We've all known at least one person who is a total commitment-phobe. They steer clear of long-term relationships. They always avoid official titles like “girlfriend” or “boyfriend.” They're terrified of taking a vacation “as a couple.” Oh, and they never ever want to meet someone's family or get to know their friends. They basically avoid any aspect of a serious relationship and they are known to bail on partners when they get too attached. While we've all known someone like this, what happens when you're the one dating someone like this?
Are you falling for someone who is afraid of commitment? Are you afraid that your new partner might jump ship at the first sign of things getting serious? It totally sucks to be in a relationship with someone who is afraid to commit, but fortunately there are ways to find out what you're dealing with before you get too attached.
It turns out, people who are afraid of commitment usually give off some major red flags early on in a relationship. One major sign is their dating history. Have all of their relationships been short-lived? If they've never dated someone for more than one or two months, you may have someone who is a total commitment-phobe. Relationships typically stay pretty casual in the first two months. It isn't until the third month mark that people want to make things more serious. If your partner has a pattern of bailing before that third month, it could be because they are afraid of making the long-term commitment to someone.
Another major sign that your partner is afraid of commitment is a reluctance to be intimate. We're not talking about sex. On the contrary, people who are afraid of commitment have no problem jumping into bed with someone. We're talking about emotional intimacy. Are they very vague with you about their thoughts and feelings? Do they hold a lot back and refuse to really open up to you? It could be that they see emotional vulnerability as a sign of commitment. After all, most people only open up to someone they really trust and plan to keep in their lives. If your partner knows that they're going to leave the relationship shortly, they likely won't open up to you at all.
A third and very important red flag concerning commitment-phobes is the refusal to acknowledge relationship titles. Have you been going out with this person for more than a month and they're still calling you a “friend?” If you're the only person they're seeing, the two of you are in a relationship and most people would consider you worthy of a “boyfriend/girlfriend” title. People who are afraid of commitment avoid these titles like the plague. As long as you're not officially their boyfriend or girlfriend, they can drop you at any moment. It's a lot easier to walk away from a new friendship than an actual relationship, right? Labeling you as a friend keeps you at arm's length and relatively disposable.
While these are not always foolproof signs your partner is afraid of commitment, they are in most cases. (We can't be right all the time, can we?) It's important to recognize these signs early on so you don't get too invested in a commitment-phobe only to have your heart broken!