Men: You Are Not George Clooney
Commitmentphobe – a person with a persistent, irrational and extreme fear of commitment (n).
A commitmentphobe does not like making plans for the weekend. He/she will click maybe on every Facebook event invitation they receive. Commitmentphobes often have a made-up pending “thing” to do with work/family that they alert you of and keep in their back pocket, just in case a better offer comes up. They do not like booking holidays or time off in case another country suddenly comes to them . “WHY did I chose stupid old BALI now I’ve read that fucking article about the fucking PHILIPPINES in The Observer,” they’ll think. “I fucking HATE MY BORING PREDICTABLE LIFE.” A commitmentphobe says “no, no, you guys order first” at a restaurant so as to read over the mains another few times before they’re absolutely forced to decide on something by the waiter. They don’t like making plans for anything more than three months away in case something huge happens to them (move to another country, lose their job, lose their legs). Commitmentphobes don’t like getting their photo taken for a passport, because they don’t like the idea that they’re faced with a fixed version of themselves for ten years. They don’t like choosing phone contracts and they freak out about 12 month gym memberships.
I know all about them because I am what you would call a classic, fully-fledged, text-book, badge-collecting, officially-qualified and certified commitmentphobe and always have been. I am open to meeting someone, but my natural state is to be single. As I get older, I have to face that people around me are all committing to each other and I find it hard not to panic about it. Every time a friend tells me they are getting married or moving in with someone, I take a deep breath, remind myself that I am not doing those things yet and remember just how wonderful it is that they are.
I have only ever been properly, madly, you-and-me-forever in love with one person and it took me a long time to ease into it. Luckily, he was patient. He understood that there are various degrees of commitmentphobia and that mine was by no means incurable. I think most people have a desire to feel fairly un-rooted and they just need to go into relationships toe first, before they are plunged in neck-deep. So with all this experience of neuroses behind me, here is my guide on how to deal with commitmentphobes and what to do it you are one yourself.
How To Be With a Commitmentphobe:
1. Do not be fooled by their initial enthusiasm about dating you. Most commitmentphobes are fantastic at committing to something that is a complete fantasy. In the very early stages of a relationship, a commitmentphobe can hide their issues with ease. For them, it will feel like the constant sex, one-date-a-week and total freedom alongside a part-time partner could last forever. When the inevitable hows and whys of a relationship start to pin it down to something more concrete, something that requires contact and time and support, that’s when they’ll want to run.
2. Try and get them to talk about their fears. Don’t badger them with questions, but if the subject of past relationships come up, encourage them to talk about what went wrong and how it holds them back now. Reassure them that they can take their time with this relationship and that the pressure is off.
3. Don’t rush a commitmentphobe into anything. Have some patience and they will get there. If you make them meet your parents or say I love you before they’re ready, they’ll feel backed into a corner and will want to escape.
4. Be patient, but read the signs and know when to call it quits. Give them some time to ease into a relationship, but if six months have passed and will not demonstrate even the tiniest bit of commitment to you or even briefly talk about why they won’t – get out. They have issues that you alone cannot fix and if you try to you will end up broken-hearted.
What To Do If You Are a Commitmentphobe:
1. Grow up, you moron. Who do you we think we are? You have met someone who likes you and wants to spend time with you. They are not a hand in a poker game. They are a person. Stop waiting for a better set of cards to come along and get a fucking grip. No one’s asking you to get married. Or decide your life is going to be a certain way forever. All anyone is asking you to do is to give something a bit of a go and you might even have some fun.
Now. Stop being so silly. Take a deep breath and get a bit of perspective. Better? Better.