Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why Some Men Fear To Commit

Understanding a Man's Fear of Commitment

Every relationship has a romantic beginning-two people meet, start dating, and fall in love. They become each other's appendage, doing nearly everything jointly. As they grow closer together, so the relationship deepens, and reaches a plateau. This is the time when most couples evaluate how committed they are and make decisions as to which direction the relationship should go. For some, this critical point results in an even stronger relationship; for others, however, it signals the end. Commitment issues have blighted even the most stable of relationships, and while women have been known to suffer cold feet, men are more notorious for buckling under the commitment pressure.

Most men, though professing love for their partners, refuse to take relationships to the next level, even if it means hurting-and losing-their loved ones in the process. These men are known as commitment phobes-men who can't or won't commit. What are the reasons for this paralyzing fear of commitment? Why does a commitment phobe behave the way he does? To find the answers, we need to look at his past and how it has shaped his view of relationships. A child who grew up in an insecure family environment is likely to grow up wary of commitment. He might have witnessed the unhealthy state of his parents' marriage, which planted the seeds of doubt on the veracity of any relationship in his young mind.

Parental divorce would have rooted the doubts firmly, and the fear of ending up like his parents would have slowly taken place. An abused child is also prone to commitment phobia as an adult. Child abuse is usually perpetrated by those with whom the child has implicit trust such as a mother or a babysitter. If that trust has been breached in childhood, a child may grow up vowing never to have faith in a woman again. A man who has been in destructive relationships can develop commitment phobia even without the underpinning history. Someone who has just gotten out of a bad relationship or is undergoing a divorce is understandably cautious of jumping into any kind of romantic obligation.

This kind of commitment phobia, however, has more chances of resolving itself than the one deeply-entrenched in childhood. Another plausible reason for fear of commitment is one's perception of it. The term carries several unsavory connotations such as loss of freedom, loss of "manly space", and forfeit of sexual diversity. The thoughts of not being able to go out when and where he wants to, losing the space where he stores his junk, and having sex with the same woman for the rest of his life are enough to make some men quake in commitment-fear. A more practical reason involves financial stability.

It is a known fact that divorce rates worldwide are on the increase and men, especially those who have much to lose financially, are justifiably worried that the women they are romancing today could end up romancing away their hard-earned assets. Evidently, commitment phobia is a complex emotional disorder. It's not that men won't commit, it's that some of them just can't. The interplay of childhood trauma, relationship experiences, and preconceived ideas all influence a man's view of "settling down". Understanding what compels his fear of commitment is the first step towards ensuring that the relationship plateau becomes the starting point of another journey in the relationship, and not the end.

1 comment:

James said...

When men take care of their own inner life, with a good therapist, before attaching to a women, they are more likely to committ to women from a whole and centered place in themselves. Then, they can trust themselves. Check out a book my husband wrote, called "The Shaman in the Disco and other Dreams of Masculinity: Men, Isolation and Intimacy." This book was a pathway to self-awareness and part of the journey led my husband to a healthy relationship to himself and to me.
masculinity/dp/0595401899 --Pam (using James' acct.)