Fix Your Fear of Commitment: 6 Signs of Gamophobia & How To Deal With It
The fear of commitment is also termed gamophobia and is much more complex than the inability to ‘settle down’. It is generally seen and understood in the context of romantic relationships but can be seen in a lack of long-term dedication towards a job, place or even a goal.
Couples therapy has shown to be quote effective in resolving the fear of commitment and helping both the partners navigate their feelings and long-term relationship goals.
Fear of commitment on an individual level can be resolved by seeking individual therapy. The fear to commit to one particular person, job, city or a goal can eventually leave you feeling empty and lost.
The fear of commitment can manifest itself in many different ways both on conscious as well as subconscious level. On a conscious level you may deliberately avoid relationships or subconsciously indulge in sabotaging behaviors.
“I am 32 years old. When I look back at my life I regret a lot of things. The biggest regret was not being able to stay committed and consistent with one thing whether it was my relationship or a job. I wish I had taken therapy earlier so I would not have made these mistakes. However, I am happy that I eventually worked on my fear of commitment because I can see so many amazing changes in my life” shares Saurabh.
He is a software engineer who suffered from gamophobia or fear of commitment. Saurabh was able to recognize the roots of his fears and with the help of his therapist was able to resolve them.
The first step to dealing with fear of commitment is owing and accepting that you have it. Being aware of the signs of commitment can help you to take the necessary steps to overcome it.
1. You Take the Exit When Things Get Serious
It is all good until the infamous question pops up, ‘What are we?’. The question can send pangs of anxiety within you and you frantically search for the nearest exit to avoid this serious conversation at all cost.
Avoidance is often a sign of fear of commitment. You tend to avoid serious questions or conversations about the future. You probably take ‘living in the moment’ way too seriously and literally.
2. You See the End Before It Begins
Whenever a relationship begins you automatically start preparing yourself for the end. In you head you have already decided that it is a doomed relationship. This belief could be a serious sign of fear of commitment because you feel feel more comfortable in knowing that the relationship will end rather than hoping that this could be your ‘forever’ relationship.
You may also find yourself constantly questioning the relationship or your partner.
“Does she love me?”
“Is she leaving me?”
“Will this work?”
This type of questioning is rooted in fear and anxiety. Such a belief system often indicates a more serious underlying reason. You may have gone through a hurtful relationship in the past or seen more failed relationships than successful ones. The pain and hurt of broken relationships can shut you off and make you avoid serious relationships.
3. You Come Off as ‘Emotionally Unavailable”
Sometimes we may not be the best judge of our personality traits and behaviors. Fear of commitment also largely impacts your partner or the person you are seeing. If they often complain about your lack of emotions or half hearted efforts into the relationship then a little self-reflection can be helpful.
People who have a fear of commitment restrict themselves from showing emotions either because emotions scare them or they simply don’t get those feelings at all.
4. You Feel Uneasy or Suffocated by Your Partner’s Display of Affection
“I remember being in a relationship with wonderful and kind girl. She would keep sending me small gifts or randomly text me cute messages. Instead of feeling happy and special about it I used to feel uneasy and defensive.”
Saurabh’s fear of commitment made him run away from any signs and efforts of affection and love. He liked to keep his relationships on a surface level and could not bear to explore the depths of it.
This is quite common in people who fear commitment. They feel like these gestures are a way to trap them into the relationship.
5. No Talk About the Future
Talking about the future of a relationship is a strong sign that you are commitment to it or willing to make it work. People with a strong fear of commitment will refuse to make any future plans or not even dare initiate a conversation about the future.
They also feel highly uncomfortable and annoyed when their partner wants to explore the future of the relationship.
6. Extreme Anxiety or Nervousness
It is not that people who have a fear of commitment does not want to make a relationship work at all. Gamophobia is often rooted in past hurtful and traumatic relationships. These broken relationships bring a lot of pain, guilt, resentment that are embedded in the subconscious mind.
Whenever you face or even think of starting another meaningful relationship the memories of the past can come back to haunt you and prevent you from taking the leap of faith.
If you feel really anxious and nervous at the thought of a serious relationship then going for therapy can help you to explore the causes of your problems and fears.
Possible Causes of Fear of Commitment
Many factors and causes puts you at the risk for developing fear of commitment. Past experiences such as a break-up or a turbulent relationship can instill a strong sense of fear within you. You may want to avoid the same hurt, sadness and broken heart all over again, and for that reason you run away from relationships.
Childhood experiences particularly the one shared with parents or primary caregivers have a serious impact on adult relationships. Child with traumatic memories of abuse, neglect, constant conflicts between parents can develop relationship anxieties.
There could be underlying concerns that lead to fear of commitment. Resolving these issues can really help you to break free from the fears and open yourself to meaningful and loving relationships.
However, it is important to note that some people may simply not want to commit out of sheer willingness. They could have different aspirations, views about life and a generally detached attitude.
How To Deal with Fear of Commitment
Not able to stay commitment is not a problem as long as you feel happy and comfortable in being who you are. Many people are not inclined towards monogamous relationships and that is their own choice.
However, being mindful of the opposite person’s feelings and staying open and honest about your feelings and choices can save a lot of heartbreaks and resentment.
If you are someone who wants a loving relationship but finding it difficult because of the fear to commit then these are some reliable and effective ways to overcome the fear of commitment:
1. Couples Therapy
It is possible that you truly love your partner and want to make the relationship work. Yet the fears cloud your mind and you have troubles with intimacy and showing affection. In such cases, couple therapy can genuinely help you understand and overcome the fears that are holding you back from passionately loving your partner.
Couples Therapy gives a safe and non-judgmental space for both the partners. They ca openly share and discuss about their feelings, wants and desires. As the therapy progresses, the partners learn how to communicate better, resolve conflicts in healthy ways and bring the romance in the relationship.
2. Personal Therapy
Relationship anxiety is one of the major reasons for fear of commitment. This anxiety is generally rooted in unpleasant childhood memories and needs to be addressed and resolved. Therapy helps to understand what is your attachment style and how you can work through it.
As you begin to heal your past wounds you will find yourself being more open and accepting of new love and relationships.
Working on your unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaving is perhaps the best way to overcome fear of commitment and attract positive and blissful relationships.
3. Take Baby Steps
Fear of commitment exaggerates when you think about the future. Instead of focusing your thoughts on the future events that scare you, you can gently shift your attention to the present moment. Try taking small steps like talking for a few hours over the phone, then meeting couple of times in a month, showing small gestures of affection.
These baby steps can break down the mountain of fear that is built in your head.
4. Be Open & Honest
Saurabh candidly shares about his struggle with fear of commitment. He says, “I hurt someone really precious. I led her on and then my fear of commitment made me act like a monster. I ghosted her for days and made her feel like it was all her fault”
Relationships involve a lot of feelings and emotions. Not wanting to commit is your personal choice but being open and honest about your choices and expectations can save you and your partner from the unnecessary hurt and drama.
If needed take a step back and get different perspectives about the situation. If the fears are rooted in the past experiences then therapy can help you to overcome the past trauma and replace your fears with hope and courage to pursue the love you want.
5. Understand What Is It You Truly Want
If having fleeting relationships without any sense of commitment makes you happy and at peace with who you are then there is no problem in not being able to commit as long as you are honest with the other person too.
However if you yearn for a loving partner, the tender affection and intimate friendship then coming face to face with your fear of commitment and resolving it can be the only way you can get what you really want. Being in denial about your needs and wants will push you further down in your loneliness.
Your Major Takeaways
Gamophobia or fear of commitment is a complex issue and one that requires your attention and awareness. There is a huge difference between not wanting to commit and not being able to commit. Understanding and accepting your wants, feelings and desires can help you to navigate your fears and take charge of your relationships.
Being aware of the signs of fear of commitment can help you to be more mindful and gradually work on changing it. Resolving this fear will open you to so many possibilities of an amazing and fulfilling love.
If you feel that your fear of commitment is pretty intense and it is affecting your well-being, emotional health and relationships then taking therapy can be an effective step towards positive change.