The 7 True Causes To Why Men Are Afraid Of Commitment

The 7 True Causes Of Fear Of Commitment & Relationship Anxiety In Men

Why men are afraid of commitment

In this article you will learn:

  • The 7 causes of commitment phobia, fear of commitment, and relationship anxiety.
  • How to deal with a commitment phobic man and get him to commit.
  • The answer to your question: “Why are men afraid of commitment?
  • The #1 reason why you should sometimes stay with a commitment phobe, and why you sometimes shouldn’t.
  • How some women cause fear of commitment in every man they meet (hint: it’s not what you think).

The real reasons why men develop commitment phobia and become scared of commitment

his fear of commitment

So why are men afraid of commitment?


Relationship anxiety, fear of relationships, or someone suffering from ‘commitment phobia’ is not something that should be taken lightly.

And I’m not talking about these type of guys:

  • “I-don’t-like-you-that-much-so-I’ll-pretend-I’m-afraid-of-relationships”
  • “I’m-scared-of-a-serious-relationship-but-next-week-I’m-gonna-have-a-relationship-with-your-best-friend”

These also exist, and they’re annoying in a different way. But this is mainly the territory of players, a**holes, or men who are emotionally unstable.

In this article, I will discuss the 7 most common causes of commitment phobia & relationship anxiety, and why some guys are scared to death of commitment.

And of course, I’ll also give you proven tips on how to deal with his commitment issues and what you can do to get him to commit.

Because a strong, independent woman like you deserves a great guy. And as a dating coach, I can’t sleep at night without having done my very best to help you find true love.

So are you ready?

Great. Let’s get into it.

Here are the 7 most common causes of fear of commitment:

Cause #1: He’s had a controlling partner in the past

A controlling girlfriend in the past

David was about fifteen years old when he met his girlfriend.

She was beautiful, funny, and smart. She easily seduced him.

But there was something about her…

She was afraid to be touched and felt very uncomfortable about it. It was so bad that when David happened to touch her, she started yelling at him.

And this was his first girlfriend…

Everything that happened during that time made a huge lasting impression on him. He didn’t know it was rather unusual for a girl to start yelling when he just wanted to hug her.

That ‘relationship’ lasted a solid three years until David was eighteen.

I met him a year later during acting class in my early days as a dating coach. (It’s been a while, and you’ll never see me near a stage again.)

He told the group he felt very uncomfortable to be touched and didn’t want anyone to touch him. He didn’t like to touch other people either.

What I learned from David and his fear of commitment

As I got to know David better and better, it became clear to me that he was utterly frightened by women.

This was a guy who got confused over what was considered ‘normal’, because of his past relationship with a damaged girl.

But people with bad relationship experiences will meet a great person that likes them sooner or later.

In David’s case, this happened to be a fellow student.

Things went well with her for a while, until it started to look like she was in love with him and wanted to have a relationship. Then he got utterly stressed out and started acting like a scared puppy. And began sending her mixed signals.

I don’t know exactly what was going on between them. He didn’t tell me that much. But it was evident to me that he didn’t want to get into the same oppressive situation that he had been in earlier.

A bad relationship can form his image of women

Men with commitment issues have often had a relationship that didn’t go well.

Such as a girlfriend who was:

  • Extremely controlling. She called him every two hours, installed an app on his phone that always shared his location with her, and was downright controlling over him. For example, she made him quit his favorite hobby, made him stop hanging out with his friends, or she completely altered his behavior in a negative way.
  • Frequently cheating on him. Not a case where she once made a mistake and then apologized and they recovered. But something that happened frequently with other men and everyone in town was aware of it, except him.
  • Insanely fickle and took the women’s magazine advice of ‘playing hard to get’ too far. A man can go insane from a ‘first warm, then cold’ strategy – but not as in ‘crazy about you’, but as ‘extremely frustrated and hurt.’
  • Behaving completely different in private compared to how she was to him in public. This creates a kind of separation in a guy’s head that makes him feel used.
  • Couldn’t give or receive affection (like in the story above). And who insisted he shouldn’t expect this from her either.

Men are incredibly strong, just look at our muscles

Strong man, showing of muscelsWe can handle everything from conquering mountains to fighting bears. But there’s one thing, in particular, that we can’t compete with…

We’re no stronger than the people we surround ourselves with.

If a man is in a relationship long enough with a woman that has deep and faulty ideas about what’s considered normal, such as having a cheating girlfriend – then he’ll eventually become affected by it.

Young or insecure men are the most susceptible to crazy ideas. They may only realize much later that the whole thing was not normal and absolutely ludicrous.

Ironically, it’s precisely this realization that develops his commitment phobia, because he’s simply afraid that the next girl will be as crazy as his ex-girlfriend.

Tip: Show him you’re different

Woman reassuring her manWhen a man has had a terrible relationship experience in the past, then of course he doesn’t want that to happen again.

And if he’s so scared of having a relationship that he needs professional help at some point, then the most important thing is to show him you’re not like his previous girlfriend.

You can do this by simply not behaving like her. Give him room to “just hang out”, and see for himself that you’re not like her.

But don’t talk sh*t about his ex-girlfriend. A better solution would be, if you for example know a couple with a controlling partner, then you can say that you wouldn’t want anything like that to happen in your relationship.

Don’t be afraid to express a strong opinion about this. So he knows what to expect if you became his girlfriend.

Men appreciate a woman who dares to speak out strongly about these kinds of things.

Cause #2: He’s had a traumatic relationship in the past

A traumatic relationship in the pastMen don’t like to talk about this.

But even guys can have a girlfriend who goes a little too far than just a little bit controlling.

If a guy has dated a woman with psychological problems, this can leave a lot of scars on him.

And there are other situations that men would rather not talk about, such as:

  • Being abused by his girlfriend. It happens more often than you might think. The same is true for sexual assault and even rape.
  • Psychological neglect. Men who are young or inexperienced are particularly vulnerable to this type of punishment.
  • A woman who took everything from him. Emotionally, financially, and everything else. This leads to a general distrust of women that he’ll have a lot of problems getting rid of.

These experiences don’t even have to come from his ex-girlfriend to scar him

If a man was part of an environment where this was considered normal (such as in his upbringing), then that can give him a distorted worldview as well.

His expectations of having a relationship with a woman are simply clouded, purely because of his unpleasant experiences in the past.

Cause #3: He has unprocessed emotions or problems he hasn’t dealt with

He has unprocessed emotions

Men can recover from a traumatic relationship, whether it’s from an abusive ex, or from a woman that completely cleans them out.

But where it often goes wrong is that men don’t know how to deal with their emotions. Talk therapy is less effective for men than it is for women, and many men are unwilling to seek treatment.

Meet Ricky

A guy who at sixteen got a girlfriend who cheated on him, a lot.

It took eight solid years before he dared to look at another woman again.

While other men would have seized the opportunity and the freedom to enjoy the single life, Ricky retreated to computer games and to study for his courses.

The difference between Ricky and the other men was that he didn’t process his emotions from the incident. He was still carrying around suppressed feelings he couldn’t escape from.

And kept avoiding the incident for eight years without ever processing it or recovering from it.

Men also need to process their emotions, whether it is from trauma or from a crazy first girlfriend,

If they don’t, they will never recover from it. And it becomes greatly problematic to start a relationship with them.

Tip 1: Help him get professional help

There are things you can help him with, and there are things that are outside of your control.

Helping a man deal with his unprocessed emotions? You should leave that to a professional.

You’re not a psychologist or a therapist. And if you are, you know how much it takes to help someone with these issues. Even if you love someone very much, it takes a lot to be there for someone like this.

Besides, it becomes difficult to objectively help a man in this way when you’re in love with him.

That’s why it’s important to encourage him to get help.

Tip 2: Encourage him to spend time with other guys

Guy time

Do you have a man who could benefit from speaking to a professional about his unresolved issues?

Then encourage him to at least spend time with other men that he trusts.

Guys he considers role models. It doesn’t matter if it’s a group of friends, a family member, or an older colleague at work.

If you encourage him to spend more time with these kinds of guys, then the chances are that he will learn to deal with his emotions in his own way.

You don’t have to talk about your emotions for an eternity to process them.

In fact, for many guys, it’s already challenging to acknowledge their own feelings, let alone talk about them with a woman.

But if it’s with a man he trusts, then there’s a greater chance he’ll figure it out. Either on his own or with some help.

Cause #4: He does not have a solid foundation

He does not have a solid foundation

I often see this with women who are dating a man that’s in a lot of trouble.

For example, think about a guy who’s dealing with:

  • Unemployment.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.
  • No permanent residence.
  • In conflict with the law
  • No income
  • A strong distaste for monogamy and doesn’t want a relationship.

Men like this have no idea where they will be in six months.

That makes it impossible for them to have any kind of good relationship with a woman. Especially with all the confusion it causes their partner, who still might want to try in spite of it. Because she really likes him.

The extreme cases of this are men who drink thirty beers a day, or who are unemployed and just sit at home playing video games (often in combination).

When a man doesn’t know what he wants in life, it’s impossible to have a relationship with him

Maybe he’s still fooling around and dating a lot of women, or perhaps he’s just not very ambitious and not doing much of anything with his life.

Whatever the case may be, as long as a man has no plans for the future, it’s impossible to have a sustainable relationship with him.

And if a guy doesn’t know where he’s going, then he doesn’t know how to fit you in, and it’s a significant chance he’ll go “Hot ‘N Cold” on you.

And I’m sure that’s not what you want.

Tip: Leave the sinking ship

Let’s say that you went for a boat ride, and halfway through, a big lightning bolt struck the entire boat in half.

Would you jump off and swim to the mainland, or would you stay and relax until you sank to the bottom of the ocean?

And if I now tell you that the man you’re in love with does nothing but play Call of Duty while drinking several bottles of vodka, and likes to finish off the day with a hit of heroin. And has no plans of changing his ways in the future, except to commit some occasional adultery.

  • Would you say, “I’m in love with him, and true love conquers all.” As, unfortunately, many women do.
  • Or would you take my advice and jump off the sinking ship before it pulls you into the dark depths of misery and pain?

Please, choose the latter

There are thousands of men out there, and most of them don’t have such big problems.

Is he simply not sure about what he wants with his life? Even in that case, I recommend you to stop investing in him, given that the situation remains unchanged after you’ve given him the chance and the time to figure it out.

Your life is already short. Not to mention the fact that you have to shorten it by a man who has no idea what he wants to do with his life.

You’ll find that you’ll be a lot happier when you’re not carrying his doubts and fears.

Cause #5: His partner is moving too fast

His partner is moving too fastI get many e-mails from women saying they only meet men with relationship anxiety and commitment phobia.

But here’s the thing…

If you only meet men who suffer from fear of relationships, you’re pretty much screwed. Then you’re surrounded by men who can’t and won’t start a relationship.

And as a woman, that can make you desperate.

And making it easy to you forget to ask yourself: “Why do I only meet men with a fear of commitment?” 

How some women can cause commitment phobia and relationship anxiety

Suppose you meet a man who likes you. You see each other a couple of times and everything seems to be going well. Maybe you want a relationship in the future, but not yet. You enjoy your freedom too much.

Then after a month, he asks you to marry him.

What do you do?

Of course, you say no. You’re not ready yet.

But some time later, instead of asking you to marry him, he wants you to join him and visit his parents so he can introduce them to the woman he wants to marry one day.

What do you do in this scenario?

I hope you say no.

Because you’re still not sure about the relationship, and visiting his parents would be too much at this stage. You need more time to find out if he’s right for you.

But every time he keeps suggesting to go faster than what you’re comfortable with, the faster you’ll get tired of it. And you’ll become extremely defensive as a result.

The same thing happens when you only meet men with commitment issues.

Why it doesn’t help to rush the relationship, even if you think he’s the one

If the relationship is moving too fast then men will ultimately hit the brakes.

But guys don’t like to be too honest and direct about what the actual problem is. And if they are, you might not really be able to understand what they mean.

As a result, they seem to have “relationship anxiety”, when in fact it was actually caused by a woman.

Very annoying, of course. But fortunately, there’s something we can do about it.

Tip: Distance yourself from himDistance yourself from him

I’m a big fan of getting away from your partner from time to time. That’s true regardless if,

  • You’ve been together for several years.
  • You just met a guy and are during the dating stage.
  • You’re not sure what you want with the relationship.

By giving each other space, you give you and your partner the opportunity to evaluate how much you like each other.

  • Relationships do not become stronger by living on top of each other all the time.
  • They get stronger with quality time, and from missing one another from not being able to see each other all the time.

If you only meet men with an antipathy towards relationships, there’s an easy solution.

Give him space

You don’t have to completely remove him from your life. Simply give him the chance to figure out how great you are, and how wonderful it would be to have a relationship with you. Here you can read further on how you can make him miss you like crazy.

Turn his fear of commitment into HIS problem, instead of yours.

He can only grow into wanting a relationship, if he likes you so much he’s willing to face the fear of losing his freedom. Give him space to be alone, or at least without you, to figure that out on his own.

And I don’t mean this ‘ultimatum style.’

Don’t use it to pressure him. Simply don’t waste any time on him until he figures out what he wants.

And if you need a man in your life in the meantime, you can always date other men. Which is a good strategy to getting him to commit, by making him jealous, and realize what he’s missing.

But whatever you do, do NOT enter into a friends with benefits relationship (FWB) with him.

Cause #6: He’s accustomed to constant change

Accustomed to constant change

Maybe you know someone in your social circle who’s been traveling a lot. A woman who traveled the world as a backpacker with nothing but a bag of daily necessities.

She has seen everything there is to see in the world and comes back with beautiful stories. Adventures about the sweet people in the Middle East, the amazing architecture in Italy, and the beautiful nature in South America.

But there’s one thing she doesn’t bring with her.

Peace of mind.

This is a chicken or egg problem.

Some people are curious about themselves and love to change their environment regularly. Others are restless and can’t settle down in one place, so they run away from their problems.

If you meet a man like this, brace yourself:

Because if he really enjoys traveling, chances are he won’t give that up for you. And if he does, it makes him very unhappy.

He can try it for a while, just like players can try to behave nicely. But it won’t last. Sooner or later they’ll be back at square one.

And I suppose you don’t want that for yourself. Unless you also have the travel jitters and want to explore the world with a man like that by your side.

Tip: Protect him from himself

  • A player can say he wants a relationship, but if he’s seeing other women in the meantime, he’ll have one foot in and the other foot out.
  • The same goes for someone who wants to travel. He can say he wants a relationship, but if that means you’ll only see each other a few months a year, it’s better to walk away.

Why would you try something that doesn’t match your own relationship goals?

Cause #7: He has a mental disorder

He has a mental disorderThere are several psychological disorders associated with commitment issues.

  • Borderline
  • Bipolarity
  • Severe depression
  • And others

I’m not a shrink, so I won’t give you many details about this topic.

I do however recommend that you talk to a professional about it.

But if you find that he’s only dealing with a fear of commitment and you don’t notice much else, then there’s little chance that it’s a very serious mental disorder.

Fortunately. Because these men are not good to be around.

What you can do now

The first thing I recommend you do is to read this article on how to get the commitment-phobe to commit.

Then don’t forget to let me know in the comments how it went with your man.

I love reading those stories.



You might like these articles:

2 thoughts on “The 7 True Causes Of Fear Of Commitment & Relationship Anxiety In Men”

  1. I do not believe you can influence anyone for long. Be true to yourself. Be humble. Love yourself. Relationships can follow. I want to find a person seeking the same things as me. It has not been easy for me.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Are You Making These 5 Texting Mistakes?

Discover the 5 texting mistakes that scare men away (almost every woman makes 1... or more of them!)

About Tim &

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.

If you want to get started learning the best of my advice, I recommend you download the 5 texting mistakes most women make.

Most Popular On This Site:

Are You Making These 5 Texting Mistakes?

Discover the 5 texting mistakes that scare men away (almost every woman makes 1... or more of them!)

Enter your email below and receive my free report with the 5 texting mistakes noW!

Browse topics:

Scroll to Top

Almost done! Fill in this form and you'll get instant access:

Fill in your email below to receive the 5 Texting Mistakes now