15 Signs You Might Have Commitment Issues and How to Deal with Them
Are you constantly ending relationships once things get serious? Or putting up emotional walls to prevent partners from getting too close to you?
If so, you may be dealing with commitment issues.
The good news? Once you recognise commitment issues — whether your own or your partners — it is possible to address them and move forward with healthier relationship patterns.
Here’s a guide to commitment issues, including how to recognize if you or your partner have a lack of commitment and how to work through it.
What Does It Mean To Have Commitment Issues?
Commitment issues refer to an individual who has a fear of dedicating themselves to a long-term relationship.
A commitment-phobe may still want to be in a relationship, but will often invest very little into the relationship and refuse to define the relationship to their partner.
Someone with a fear of commitment may pull back or stop replying to messages for several days if their partner asks “where do you see this relationship going” or “why haven’t you had any serious relationships in the past?”.
Commitment issues can involve feelings such as:
- Being afraid of being stuck in a relationship forever
- Fear of abandonment
- Fear of getting cheated on or getting your heart broken by your partner
- Wondering if there is a different partner out there who you would be happier with
- Having part of you happy to be in a relationship and part of you that wants to end it
Signs You May Have Commitment Issues
While relationship issues can be complicated to define, here are some of the general signs that may indicate you have commitment issues.
1. You Are Unpredictable When Replying to Messages
If your partner messages you, can you be counted on to respond in a reasonable timeframe? If you let a text or message sit for a couple of days before bothering to write back, there’s a good chance you are refusing to commit to the relationship.
2. You Avoid Serious Relationships
If you are at a time in your life when you truly just want a causal connection with a partner, that’s okay. But if you avoid serious relationships due to fear of commitment, it’s a red flag.
Do you end things as soon as your partner wants more from the relationship? Are you only comfortable with casual connections?
If you consistently feel the need to end things when relationships start moving past the casual stage, even though you like the person you’re seeing, you may have some unresolved commitment fears.
3. You Are Bothered By Small Things
Do you find yourself annoyed by the little things your partner does? This could mean you are subconsciously trying to find a reason to end the relationship and avoid commitment.
4. You Avoid Thinking About the Future of the Relationship
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy what you have now with a partner. But a true inability or unwillingness to think about the next stage of a relationship could suggest a fear of commitment, especially if this is a pattern in your relationships.
5. You Question the Relationship Often
It’s normal to wonder about the state of your relationship on occasion. But if you constantly ask yourself, “Do they love me?” or “Will this work out?”, it can indicate commitment fears.
Ironically, constantly questioning the relationship can harm the relationship and bring your fears past.
6. You Refuse to Agree to Plans Ahead of Time
Do you leave your partner hanging until the last minute regarding plans? If they ask you on Monday about dinner Saturday night, what do you say?
If you respond vaguely with a, “Sounds fun… I’ll let you know” and then leave them hanging until Friday or Saturday morning, it’s a big indicator of commitment issues.
7. You Lack Emotional Attachment
Do you have a good time hanging out with your partner but find it easy to picture a future without them? If you picture never seeing them again, does it bother you or could you picture easily moving on with someone else?
If you lack emotional attachment to a partner, even though you get along well and have fun together, you may want to look at addressing commitment issues.
A lack of an emotional connection may also mean you aren’t with the right partner. However, if you are a good match and simply refuse to connect on a deeper level, fear of commitment may be holding you back from giving your all in the relationship.
8. You Refuse to Label the Relationship
Has your partner asked you, “What are we?” only to be met with a vague response or change of topic? If you avoid defining the relationship, it’s a red flag of a commitment issue.
9. You Feel Overwhelmed by Your Partner’s Level of Commitment to the Relationship
How do you feel when your partner says, “I love you”? Does it feel good initially and then set off alarm bells in your head? If a partner’s investment in you makes you suddenly feel trapped and tempted to end the relationship, it’s time to take a deeper look at how you feel about commitment.
10. You Display Inconsistent Behaviour
Do you make your partner feel valued one week and leave them wondering about the status of the relationship the next week? If you’re hot and cold with your behaviour in the relationship, it may indicate a commitment issue.
11. You Communicate Poorly
Do you fail to convey your true feelings to your partner? Does your lack of communication leave your partner wondering what is going on in the relationship or what plans for the weekend are?
It may be time to look at how to improve your communication skills in the relationship.
12. You Are Quick to Cancel Plans
If you do not value your partner or the future or your relationship, it can be easy to cancel plans — even at the last minute.
If you’re quick to break plans because something better came along, or just because you no longer feel like hanging out, it’s time to consider your level of commitment.
13. You Lack a History of Meaningful Relationships
A history of short-lived relationships is a clear indicator of commitment issues. Ask yourself if a lot of your past relationships have these similarities:
- Do a lot of your relationships end with you cutting ties as soon as you and your partner start getting close?
- Do you always refuse to label relationships?
- Are all of your relationships fairly temporary?
- Are you only comfortable with casual relationships that involve zero emotional investment?
14. You Don’t Have a Lot of Close Friends
Sure, some people prefer a small circle of just a few close friends. But do you purposely push away any relationship, not just romantic ones?
If so, you may want to look at your friendship history, in addition to your romantic relationships. If you notice a lack of meaningful, deep friendships, it may point to a commitment issue.
15. You Use Certain Words (Or Avoid Certain Words)
Do you steer clear of using the word ‘love’? Do you respond with ‘probably’ or ‘maybe’ in response to plans? Or drop the line ‘we can talk about it later’ in response to questions about the status of your relationship? If so, your speech may point to commitment issues.
Signs Your Partner May Have Commitment Issues
Watch out for these clues that your partner has commitment issues:
- Your partner regularly cancels or backs out on plans
- Your partner doesn’t seem fully present when you are together
- Your partner hesitates to ‘label’ the relationship and just wants to ‘see where things go’
- You struggle to know if you are actually dating or just friends with benefits
- Your partner doesn’t seem invested in you, especially when it comes to your emotions or struggles
- Your partner won’t commit to plans too far in the future
- Your partner avoids talking about the future of the relationship
- Your partner struggles to share deep thoughts or have emotional conversations
- When they do talk about the future, you aren’t included in it
- You never know when they’ll respond to your calls, texts, or messages (if you sometimes get an immediate reply but have to wait a day or two other times, there’s a good chance they are not committed to making you a priority in their life)
Classic commitment issue lines include:
“I don’t want to ruin the special thing we have going with labels”
“We’re having fun – what does it matter if we define things?”
“I just want to enjoy the moment and see where things go”
“I was too hurt in the past and don’t want to risk feeling that way again”
Ultimately, the only way to know if someone has commitment issues is to talk with them. Be direct, honest, and respectful, and let them know you would like to know what the relationship means to them and if they see a future for the relationship.
If you are looking for a serious relationship but have a partner who is content with moving along casually, it may be time to consider saving you both the time and heartache by moving on now.
Tips on How to Deal with Commitment Issues
Many people want the solution to “how to fix my commitment issues”. It is possible to work through your commitment issues if you are willing to put in the time and effort.
If you want to deepen your relationships or pinpoint what causes you from being afraid of commitment, here are some options to try:
- Talk it out — Be honest with your partner and yourself and be willing to acknowledge areas you need to change
- Work on your commitment to non-romantic relationships – whether it’s with co-workers, family, or friends, show up for plans you made, invest yourself in your loved ones, and take an interest in their lives and well-being
- Consider if monogamy just isn’t for you – not everyone feels fulfilled with long-term relationships and many people happily date different partners and simply aren’t interested in getting married and having kids
- Make a point to reply to your partner within a reasonable time frame and commit to plans right away rather than at the last minute
- If you have plans with your partner, keep them
- Set boundaries about the type of commitment and relationship you want
- Consider individual therapy to address past relationships, personal attachment style, or childhood that may be affecting your relationships now
- Consider couples therapy so you and your partner can learn how to move forward healthily and make sure you and your partner are on the same page in the relationship
- Work with a life coach or relationship coach to understand your relationship history better and learn how to build healthier relationships
- Look for a partner who listens to your commitment concerns and respects you as you work through your commitment issues and fears
Are You Trying to Work Through Commitment Issues?
Fear of commitment is a fairly common issue but it’s possible to overcome it. The most important step is being honest with yourself and your partner.
If you are aware of your struggles to commit and want to start growing as a person and moving toward healthier, more meaningful relationships, our experts are here to help.
At HYTCH, we believe the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself. Once you develop a deep understanding and acceptance of yourself through relationship coaching, you can naturally experience better relationships in all areas of your life.
Our vision as a life coach or relationship coach is to help you recognise imbalances in your life and learn how to address them.
If you’re interested in learning more about yourself, your attachment style, and how to have healthier relationships, we invite you to contact us to learn more about our life coaching or relationship coaching sessions.