While most (though certainly not all) men experience some degree of commitment phobia, it is still widely and aggressively frowned upon. Much of the dating and relationship advice available to women will tell them that men can, and in fact have to be, tricked out of their fear of settling down. Surely men couldn’t have reasons to fear commitment, right? It’s simply a bump in the road to be run over roughshod.
Being a bit spooked when it comes to partnering up actually may not be completely irrational or even anti-relationship. It’s likely that there may be reasonable concerns behind the hesitation which should be respected and addressed. For example:
Everyone’s heard this, right? Actually, it’s more like 40-50% of all first marriages, 60-70% of all second marriages and 75% of all third marriages. Pretty bleak. It doesn’t mean, of course that it can’t work for you, but it does mean that being more than a little cautious is, in no way, irrational.
How To Address It: If you’re on the verge of commiting, don’t be afraid to hash it all out. If there are things that you suspect are going to bother you down the road, get them out in the open and see how your partner reacts. You may find that you’re actually mostly on the same page, but if not, it’s better to know now, right?
We’ve seen it happen too many times — a person is fun, loving, engaged, charming and then, as soon as you make it official, they flip on you. They become critical, sedentary, or just plain mean. How can we possibly know that it won’t happen to us?
How to address it: Trust, but watch for red flags. They’re usually there. Are they quick to anger, weird around your friends, or overly enthusiastic about you? Ask them about their past relationships. You don’t have to pry, but you’re entitled to an outline of how and why those relationships ended before you get in the foxhole with them.
It’s a fact — sex often becomes less exciting and less frequent when you go from dating to bf/gf. It doesn’t have to, though.
How to address it: Make a pact. “I promise that if we’re not having some kind of sexual contact at least X times per week, we’ll work to change that.” Having an agreement that was made when things were good, will help you to navaigate if things get bad.
How many time have you booed up with someone and found yourself spending zero time around your friends? While there’s often a lot of wonderful stuff happening inside that bubble, it’s not going to be enough for either of you in the long run. You’ll end up feeling like your partner is bring you down.
How to address it: Talk to your friends ahead of time — “I really like this person and I want to go for it, but I’m afraid that we’re gonna do the bubble thing. Will you be my lifeline?” They’ll get it. Setting aside at least one night a week that you spend doing something social with someone other than your partner will help, too.
Sure, you like this person, but what if, years down the road, you find out they’re not the one. Not only will you end up hurting them (which feels terrible) but you may have missed an opportunity with someone else along the way. What if they were the one? What do you do then?
How to address it: Go on lots of dates. Even if you find that you like someone, keep dating until you’ve both decided to be exclusive. Through meeting more people, you’ll either realize that this person is not right for you or that they really are.
Yeah. You might. Especially if you’re only pretending to be ready for a relationship. You could really make a mess. You may have a history of screwing up, which makes it hard to believe that you won’t again.
How to address it: You’ve got to be upfront about it. Talk to your partner about your relationship history and about your doubts about your own abilities. It may be that they actually need a little less, or something different from you than you thought. If your partner knows what your patterns are, they may be able to help you not to fall into them again.