He wanted only to be with her, and she avoided the future altogether. He wanted to commit, to start a life, the two of them; while she broke into a cold sweat every time he said commitment.
Does it seem a little weird that it's a she running away from commitment, rather than a he in the above instance? You know how commitment phobia in relationships has always been celebrated as a male trait? Well, not anymore. Move over boys, the fear of commitment is a male dominated trait no longer. Commitment issues in women have started knocking on relationship doors as well and more and more women have been coming forward with their trepidation and fear of committing to someone. What leads to this phobia? Why is it that women, who essentially require security, are opting getting out of a setup (a relationship) that offers it? Confused, confounded and in need of answers?
Why Do Women Fear Commitment?
Commitment issues - no matter in which sex - do not develop overnight. There are several factors that lead to the fear of commitment in women. Many of these factors are psychological in nature - several experiences that a woman has in her early and growing years have a deep impact on her psyche and determine her behavior patterns.
A person's childhood has a great impact on their behavior patterns. If a girl has closely observed a bad marriage or witnessed an abusive relationship which had instances of domestic violence, bitter fights and insulting words being hurled. As a result, she might associate marriage or relationships as being bad, something that leads to a lot of pain. If she grows up with this thought process, she might be scarred for life and never be able to commit to someone for the fear of things going bad.
If either parent has abandoned her as a child and that loss and hurt has led to her developing abandonment issues in early childhood, it might translate over to her youth as well and she will be wary of single parenting. Similarly, if she has been dealing with these relationship issues in her early dating years and has had an equally bad fallout from them, she'll find it difficult to commit to anyone.
A woman who has been abandoned in her childhood fears that she might be abandoned again and will have to go through the hurt and pain as she did in her past. Thus, she might subconsciously avoid committing to a person and giving any relationship a fair chance.
Bad Relationship History
A bad relationship where a woman's partner has been abusive, violent, insulting or has cheated on her, and that has led to hurt and loss of self-esteem and pride, then she'll develop a deep-rooted fear of committing to any new relationship. She'll be constantly worried that the relationship will turn out exactly like the last one and avoid getting into anything serious to avoid the pain.
A woman with a bad relationship history might never fully commit to anything in the relationship and distance herself from her partner when things threaten to become too personal and intense. That way, if the relationship does not work out, she can always assure herself that she never invested in it fully anyway. It sort of becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Many women get into rebound relationships to deal with the mind-numbing emptiness and hurt of the previous relationship. In their mind though, they are still learning to come to terms and get a grip of their lives without 'him'. In such a situation, they are just not ready to commit to a new relationship and give it their all. Their mind is still dealing with the issues of the past and it is way too soon to commit.
In earlier times when women didn't work, were not independent or self-sufficient, and were brought up with the sole aim of marrying, looking after the needs of their home and serving the husband, the issues of wanting something more from a relationship or the fear of getting into a relationship or having commitment issues may have never even made way into the thought process.
As times changed and women began to become self-sufficient, they no longer needed men for financial support. They could take their own decisions and dictate their own terms in life. This independence could well be the reason for why some women have developed commitment issues. Being in a relationship might be equaled to losing one's independence and they definitely do not want to give up living on their own terms.
Signs of Commitment Issues
A woman who is commitment phobic where relationships are concerned will usually also be phobic about other things in her life that require her to commit to them. For example, getting a pet. If you carefully observe her behavior patterns, you will see that she will not want to be tied down to anything, which according to her, expects too much from her.
A commitment phobic woman backs out of plans at the last minute, it means she is afraid of committing and that the pressure of being answerable to people or a situation where people are dependent on her is a lot for her to deal with.
If she with commitment issues changes her career streams very often, there is a high chance that she might be commitment phobic as well.
Women who are commitment phobic have a string of very short relationships. The guys that they get in relationships with are not really great for them in the first place and that is exactly what they want. No one with whom they can have a long, serious relationship, Because at the crux of it all, they do not want to commit.
Having ridiculous expectations from a person is one other factor that can key you in on a woman who has commitment issues. If the list of 'Must haves' is way too long and complicated, there's a chance that it might never get fulfilled, thus saving her the effort of committing to a relationship.
Women with commitment phobia never talk about the future because that means commitment. They might get angry when future goals and the like are discussed. They avoid talking about their feelings. They do not like to come out into the open and admit their feelings because then they'll be vulnerable to getting hurt. They seem to have a two sided personality in relationships. They might be very caring and considerate one day and very distant the other.
Women who are afraid of commitment choose work and friends over their relationships any day.
Treating Commitment Phobia in Women
Unfortunately, commitment phobia is not a 'disease' or a 'condition' that can be cured overnight. It requires the woman to introspect and want to change in the first place. If you are in a relationship with a woman who exhibits a fear of commitment, then you'll have to talk to her about it. Chances are that she hasn't realized she has a problem that is affecting you, your relationship and at the base of it all - her.
A woman with the fear of commitment may not take well, when confronted with her problem. If she does understand the situation and agrees that there is a problem which needs to be addressed, don't expect that she will immediately stop being a phobic.
The phobia of commitment can also be extremely deep-rooted. To deal with this, you will have to convince her that you won't leave and that you'll be with her to support her. Do not get into trying to be all heroic if you have no intention of staying on. That might make matters worse.
When you've convinced her of her commitment issues, put forward the prospect of talking to a counselor to get in some professional help. Taking the help of a counselor does not directly translate into her having a 'mental illness', make sure you tell her that. It only means that an expert from that field will be able to get to the root of the issues and guide her better in overcoming them.
All you can do is convince her about her fear and that you are there for her through it all. If she does not want to change and seek help, no matter what you do, it won't help.
Commitment issues in women might be a relatively new phenomenon for the world to fathom but the repercussions of that (felt in a relationship) are the same as they would be if it was a commitment phobic man. So man or woman, a commitment phobic is a commitment phobic and a bad sign for any relationship. Sad, but true.