Jump to content

What I have learned about Commitment phobics

Recommended Posts

On my on-going journey of discovery, I have just finished a few books on Commitment Phobics and their patterns. Who knew there were actually patterns from beginning to end? I just thought it was cold-feet before marriage.......Wow..was I wrong!


This is what I have learned: CP=(Commitment Phobics)


There are active CP's and passive CP's. The active CP seeks out a partner who is different from them in the beginning. They honestly want a real commited relationship and go all out to get it. The other partner..usually a passive is protective and a bit curious why the active is so interested. The affair maybe whirlwind. Confessions, intimacies and words are expressed in the beginning to secure what appears to be the real thing. Confessions of bad past relationships by the Active CP are made up front. This is a blatant warning to the passive to get the *&^% out now! Things will never change! The words "love" "commitment" and even "marriage" are used to secure the passive CP.


Once that is established, and the relationships is secure (with or without sex), the active CP gets nervous when the passive wants more. They feel "trapped, panicked, suffocated, anxious, ambivalent, " and do the push and pull thing with the passive. This only confuses the passive and makes them work even harder to prove their worth and love and in return..pushes the active away even more!


At the end, the active will start to back off just when things seem great. The passive tries even harder taking the blame for everything but in fact, the active CP is provoking their partner by bringing up stuff that the passive had all along ie. their religion, age, hair, friends etc. as a means to make the passive get angry and hurt so they can walk away, usually confused, astounded and incredibly hurt without any closure.


The active feels guilty about this but also feels relieved. They usually replace this partner almost immediately but feel confident that their ex will still be around to accept them back in should the need arise.


Their conflicts are bone deep. You can't help them....they don't want help unless they ask for it from a medical therapist and it's a long road to recovery. The passive CP's self-esteem, ego, pride are shattered because they can't understand how something that good, so intimate, so full of potential could go 360 degrees the other way in a heartbeat without warning? But one must be self-protective from the get-go.


Actions speak louder than words. These active runners will NEVER change. That is what hurts so badly. It's not the passive CP's fault but one must question the little red flags that come up in a relationship in the beginning ie. all those words that say commitment but all those actions that scream RUN - NOW that the passive CP's avoid or ignore because they want it to work so badly.


Self protection is everything and if your partner isn't on the same page with you everyday wanting the same things and being consistent in word and action, there is something very very wrong and unhealthy......they can make your life a living hell!


They may feel trapped or feel the perfect person is just around the corner waiting to meet them while the passive thinks they are that perfect person and goes all out to be just that....perfect - sacrificing their time, energies, love, patience and dediction for an active who sees this as nice but..pressure and eventually flee or forever be 'stuck"!!!!!


If you are an active CP.....you have to look at your own behaviour and question why you run away when things seem too good. If you are passive, why do you fear abandonment so much for the sake of your own self-esteem and pride? No partner is worth that.


I'm learning the hard way.


Please send me some mail if you see yourself in either of these roles??


  • Like 1
Link to comment
  • Replies 60
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

My recent expierience with dating a commitment phobe showed me that the more affection and assurance i gave her the more it made her come back to me. Sometimes while on a break a friend would meet her out and assure her of my love and that would cause her to regain trust in me and come looking for me. You see her prolem is that she has a deep mistrust of men and the prospect of bieng regected terrifies her, infact we are now apart as she ran away to Japan.

In some cases i think you are right when you say that the more assurance you give the more the active cp runs, but this really depends on the particular fears of the cp. In my case as she is terribly insecure the opposite proved to be the case.

Link to comment

By the way, usually active and passive commitment phobics usually have problems in their youth! ie. parents who were too demanding without encouragement, smothering without allowing the child self-esteem or decision making; abandonment, little nurturing, verbal, emotional, sexual abuse or distance. A divorce or rocky family history is common.


The books I read were fascinating and truly gave me all the answers I couldn't get from my ex!


Two authors....Steven Carter and Julia Sokol wrote two books that are truly amazing! "He's Scared, She's Scared" and "Men Who Can't Love". Another wonderful book about people who have trouble opening up is called "Emotionally Unavailable" by Bryn C. Collins.


If anyone reads any of these, I would love to discuss them with you! At the end of the day, CP's can't deal with: decision making, fear, vulnerability, feelings/emotions, goals, self-esteem and love. No partner can help them!!! No matter how hard you try to be understanding, patient, loving, kind.....it has to come from them. Most of the time, they are aware of their own behaviour but tend to repeat the patterns over and over and over again. If you encounter any of the patterns I mentioned...know there is a very big red flag and it's time to seriously consider moving on.


Also those who come back for a second chance, they try for a time but when feeling trapped again, they usually repeat the same patterns except this time the relationship is relived and ended much quicker.


Remember, it has nothing to do with you or your worth as a loving wonderful human being with much to give. It's not your problem and you can't fix it!

  • Like 1
Link to comment

I believe there is only one way to help a cp. Its a journy of love devotion and above all patience.....


From my experience dating a cp, i learned that it is her irrationally huge fear of rejection and abandonment that was the foundation from which all the other problems stemmed. This translated into a problem of trust.


I believe that in such cases all hope is not lost and the cp can change, but for this to happen one must prove the cp's fears wrong through lots of reassurance. If one uses a tit for tat approach the cp will only believe they were right in thinking people can not be trusted.


Cps want to love and be loved but like a wounded animal, it can take a long time for them to realise that not everyone is 'bad'.

Link to comment



She is one very lucky lady to have such an understanding man in her life.


Unfortunately, according the statistics out there.....you wil be waiting a very very very long time for a solid commitment.


All the doing, saying, love, assurance, encouragement, support in the world will only make you exhausted and emotionally spent. This has to come from the CP through serious counselling.


Telling someone who is a phobic that their fears are irrational is a given to the phobic. That doesn't mean they will change unless they are willing to face their demons head-on.


Good luck to you both and I truly hope she turns a corner.

A word of warning.....please be self-protective just in case and don't keep hoping.


How do I know? We've all been there and it's a published fact.

Link to comment

hello just woke up . Im in the same situation right now. my bf well i should say exbf broke up almost 3 months ago and i find myself stuck because im in love with him. we were together 9 months and at about our 6 month he started pushing away never said why brought up the fact that he doesn't want children and he knows i do. felt over whelmed by my precense and thought we were spending too much time together.everything you mentioned. We have been bestfriends for almost 5 years now and well when we got together it was a shock to both of us but like you mentined he went gung ho w/it. He approached me and well the ball got rolling. He was very affectionate to begin w/ he was always telling me how much he loved me then a full 360 has come about. He is seeing a therapist as of about a month ago. He did suffer a traumatic loss at the age of 12 . his mother died of Cancer and well I fear that the phobia stems off from that. Right now we are still talking and he assures me he loves me he assures me he wants only me and has no desire to see other people , however he says he had no idea why this wall automatically comes up when he knows he is so happy with me. that he knows we are good together. Very confusing on my end...I would like to know which books you have read ..I would love to read them and look into this more because I"m in it for the long hall. I love him

Link to comment

Hi Darla,


The books I read were invaluable and I am desperate to buy them now as I felt the urgent need to highlight just about every page and mine were from the library.


Written by the same two authors...Steven Carter and Julia Sokol...."Men Who Can'tLove" and "He's Scared, She's Scared" will literally walk you through your relationship with a CP whether it was one date, a few months, a few years, marriage and long-term relationships.


What is so sad, painful and frustrating, is that the CP is aware that they are hurting you but can't or won't change. What's worst? all that wonderful intimacy and sharing in the beginning is totally forgotten by the CP and replaced by fear, ambivalence, cruel words ..almost like a child lashing out to escape. They feel the concept of marriage or real commitment to you might suffocate them or put them in a box that they will never escape from.


Others think their ideal mate ie. my Prince Charming, My ideal woman, My dream date, My calendar girl, My Knight in Shining Armour (who, by the way, never ever have bed head, cough, have a broken nail or a any hobbies except to love and worship you in all their perfection" really do exist and are waiting just for them. Long wait there! Even when these CP's meet incredible potential partners..there will always be some problem that will stop them from getting really involved.


This one foot in, one foot out gives them a clean exit. They often go from one relationship to the next without any real explanation or closure because they are so good at it! Some feel guilty...others know they have a problem and the key words that I have found through my own experiene is and then some more WORDS and then, just to keep you hanging and their egos intact some more WORDS.


Action, the planning (remember that word because it crops up big time with CP's) maybe verbalized or not but wait till the day comes and you realize you are living and loving a potential.....hope......could be/would be. if only because, in reality.....they don't want you permanently at all. Some just dissappear in the dead of night....others, chronically for years like a bad broken record until you lose your mind, your precious time and end up angry or in a state of no self-esteem, self-blame and guilt. It's not your fault! Remember that. You can't fix them. They are not your responsibility.


Why do we love these people? Because we are vulnerable and want to help them. We think because we have so much to give, offer, to love, he/she will "get it and us" and wake up. No cigar and wishful thinking. It can take literally years of therapy to get back to that sense of trusting and moving forward with the majority of CP's.


Beause we project too much and don't stop to see what is really going on, we open our hearts to a great deal of pain, frustration and sadness. These toxic people should be stamped on their foreheads for any future innocents.


Love is blind. I still love but I can tell you, I don't like, trust, believe, hope, confide or waitfor my ex B/F anymore. He was just a life lesson I hope to never repeat.



You can't make someone want to be with you and make plans if they don't or can't. Their phobia is bigger than you, your relationship, what you mean to them or ever will be.

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Oh no.. The girl I've been dating for 3+ months is definitely a CP and not just that.. shes a workaholic CP!!..


we've already split up once and just got back together again... somehow I see myself saying adios to her if she doesn't try to fix her own behaviour... she admits that she is a workaholic and says she knows its wrong but thats just how she is!? - How can I get her to try and help herself without freaking her out? - I know that this relationship probably wont last but I do care about her alot and I hope she can fix this problem with our without me in her life... shes an awesome person and deserves more in life... I just wish she could see that!


I dont really want to but I'm probably gonna have to end this sometime...she even warned me that shes a tough girl to be with.. I took the challenge anyways and we were very happy together - for a while...


Its gonna drain me if this doesn't change and I love myself more than that....such a shame cos it started so well!!


Any advice??

Link to comment

Oh no.. The girl I've been dating for 3+ months is definitely a CP and not just that.. shes a workaholic CP!!..


we've already split up once and just got back together again... somehow I see myself saying adios to her if she doesn't try to fix her own behaviour... she admits that she is a workaholic and says she knows its wrong but thats just how she is!? - How can I get her to try and help herself without freaking her out? - I know that this relationship probably wont last but I do care about her alot and I hope she can fix this problem with our without me in her life... shes an awesome person and deserves more in life... I just wish she could see that!


I dont really want to but I'm probably gonna have to end this sometime...she even warned me that shes a tough girl to be with.. I took the challenge anyways and we were very happy together - for a while...


Its gonna drain me if this doesn't change and I love myself more than that....such a shame cos it started so well!!


Any advice??

Link to comment

At least you can see the writing on the wall.......

If you want to avoid having a nervous breakdown..it's only been 3 mos so your grief will probably be short and sweet.


No, you can't fix someone else's fatal flaws!! That's not your job! She will only end up resenting you and feel more inferior and probably hurt you even more in the process.


She has to get to that point (if ever) on her own and be miserable enough to want to help herself. The push/pull thing will make you crazy and interrupt your life, your self-esteem and make you feel responsibile for someone else's happiness. You are not responsible! This is not your problem. She won't change because you ask her to.


Look after yourself first. Seek out someone who has her act together and wants to be your partner and wants the same things you want.


It's terribly sad to see someone you love/like go through this but......this is not your project to take on.

Link to comment
  • 3 years later...

Oh my God, this is a commentary of my relationship for the last 9 years. I'm guessing I was the passive CP. My ex fiance made my life so miserable near the end, I dumped him which I think he wanted all along. And like you said, I'm left shattered wondering why and trying to pick up the pieces.You are right these people will never change and I realize that now...way too late. I never what to see or talk with him again. He's toxic. I cannot tell you the damage and hurt he has done to me. It's so scary that there are people like that out there. If he thinks he can pop back in anytime and I'll take him back...he's crazy. I'm done with him for good this time.

Link to comment

I have a friend of mine who is commitment phobic. He madly fell in love when he was 16, has been cheated on and now he's engaged from several years-he's now 35, but he is never been able to be faithful to her, not now, neither during all their relationship. How come he is now buying a house with her???? I mean it's just insane. He knows he will cheat on her even after they will go live together, and if they will get married it will be worse.


But he can't rebel because he fears the reaction of his girlfriend. He feels responsible for her feelings, and he is scared of her possible anger, hatring and rejection. He doesn't get his feelings depend on him and he should respect himself and his ideas in front of everyone with no fears.

He is willing to stay in a relationship and have kids and all that stuff, and I suffer as I see him struggling to live a normal life. He told me all these things and asked me to keep it secret, because he's ashamed of counselling.


I would really like to comfort him as a friend. I cannot change him, but perhaps I thought that I could give him an input to seriously rethink about his situation, to make him find his own way. I really wish I could tell him that of course when you take a serious and monogamous relationship you take risks,

but if you are with the right one you have no need to feel trapped, because when 2 persons are truly in love, they don't look at each other, they look in the same direction. I mean, he should feel completely free to be himself, with his dark sides, and share everything with his partner, and so should do her, in order to fulfill each other, grow better as persons and enjoy new adventures.So he would not think at her like the one who's holding him by the neck.I want to advice him NOT to go living with her and NOT to marry.


BUUUUUUUT- and this is a great but...male mind is a PERVERT mind

So I don't know which words to use, how to introduce this talk, and how to say this without making him feel judged, critized or just a shameless jerk.

I also read some books,but they just confuse me..for example, catch him and keep him by christian carter or how to talk your way etc etc by cucan pemo.


Honestly....seemed kind of crap to me..or maybe it's me, maybe I didn't get the message.


What would you do in my shoes? I read a few of your posts, and they're all like -leave him alone- which is right in that situations, but here I have a friend who's asked my help and I want to help him focusing on what he is doing. What do you advice???](*,)


huggs to every1 and thank you

Link to comment
  • 6 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I have been crushed by a commitmentphobe. I can see now how he sabotaged the relationship before I moved in with him. It has nearly destroyed me as I gave up everything and moved to another country to be with him. I'm now left alone to rebuild my life. I thought he was just mourning a death...but now I can see the signs were there all along. This is the most painful relationship I have ever had! He left just as quick as he professed his undying love.

Link to comment

My GF just came accross this post and pointed out to me that she is an Active CP. When I read this my heart sank as I recognized point after point. While she admits to being an Active CP in the same breath she tells me that she needs space and no pressure to deal with it. I told her last night that I would be willing to go to counseling with her and at the time she seemed very interested. This morning, when we chatted online, her tone was cold. She is telling me that I am applying to much pressure on her and that she needs space. In the same breath she wants us to be like we used to. How am I supposed to respond to both requests? So, at this point I feel like a hapless fool waiting for my girlfriend to deal with her dysfunction and by deal, that doesnt necessarily mean she is actually working towards dealing with her dysfunction, but rather working to justify in her mind that what she is doing and feeling is "ok".


Help - what should I do?

Link to comment

My on/off boyfriend of almost 1.5 years is/was an Active CP. In the beginning he rushed things (talked about love, marriage, and moving) and freaked himself out. He admitted it was his fault and never said an unkind word.


We were broken up for about 6 months and during that time we slowly progressed from friends, to best friends with benefits, to casually dating, to a non-exclusive couple, to a non-committed couple (dating other people wasn't cheating - but things would be over with us), and finally to us getting back together. Since I met him we've talked pretty much everyday.


We are now happily together and discuss our future though not in depth. I try not to put pressure on him and let him set the pace. Because of our past I'm always checking that things are ok and I worry about him freaking out again. He always tells me things are great, not to worry, and that he won't hurt me. Things are wonderful and we entered into it more slowly this time, but I'm still scared of getting hurt. Before, when I asked him to put "in a relationship" as his myspace status (after 4 months and talks of marriage) he freaked out and said we were moving too fast. This time, I didn't say anything and after a couple of weeks I noticed he had changed it on his own. A couple weeks ago he set his default picture to one of us on Valentine's Day and last week he created an album with pictures of us. It's been several months and he's been the one slowly moving things forward.


Am I stupid to give this a chance?

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

So what would happen if you had a CP, that "loved" you and was your boyfriend and you simply tell them:

" ok lets keep n being together but you live in your house and I will live in mine " and not pressure with marriiage or living together .....


Would a CP be at ease with this, would it make him run away too ?


It´s not unheard of, having a relationship were each lives in their own house .


What do you think ????

Link to comment

I've gone back and forth on this issue throughout my the period since I started dating and I've come to the conclusion that I don't believe CPs exist. I believe people who are commitment phobic don't want to be with the particular person they are with. OK, maybe there are a handful of true commitment phobics out there but I think they are outnumbered by people who just don't want to commit to certain people but who would happily commit if they were with the right person.

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Iv been here before,and now im here again with the same person. He is the active cp & i am the passive cp i think..

Four years ago i looked great had a good job,was good company,all the plus things that you would look for,and he was the same,all good. He used to hold my hand when we were out & kiss me in public & show me off. The relationship was blossoming or so i thought,until one day he told me he still couldn't get over his ex wife divorcing him. So i called it a day but we remained good friends

Fast forward to January this year and we started what i thought was going to be a relationship,hoping that he had got over his ex wife. What we seem to be,well what we are is friends with benefits,because that all that he can handle.

It transpires that a few weeks back he thought i was wanting more or getting too serious. I have no idea why he would think that because i have gone over everything in my mind & i didn't do or say anything to make him think that,but he did & kind of dumped me for another woman. Only for one or two nights..

Lately he has been begging (have him back in my bed,or have me back,im really not sure which) But truth be known,i would like us to be in a relationship because we have so much in common,enjoy each others company & things,but i dont think he can handle a proper relationship. Sex is fantastic between us,we are good together and everything so why can't he just go for it! He isnt getting any younger. So im now starting to think there is something wrong with me and thats why he won't commit,not even a little bit. So maybe like lady00 says,maybe its just you as an idividual that they don't want to commit to

Link to comment

I agree that the whole commitment phobia idea is just a way to make ourselves feel better. Everything is so overly-labeled and categorized just so humans can make sense of it. I prefer to face reality- he wasn't interested in being with me anymore, period. His loss. I find that significantly more empowering than making myself a victim of someone else's "illness".

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with bulletproof.


There may be a few true cp's out there, but I think a lot of the time it is just not the right person or relationship for them to commit too. It doesn't make the other bad or anything, that level just isn't there for whatever reason.


Sometimes there are no reasons, it is so hard to accept that this is the way it is. So it is easier to rationalize that something is wrong with the other person. Just my 2 cents.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...