more of a risk taker. If it works out, great. If it doesn’t, at least I completely tried, which is more than I can say for any of my past relationships.



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