I Struggle with Commitment: Could Therapy Help?

Do you tend to shy away from a new romantic partner, even when you really like them? Do you get nervous and dodge the question when your partner brings up taking the next step in your relationship? If so, you may identify as one who experiences trouble with commitment. 

Many people often chalk “commitment issues” up to being less interested in the relationship or, worse, just being a player; this is not necessarily the case. 

Difficulties committing to someone or something can be a symptom of some mental health issues, and like any other mental health struggle, therapy can help. Whether in person or online (through a site such as MyTherapist) you can work through a fear of commitment with a trusted therapist. 

How to identify a fear of commitment

Even though you may suspect you are experiencing these emotions, that doesn’t mean it is easy to identify or diagnose. After all, everyone is unique and experiences emotions, including those of fear or apprehension, differently. 

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However, there are some key signs to look out for in your own behavior that might point toward particular difficulty with commitment, which could be helped by therapy.

  • You get anxious thinking about the future of your relationships
    • It’s normal to feel a little nervous about your future, but if you get overly anxious at the thought of moving forward with a partner, you might be able to benefit from some anti-anxiety techniques through therapy.
  • You always question the relationship or your partner’s behavior 
    • Questioning or doubting the relationship or your partner’s actions can indicate that you have fears about the way things are going. Those fears could be natural, but the discomfort can be helped through therapeutic techniques.
  • You often cancel plans
    • When you never feel comfortable making plans in advance, or want to cancel them after you do, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t care for your partner. It may just be an example of the anxiety you experience.
  • You start feeling trapped if your partner seems invested
    • Once your partner starts getting attached, this should feel exciting. If it feels worrisome instead, that might be a clear sign you are anxious about committing.
  • You don’t feel emotionally invested
    • When someone feels anxious about committing to a relationship, it can be easy to lose that spark that makes being in a relationship attractive. Therapy can help you work around a lack of emotional investment.
  • You have life experiences that make commitment hard
    • A fear of commitment can happen to anyone, but it often occurs to those who have experienced some kind of trauma surrounding a commitment in the past. There is nothing to be ashamed about if this is the case, and a therapist can help you to address that past trauma.
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How can therapy help with a fear of commitment?

Therapy can work in several different ways according to what works best for you and your therapist, as well as the potential root causes of your fear or anxiety. 

In most instances, your therapist will ask you questions about the way that you feel in order to gauge how the idea of commitment affects you. You will then work together as a team to determine the best ways to analyze and address that fear. You may utilize different techniques to help you diminish the acute fear or anxiety while investigating the root causes of them. 

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In most cases, your therapist will let you know that, while anxieties are rooted in real-life fears, you have the power to manage them and try to guide your emotions to a healthier place. Commitment can feel scary, but examining the reality of the situation may show you that there isn’t much to be afraid of. With a little help from a therapist, you can gain more confidence in creating healthy, meaningful relationships.

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