All the things you understand when you’re afraid of commitment

I can remember cuddling and watching a movie one Saturday night at a boyfriend’s apartment. Pizza had been eaten, wine had been drunk, I was idly eating jelly beans and he began talking about our future. Talk of upcoming weekends as if it was a foregone conclusion that we’d no longer be spending any time apart as we continued to date. The more he expounded on future plans, the more a tiny panicky feeling in my stomach grew and grew, my hands started to shake and then jelly beans were all over the floor, while I hastily made up a reason why I had to get going.

Commitment used to be something that made me uncomfortable. The idea of agreeing to be together in the sense of “forever” sounded absolutely terrifying. It took me a long time to get over this fear, although I can still get a little anxious when a relationship officially becomes long term. In case I’m not the only one, I’ve summed up some of the things you only understand when you’re a commitment-phobe.

You have a hard time referring to yourself as someone’s partner

I dated a guy who every time I introduced him to friends or family, I prefaced his name with “this is my friend” and he had to call me out on it for me to stop. But then I still only introduced him by his name, no title. The term “my boyfriend” felt foreign and unnatural coming out of my mouth and made me nervous. Partly because sometimes I didn’t feel ready and other times because then everyone would know we were together and therefore be up in my business when we broke up. Same went for whether or not to change relationship status on social media. Clicking that option seemed to invite too many prying eyes into my personal business when I wasn’t even sure I knew what I myself wanted.

Breaking up is a foregone conclusion

I used to assume every relationship had an expiration date. So I would actually try to guesstimate how long something would last, because the idea of death do us part seemed unfathomable. In my mind every relationship ended, so agreeing to be in a serious one was just the first step towards an eventual end.

You duck texts and calls

Answering texts and calls becomes stressful because another person is slowly but surely becoming a constant part of your day all day long. Sooo sometimes you just avoid it altogether.

You hesitate when someone asks “are you single?”

Maybe it’s part of the “is there someone better suited for me” mentality or just because you don’t have the nerve to admit to yourself that you’re not. But when this question is posed you find yourself unable to immediately answer. Or qualifying your response in some way. “I’m seeing someone but….”

You wonder if you’re missing out

Yes this person seems great, everything is fun, but what if you meet someone else? Someone more compatible who maybe makes you laugh harder and feel more giddy. What if there’s lots of other someones you should meet before settling down? How will you know unless you don’t get tied down.

Long term commitment isn’t for everyone. It also can be something that you change your mind about as you get older like I did. But if something is causing you stress or anxiety you probably should take a moment to figure out why. Unsure about your feelings about that person? Not ready to date seriously? Or you just don’t want to date one person monogamously and don’t know how to explain these proclivities? These can all be at the source of your phobia and they are perfectly natural. Be honest with yourself about what you want, don’t give in to pressure that you SHOULD want what another person or so-called traditional norms dictate. Whether it’s serious commitment, serial casual dating or being on your own, there is no standard for any of it. You do you.

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