Due to negative experiences and beliefs (or sometimes a personality disorder), both sexes can suffer from commitment phobia, but more and more men seem to be suffering from this problem (or challenge).
Let’s look at some typical behaviours commitment phobic men display in relationships.
Commitment phobic men are tortured souls full of FEAR. They are in a constant state of emotional conflict because of their negative irrational beliefs about love, commitment and relationships. In relationships they create great confusion, havoc, pain, and anguish as their behaviours are often insensitive, unpredictable and bizarre.
These types of men can make women who are saints turn into mad women, as they play games with their minds and their hearts.
I am writing this article from my own personal experience, from experiences my friends and clients have had, and from interviews and research conducted by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol. The interviews were conducted with over hundred men who can’t commit, and the women who have been involved with them.
(Ref: Men who can’t Love by Steven Carte and Julia Sokol).
Commitment phobic men may display SOME or MANY of the following behaviours:
1. They usually have a history of short relationships and they may never have been married – there is often an excuse that they haven’t met the right woman, or they justify their history by saying they still have plenty of time to settle down as they can have children at any age. A favourite line is “someday”.
2. If they have been married it is likely to have been for a short time, or, if they have been in a long-term relationship or marriage, they will usually have a history of infidelity.
3. They want a relationship but they also want freedom and space so they are often attracted to long distance relationships and busy independent women.
4. They are fast to move in on a woman they are attracted to, and they pursue ardently until they win the woman over.
5. They are very charming. They say and do all the right things and they can be very romantic. They are very good salesmen to get their own needs met, but in reality they have very little concern for the woman’s feelings, as they are always operating from hidden agendas.
6. These men are usually very affectionate and loving. This is because in their mind the relationship is not going to be long term, so they feel free to give affection and love, knowing it won’t be forever. It isn’t long though before they suddenly start rejecting the woman, by not ringing or not wanting to see her for days, or not including her in weekend arrangements etc. This is because they subtly want to give the woman the message that they don’t want a long term committed relationship.
7. Severe commitment phobics play the seduction/rejection game. They can’t make the decision to give totally to the relationship, but they can’t commit to walk away either. They feel trapped by both choices. They feel love for the woman when they don’t see her, but they want to run away when they become involved again.
8. Commitment phobics love the chase but they don’t want the kill. This may happen after 1 night, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months or 1 year. They may start sabotaging just as they are about to get married, or just before or after there’s a decision made to move in together.
9. They spin stories to justify their contradictory behaviour, and when the woman threatens to leave the relationship they may make promises to change, but they never do.
10. They tend to treat the woman like a mistress rather than a real girlfriend.
11. They tend to limit the amount of time they spend with the women and treat her as a low priority.
13. Commitment phobics behaviours announce subtly…“You will be special for a short time, but it won’t be forever”.
14. They often choose women who are not the type of partner they are looking for, for example they may be much older, much younger, married, or they may have different interests. They use these differences as excuses to end relationships.
15. They can have a history of frequent career change and often work in environments where they have a certain amount of space and freedom.
16. They treat requests for respect as demands and become, angry, obnoxious and rebellious.
17. Severe commitment phobics avoid events or outings that may include the woman’s family or friends.
18. They know an ongoing sexual relationship often leads to commitment so they choose to run when things start to head in that direction.
19. They like to feel in control and create time frames that suit them, often treating the woman like a puppet on a string.
20. They don’t like structure, particularly in their personal life.
21. They tend to compartmentalize their life and keep their work environment, friends or family off-limits. They can create wonderful excuses why the woman shouldn’t meet these people.
22. When they get the feeling they need to run, their words and actions are full of mixed messages. They play mind games.
23. A ccommitment phobic won’t allow the relationship to grow and they have no intentions of ever doing so.
24. They can be moody or aloof and blame the woman for why they are acting so bizarrely.
25. They may withdraw sexually and blame it on the woman for being demanding, or on work fatigue, or illness, or anything else that they can think of.
26. They can have a history of unavailability and inaccessibility .They can be hard to contact, and they are often unpredictable when it comes to returning phone calls. They can even avoid answering calls completely.
27. They lie, or they are evasive and secretive about where they are and what they are doing to create space.
28. Their living arrangements may be rather off-beat. They may have an apartment but they may rarely stay there, preferring to stay at friends places, with parents or ex-girlfriend’s.
29. They hate planning ahead because that means commitments.
30. Severe commitment phobics may have very little furniture, not own property or a car, as these represent commitment as well. To some buying a car can be as big a decision as deciding to get married – it can be all too much for them as they don’t want to feel stuck with anything.
31. They often don’t invite women to their home because of their peculiar living arrangements, but they have no desire to change their situation. Even if their home is comfortable it exudes the feeling that they want to be alone. It is not welcoming to the outside world.
32. They are often unreliable, late and sometimes they don’t turn up at all. They are like this with family and friends as well, although this is not the case in their working environment.
33. They are often unfaithful in relationships.
34. They can be overly committed to their work or to their children to avoid spending a lot of time with a woman.
35. Severe commitment phobics rarely lower their defences because they don’t want to get too close to a woman, or vice versa. If they do, they usually only give little pieces of their soul in well- planned instalments, except if they are having an affair. Affairs are perfect for commitment phobics as they feel completely safe to disclose and to chase, as commitment is not an option while they are in another relationship.
36. If a man has been married he may void putting his divorce papers through as he can use this as an excuse to keep a woman at bay. This helps him to feel safe from the possibility of ever getting married again.
37. Behavioural inconsistencies are very noticeable with these men when they find themselves getting too close. They become argumentative and abusive, or they create the distance. A lot of uncaring sabotage behaviours surface eg. working long hours, taking on extra projects, creating space, not ringing, being late, finding fault with the woman etc
38. They often choose to travel a lot for work, to play a lot of sport, or be involved in many projects to create distance.
39. These men know on some level that they are deceptive and cruel to women.
40. The word “forever” terrifies these men. Love doesn’t scare them; rather it is what love represents to them that scares them. This is due to their negative belief system about love and relationships.
41. They usually end up behaving worse and worse, and they sabotage more and more because they want the woman to end the relationship as they feel too anxious and guilty to do so.
42. Severe commitment phobics can also suffer from claustrophobia and/or a personality disorder.
How you handle a commitment phobic
1. Don’t rush into bed with these types of men (or any men for that matter), especially the ones who are very charming and pursue ardently, as they are the ones to be most wary of.
2. Take your time. Listen carefully to a man’s history and leave him as soon as you recognize the behaviours before you get involved and hurt.
3. If he tends to exclude you from other areas of his life the writing is on the wall – beware
4. If you get involved before seeing the behaviours, set the pace with this man. Don’t allow him to set the pace.
5. Act like you don’t need him – stay independent and non-wife like.
6. Realize your love and attention won’t change him but not needing him and giving him space might (that’s if he isn’t a severe case!)
7. Actions speak louder than words. Believe what he does, not what he says.
8. Don’t expect a close committed relationship – be prepared to take the relationship for what it is. These types of men are best treated as occasional lovers rather than potential partners. Don’t rely on having a relationship with them. If you do you will never feel emotionally safe or satisfied. You will be left confused, bewildered, angry and hurt.
9. Don’t cut yourself off from dating other men – keep your options open as it is highly likely he is not saving himself for you, nor can he ever give you what you want, need and deserve.
10. Don’t find excuses for his behaviour.
11. Evaluate whether he wants to change and whether he is capable of changing – some men will fall into this category but most won’t. Also evaluate how patient you are.
12. Don’t think it was your fault when a commitment phobic relationship ends but learn from it. Make sure you don’t get involved with one of these types of men again. Watch carefully for the behaviours.
13. Take care of yourself first as there is a high chance this man won’t be there for you when you really need him, despite his sweet words when he is in the mood.
14. If you are continually attracting commitment phobics, you will need some coaching to get different results.
15. If you are in pain from a commitment phobic relationship you may need some coaching to heal and move forward.
” For your life to change you must change” – Jim Rohn
What does a commitment phobic have to do to change?
1. He has to admit he has a problem.
2. He has to take responsibility for his behaviours toward women – that he leads them on and he behaves in an uncaring and cruel way.
3. He has to want to change.
4. He has to be prepared to seek help.
5. He has to look deep within to work out when and how his claustrophobic/commitment phobic symptoms started.
6. He will require coaching or cognitive behavioural therapy to change his negative, irrational thought patterns about love, commitment and relationships. He will also need to explore some of the faster healing therapies to heal, grow and change.
7. He needs some time out from relationships to reflect on his thinking patterns and behaviours.
8. He must develop his emotional and spiritual intelligence and become more aware. Personal and spiritual development courses raise awareness and consciousness and prevent us from sabotaging relationships. (Spiritual development is not about religion).
9. If he doesn’t want to change his behaviours he has to be honest and upfront to women when he first meets them. He must tell them he does not want a committed relationship – that he is only interested in a casual liaison with space and freedom, and not to expect any more.
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