We’ve all heard the stereotypes and old tropes about people with a “fear of commitment.” Usually, the phrase is used when talking about people who might not stick around in relationships or not want to get married.
But commitment avoidance can cover almost any area of life. You might not want to commit to a career path, a place to live, or even a hobby.
Avoiding commitment could be caused by having an actual fear of committing to something, or stepping into the unknown. But, by letting that fear control your life, you could be missing out on incredible experiences and relationships.
So, how can you tell if you might be avoiding commitment? More importantly, what can you do about it?
You Don’t Take Things Seriously
Do you often not give your “best” in a job, a relationship, or even a hobby because you don’t consider it a permanent fixture in your life?
That doesn’t mean you slack off at work or that you purposely don’t try. But, losing something isn’t a big deal to you because you didn’t plan on sticking with it in the first place.
Not taking things seriously in life is a major sign of commitment avoidance. It keeps you from getting too attached to something. When you don’t invest all of yourself, it’s easier to let go and move on to the next thing.
You Don’t Think About the Future
Has anyone ever asked you where you see yourself in five years?
If so, there’s a good chance that question either felt overwhelming, or you just didn’t have an answer.
People with commitment issues don’t often think about the future. They’re focused on the present. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing on the surface. But, with no plans or aspirations for your future, it’s easy to remain stuck in negative behavioral patterns. You won’t have anything to work toward and no push for growth.
You Don’t Feel Emotionally Invested
When most people end a relationship, lose a job, or dissolve a friendship, they’re overwhelmed with emotion. It’s not uncommon to feel hurt, angry, lost, and confused after these types of losses.
Have you ever gone through something like that, but it didn’t bother you? Do you feel like you’re emotionally attached to anything in your life?
If not, you could be avoiding commitment.
That doesn’t mean you’re a cold person, and it doesn’t mean you can’t express your emotions. Rather, keeping yourself emotionally uninvested in people and things makes it easier to let go of them without feeling any pain or sadness. Again, that might not sound bad on paper. But, it leads to fleeting relationships and stagnant career paths and hobbies. Emotional investment is important, even when it causes pain.
What to Do If You’re Avoiding Commitment
The best way to deal with commitment issues is to confront them. That starts with acknowledging your avoidance—something that’s often easier said than done. But, when you recognize your own commitment red flags, you can do something about it.
Often, the best thing you can do is attend individual therapy.
A therapist will help you recognize even more signs of avoiding commitment. They’ll also work with you to uncover the root cause(s) of your commitment issues. They may stem from your childhood, past experiences, or even certain types of trauma. Uncovering the cause is the best way to better understand your commitment avoidance.
Working with a therapist will give you a judgment-free environment to work through your struggles with commitment. Things should start to become clearer, and you’ll learn how to commit to important things in your life, rather than avoiding them.