“Hope for love, pray for love, wish for love, dream for love…but don’t put your life on hold waiting for love.”
~ Mandy Hale
Are you seeing someone who will not commit?
If your relationship has been healthy and steadily growing, your partner may be on the path to commitment although he is not quite all the way there.
If things are moving in the right direction, talk to him about it in a constructive way and develop a plan to reassess commitment in the future.
If you sense that your partner has deeper issues and is avoidant of a committed relationship, you may need to reassess whether or not you are a good match and possibly move on.
Try to engage him on the topic and understand his thinking.
While some people are simply slow to commit, others are unwilling or unable. If your partner is unwilling, it is important that he be honest with you and that you know. Then you can decide what you want to do for yourself.
If you have issues around a ticking biological clock and the desire to have children, you will need to make a decision about whether to have a child on your own or to find another partner who is willing to commit and be fully present in the relationship.
Men do not have the same issue of the biological clock, although their energy can diminish over time.
If you have a pressing need to have a commitment, explore your options, communicate as much as you can, give him time to work it through, set an end date, and then proceed accordingly.
While it is sometimes no one‘s fault that timing does not line up, you owe it to yourself to give this your best shot, and then do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself and create the life you want.
It is your responsibility to make and adjust your choices in order to meet your own goals for your life.
Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com
If you want a committed relationship there is nothing wrong with that.
If the person you are with does not want one, it’s hard to know if this will ever change.
If you and your partner have only been together for a short time, let’s say a few weeks, then it may make sense that they do not want to commit yet and they may prefer to get to know you better before committing.
However, if you have dated for an extended period of time and you have made it clear you would like a committed or monogamous relationship and they do not, as difficult as it is, I think it is important to reevaluate this relationship.
I find people can give a whole laundry list of reasons that they do not want to commit, and even from a therapeutic perspective this can come from many places- hurt, insecurities, trauma, past relationships and so on.
It is not that these things are not important or valid, but you also do not have to settle or change what you want and need to appease someone else.
For your partner, these things may be very valid, but waiting around for them to figure out what they want in a relationship may take months or years; do you have that in you?
If it is clear that you want a committed relationship and it is clear they do not, and this pattern has gone on for some time, it may mean having to move on.
You deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you and even if they have a fear of commitment, you deserve to have them work on this to be able to commit to you. If they cannot or are not willing to do this, then it likely means the two of you are not a good fit and have different fundamental relationship desires.
This is hard to hear, but if someone is really into you, they will want to commit to you.
They will want to be with you. They will only want to be with you and not date other people as well. It won’t take convincing, begging ,pleading or making tons of excuses for them.
If you want a committed relationship, you deserve to be with someone who wants the same.
Ashley Baldwin, LPC, CACII – www.facebook.com/BaldwinCounseling
What I have discovered in my years of coaching and through my own personal experience, is that when someone is unable to commit fully to a relationship, there is always more going on behind the scenes than what meets the eye.
As the committed person, we tend to blame ourselves and think: If I was only better at this or that, he/she would commit to me…
If your loved one truly does love you and is still unable to commit, I can assure you… it is not about you! It is about them.
There are many reasons why a partner is unwilling to commit to a relationship. I say the word “partner” instead of man or woman, because this type of situation is not gender specific. I repeat, it is not gender specific.
When dealing with matters of the heart and mind, gender is erased and all that is left is one’s personality, beliefs and fears.
I have seen both sides of this equation (the committer and the non-committer) struggle to understand why the relationship has not moved to the next level.
It can be just as frustrating to the non-committer because the answer is so deeply embedded that it can be just beyond his/her reach and the reason may remain ever elusive to them.
To move past this block, there must be a burning desire for change.
It will take deep introspection and self-awareness for the non-committer to unravel the complexity of the issue.
Let’s take a look at…
Potential reasons “why”:
Behind every person’s actions, reactions and behaviors there is either one of two dynamics at play. The person is either coming from a place of Love (Higher Self) or from a place of fear. There is no in between.
With each situation that arises in one’s life, this dynamic is at play behind the scenes. If a person at any given moment is not in a Higher Self (Love) space, then he/she is in a fear space.
Chances are high that if your partner is not showing up to full commitment, there is a deeply rooted fear attached.
Below I’ve listed eight possible scenarios that I have personally witnessed repeatedly in my own life as well as in my life coaching. However, this list is not all encompassing.
There could be multitudes of reasons “why”.
My hope for you is that by reading this list, you will begin to see/feel how the fear behind the scenes can be running the show.
If none of these apply directly to your partner, I invite you to discover what fear your partner may be holding onto through loving and open communication.
1. Commitment feels like forever.
The person feels like they will not be able to get out of something if they start it. This could be spurred by bearing witness to someone not being able to leave a bad situation or they themselves were in a place where they felt unable to leave. This fear elicits a “trapped” feeling.
2. Fear of deeply trusting another.
The person truly, on a very deep level, does not trust other people. They might trust the small or insignificant things and they may even put on a grand show of false trust, but deeply hidden in the shadows of their mind, they do not trust anyone.
Although their intellect and intuition may be showing them that “all is well” within the relationship, they struggle internally to get past the lack of trust.
3. They do not trust themselves.
Oftentimes, the person feels as though they have made bad judgments in the past and does not trust what they are feeling or thinking.
They most likely have been hurt deeply by what another person has said or done and berate him/herself for having gotten involved with them in the first place. If they have been wounded multiple times, they surely start to question their own judgment.
4. They are afraid their own personal growth will be squelched or they recognize or know on a deep level that they are not in the best position they can be to give a relationship the time and attention it deserves.
To keep a bit of distance in the relationship makes them feel like they can continue to grow and evolve into the person they wish to become. They are often attached to a belief that they have to be 100% whole before making any sort of commitment.
5. They believe that to make a commitment is just adding more to their plate.
Their life may feel overwhelming as it is and to add another person “to please” to their life may feel like too much to handle.
6. They have a deep belief of unworthiness of a loving relationship.
As strange as this may sound, many people can carry around tremendous guilt for a decision made in the past or a message they attached to as a child or an adult.
They believe that they are unworthy of love and although their heart and soul desperately seek the love of another, they keep others just outside the commitment zone and a loving relationship is always a distant dream.
7. They have an underlying, deep fear of abandonment.
At some point (or multiple points) in his/her life, they were abandoned by someone they loved dearly. The pain was so great, they not only have a fear of commitment, they restrain their love from growing intimately just in case their partner decides to leave so it won’t hurt so badly.
8. Commitment feels threatening to their autonomy and independence.
At some point in the person’s life they either witnessed a loss of personal power in another or they have lived it personally.
Somehow the person (or someone they were observing) was under the rule of another and the situation was so emotionally crushing for them, that to go there in any form is frightening.
So where do you go from here? Well…
The bottom line:
It’s surely not difficult to see the common denominator in the above listed reasons. The non-committer has a deeply rooted fear in some area of his/her life.
The bad news is, even if you show up in the relationship as a perfect, loving person, their fears will still be there.
They will repeat the behavior over and over again until they begin to recognize their pattern and decide to do something about it.
The good news is, this can be healed and overcome if the non-committer has a desire to do so but it won’t necessarily be easy.
It will take true, authentic open communication by both parties to move forward and into healing.
The process can be frustrating, difficult and exasperating for both people.
The key is to remain patient, loving and kind as your partner is working on his/her issues.
By understanding that he/she did not choose this situation and by staying focused on the “innocence” of their beliefs, you may be able to ease some of your emotional turmoil.
I am not in a position to say whether your relationship will make it through because there are so many dynamics at play.
Relationships are as unique as each snowflake that falls.
But what I can say is awareness is key to unraveling and healing the hidden fears that may be keeping your partner stuck.
If they choose to seek help and healing, you can find your center together and move forward to create a beautiful future.
Kristen Brown, Certified Empowerment Coach/Mentor – www.kristenbrown.org
Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons that make men cautions about making long term commitments to romantic relationships.
Some of these reasons apply to both genders; some are more specific to men.
There are four broad reasons why men – and women I must add – may at times be reluctant to commitment to a long term romantic relationship.
Both men and women (94% of people surveyed by Popenoe & Whitehead in 2001) list being each other’s “soul mates” as the # 1 requirement in an ideal partner.
Attraction and desire to commit for the long haul thus seem to have to do with the specific person who is the object of these feelings and not with a general attitude about relationships.
The stakes being very high and difficult at times to achieve, it is possible that people – and men in particular – may want to be 100% sure they are with the right person before they commit.
2. Societal pressures.
Men feel less pressure from family and friends to settled down than women do, in general. They tend to see marriage as having to grow up and be responsible.
While all of this is rapidly changing, men still see themselves as the providers and the ones who have to sacrifice having fun with their friends for the benefit of the family.
3. Physiological reasons.
Women have to deal with their ‘biological clock’ that puts pressure on them to have children while they are fertile. Even though today more women have children without being married and, indeed, without a partner, or may choose not to have children, most of them still seem to want a stable relationship and children in this order.
4. A person’s history of attachments.
How we become intimate in romantic relationships arks back to early childhood experiences of closeness and love to the primary person who took care of us.
If we were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where we felt loved, attended to by a person who was emotionally attuned to our needs and where we felt physically and emotionally safe, we develop trust, comfort with emotional and physical closeness, as well as good self-esteem and self-worth.
As adults, we are able to develop and maintain healthy and balanced emotional relationships.
If we were raised in a less than ideal situation, we tend to keep at a “safe” distance from the people we love, becoming commitment-phobic or are so insecure that we constantly need to be reassured by our partner, becoming needy and clingy.
While this applies to both men and women, men have to break away from mother in order to grow up, and may suffer from this more than girls do.
If you are a woman currently in a relationship where your mate doesn’t seem to feel any urgency to move to the next step, what can you do?
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Do not put pressure on him to commit to you by complaining, pleading or threatening, but act in ways that make him feel he WANTS to be with you.
When a woman can make a man feel free to do what he wants, he often wants her. When a man feels pushed into a corner, on the other hand, he will be more likely to get out of that corner.
2. Do not let your partner know your biological clock is ticking.
This is, after all, your problem, not his. He may feel used and manipulated by you in order to achieve your goals and objectives, not necessarily joint ones.
3. Talk about your future together as being exactly the same as the present.
Men at times shy away from what they foresee as a bunch of responsibilities and sacrifices, with little return for them.
Remember that men want to be valued and made to feel unique (don’t we all?) So, focus on making your relationship as happy as you can for both of you. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should put your life and goals on hold forever, waiting for your partner to make up his mind about whether or not to commit to your relationship. So,
4. Give yourself a time frame.
This is the length of time you are willing to wait without pressuring your partner about the future. Make sure that this time frame is tolerable and fair to you. After that and until its expiration, try not to think too much about the future, but stay in the present and enjoy it.
Do not let anxieties about the future take away from what you value and find precious in the now. The happier the present, the more we want to preserve it and maintain it for many years to come.
Dr. Daniela Roher – www.droherphd.com
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