In this article you’ll learn:
- A step-by-step guide to overcoming your relationship anxiety & fear of commitment.
- How to find the confidence to start dating again in spite of your commitment issues.
- The best way to deal with relationship anxiety as a single, and when you’re dating a guy.
- A weird trick to easily beat your fear of commitment once and for all.
- The fear of intimacy trap: Why most women with a fear of intimacy will never meet a great guy (and how you can overcome this).
How to deal with relationship anxiety and get over your commitment issues
Recently I received the following question by email:
“Hi Tim, first of all, I want to tell you that I really love your website! But I also have a question, I have been dating a guy for eight months, but I notice that I feel a lot of resistance to have a more serious relationship with him… do I suffer from fear of commitment? And if so, is a fear of commitment something that can be overcome?”
Well to answer that question…
“Yes, fear of commitment can be overcome.”
I won’t say that it will be easy, but with the information in this article, you can overcome your commitment issues once and for all.
Disclaimer: This article is full of exercises to face your commitment issues, which can be very confronting.
But with only a bit of effort, you can take the first step today.
To make it more convenient for you, I have divided this article into two parts:
- Part 1: The self-help guide to overcoming your relationship anxiety & commitment issues.
- Part 2: How to deal with having a fear of commitment in a relationship.
Part 1: The self-help guide to overcoming your relationship anxiety
Tip #1: Assess how bad your commitment issues are
Many women have managed to overcome their fear of commitment by using the tips below.
But a small portion of women (unfortunately) need more help than this.
Having relationship anxiety can be a large problem. In some cases, you can only overcome it with external help (for example therapy).
So my advice for you is this…
Try using the tips in this article and see if they work for you.
And if your commitment issues continue to cause problems for you – then don’t be afraid to seek outside help.
Having said that…
Tip #2: Knowledge is power
You probably already have a good idea of what fear of commitment is, so I’ll spare you my detailed description.
“It gives a person the feeling that their freedom disappears as soon as they enter into a relationship.”
And although many people know what fear of commitment is, there are only a few people who know the real causes.
What causes fear of commitment
There are several things that can cause fear of commitment, such as:
- The fear of getting hurt
- Complicated family dynamics
- Traumatic experiences or abuse
- A painful relationship in the past
- The fear of having a bad relationship
To deal with your relationship anxiety once and for all, it’s important to find out why you suffer from the fear of commitment.
I will explain in the following tip how you can do this.
Tip #3: Discover the cause of your commitment issues
Fear of commitment is not something you are born with, it’s the result of one or more (unpleasant) events that happened.
And as I just said, it’s important to figure out what caused this.
I can already tell you that this isn’t easy. But well, facing your fears never is. It’s just a matter of biting the bullet.
Once you know what’s behind your relationship anxiety, it will become a lot easier to overcome it.
So here’s what you do:
- Get a pen and paper (or open a word document).
- Write down all the events that contributed to the development of your fear of commitment. If this is too difficult for you, get help from your family or girlfriends.
- Continue with the next tip.
Tip #4: Be your own psychiatrist
It is a typical human thing to criticize others.
But it’s something entirely different (and a lot harder) to look inside at our own wrongdoings and to be honest and objective about them.
Suppose you’re with a nice man… You have been dating for months and now he wants to have a real relationship with you. You really like him. But at the moment he proposes this to you your female brain says:
“Gosh, is that what you want? Remember the last time you tried…”
And suddenly you remember everything bad that happened in your past relationship and how awful you felt at that time. The bad feelings increase rapidly. It’s intense. All kinds of negative thoughts flood your mind. You can no longer think clearly.
Don’t believe everything your mind is telling you
When these thoughts take over your mind you are not hearing anything positive, only the negatives. You don’t remember any of the good times that you experienced…
What your brain is NOT telling you is that the next time could end up completely different from anything you’ve experienced in the past.
So you tell him; “No you don’t want to have a real relationship with him”… But afterward, you immediately regret what you said.
Here’s what just happened…
Each person has a kind of mental protection mechanism that wants to protect us from painful experiences.
But when you’re suffering from relationship anxiety, this works to your disadvantage.
Because you might have an amazing relationship with a great guy and have everything going for you… But it will still try to protect you from something bad happening to you.
So it will remind you of how you felt in the past and whisper all kinds of negative thoughts in your ear.
Therefore it’s good to question your own thoughts and to try and look at things from a clear perspective.
Tip #5: Accept that you have commitment issues
Accept that you are now in this situation. But after all, everyone has these feelings to a certain degree.
Everyone is afraid of being hurt and being vulnerable.
In fact, everyone who is not currently in a relationship has a history of “failed” relationships.
And everyone who is in a relationship is afraid of getting hurt.
In other words…
Everyone is experiencing some form of fear of intimacy
So don’t fight these fears, but say to yourself:
“Okay, I am afraid of getting hurt and getting too close to someone. And I am actually afraid of letting anyone get close to me.”
By doing this, you accept that you suffer from a fear of commitment.
This is ten times better than resisting it because NOT accepting it – only makes it worse.
So before you continue, make sure that you accept your commitment issues. Only then can you successfully deal with them.
Tip #6: Use pain to beat your fear of commitment
This is a weird trick that I personally use for all kinds of problems.
Why? Simply because it works.
So here’s what you do:
Make a list of all the painful things you have missed out on because of your relationship anxiety.
- The loneliness of waking up alone
- Not having someone there to talk to about your day
- All the great guys that ended up with someone else
- And so on…
Write down as many things as possible and keep this list in your wallet, or on your phone.
Each time you feel the fear of commitment creeping up on you, take a look at this list.
And then you say to yourself:
“If I don’t decide to overcome my fear of commitment now, then this is what will keep happening to me for the rest of my life.”
This might sound a bit extreme, but it works.
Tip #7 Work on your confidence to fix your commitment issues
The better you feel about yourself, the easier it will be to overcome your commitment issues.
Therefore it’s good to work on your self-esteem.
And the reason many people lack confidence is that they are doing too little in their lives.
So make sure you lead a nice and interesting life.
Do the things that make you happy, proud, and content with yourself.
This will give you a more positive outlook on life. And this positivity is ideal for overcoming your fears, not just your fear of commitment.
Tip #8: Take everything in small steps
Relationship anxiety is not like an addiction that you can beat by going ‘cold turkey’.
If you do this (when you are actually not ready for it) – it may cause a hell of a lot of stress.
The consequence? It will take you even longer to overcome your fear of commitment.
It is much better to take small and attainable steps. So say to yourself:
“What is a small step I can take today to overcome my commitment issues?”
You’re already doing it.
Today you took the first step and landed on this article.
Start off small and don’t make it too difficult for yourself.
The fact that you are reading this article is a great start and something you should give yourself a pat on the back for.
It could be enough for today if you feel like it is.
Here’s something to consider…
If you’re currently single, then set a goal that you should take one small step towards getting the love life you want. It could be to get your profile up on one of the online dating apps.
Then take it from there and go as slow as you want.
- Swipe and look at some cute guys one day, get a few matches and start by subtly letting them trying to win you over.
- When you’ve been texting with a man you like you can jump on a video call with him before considering meeting him over a coffee, drink, or whatever you prefer.
And if you’re already dating a guy you like, then don’t suddenly decide to meet his whole family or instantly move in with him.
First, give him a key to your house, or decide to meet his dad first alone and see how you like it.
Tip #9: Whatever you do: Don’t give up
We already mentioned this in Tip #4, when you are trying to overcome your fear of intimacy, it is inevitable that you will encounter obstacles.
The trick is to overcome these obstacles.
And that won’t be easy.
But it is necessary.
After all, it’s MUCH better to be with someone rather than being alone. And to have a guy that you can share your lovely moments with. A man who loves you.
Don’t let a bad experience (or a guy) in the past take this away from you, because that would be a shame…
So no matter how difficult it may be, don’t stop looking for happiness.
Because it’s always better to break your heart a few times to find the right man than it is to cut yourself off from love completely.
And most people didn’t get it right the first time, so don’t give up.
Part 2: Overcoming relationship anxiety in a relationship
Tip #10: Open up and show your vulnerable side
Showing your vulnerable side is something everybody finds difficult (regardless of whether you suffer from fear of intimacy or not).
This is even more difficult for people with commitment issues.
But however you slice it, everyone who suffers from relationship anxiety ultimately has 2 choices:
- You let it affect your entire life.
- You decide (although it is difficult) to do something about it.
I sincerely hope that you will go for the second option.
The fear of intimacy trap
What I often see with women who suffer from fear of intimacy is that they are afraid to be vulnerable and open.
So they’ll miss all chances of having a fulfilling relationship with a great guy.
I don’t know the cause of your fear of intimacy (see Tip #2) but I do know that there is a man on this planet for every woman, who can make her even happier than she’ll ever be alone.
Tip #11: Get to know each other properly
This still amazes me: couples who have been together for years, but who don’t really know each other.
Every evening they are sitting on the couch watching television and the in-depth conversations they used to have, have been completely replaced by movies and tv series.
What often happens with these types of couples is that sooner or later reality kicks in, and they realize that they are actually not a good match for each other.
There are 3 reasons why it’s important to make sure you get to genuinely know him.
- You give yourself time, which is crucial for someone with relationship anxiety.
- You avoid getting stuck in a bad relationship (yet again).
- It’s easier to overcome your fear of commitment when you are 100% sure that you want to be with him, and that is only possible when you really know him.
How to get to know each other more deeply
Make sure that your dates are fun and varied, so you will see different sides of him.
If you’re not going on dates, then start doing that at least once a week NOW.
Here you can find 78 fun couples activities and date nights that you can do together.
In-depth conversations are also a great way to really get to know each other. You could ask him:
- What is your most beautiful memory?
- What is the biggest achievement in your life?
- What would your perfect day look like?
With these kinds of questions, you get to know each other deeper, and indirectly it will become easier for you to get over your commitment issues.
Want more inspiration? Here’s an article with 101 questions to get to know each other better.
Tip #12: Tell him what you like about him
When you are dating a guy and you are suffering from fear of commitment, make sure that you tell him what you like about him.
This has two benefits:
- You confirm to yourself that you like him.
- If he wants a serious relationship quicker than you do, you will need a lot of patience from him. A man can only be patient when he knows that you like him and he understands your situation (more about this in Tip #13).
But if he doesn’t know that you like him, he won’t be able to be patient.
And that is quite logical since he will think:
“Alright, she doesn’t want a relationship and I don’t even know whether she likes me…”
You probably can imagine that this is too much insecurity for a man’s heart, so if you at least let him know that you like him, a man is much more likely to stick with you through it.
Tip #13: Talk to him about your commitment issues
Believe it or not, but men sometimes have a better understanding of these things than you might think.
To make my point clearer, I will tell you a story.
The mother of a good friend of mine had a toxic relationship with a man that ended in a divorce.
I am not talking about an “it’s better we break up” divorce. No, this was because of domestic violence.
This man could manipulate her in such a way that she kept going back to him over and over again.
This mental torture lasted for 7 years!
At one point she finally had enough when not only her own well-being was affected, but that of her 5 children as well.
So she left him.
As she gradually started to get her life back in order, she decided to try out a number of dating apps.
Over the next few months, she matched with all kinds of men, but there was one guy who was different than the rest.
That’s when she met Mark
A nice man whom she really liked and soon started dating.
But even though everything felt very magical with him, she still felt that things were going a bit too fast so she told him:
“There is something I have to tell you. I think you are a great guy, I really do. But I still suffer so much from relationship anxiety because of my previous relationship that I want to take it very slowly.”
Mark understood this right away and replied:
“No problem, you are worth waiting for.”
Here’s what can you learn from this:
As I said at the beginning; Men do understand these things better than you would initially think.
If a guy really likes you, he will accept your imperfections.
So if you feel that you need more time, then he will also think that you are worth waiting for.
But men are not psychics.
So make it clear to him about your situation and what you’re going through. If you need more time, you need more time.
Also, make sure to tell him that you really appreciate him being so patient with you.
Tip #14: Do whatever makes YOU happy
This tip ties in with the previous one, so if you haven’t read that one yet, make sure you do that first.
As of this writing, my friend’s mom has been in a good and healthy relationship with Mark for 2 years!
Both are really happy, but there is something “funny” about their relationship:
They don’t live together
And right now they don’t have a plan of doing that either…
The point I am trying to make is that there are no rules in the world of relationships and dating, all that matters is that the two people in the relationship are happy.
You don’t necessarily have to:
- Get married.
- Live together.
- Be monogamous.
Look. If you are happier when you are living alone, then I believe that’s what you should do.
Do what makes you happy and don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.
This will make it a lot easier to get rid of your fear of intimacy.
Tip #15: Don’t always listen to your family or your girlfriends
I fully believe that your girlfriends and family members have your best interests at heart. But I still want to warn you about always taking their word for granted.
Because it is very tempting to fall into the trap of thinking:
“All my family members and girlfriends are living together with their partner, so I must do the same.”
Especially if they’re constantly on you about why you don’t live together yet, are not engaged yet, etc. It can make it more difficult to make your own choices.
You will often feel pressured by this.
Again, although they undoubtedly mean well, I think it’s unlikely that they take your relationship anxiety into account when they give you advice on how to handle your situation.
It is therefore good to know what’s best for YOU.
Learn to trust your feelings, and listen to your heart. If you feel that things are going too fast in your relationship, take a step back. Don’t be misled by what others say and do within your social circle.
This was how to deal with your relationship anxiety and fix your commitment issues
Take it slow, there is no need to rush.