13 Signs Of Real Commitment Issues In Men (vs Him Faking It)

13 Clear Signs To Easily Recognize The Man With Commitment Issues

The commitment phobic man

In this article you will learn:

  • 13 signs you can use to recognize a man with real fear of commitment.
  • How to know if he’s a guy with genuine commitment issues, or if he’s just faking his commitment issues.
  • Things to avoid if you’re dating a man who isn’t ready to have a relationship with you.
  • Why his confusion about his emotions and relationships can mess up your love life.
  • The clear signs of when a guy is scared of commitment.

How to recognize if he has a real fear of commitment

The commitment phobic man

If a guy told you ‘he has commitment issues‘ or if he told you ‘he isn’t ready for a relationship yet‘, you need to pay attention:

He might be lying to you.

Look: There are some small differences between men that have a real fear of commitment, and men that are faking their commitment issues.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to spot the guys with real relationship anxiety.

They won’t be wearing a big hat on their head that says “I have a fear of commitment”.

You wouldn’t know about it until you get to know him better.

Worse still: If you ask a man if he’s afraid of a serious relationship, he might respond with: “Ha, fear of commitment?!”

Because that is not for him, being the strong man who knows it all.

Before you continue reading: Are you sure he’s not faking his commitment issues?

There are plenty of guys out there that have the guts to stall a woman, by saying they have relationship anxiety.

Yup, that’s pretty mean – but they will do it anyway.

It’s not nice of those guys to act that way. But unfortunately, I’m not capable of changing their behavior. There are too many of them out there, and I’m too busy to change them all. My superpowers are needed elsewhere.

There are different signs and symptoms you can use to spot men that will never commit to a serious relationship

With these warning signs, you will be able to check if his fear of commitment is “real”, or if he’s lying about it.

But first, I want you to read this disclaimer:

  • The odds that your partner has a real fear of commitment is very slim. (The percentage of men diagnosed with anxiety is not that high).
  • It’s a bad idea to put a label on him. The symptoms described in this article can give you a rough estimation. (But for the final conclusion, you will really have to call in a specialist).
  • When making that assessment, it is important to look at clusters of behaviors.
    In other words: look at multiple symptoms together (instead of immediately panicking because 2 or 3 of the characteristics below match him).
  • I also recommend that you read the reasons why men are afraid of commitment.

There. Now that you’ve read the disclaimer, it’s time to learn about recognizing the warning signs:

Sign 1: When you talk about becoming exclusive, he gets really confused

When you talk about becoming exclusive, he gets really confused


A man who tells you he has commitment phobia but is actually just making it up will try to tell you he’d never want to get serious. Ever.

His excuses will roll out of his mouth as if he’s practiced them in front of the mirror a lot, because he has.

He will try to convince you why he doesn’t want to have a relationship with you, that he needs more “time”.

And he is not clear about what he wants. In fact, he seems pretty confused about the whole situation.

Sidenote: The man that’s actually diagnosed with commitment phobia, will almost get a heart attack if you start talking about having a serious relationship with him.

Sign 2: He doesn’t want to admit that he has a fear of commitment

his fear of commitment

Men are supposed to be made of steel… Emotions? That’s for women.

Warmth and love is exclusively provided to their girlfriend. But only when it suits them.

Men don’t want to come across as being soft. Or show any type of vulnerability. They don’t like that.

A guy who is genuinely scared of emotional commitment, will not show it to others.

That’s because he’s far from proud of it.

It’s a sign of weakness. The second he discusses it with you, he’s forced to talk about his feelings. Then there’s no escaping it anymore.

A man with commitment issues will try to avoid talking about for as long as he can.

And if you ask him about it, he will likely go into denial.

Either way, he’s not going to be proud of it.

Sign 3: He can’t explain his behavior

He can’t explain his behaviorMen who fake having relationship anxiety can always explain their behavior.

He will tell you that he’s simply not ready for it, and provide a list of reasons why he doesn’t want it.

On the other side, a man with actual commitment phobia will hurt you unintentionally, without even realizing it.

He won’t be able to explain why he’s behaving the way he does.

He just knows that this is the only way for him to deal with it.

Sign 4: He’s had negative experiences in the past

He’s had negative experiences in the past

Relationship anxiety doesn’t just fall from the sky. You aren’t born with it. And it doesn’t happen to most guys.

Nope, it’s just a small percentage of men. There are usually two reasons why men become commitment-phobes:

  1. A traumatic experience in the past.
  2. A mental disorder.

“Traumatic” might sound a bit serious

But a man who was in a relationship with a woman who cheated on him already qualifies as such.

My favorite example is a client that got a girlfriend when he was sixteen. They dated for some time. But one day he found out from a friend that she had been cheating on him the whole time they were together. His heart broke into a thousand pieces. As a result, he became terrified to let women get close to him. And for the next ten years, he didn’t want anything to do with women. 

Most men don’t have terrible experiences like that. And if they do, not everyone will be as affected by it.

So luckily, these kinds of men are still exceptions.

Another type of guys: those with serious mental problems

Think about a man that’s chronically depressed, or a guy who’s extremely narcissistic.

The commitment phobia is slightly different, but the result is the same:

They have no desire to enter into a serious relationship with a woman, or they simply aren’t able to.

Sign 5: He always comments on other people’s relationships

He always comments on other people’s relationships

If you notice that he always comments on other people’s relationships, then you already know he has a very negative perspective on commitment.

Men that dislike other people’s relationships aren’t ready to have one themselves.

This of course, is a matter of degree:

  • Some men want to have a great relationship with a woman, but disagree with the structure of it, and what that implies.
  • And there are guys that just hate any form of emotional attachment, and everything that comes with it. And just want to stay away from a relationship at all costs.

Men who only see the negative side of a relationship, can start to have an irrational fear of it.

And his fear will make him only able to see the negative side of a committed relationship, instead of seeing how great, loving and fulfilling it can really be. So he blows the negative aspects greatly out of proportion.

Which is what I’m going to talk about more in the next sign.

Sign 6: He can’t see the positive side of having a serious relationship

He can’t see the positive side of having a serious relationship

Let’s face it:

Some guys like to nag. They’re like negative Nancies when it comes to having an exclusive girlfriend.

But when it really comes down to it, they do want to have a good relationship with a woman – just like everybody else.

And if you ask them a bit more about it, you’ll find out they actually have some positive dating experiences in the past.

And they can see the positive side of having a relationship with a woman.

But there are also some guys that can’t do this. They are unable to see the positive side of it.

Or they see the negative side as so big, and enormous, that they feel like they can’t get around it.

And it’s simply impossible for them to picture themselves being happy with another woman.

Sign 7: He refuses to be vulnerable

He refuses to be vulnerableA man with relationship anxiety does not want to be vulnerable.

After all, he is afraid of opening up, so he will try to avoid any emotional attachment.

One way is to reject and ridicule you when you try to get close to him.

Because it’s much easier for him to not show you any emotions, or never really tell you how much he likes you.

But, note that this is a lot different from the man who has never fallen in love with anyone.

Or if it’s a guy who just has difficulties in expressing his emotions. Most guys find this harder than women to do. So if you’re dating someone like that, it doesn’t mean he’s got commitment issues.

But if you notice that your man is trying really hard to avoid getting “close” with you, and opening up to you, (and might even afraid of it), then you know why.

Sign 8: He constantly doubts the relationship

He constantly doubts the relationship
One second he might want to go on a romantic trip with you, the next he isn’t sure about the relationship.

One week he wants to be with you, the next week he gives you mixed signals and now changed his mind.

It’s like that Katy Perry song:

It’s simply impossible for him to decide – at least, that’s what it seems like.

In fact, it is an unconscious attempt to sabotage the relationship.

Because if he can keep you in doubt and never let you know where you stand, it can’t ever amount to a serious relationship. It’s impossible.

Sign 9: He makes you feel like you’re asking for too much attention

He makes you feel like you’re asking for too much attention

A commitment-phobic man will reject you because he doesn’t want you to get close to him.

That’s pretty common.

Because instead of being honest about his inability to express his emotions, he will blame you for it.

He can do this by making fun of you as you try to get close to him, as I mentioned above.

He might also call you “needy” for only seeking normal affection, or somehow make you think that he thinks he’s too good for you.

But make no mistake:

If this behavior occurs together with other signs in this article, then you are not needy.

He’s simply an emotionally unavailable man.

Sign 10: He has never had a long term relationship before

He has never had a long term relationship before

A man who has only had short relationships with women is either very awkward, unattractive or simply does not want to change his ways.

If you notice that it is the latter, then I would pay close attention.

Because then he could also be a player.

Sign 11: He spends much more time with his friends than with you

He spends much more time with his friends than with you

Every man needs quality time with friends and doesn’t want to feel trapped.

In fact, he wants to feel like an independent and strong man.

That’s why it’s sometimes required and really important that you leave him alone in his man cave. Or whatever he calls that dirty garage, or smelly attic where he pursues his outdated hobbies. 

But a man with fear of commitment will effectively do his best to avoid spending time with you. He would rather go out with his friends instead.

Sign 12: He brags about you to others, but is mean to you in private

13 Clear Signs To Easily Recognize The Man With Commitment Issues 1

He might be good at speaking highly of you to others, but when it’s just the two of you at home, he becomes cold and distant or is straight-up mean to you.

Maybe he actually likes you, but he just can’t stand getting close to you on an emotional level.

Sign 13: He avoids making it “official”

He avoids making it “official”

Does he go out of his way to avoid having the talk? And maybe he also suggested having a friends with benefits (FWB) relationship?

It might be because he doesn’t like you that much, or because he’s emotionally unavailable.

In a case like that, the man with commitment issues wants to spend time with you, but when things get too serious, he’s going to back out. And you’ll never really know where you actually stand.

Unless if he recently broke up with his girlfriend then he might still have feelings for her, and might just not be he is not ready for a relationship yet.

How to get the commitment phobic man to commit

What I recommend you do now is to check out this article on how to get a commitment phobe to commit to you. It’s more in-depth on how to handle the commitment phobic man, and how you get him to want to have a serious relationship with you.

Don’t forget to let me know in the comments how it goes.


This article was first published on my Dutch site, here.


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4 thoughts on “13 Clear Signs To Easily Recognize The Man With Commitment Issues”

  1. Hi Tim

    This article was very insightful and been a major help. I have a question, is it possible that a guy can change his commitment phobia, or will he never change

    1. Hi Tim,
      Thank you very much for this insightful and useful article. If possible, I really hope to know how I can do to help a commitmentphohic man to open up and be ready to commit. Pls kindly help me. I’m very much grateful to you

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Tim Veninga is a dating coach, relationship coach and social psychology bestseller author from the Netherlands.  He has been featured in media like Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Marie Claire & Elle.

Hi, I’m Tim Veninga. Since 2008 I’ve been coaching men and women to archieve succes and happiness in their love lives.

For years I’ve only been writing in Dutch, but in 2019 I started writing in English as well after many women asked for it.

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