Committed? Erm, no, it's complicated

Committed? Erm, no, it's complicated

Commitment phobia is more common than we may think. Advaita Shyam Sunder looks at the many reasons why quite a few women today are afraid to take the plunge into serious relationships.

For some women, bungee jumping seems less scary than the thought of committing to someone in a relationship. There are some who cannot love anyone outside of their
immediate family. They feel unstable when they begin to have feelings for someone else.

Beneath all that facade of independence, do you think there could be this intense fear of commitment? Can it be too overwhelming to be available for someone whenever they need you? Relationships are not everyone’s cup of tea. Commitment is serious business and loving is daring. Commitment phobia can be explained by several human reasons. Let’s explore some of the common ones:

- Losing one’s sense of self is definitely scary. You are not the same anymore once you are committed. It is like a part of you belongs to someone else. You act  and feel in a way that drives you nuts, may be. “I’m not good at this stuff. Talking, communicating, relationship stuff. If we were in a relationship I’d become a weird, scary version of myself and my throat starts constricting, the walls start throbbing. It's like a peanut allergy, like an emotional peanut allergy,” Emma says to Adam in the movie No strings Attached.

- When someone you love betrays you, it can take a long time to heal. Your ability to see the world as kind and loving is shattered. Committing yourself to somebody can be a gratifying feeling, but the truth is, once your feelings have been taken for granted and abused, you feel that the outcome of your future relationships will be even worse. Trusting someone the next time can be really hard.

-You need to put your eggs in all the baskets. This is the motto followed by many in this generation, not only when it comes to job opportunities, but also in prospective relationships. It is like you are caged and your wings are clipped. There is a sense of being tied down. It prevents you from falling in love again and finding someone better.

-The fear of being responsible can be overwhelming when you are too busy keeping your own world together. “Well, I personally reckon that making commitments in a relationship requires one to shoulder a lot of responsibilities and have someone to be answerable to. So basically people who shy away from commitments are the ones who shy away from responsibilities - for various reasons - be it losing out on personal freedom, family issues, financial constraints. What people need to understand is that when you enter a relationship and it sails smoothly for a considerable period of time, the next step of action is expected to be giving a commitment. So one must weigh the pros and cons of the relationship before you enter into one,” says Suhail Ali, a SAP analyst.

-Confusing excitement with anxiety is one of the forms of commitment phobia. When this happens, many end a potential love interest even before it begins. You may feel nervous in the anticipation of meeting someone new, but instead of reading it as a case of nervous energy, you misconstrue it as a red alert. This kind of ambiguity makes you throw in the towel even before you meet the other person.

- The risk of being let down can be boggling. When you open your heart to somebody, you allow yourself to be vulnerable and you give the other person power to hurt you. So
committing to a person, who you are not sure will value your time and energy, is risky. You are no longer in the safe harbour. You are going to invest a lot of emotions in a person, who may or may not reciprocate in the same manner.

-Freedom is in jeopardy when you are committed. You may be independent by nature and may like to make your own decisions. But being committed requires you to listen to your partner. Committing to someone is going to make you give up on certain things that you loved doing as a singleton. As the old saying goes, being committed means losing out on the admiration of many for the criticism of one person.

-You may like someone as a fun person to date, but never thought of him as a long-term partner. The future is uncertain, especially with the fickle-minded nature of today’s generation. One does not know what one likes in a person to pursue a long-term relationship. Often it takes a couple of years before you realise that you never really loved that person. So why commit to someone when you are going to break up anyway?

-It is just a matter of conquest. Who wants intimacy? It is easier to indulge in flirtatious
behaviour. There is a wicked sense of achievement in garnering attention from every possible crush or love interest. Some prefer to keep a list of partners on the radar as backup, in case the relationship were to fail.

If you look at all the above-mentioned reasons, you will see how most of them are actually irrational and self-inflicted. You can open your self-imposed prison and walk through your life with an open heart. To stay away from commitments in relationships is only going to make your life smaller and seemingly safer. So instead of shying away from such baseless fears, keep an open mind and put your heart out there. It may well be worth it, ladies!

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