A recent survey by the experts at eharmony found that 1 in 4 single Brits openly admit to being afraid of commitment. If that sounds like you, don’t despair; we asked eharmony’s relationship expert Verity Hogan to share 8 ways you can avoid suffering from commitmentphobia
We’re all guilty of buying into the fairy-tale rather than wanting to accept the reality of relationships. In truth, perfect people don’t exist outside of romantic fiction; we all have issues, flaws and quirks that we bring into our relationships. Expecting your partner to always know what you’re thinking or never forget to pick their clothes up off the floor is unrealistic. The more we can let go of perfectionism and accept that real relationships take work, the more comfortable we’ll feel committing to someone.
Don’t rush into anything
You should never feel pressured to make a commitment that you’re not ready for. Take time to really get to know someone before labelling your relationship and work to your own schedule; just because your friends are getting engaged or moving in together, it doesn’t mean you should be too. And if you’ve recently broken-up with someone, there’s nothing wrong with making the most of being single for a while.
Embrace your independence
It may sound counter-intuitive but the more comfortable you are being a single independent woman, the less likely you are to be commitmentphobic. If you know that you’ll be fine on your own, you’ll feel more comfortable entering into a relationship that may or may not work out.
Talk it out
Are you scared of commitment because of your childhood experiences or a painful past relationship? Talking it out, either with a close friend or a trained therapist, can help you uncover why you shy away from lasting relationships. The more you talk about these underlying issues, the easier it is to start to move past them.
You’re much less likely to wonder whether someone is right for you if you’re compatible with them. Ask yourself whether you share core values and personality traits. Are you both looking for the same things from life and your relationship? Chemistry is important, but when you prioritise it over everything else, you’ll find that you’re drawn into passion-fuelled relationships that fizzle out after a few months.
Don’t be afraid of vulnerability
It might feel easier to keep your thoughts and fears to yourself but avoiding intimacy like this only leads to loneliness. Trust that no emotion can harm you; it’s healthy and positive to experience joy, excitement, exhilaration, anger, fear and frustration. So, next time the person you’re dating asks what you’re thinking, be honest – you might just find that they feel more comfortable opening up too!
Avoid emotionally unavailable partners
When you open yourself up to the possibility of commitment, it’s much easier to spot the signs of an emotionally unavailable potential partner. Watch out for dates that come on very strong and then start to fade away; people who do just enough to keep you interested; or the ones leave it to the last minute to make plans. People who are open to commitment don’t play games, they call when they say they will, and are open about their feelings.
Reflect on the benefits of commitment
Aside from the practical and financial benefits of formal commitments like marriage, being in a committed relationship of any kind can be great. There’s nothing quite like the intimacy that long-lasting love allows, as well as that feeling that someone is always on your side. Yes, committing to just one person comes with risks but the rewards are often well-worth it.