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Is there any hope for a commitment phobe?

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I'm a male in my early 50's, divorced. I just "ended" a relationship of over 3 years with a commitment phobe. I know she is, not only because I suspected it, but we went to couples counseling, and the counselor confirmed it. She doesn't believe it. I put the ended in quotes, because I know it's typical CP behavior for them to want to get back together after a while. My question is, is there any hope that CP can be cured? I told her she would have to acknowledge it, and work to correct it, but like I said, she doesn't believe it. We are very compatable, and I think would make a great couple if she could jump in totally. Anybody have any experience with a CP that has overcome the problem, or is it incurrable. The answers will help me decide what to do if the expected let's get back together call comes.

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I hope this answers your questions

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This is funny. I don´t know if the cerebralpulsy thing was a brilliant sacasm or a misunderstanding. However, there are some things there that may apply if you substitute cerebralpulsy for commitment phobia.

I am not quite sure of what to tell you as I am in a bit of similar if not the same situation. To make matters a bit more complicated, I had a fear of abandonment acting up and pushing my ex away. We came back together and broke up 3 times. At the end I was so touched by the whole situation I seeked counseling, as I wanted to better understand my self and do some personal growth and just address what was my part in the relationship.

Well, to make a long story short I am codependent. And so is my partner...counterdepent--which is preety much a commitmentphobe in a way.

My ex seems to be almost back in the coming back phase after being appart. But preety much the pronosis from my 2 councelors is that this person needs to do some personal growth on their own choice--not guided by you or brought to it by you. To imagine that they have a cage around their hearts that unables them to be involved in a real full term relationship.

They said I must let go. Completely. That unless I am able to do that, even if he comes back we will be back to square one. That htere is love, however it is more an addiction. That the attraction the pull from both our sides comes from an unhealthy place. That it is spoiled goods.

The only way we could go back and have any chance for real long term relationship is if I completely cut him off and if he wants to come back that he chooses some personal growth cause he realizes he needs to grow.

This is easier said than done. For me at least is a catch 22. Part of me finds the pull of codepency, commitmentphobia, dysfuncitonality of it all like the songs of the sirens and the Ulises was it (the illiad?) Well, those of you that know greek mythology do know.

I rather be unhealthy. I don´t know. I love him. Thing is there are afraid to love. And it seems they are selfish, which means they love themselves more than they love you. And 2. that if they are not able to love and get close they are afraid of intimacy so they do not love themselves. So I don´t know what the f****. Sorry.

It seems the only solution is within her. Nothing you can do. Even if there is love it is contaminated. Spoiled goods. But I love my spolied goods.

I told the doctor. Dr., I can´t cut him off my life. I can´t let him go completely, cold turkey. It fighting against my self.

And the Dr. said: No, Reborn, it is loving yourself.


Hope this helped. From a higly confused person to one seeking answers.


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Well, I know I can't make her change, that has to come from within her. When we first started seeing the conselor, she threw up this huge smoke screen of things that were wrong with me. I think she knows, deep down, she does have a problem with commitment, and if she could throw up enough issues about me, it would cloud the real problem. Fortunately, the counselor saw through all this. The counselor said all the issues she raised about me were not the real problem, they were just her internal justifications to keep a certain emotional distance from me.


So again, I know what has to happen. She has to acknowledge she has a problem with commitment, and seek help to overcome it. The question is, does anybody have any experience with this actually happening?

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I am looking for the exact same answer. But what good does it do to us, if we have no control over their own internal processes and genuine desire to mature and do real personal growth?

I know another question is not what you want to hear. However do think about it. I have broken my head thinking about this one and all roads lead to: letting go.

I am now in the dilema of saying goodbye for ever to break free from the magnetic pull or sticking oround and fear getting used....again. Its your call on this one too, or maybe it has been already.

However at the end of the day I think the only sensible answer to your question, no matter if someone that actually experienced this will answer is that you have no control. And that there is no formula or recipe. She may or may never want to change. Maybe if you disappear from her life for good she may decide to recognize her part....but it is a risk you must take.

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Of course, I agree with you, I have no control over her changing. I made up my mind a year ago that I could not subject myself to the emotional torture of another divorce, and that if she could not or would not totally commit to our relationship, then I had to move on. She was supposed to find a counselor for us, she has a friend who is one, and was supposed to get a refferal for us. I kind of let the relationship idle in neutral while she procrastinated getting the refferal. Again, I think she didn't really want to go to counseling, because she knew deep down inside what the answer was going to be, and she didn't want to hear that. I finally took the bull by the horns and contacted her friend and got the refferal. That's when the smoke screen started. The counselor saw what the real problem was, but she didn't want to hear it, so we broke up. This is where we are now. I've read that it is typical Commitment Phobe behavior that after a little time, the CP person begins to think what have I done, and wants to get back together. This is what I am struggling with right now, what to do if that call comes. If it doesn't, then I don't have a decision to make, because I'm not calling her. If I agree to do anything if the call does come, it will be to go back into counseling, either with the one we were seeing, or one of her chosing. The counselor we were seeing said this can be part of the process, because she will probably hear the same thing from a new counselor, and maybe she will believe it if she hears the same message again. I asked the counselor if change in her was possible, and if I can paraphrase, she said something like never say never, but don't bet the farm on it. So again, what I am looking for is if anyone has ever been in a relationship with a CP,and that person was able to overcome it, by counseling, or however, and totally commit to a relationship. If I get some positive feedback, then I think I will agree to further counseling if she does call. If it's just totally impossible for a CP to change, then I don't to subject myself to the pain of seeing her again, even just in counseling (because still love her). If there is no hope, the I need to not answer the phone if the call comes, and get on with my life. I love this woman very much, and if there is hope, then I would be willing to chance further counseling.

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I live up to all the characteristics of a CP! I had no clue. But this does not only take place in my relationships w/a significant other...but with family members, jobs, you name it. I seem to have the worst case!


But, any how, I ended getting screwed royally by a CP person. Imagine that. The tables were turned on me (w/out knowing that at the time). I have been severly broken hearted and left w/ a daughter. It has been 3 years since we broke up but occasionally talk by email to discuss our daughter (whom he does not have custody of).


How do you cure CP??? I want to do it for me. Forget my ex - he will never learn and I need to learn to let him go...permanently (have you heard of blocking the email address). But me. I have realized it is a very detrimental problem in my life affecting all areas.


Can you help me???


So, I am responding to the fact that the doc said you have to completely let go. I will tell myself that every hour of the day. Cuz regardless that it has been 3 yrs... I still love him very deeply despite all the tremendous damage and pain he has caused. I just don't get it.



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Im in a similar situation to Christine. I discovered my own commitment problems only after becoming involved with someone with a far greater problems than my own.

I can't answer your question as to wether someone with commitment problems can truly over come them or 'change' Im afraid. I understand that you want answers but the likelyhood is you will never get the answer you really want. My advise would be to look after and worry about no one but yourself at this stage.

Prior to meeting my CP partner I had no idea of my own commitment problems and would certainly not have believed anyone counselor or otherwise if they had sugested I had. Your partner will only reolise in her own time, if ever.

Commitment Phobia isn't that obvious to people who have it. In my experiance it is so normal and deeply psychologicaly rooted that it is part of every day life, as I say it took someone with more serious commitment problems for me to see how my own effected me and my relationships with other people.

In the past I would have come up with any excuse or 'smoke screen' to avoided the true problem and believed the 'smoke screen' I had created. Your partner is not willing at this point to accept she has a problem. Your dilema should end there. You have more of an understanding of her problem than she does. She did not want to see a counselor and when she did she didnt want to accept what she was told. If she does come back to you you should only consider a progression in the relationship if she agrees she has a problem and is willing to seek the help she needs to turn her life around.

Stop worrying about her and her problems. You have put more than enough real love into the relationship by setting up the counseling in the first place. You can't force someone to change and as a recovering (hopefuly ) CP you have really got to be strong and not always be there and understanding. It may feel wrong but you have got to be more self protective and just get on with your life and enjoy you. If she wants to really work it out she will deal with her problems with or without you. Just assume she isn't going to change until she really 'proves' otherwise.


P.s. Maybe you should consentrate more on why you are so hung up on her situation.

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As far as the previous two people, the first step toward fixing any problem in your life is to acknowledge there is a problem. You two seem to have done that, my former girl friend has not. My advice to you is first, don't get into any further relationships until and unless you deal with your issues. It's not fair to other people (as a matter of fact, it's pretty selfish) to let them fall in love with you if you know you can not fully commit to the relationship. You would be letting other people fall in love with you, and you know you will eventually break their heart. You would be putting your need to be in a relationship ahead of their need not to be emotionally devastated, and you don't have the right to toy with other peoples emotions like that. Get some counseling. I don't know if this can be fixed, but you have a better shot with help than without.


In my particular case, I think I know the root cause of her CP. I think it's a basic human need to be in a committed relationship, and if you can't, there must be a reason for it. In her case, it's her realtionship with her father. She loves her father very much, and always has, even as a kid. The problem was her parents didn't get along very well when she was growing up, and her dad thereforeeee didn't spend much time at home. The little he did, he spent with her, but it wasn't enough. He put long hours in at work, and also had a girlfriend, which left her wanting emotionally. I think what happened is she was so hurt at the lack of attention in her relationship with her dad that she keeps an emotional distance from all relationships. If she doesn't let someone get too close, she can't be hurt too bad. It's a self fulfilling prophesy, however, because if she doesn't let someone get close, they'll sense that, and eventually move on. I believe this, even though she was married once. I read that sometimes CP's get married, but the chose someone with a fatal flaw, so they can get out if they want to. Her ex cheated on her, more than once before they got married. She married him anyway, and he continued to cheat, so she divorced him. She also kept their finances separate, and didn't have any kids, I believe, because she knew in her heart that they would eventually split.


As far as me being hung up on her, well, yeah, I am. I love her, and I'm not going to be able to just turn that off. If she does call, I guess I'm just going to have to tell her I'll go to further counseling with her, but nothing else, at least at first. Maybe then consider resuming a relationship if the counselor tells me she is accepting her problem, and working to overcome it.

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From your first paragraph it appears you miss the point. Since discovering I have CP problems I have no intention of putting myself or anyone else through my problems. I don't intend to have a relationship with anyone until Im in a healthy place to have one! The point being I really didn't have a clue about my patterns until someone with a worse case than mine broke my heart. It was a hell of a shock and unfortunatley or fortunatley (depending on how you look at it ) it took an imense amount of pain on my part to relise my own problem. I would have never considered my self selfish or unkind. When you have CP problems it is not intentional to cause pain to yourself or anyone else it is very confusing and equaly distructive and painful to the CP as it is to their partner.

Your girlfriend needs to be where I am before you should consider becoming involved. I think it is unlikely all the time you are there for her that she will admit the problem. You are a co-dependant. As I said before you know more about her issues than she does and I'm sure if you spoke to some of my ex partners they would point mine out. However I was either unaware or didn't want to see it the need to be free of commitment or 'forever' out ways any rationality.

If you really expect any chance at this relationship working you have to stick to your guns and be incredibly strong. Which means stop being involved in her commitment issues. In a way I was fortunate in meeting my ex partner because although it has been one of the worst emotional experiances of my life I now know how my own problems affect my choices and my life and I can work on having more productive relationships. Had my ex partner not been a CP I would have continued my pattern blissfully unaware of how my own behaviour was causing my relationships to decline into painful chaos. If my partner had always been understanding and there for me I would never have seen it.


I wish you luck

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Well, I'm glad you recognize you shouldn't get into furher relationships until you deal with your issues. Not everybody can see that. I have a cousin who is an admitted commitment phobe, yet he still pursues and gets into relationships, even though he knows he can never bring them to fruition. He's basically a decent human being, but he keeps breaking peoples hearts (including his own), and that's not fair. You obviously understand, but others do not. Maybe we have saved some people some emotional pain by this exchange, as others read it.


I think you are correct that most CP's don't realize or understand what they are doing to others (and themselves). I don't think they are purposefully acting selfishly when they engage in relationships with others, as I guess the act of being selfish includes doing something knowingly that will have a negative effect on another. Once someone does realize they are a CP, however, and they continue to become involved in other relationships, I think this is selfish. You have realized this, and decided not to hurt another, by not getting involved in another realtionship until you have dealt with your issues. Admitting that you have a problem is a huge first step in overcoming it, and I commend you for getting real with yourself. Most people can't do that. I guess this is the reason the counselor told me never say never, but don't bet the farm on it when I asked her if my ex girlfriend could change. Evidently, you are in the minority.


Thanks for the advice. I think it's correct. I will agree only to see a counselor if she calls, not resume the relationship, and I will only resume the relationship if the counselor tells me she has acknowledged the problem, and is working to overcome it.

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Ya, my ex was one of the best and worst emotional experiences.


Unfortunately, I did get into another relationship before dealing w/ this. And he does have the "fatal" flaws that I can use against him to bail out. I always seem to do all this UNintentionally. Happens before I realize it.


I realized I had a CP problem during this current relationship, well the other day. He did not want to move in together unless it was for marriage. I thought that is what I wanted to. But I started freaking out more and more each day it got closer to moving in. So, this is when I realized what was wrong w/ me.


Anyway, I was straight out w/ him. Told him that I could not move in for the "long term" deal. That I am moving in for the "hear and now". In final retrospect, he told me that he was willing to take a chance on me. We moved in together this weekend. I know it is a mistake for sure. I see no long term plans with this man. I do point out the flaws in him.


And when I got into the relationship w/ him, I could see the end, of me breaking his heart. This is truly not fair to him. I feel very guilty about it and knew that I was not ready to move in.


In fact, when I get into any relationship I can see the end. And I can also play out the whole relationship in my head before it has even begun. I use to think my thoughts were all normal. Like I said, things happened unintentionally until I realized it was too late.


Now, I am "seeing" the traits of the CP. Yet, I still seem to play them out. Maybe because they are comfortable. It has been the way I have been living my life. I need counseling. And in fact, that is my mission this week.


Least the house is on a month to month lease. And I need the help, because my children do not need to live in my problems. It is kind of exhilirating learning all this...CP stuff. And that there is the possibility for a normal life and a healthy relationship.


But, I will tell you. It took the worst kind of experience to find out. I don't ever want to have to find out things this way again. My heart could not take it. Speaking of...I need to be straight w/ my boyfriend. He does not deserve to have his heart broken either.

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  • 4 months later...
  • 2 months later...

I am interested in hearing from a CP why they would pursue the same person for 7 years...crying begging pleading...I am asking because i spent the first 5 years begging him to leave...then when he had me beaten to the ground...I agreed to work on a relationship...bad idea...as soon as he knew he had me he tortured me emotionally...lets just say that after I confronted him and told him not to call again til he had something nice to say...he has not called in 2 weeks...how can yyou leave so easily?

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You know tonight it's Friday and my CP is coming over. I have only recently accepted that he's a CP. Before that I thought he just wanted time to work through some issues.


But now it's almost 4 years and we are exactly where we were 6 months into the relationship. I love him and have stayed because I thought it would work out. Now I've given myself a deadline. I have to. I want my life back. Right now, I'm sitting here waiting for him. This weekend will be great. We'll have fun, talk, laugh, maybe catch a movie or visit friends. We'll make love. Sunday, he'll go home and that'll be it until next Friday night.


I want more. I want a real sharing relationship. All we have right now is a shell, a pretty shell, but a shell nonetheless. Can you tell I'm not looking forward to tonight? That will change once he shows up though. I'll be quite happy to see him. During the weekend I might think about the CP part once or twice. I try not to dwell on it. It just ruins the time we do have together. Things would be great if only...


Something has happened to me with respect to our relationship since I established my deadline. First, he doesn't know about it. To be fair, I have told him that I am not happy with how things are and don't know how much longer I want to do this. He asked me to hang on, hold on. He couldn't answer me when I asked him "for how long?" Bummer.


One of the most depressing realizations this week was that he's been like this since the beginning. And he knew he wasn't ready to 'get involved' but he did it anyway. That has me very bummed. I know I deserve better. But, lo, there he is knocking on my door. Here we go again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

All this talk about CP behaviour....I am just dying inside tonight and really need to talk about my CP boyfriend......

We are together now for about 2 years although we have known eachother for about 17. He and I are both night musicians with day-jobs and his isworking in a Music Store. I have done business in there for my band for 17 years.

Anyway, that's the background.....We started dating 2 and bit years ago but started hanging out as friends, since we already knew one another. The relationship developed sooooo slowly that I thought we were going backwards. I told him after about 2 months of seeing him that I was looking for a life-time partner( I'm now 38 and he is 49, I was married for 2 years in my 20's and he has never married). Anyway, we split......he "couldn't give me what I wanted", at that time.

So, we chatted very sporadically for about 6 months and then I stopped returning his calls and he got very frantic.....that kicked us back into a romantic relationshipset with some boundaries on my part. We saw eachother on Thursdays after he finished work at 9 pm until about 11 and then eventually he began staying over. We'd go out on Saturday nights and then he began staying over. But always rushing home on Sunday morning to work around his house.

Oh, Did I say HOUSE???? Well now.......I bought a house close to him, about 15 minutes away and at first he referred to ti as "home", I gave him a key, which he never used and we were in love ..........However, he would never help me with ANYTHING that needed fixing, no matter if it took just a look or 1`0 minutes......it was weird. Then he started losing his temper about stupid things...then he started to nit pick about everything I did do around MY house and I was thinking, "Oh, Man..something weird is goin' on here...." I didn't really get what it was....

I forgot to mention, that we were talking about selling both of our houses and buying one together before all the crap started .......we were sooooo in love! Honestly......then the SWITCH came and Man, did I see a different side. Talk about Committment Phobia with a big CP! Sheesh!!

The problem is, I still love him dearly with all my heart and last Thursday night, I got real straight with him and told him I didn't like the way he was treating me and he had a lot of anger and that at the age of 49, he had never made a committment and probly never would!!!!! He looked so shocked, but waited till I was finished and then said."well, it's obvious I have some issues to work on and maybe I will and maybe I won't >" Weird.......we had been so in love but as soon as it was time to make it to the next obvious level, he ran scared s%@$#less! SO, I guess that's committment phobia, eh, folks?? Drag. I don't know if we're split or not...we haven't spoken since and he gigged on the week-end and everyone asked where I was and he said I went to my girlfriends for the weekend..I told him I was going there....

However, I guess he is a CP, right? It seems like it to me but I'm carrying the hope that my phone will ring snd he'll tell me he doesn't want to live without me and how he was being stupid......yada, yada,yada.

Any feedback would be very much appreciated.....I'm messed up.

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