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7 Tips for People Who are Afraid of Commitment

A woman who's afraid of commitment, looking at her boyfriend as they hold hands and walk in a field.

Fear is often the number one reason many people can’t commit to relationships.  That fear can stem from having previous romantic relationships that went wrong, growing up in a broken family, or even a fear of losing one’s individuality.  Whatever the reason may be, if you’re afraid of commitment but want to, there are things you can do to move past it.

Here are seven tips that may help you get over being afraid of commitment:

1. Be honest with yourself
Ask yourself what is it that you are really afraid of, says Ellen Bolin, a relationship coach. “What about commitment is so scary? What do you think will happen to you if you commit to someone? You’ll feel good when you really think about it, as honesty with yourself is the first step to being honest with a partner.”

2. Consider that it might be them, not you.
Some people are afraid of commitment altogether and some people are afraid of committing to a specific person, explains dating expert, James Anderson. “You need to reflect and decide which of these describe you. If you’re open to commitment but not to your current partner really think about why that is and determine if that is likely to change. If you’re just afraid of commitment across the board you need to dig a bit deeper into yourself to determine the root cause.”

3. Write down your fears.
Sometimes it’s easier to get all your thoughts out when you write it down.  In a way, you can step back and literally see what it is that’s holding you back. “You will be clearer when you see it in black and white and be able to tackle each obstacle one at a time. It will give you a better understanding and you will see that it’s not as scary as you think,” says Bolin.

4. Set some goals.
Once you have a better understanding of why you struggle with a fear of commitment, you can set some goals for addressing that fear. “These can include anything from approaching dating differently, dating outside your type, taking scary baby steps with a partner who you may have been putting off commitment with—or anything that takes you closer to building a healthy relationship with someone who wants what you want,” explains psychotherapist and relationship coach, Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC.

5. Focus on your partner.
When you commit to a single person you are picking that one person out of all the other options that are out there in the dating world. “This can be an uncomfortable choice and should not be made lightly. To make it easier, take some time to think about what you really love about your current partner. Then think about all the other people you’ve dated to this point before finding them. If you don’t think there’s a realistic chance of finding a better fit you should give commitment a chance,” says Anderson.

6. Talk about it.
Once you’ve taken the time to determine the root cause of your fear of commitment, you should talk about it with your partner. “This is especially useful if your partner is ready to commit and would like you to be on the same page. Talk about your reservations and get their thoughts. They may be able to put your mind at ease or they may reinforce your fears,” explains Anderson.  Either way, you’ll get a better idea if commitment is the right move or not.

7. Seek professional help.
Sometimes, the best way to get over this fear, or any that relates to relationships, is to talk to a therapist From there, you may be able to determine the root cause of why you can’t commit and a professional can work with you to take the proper steps in getting over this fear and into a healthy, long-term relationship.

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