This is a compendium of definitions I’ve found on commitment phobia.
Commitment phobia is rooted in fear. It’s the fear and avoidance of having to commit to anything, relationships in particular, and the fear of making poor decisions. A commitment phobic person sees decisions as permanent and often feels caged or trapped. Claustrophobia is common in people with strong commitment phobia.
They actually take commitment very seriously, which makes the decision to commit even harder. because on the one hand you avoid obligations, ties, and commitments but at the same time the you may secretly crave the lives of those who committed. But fear usually wins out. Commitment phobics desire freedom above all else.
Commitment phobia is sometimes thought to be associated with fear of death, fear of intimacy, etc. but they usually show signs of commitment fears in many areas of life. Sometimes it is so pervasive that it can interfere with our ability to make simple every day decisions or to manage and maintain our lives. We are prone to self-destructive behavior and escapism as a way to assuage our anxiety.
Usually the sufferer will be overly critical of the other partner in the relationship. They will set out to annoy or hurt the other person, thus sabotaging the relationship even if it seems to be going well. Sometimes they reject others from the word go, thus not allowing a potential relationship to develop and keeping themselves at a safe distance. Other people with commitment phobia can be flirtatious and affectionate and appear to want a relationship until the fear wins out and the other person is pushed away.
Some commitment phobics genuinely want to meet someone and get married, but often have unrealistic ideals regarding possible suitors. They may fall in love with someone they know isn’t interested in a long-term relationship. This way they can deliberately choose a person who can’t/won’t commit to them, therefore leaving them “safe” from long-term commitment.
The causes of commitment phobia are sometimes associated with a loss or trauma of some kind such as parental separation or bereavement or an illness that had a debilitating affect. Maybe as a child they had poor role models or witnessed/were victims of abuse – physical or emotional.
This can have an effect on their approach to adult relationships. Often, at the heart of the fear, is the fear of rejection by others. To pre-empt this they reject the other person first. Then they put distance between themselves and others and thus feel safe.
I personally don’t “suffer” from commitment phobia. I simply am commitment phobic. My normal everyday life is quite pleasant and happy. I only start “suffering” when the possibility of a relationship with a man exists.
And I am claustrophobic!