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Fear of commitment or "he's just not that into me" ?


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How to leave an abusive relationship and why it's so hard

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Hello all, and thanks for reading. I'm 2 months post break-up and hoping to get some advice/support and a reality check about my hopes for a future relationship with my ex.

 

The story: My boyfriend of 2.5 years broke up with me out of the blue as we were seriously discussing moving in together. He is 32, I'm 28. One week we were fine, having fun together and talking about the future in positive terms. The next week he was "confused, didn't know what he wanted from a long-term relationship, and wasn't sure if we were compatible". He asked for a break, and I responded that we might as well break up. (my pride was hurt, alas. I didn't mean it.) We parted ways.

 

I've been a wreck since the break-up, wondering what the heck happened and why. I love this man, we had a great, loving relationship, and up until we broke up I thought we'd be together long into the future. Since the moment we separated, I can't figure out if he walked away from our relationship because he was afraid of committing, or because he honestly doesn't feel that strongly about me.

 

I do see the wisdom of the "he's just not that into you" opinion, and it's entirely possible that's the case. And yet, when I read descriptions of people who are commitment-phobic, it sounds exactly like him and his behavior. I was his first long-term relationship; before me he had dated women briefly and couldn't really explain why things had ended. He also lost a parent early in life, which I feel has affected his emotional development and ability to feel loved and safe. In addition, while our relationship was almost entirely fun and drama-free, he seemed to get uncomfortable with any movement toward commitment (was hesitant to leave stuff over at my place, give me a key to his place, make vacation plans together, etc.)

 

Anyhow, I accept that I may never know why he left, but I still can't stop thinking about it. Has anyone had a similar experience? Did you ever come to a better understanding of where your dumper was coming from?

 

I also am trying to figure out the best way to act in order to facilitate reconciliation (I believe reconciliation is possible if he's been dealing with a case of commitment phobia-- if he's "not that into me" I understand that it's a lost cause!) We had NC for the first month, and then have been in LC for the past few weeks via brief check-in emails sent back and forth weekly. The emails have been short, positive, good interactions.

 

Any advice on how I should be acting toward him at this point, outside of the weekly email thing? Things that I should NOT do? Any general feedback on how much hope I should have for us having another chance? Thanks!

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I seem to attract the commitment-phobes, and like you am 28 and was with my 36 year old partner for 2 years. We had a period of no contact for 2 months and are in the process of reconciling. We've had a lot of skeletons emerge from the closet since deciding we wanted another chance together and for us that's important to give us an understanding of his fear of commitment.

 

That being said, I was with another commitment-phobe for 5 years who never ever worked out his problems.

 

If you're trying to reconnect, I would recommend continuing the light friendly contact without placing any pressure on him. You could always ask him to meet for a casual coffee or something similar. However, don't hold great expectations as they don't always come back.

 

*hugs* and good luck.

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Hi Huckleberry,

 

I am in a similar situation very much like yours. It's been 2 months post break up and we were together almost 3 years too. However he is a bit younger than me, I'm 33 and he is turning 28 this year.

 

We were also looking to buy a house, talking about our future and then it happened again.

 

My ex is also dealing with fear of commitment I believe and alot of it stems from his past that he never dealt with. This is the 2nd time he has broken up with me but this time he's finally facing reality whereas he swept it under the carpet last time and hence why he is still feeling this way. Mine is also "confused", needs to "find himself" or "his purpose in life" - I too initially told him we should have a break so he can sort through his issues but it turned into a break up.

 

I can totally understand where you are coming from in terms of not knowing what happened as I was like that also but someone on this forum pointed alot of factors out to me such as fear of intimacy, engulfment and abandonment and things started to make a bit more sense.

 

Wow, your ex does sound alot like mine, he had dated a girl before me also and did the same thing to her. Granted he said he never felt for her the way he did for me but he would run away from everything. As with my ex, I believe that your ex's issues have to do with what you mentioned about having lost a parent - I think like mine, he believes that he isn't worthy of feeling love and therefore runs away from it. I also believe he is afraid of getting hurt and afraid of being abandoned due to this.

 

In regards to reconcilation - I really don't know what the best solution is. Once I started reading up about it, I initially emailed him bits and pieces about what I had found out about all these issues but he never really responded with more than a few sentences. I think your ex should seek some therapy and I think you should continue NC.

 

That is what I am doing because I think to push them will scare them even more. Huckleberry, this is going to be a long process, it's not a quick fix thing and I also suggest as someone suggested to me that you should be working on yourself also.

 

I hope that helped and if you want to PM me, we can help each other out

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as a self confessed commitment phobe, i would advise you to be very careful and protect your heart. commitment phobia is something that requires a lot of work and that's if the person is prepared to do it.

 

what you described would confirm to me that he has abandonment issues and he is scared to allow himself to love and be loved.

 

Don't take it personally..........this is about him not you. People will tell you that he's just not that into you, but comments like that usually come from ignorance.

 

He has to take responsibility for his fears and there is not much you can do to convince him to change.........he will have to do it when he's ready. Tell him you want to help him through this and then leave him be. Perhaps the threat of losing you may trigger enough motivation and inspiration for him to finally deal with this

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I seem to attract the commitment-phobes, and like you am 28 and was with my 36 year old partner for 2 years. We had a period of no contact for 2 months and are in the process of reconciling. We've had a lot of skeletons emerge from the closet since deciding we wanted another chance together and for us that's important to give us an understanding of his fear of commitment.

 

That being said, I was with another commitment-phobe for 5 years who never ever worked out his problems.

 

If you're trying to reconnect, I would recommend continuing the light friendly contact without placing any pressure on him. You could always ask him to meet for a casual coffee or something similar. However, don't hold great expectations as they don't always come back.

 

*hugs* and good luck.

 

Hi Persimmon,

 

how did you approach things with your ex? I've been completely NC with the NC except for 2 times when we met a few weeks ago and a few short emails but that's about it. People are telling me to continue NC - I was considering texting or emailing him something along the lines of "how are you?"

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I seem to attract the commitment-phobes, and like you am 28 and was with my 36 year old partner for 2 years. We had a period of no contact for 2 months and are in the process of reconciling. We've had a lot of skeletons emerge from the closet since deciding we wanted another chance together and for us that's important to give us an understanding of his fear of commitment.

 

That being said, I was with another commitment-phobe for 5 years who never ever worked out his problems.

 

If you're trying to reconnect, I would recommend continuing the light friendly contact without placing any pressure on him. You could always ask him to meet for a casual coffee or something similar. However, don't hold great expectations as they don't always come back.

 

*hugs* and good luck.

 

If you have a history of being in relationships with commitment phobes, you might well be one yourself. Commitment phobes tend to hide behind each other's fears. It's a form of self sabotage.

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The thing about being with a commitment phobe is that it's slightly soul destroying because despite things that they say, we never feel really and truly secure. Even so, when we break up it always comes as a shock.

 

As everyone says on these boards, I used my NC time to work on myself and live my life and gain my confidence back. We had a wonderful relationship and friendship so I rang him after my NC period and asked him to meet me for a coffee. I just treated it like I was catching up with an old friend. After that, he always initiated contact with me and about a week after he would contact me I would suggest some sort of opportunity to meet up and he always agreed. Finally, he asked me to meet up with him (This was about a month and a half after the initial contact) and we mutually agreed to try to work things out.

 

This is actually our second reconciliation as we broke up also 9 months ago but reconciled after a week. This time he's told me about all his demons he's been trying to exorcise and it genuinely is starting to feel like we can have a clean slate.

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If you have a history of being in relationships with commitment phobes, you might well be one yourself. Commitment phobes tend to hide behind each other's fears. It's a form of self sabotage.

 

We're all entitled to have our own opinion, but I certainly disagree with you that I myself am a commitment phobe.

 

I've used my time apart from my partner to address my own issues and have spent several sessions with a professional counsellor as well to gain an objective opinion on myself and my relationships.

 

I understand why people can be so cynical and jaded about relationships but this board is called "Getting Back Together". I don't know what the future hold for me but evidently my attitude is more positive than yours and I hope that is something to will contribute to my success in life as well as my relationship.

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i wasn't having a go at you, but merely pointing out that this stuff goes much deeper than most people think. I am also positive and working on myself, but i have also noticed a tendency for the people i meet to also have commitment issues of their own. It's very easy to play the victim role and say 'why do i attract commitment phobes'. The answer is usually that they are hiding behind their own fears and that leads them to sub consciously choose unavailable partners. If this is a pattern, then it's more than just bad luck.

 

I don't think most therapists come even close to knowing about commitment phobia unless they have been one........i know that i have taught my two therapists more about commitment phobia in 6 months than they could have learned in a lifetime.

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eeek, you never know. i've seen it happen where the guy has 6 months of his single life and then suddenly realizes how much he misses his ex. and then wants her back, but by then, she is too angry at him to take him back. that happens.

 

really, you had NO sign at all that he would break it off? no weird behavior or anything?

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, everyone. Persimmon, I am inspired by your story! It sounds like you have dealt with your break with grace and that's a goal of mine. I would love to hear more about how your reconciliation is taking shape. Atelis, I appreciate your perspective from the commitment-phobic side of things. It's hard to remember that my ex has to take responsibility for his own fears. And Marton, I am so sorry that we're in the same boat (it's not a very fun boat!) and I wish you strength and patience as you continue down the path.

 

Thanks to all for also reminding me to do my own work. I have tried to focus on myself once I recovered from the initial shock and denial. I'm doing all the standard stuff: working out, keeping busy with friends and family, reading self-help books, going to see a therapist. I am realizing more and more each day that my self-esteem has taken a beating in this process (and maybe wasn't the strongest to begin with). I'm working on that. After all, happy, healthy and confident people are more attractive, right!

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Annie, thanks for your warning! I do want to try and stay positive toward him, so that if he does come back around I could engage in reconciliation with an open heart and without anger.

 

Looking back I definitely notice weird behavior and signs that all was not right for him. Like I said, he was always squirrely about becoming more intertwined in each others' lives. In the couple months before the break up we had been talking about moving in together and I could tell he was growing uncomfortable with those talks (I always initiated them.)

 

There were also other little things... a strange comment here and there, him taking up old/new hobbies, buying new clothes, and working out more. I didn't notice any of these things at the time, of course! In my defense I was going through a stressful work situation and was feeling pretty down with that. Also, he never once talked about any issues he was having with the relationship or with me. So while I can't say our time together at the end was super fun, it's hard to address problems if they're not brought to your attention.

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Huckleberry - best of luck to you. The fact that you are in LC is a good thing and it seems like you are at a healthy stage or at least working hard to get to that stage. Well done. Maybe next time you talk, you could suggest meeting up? But maybe, and you know which is best, you should wait longer or wait for him to ask. I'm no expert because I feel like we have similar problems and I don't know what to do next but I'm open myself to contact.

 

Me and my ex broke up just over 4 months ago. It all went downhill after I talked to her about buying a house, where an excellent opportunity came about for us that 99.9% people on this planet would jump at. She always talked about us having a house, and how she couldn't wait and was even looking at houses for us on the internet a few days before we actually had the serious talk, that involved ACTUALLY buying a house, rather than the fantasy of it. She was not very supportive of the opportunity, saying she wasn't ready!!! She finished with me a month later, despite 22 months of bliss. I was aware that she was becoming increasingly moody, and irritable but I did not realise these were signs until after she finished with me, because even a few days before breaking up she declared how much she loved me. One of her break up reasons was she was too young to have a mortgage. The hardest part for me to come to terms with was the fact that her feelings disappeared but there is so much evidence against this! So part of me just thinks she is confused.

 

Lets hope one day either me or you get the answers or solutions we deserve!

 

I think you are heading in the right direction.

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And why is that the best thing?

 

because you shouldnt put your life on hold waiting for someone that more than likely not coming back. Whether it is now or in the near future you will have to get over things. The sooner the better so you can move on. Nothing worse than looking back a few years later and wishing you had moved on sooner

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Dear Huckleberry.

 

I am sorry to know what you are going through. The thing is, a commitment phobe cannot be helped unless they want to. Your ex will have to live through his own life curve, and come to a conclusion that this make-shift fugitive life is taking a huge toll on him, that he needs a steady and "forever" relationship. However, this realization will come only with time, and it will come at his own pace.

 

Your post got me interested because your ex is very much like my ex. 1) He broke up after we had talked about marrying this summer 2) He has insecurity and abandonment issues and was always imagining I would leave him 3) He lost his father very early in life4) He has "run away" before too when he was dating a woman before me but it was not as serious as our own relationship 5) When he runs he really runs away from everything--the job, the city, the relationship 4) basically, he is a gem of a person with a very loving heart which is just too fragile.

 

The question is--do you keep waiting until he "realizes" his mistake? That could take a year, two years, and he could even get into a new relationship so that he can completely forget the past. You cannot afford to keep waiting.

 

I have worked on my life since the break-up, to the extent I am surprised by my own strength. I have gone NC, stabilized emotionally, learned tons of new things, created my own projects, wrote and traveled a lot, made so many new and interesting friends, and have not gone on rebound nor will. The break-up has been my chance of re-invention. At the same time, of course I miss my ex and cannot imagine another man in his shoes, yet.

 

You could tell your ex that his problems are related to commitment. But will that change anything? No. It never pays to chase someone, or even tutor them in how to think, unless they ask us to. Like Aristotle said--you can see only what is inside you. So I believe he himself will have to see the patterns of his life. Right now, the reponse of your ex is to run. You have to make it safe for him to run. Which means you cannot run after them. If he needs X space you give them 2X. You don't want them to feel trapped. You want to just let them be. I guess that is what love is all about.

 

Just take this break-up as a time-out to understand your life, your dreams, your relationships and make it the turnaround phase of your life. Do things you have put on backburner before. Beat your old accomplishments. Years later, when you look back at this period of your life, you should feel proud of how you blossomed as a complete person during this tough time.

 

And don't stop believing in love. What was between you and your ex was something true, and the break-up doesn't take that away.

 

Right now, you cannot suggest him "therapy," because he may get defensive. However, you could indirectly tell him how you see this situation to be, and leave it at that (as atelis suggested).

 

People have fears you know, just as your ex and mine had. They are afraid of a few things in life. For reasons too deep-rooted than even they understand. Probably in your limited interactions with him, you can encourage him to express his fears out to you. You can be his official listener. It is not easy to listen without jumping in with our own ifs and buts, but probably that is the smallest thing you could do right now. Stay firm where you are, not run after him, and let him express his fealings and fears to you.

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Very interesting thread and a horrible confuseig one to go through. I havent got much advice on it and am probably only seeking it.

My ex she`s 33 im 36, she has had bad relationships in the past cheated on etc. After we got together she always kept saying you know we will always be together forever she wanted the lot, i never blanked what she was saying but held back a bit as i thought it was to soon. Anyway when i went with it and agreed she paniced and ran. 3 months n/c she came back saying how sorry she was and that she had paniced because it was all real, and put up walls.

She lasted 3 days and could not handle it again all to good and real to be true. We went lc for a couple of months she always gave it the friends tag , i gave her space but was always there. We met a few times , couple of days out slept together a few times, which she would always panic about as she thought she was holding me back from someone who could deal with a relationship.

As we took it slow i never mentioned anything about future, she started to a lot , mentioned about buying a house together as "friends" but share a bed. And aybe in 12months we will have a little un. Also two weeks ago she mentioned maybe i should ask to marry her as it may be what she wants. All of this i tried to let go over my head du to her past panic`s.

Last week we were chatting on phone, she was saying how down she was, and if not for her kids wouldnt care if alive or dead. Then i blew it, i asked did she love me? yes . Fancy me? Yes. Trust me? Yes more than anyone else was her reply. So i foolishly said well put your trust in me, lets start back as a couple and take it slow and we can work through everything together. She said you have more feelings than me we are meant to be just friends.

Since then it`s been n/c it`s hard because the feelings are there on both sides as it seems. I dont know if anything will happen in the future, im trying to move on, but its very hard so mant mxed messages.

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It seems to be that there are a few of us going through the same things with our exes and the situations sound very similar with the whole house buying, "future" talks etc. I think the toughest part of all of this is that I believe there is still love that exists between the two - it's just that now their fears have overwhelmed them and they choose to run away from it all.

 

I think the best thing as Siberia has mentioned is to give them their space. We can't "make" them do anything, we want to help them but they don't want our help. So best we take a massive step back, focus on the only thing we have control over and that is our own lives.

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this is a very good thread. i am in the same boat as everyone else. i am 31, my ex is 28. she gave me the speech "i need me time" last november. its been 8 months since the breakup and like some on this thread, have had no interest in hooking up with someone else. i am just working on myself and trying to heal. its not the easiest thing in the world. the pain tends to resurface as well as the tears from time to time. i am in nc with my ex too and i just keep taking it day by day. i dream at night of her contacting me telling me she has seen what she has to see and that she misses me. i find myself checking the mail with the hope a letter from her will be in it. thats sad and pathetic i know. but it keeps me from contacting her the hope that someday she will contact me or if she doesn't i will eventually heal and meet someone new who does appreciate me and doesn't want to leave me.

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we all need to understand that we can't fix people and usually, our efforts to try and fix people stem from our own fear and need to control (co-dependancy) and not necessarily through our love for the other person. It takes great honesty and self awareness to admit that and learn more about ourselves in the process. Helping someone is fine, but we cannot fix them. There is a fine line between the two.

 

Do you feel responsible for them, their happiness, future, feelings etc? Do you feel frustrated? If you do, then you are probably trying too hard to change them or fix them.

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Atelis, I hear you about being wary of the codependent need to "fix" people. I am a social worker by trade and definitely have noticed myself taking on a strong helping (fixing?) role in relationships before.

 

I do feel frustrated with my ex... but isn't that normal? We had a great relationship, one that *I* feel was viable, and then poof-- it's gone. It's more than frustrating, it's maddening!

 

But I don't feel responsible for him, it's more like I feel responsible for us. I think that's why I'm trying to empathize with him, and respond to him in a way that's least likely to scare him even more. I have reached a place in my life where I know how valuable it is to find love, and I believe that we found true love in each other. I don't want to let that go without a fight!

 

And yet I know there is a fine line between fighting for love and losing all sense of perspective and self respect. I'm struggling to figure out how to walk that line. It seems others are too- my heart goes out to you!

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After all my ex has said past couple of months i really believe she wanted more than what she was prepared to let herself have. I have always found myself a good judge of chareter, there were so many reasons i felt this.

But sumtimes i feel almost guilty by entrapment for askin her back into a relationship. It was her who kept mentioning deeper stuff, but when eventually i caved and did also she ran.

As we were we were gettin very close and she was beginning to open up a lot.

How do i get back to the easy goin part again. Any ideas?

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I think all you can do is provide understanding and compassion and offer to help him through his fears. We can't fix people as we agreed, we can only help them. Everyone has their time........i hope for your sake this is his time to tackle his demons. But overcoming the fear of commitment is very very difficult.

 

You are also entitled to protect yourself as well and have boundaries there.......not ultimatums, but flexible boundaries that you can adjust according to the situation to protect yourself, while maintaining a compassionate, safe place for him to express himself if he needs to.

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hi nauum

 

nice to see you on here again. its been awhile. i would say since you have always talked, just keep things as but don't give a lot of information; create some mystery and let him learn about you again. this is how someone usually is attracted to someone again.

 

hope this helps- i am in nc-been that way for about 2 months now. the breakup has been 8 months now.

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