Fear of commitment refers to the fear of forming long-lasting relationships. The term commitment phobia was first coined in 1987 by Steven Carter in his book, Men Who Can’t Love. Commitment phobia is common in men, but recently, studies show that both men and women have an equal tendency to experience commitment phobia. Commitment phobia is usually manifested across many domains of life. It is not only limited to relationships, but can also include fear of commitment with work, families and friends. It is an incapacitating phenomenon that affects a person’s entire life.
Men and women have different reasons why they fear commitment. Some men do not like the idea that they have to ask permission whenever they hang out with their buddies. They want to keep their personal space, and so they fear being committed to someone. Some men do not believe having only one sex partner is natural, thus they question themselves if they are able to form lasting relationships with one person, even if they are extremely in-love with someone. Other men have been continuously deceived by women, and so they avoid lasting relationships that will end in the same manner. They are afraid that their financial resources will be consumed by someone who might be using them just for their money. Men who were cheated on by their wives and later divorced fear forming another lasting relationship. Many of them choose not to marry again.
Women, on the other hand, fear commitment because they have been hurt numerous times by people who they seriously loved. They have been cheated on and deceived by someone who they gave their full trust to. Because of this, they generalize all men as deceitful, not able to keep their word, and not serious with relationships. That all they ever want is to “use you and throw you”. Some women were deceived by their husbands and divorced them. These women are often afraid of investing their emotions in someone new, and experience the same painful breakup. Still, some women fear commitment because they see their “fathers” as a poor role model. Being able to witness how their fathers hurt their mothers physically and psychologically, they are afraid of being married and committed to someone who might do the same to them.
People with commitment phobia are experiencing fear within them. They fear being hurt by their partners. They tend to become very defensive and try to cover themselves in a shell in order to avoid getting hurt. Commitment phobic people take the word “commitment” very seriously, which is why it is very hard for them to commit. Also, they see decisions as permanent, and so, they try their best not to make a decision that they can’t actually comply with in the long run.