How Commitment Phobia Keep You Awake At Night

How Commitment Phobia Keep You Awake At Night Image

How Commitment Phobia Keep You Awake At Night

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You may stay awake most nights worrying about commitment.

 Commitment Phobia worry most singles.How-to-select-a-compatible-mate

Being single and constantly on the lookout can be exhausting! Then when you find that ‘special someone’, your mind starts racing. You start thinking “How serious will this get?” “I’m I really ready to be tied down?” “This shit is driving me CRAZY!!”


Just the idea of agreeing to be with another human being for the rest of your life makes your heart pound. Granted, you’re not in any physical danger regarding your significant other, but you start experiencing anxieties and fears that your body just can’t understand. You stay awake most nights drinking coffee.

What you are experiencing is a condition known as ‘Commitment Phobia.’ It’s a claustrophobic response to intimate relationships. The dictionary defines claustrophobia as a fear of enclosed or narrow spaces.

To a commitment phobic, that’s what a relationship symbolizes – an enclosed space in which he or she may get stuck. Commitment phobia comes with all the classic phobic symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chills
  • Intense anxiety
  • Palpitations
  • Hyperventilation
  • Labored breathing
  • Suffocating sensations
  • A general sense of dread

As most of us know, these are all “fight or flight” responses- the body’s way of mobilizing itself against a threat. And it is how people with severe and active commitment conflicts respond when they feel they are involved in a romantic situation that bears the trappings of permanency.

Then next, they know after a short while, will come relationship problems. (More issues to deal with down the road).

The brain sends a message to the body: “I’m terrified.” And the body sends a message back: “Danger! Get Out! Now!!”

You don’t have to be in any real physical danger for the body to mobilize its defenses. If you perceive something as a threat, then the body reacts as though there is indeed a very real threat.

“Give me liberty or give me death!” it cries. “Fifty-four or fight!” “Not another nickel to the King!” Whether you know it or not, your body has gone to war.

Why war? What’s so scary that such drastic action is called for? And who is the foe? For someone with a genuine commitment phobic response, the foe is the relationship itself. It’s the loss of freedom that’s frightening.

If on some very visceral level you equate commitment with the loss of  freedom, then commitment may be anxiety provoking or even truly terrifying. Your body gets prepared to help you escape.

It will respond to that relationship the same way it would respond if you were a claustrophobic trapped in an elevator, an airplane, a crowd, or a closet.


Of course not everyone experiences his or her fear of commitment in the same way. Fear can range from severe to more subtle. For example:

  • Overwhelming panic: is the best way to describe reactions that are both immediate and intense. The minute the relationship gets “tight,”fear sets in. These men and women can’t help but recognize what they are feeling.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety ranging from mild to intense is the way many men and women with commitment conflicts describe their feelings.
    This group rarely feels outright panic, and the symptoms of fear, or phobia,may be so subtle and so seemingly disconnected from the relationship that at first they are only vaguely aware of what’s taking place. But when the anxiety hangs around long enough, they become acutely aware of their discomfort.
  • Controlled fear: is the feeling expressed by those men and women  who acknowledge their conflicts and who are attempting to lead their lives in a way that compensates for their feelings.
  • Hidden fear: is the only way to describe the reactions of those men and women whose history clearly indicates that they are avoiding commitment, even though they have no conscious awareness of what they are doing. These men and women are so terrified of commitment that they rarely, if ever, consider becoming involved with anyone who would present them with the opportunity to confront their terror. Because they are attracted to partners who are unavailable or pulling away, unless they accidentally stumble into a committed relationship, they have no idea of the depth of their anxiety.


Some people might argue that fear of commitment is built into our genetic code, that in the human jungle the mere act of caring for and accommodating to a full-time partner is a

After all, it means slowing down, lowing defenses, and becoming less alert to the possibility of danger. The fact is that commitment is scary for a lot of reasons, all of which need to be acknowledged and examined.

First is what we see as the primary conflict – what we feel when commitment threatens our basic and powerful need to feel free.

These are those who would even take this a step farther and question  whether or not permanent commitment is healthy or even normal. These people question whether humans are meant to form permanent unions with each other.

While thinking about this is provocative, there is probably no satisfactory answer to the question of whether people, like swans, are designed to mate for life. And we are not about to argue the merits of marriage versus a single life.

Forever is scary. Commitment – whether in the form of marriage or not- represents an enormous responsibility. Once we commit ourselves, we owe something to another human being.

Someone else counts on us, depends on us, relies on us. The notion of this extra burden is frightening. But there is a difference between having commitment fears and being downright phobic.

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Author | Ronald Kennedy Comments | 6 Date | 05/12/2018

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This definitely rang partly true with me! I think I am a little bit of a commitment phobe! I came out a 7-year relationship 3 years ago and have loved being single so much since that I’m quite nervous about getting into something more permanent again and feeling ‘trapped’. This isn’t to say I don’t want to meet someone, but I’m so independent I think I need to meet someone who can appreciate that!

05/29/2018 | 5:55 am

    Ronald Kennedy

    Hi Louise. I understand you clearly. You need your space and don’t want to be smothered. I’m a widower and is hesitant about going on ‘lock down’ again. I’m now just enjoying my freedom after 33 years of marriage. It’s unfortunate i ended up single this way, (wife died almost 3 years ago) but hey…life goes on. Louise, enjoy your freedom. Eventually that ‘special person’ will soon come along without any special effort on your part.


    05/29/2018 | 6:15 am


I initially thought this was funny as I started reading cause I didn’t think it was an actual thing. But then I saw the symptoms and realized it was kind of serious.
But I can understand how fearing the loss of one’s freedom can be scary. No one wants to ever lose themselves; and no one should.
Fear is something else though. Fear is scary! lol

05/29/2018 | 12:34 pm

    Ronald Kennedy

    Yes Yemi, no one wants to be tied down when they don’t wanna be. A lot of people end up being miserable because they didn’t follow their fears. (They should have ran the other way.) I always say if freedom means more to you, then don’t give yourself a ‘nervous breakdown’ fearing you’ll be smothered to death with no way out!

    05/31/2018 | 12:14 am


Commitment phobia! I have never heard of this condition before, I see it is very much like being trapped, but I didn’t realize there were symptoms to this problem like headaches, dreed, and palpitations, very serious stuff.
I am married and have been for some time, I can see why some people would have a fear of commitment, what if you chose the wrong partner who doesn’t suit you, that would be terrible.

08/07/2018 | 12:41 am

    Ronald Kennedy

    Hey Kris, many folks hesitate when it comes to making a ‘lifetime commitment’ decision. They go through a complete breakdown. Not all! Some may handle it well. But as far as choosing the wrong partner, that does happen. I think that only happens when you rush into things and don’t get to know the other person well. Yes, overtime you’ll definitely feel trapped! (You’ll start thinking that the only exit out is by the ‘hangman’s noose.’)lol.

    08/07/2018 | 10:11 pm

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