Relationships Fear Courage

Fear of Commitment Please Stop Hurting Others

You thought you’d grown up. You thought you’d be ready. Get serious, get engaged… maybe even marry. The feelings seemed to be there and you’re compatible, yet, something causes you to pause every time. [Note: This post was originally written for a "men with issues" site I was going to build.] This may be an uncomfortable read if you think this is you and if that's the case, I encourage you to read it even more!

You may have even sabotaged relationships by cheating or faking your own death to get out of having to commit. You’ve also told yourself any combination of the following:

  • It wasn’t really right
  • It was their fault
  • The next one will be different
  • I can do better
  • They can do better: I’m not good enough so it’s better we break up so I won’t disappoint them

Why You Do It

Why do you end relationships when they get too close? Because you yearn to be free! Actually, it’s because you are afraid… afraid of the unknown, of change, of being trapped or of not making the right choice. Who wants to live with regrets? If you haven’t heard this term yet, trust me, you will: Commitment Phobe. That’s you. You’re afraid of commitment. You didn’t know? That, my friend, is possible… and you can’t address something you don’t know is there. If no one’s told you, I’m telling you now: all those bullet points up there are excuses.

So what’s the problem? Your behavior causes severe pain and anguish. If it makes you happy to live this way, I can’t fault you. I only have one request: stop hurting people! Either that or be perfectly, brutally honest with anyone you are even thinking about getting involved with so they can make a choice. Oh you don’t care? Well, aren’t you a bad ass. I don’t need to give you permission to leave. If you’ve been told you are a commitment-phobe and refuse to learn more about how to change this pain-inflicting behavior, that’s your prerogative. However, the contents of this site are designed for people who choose to love others. When you’re ready, you can come back. We’ll be here.

Still here? Cool. Then here’s the deal: Commitment requires you to be accountable and responsible for your actions and… wait for it: care about someone besides yourself.  If you don’t think you have hurt anyone because “they knew the deal” or it was an unspoken “agreement” that they knew you weren’t “that kinda guy,” you are not being responsible or accountable. You’re thinking, “But I’m not responsible for how they feel…” If you knowingly entered into a romantic or other close emotional relationship without considering the other person’s feelings, you are selfish. I’m not trying to make you feel bad but if you do, that’s letting you know that something ain’t right – the perfect opportunity to do something different.

Courage to Show Up

Do you have the courage to show up and admit that you don’t want to keep hurting people?

It’s time to gather some courage and… look straight into the mirror. Are you who you want to be? Or have you created an image for other people? You may want to be that reliable, upstanding person but it’s easier to duck out, run and hide, blame someone else or deal with an issue head on. It’s possible you love someone and want to be there for them but don’t know how. YOU are the only one who can change your behavior. You may think it’s impossible because you’ve done the same thing for so long, or maybe you are allergic to change, but here’s the thing: you have to grow up (emotionally) to Show Up in life.

Showing Up to Grow Up

Sometimes the most difficult part of making a change is getting started. What’s the first step? I just told you! Have you learned nothing here? Kidding. If you took offense to that joke it was because you thought I was making a personal judgment and I wasn’t. You were about to react like an 8th grader. Seriously though, you have to be able to take a joke and that requires a bit of maturity. Everything is not about you and your feelings. Now, the first step was… look in the mirror. What did you do? Nothing? Okay. You’re still not admitting wrong-doing. I didn’t say this would be easy…

Maybe a recent relationship you were sure would work out, ended. You might feel hurt or guilty, but don’t be too harsh on yourself. I didn’t say take the easy way out and say you aren’t responsible. What I’m saying is, take responsibility for your part but show yourself some love. How? “I messed up but no one is perfect.” Goes a long way. We are all emotional beings – especially men – and it requires you to not beat up on yourself. You behaved in a way that not only hurt someone else, it probably hurt you too – quite badly in some cases. You move through that pain by forgiving yourself…and others. You say what now… you can’t forgive? Now, that’s a problem.

There is Hope

You want to do different? You have to think and be different. I’m not talking about changing the essence of who you are because, “No matter where you go, you are what you are player. And you can try to change but that’s just the top layer. Man, you was who you was ‘fore you got here.” – Jay-Z

The premise of the writing on this site is because I believe in love and mankind’s ability to do good. Whether you agree or not, I’m suggesting you change your behavior, habits and the way you react to situations in life a.k.a. patterns, in order to navigate your relationships and be with the people you love. Negative patterns may have a stronghold on you right now but if you are determined to succeed in doing something different, you can and will do it. You can teach yourself to do something different. If you’ve ever been addicted to anything and broke that addiction, you know that habits are the worst part of it all because you are tempted and enticed into doing what you’ve always done. People will tell you you can’t change. Again, I’m not saying change who you are, I’m saying change how you move through the world.

I’m going to warn you too: people will not like it, including the ones that complain most about your behavior. They won’t like it because they think they know you and if you start acting brand new, they will be afraid of your new behavior. They’ve labeled you the player, the hot head, the comedian – whatever it is – and chances are you’ve let them define you. If you’ve ever said, “People call me the _______,” there’s a good chance you have some sort of reputation you didn’t create. Well, here’s the chance for you to define who you are. Another warning: be patient if you aren’t becoming who you want to be quickly as you’d like. If you are dealing with a recent break up or relationship issues but you want to work things out, you need to Show Up to the other party and tell them where you are. If they love you and truly want the best for you, they will do their best to understand that you are working on your “stuff” and that you are trying. If they don’t get it and want to move on, you have to accept that too.

Look in the Mirror

Getting back to commitment phobia… so you’re still wondering how to get to that point where you are not running from and ruining relationships, right? There are books on the subject but I’ll condense for you if you don’t want to read a book:

  • Admit to yourself that you are afraid, even if you can’t tell anyone else yet
  • Forgive yourself for being imperfect and not knowing how to have a perfect relationship
  • Be honest about your role in the demise of your relationships – especially the ones you wanted to work out
  • Look for patterns of behavior in previous relationship that caused problems
  • Be careful of blaming the other person, as blaming is often the result of being self-centered
  • Commit to learning more about what makes you afraid and make a decision to confront your feelings

I’m not here to fix you. You are not broken. You are like everyone else walking around – a human being with thoughts, behavior and feelings. What I also believe is that you want love in your life. Not only romantic love – you want the love of family and friends too. I promise that if you start working on your behaviors for one area of your life, it will spill over into other areas.

So, do you think you can do it?

Two Things to Know

1} It’s alright to be emotional where you feel safe. Because the content of this site is geared toward men, I want to tell you that it is OKAY for men to feel and express emotions in a safe environment. It’s okay for men to cry. I even read that tears that build up from stress are toxic!! Never cried? You should try it. It’s what emotionally sound people do.

2} Emotional maturity is crucial to spiritual development. If you are a believer, it may shock you to learn (as it did me) that your spiritual maturity is tied to your emotional maturity. If you can’t deal with your personal and relationship issues, how are you to develop a healthy relationship with God? Get it? If you don’t trust people, if you are angry, those same issues will permeate your relationship with God. You can’t separate them either.

Originally Written: October 25, 2015

OneHipSista

Hi. I'm Valerie. Glad you're here – come on in and sit a spell. I've never put so much of my writing online but I share my personal experiences in hopes that I help someone in some way. I hope you find something you read thought-provoking, amusing or encouraging. Reach out or comment if you like. Please forgive the typos, grammar and cussing. Thanks for stopping by.

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