Fear of commitment? Follow these tips and get over it.
I've been working with heartbroken people for over 25 years as a psychotherapist. I've listened closely as they tell me they've been abandoned again and again, can't seem to find someone, can't get a quality relationship to last. The truth is that they are experiencing invisible barriers that prevent them from finding the right love. The first step to overcoming these barriers is understanding them. Here are some of the common scenerios:
Abandon-holism: You've been hurt so many times, you've come to confuse insecurity with love. When someone comes along who is willing to commit, you don't feel the "right chemistry." So you seek unavailable partners who make you insecure, leading to a cycle of reabandonment. Abandoholics are addicted to the love chemicals of conquest, of pursuing the illusion of love. ThirdAge: Top 10 Fantasies For Men And Women
Abandophobism: Your isolation is driven by fear. You may avoid contact altogether or appear to look for mates, but pursue unattainable partners to avoid the risk of becoming attached.
Fear of abandonment: Insecurity is your internal gremlin. It sabotages your attempts to feel cool, calm and confident when attempting to bring love into your life. It short-circuits your relationships with feelings of neediness, desperation and self-doubt. ThirdAge: 10 Things To Do When He Stops Wanting Sex
Fear of engulfment: You feel emotionally closed in when someone is ready to commit. You pursue hard-to-get lovers to sidestep intimacy and avoid the panic of closeness.
Negative attraction: We all know someone entrapped in a relationship that is no good for them, addicted to the high-stakes drama of emotional danger. In fact, a negative attraction is often more compelling than a positive one. Recovery means learning to stay away from the "emotional candy" and choosing someone who offers emotional sustenance. ThirdAge: 10 Essential Ingredients for Building a Healthy Relationship
Blind to love: Love may have shown up at different points in your life, but you weren't able to recognize it. You were looking for another "feeling" and dodged the opportunity for a real relationship. In fact, love might be staring you in the face at this very moment, but your potential mate remains emotionally invisible to you.
When you are ready to break out of your patterns of self-sabotage, it is time to put your awareness into action with these steps:
- Recognize your patterns, be truthful to yourself.
- Commit to change.
- Maintain a daily routine of self-reflection (possibly writing in your journal), focusing on changes you notice in your unfolding new self.
- Share your emerging awareness with others -- friends, therapists, support group members -- to strengthen your resolve and gain support.
- Practice being emotionally present, open and sharing with all of the people in your immediate life, each day extending your caring self to new people.
- Step outside your usual circle of friends and activities to explore new interests and try out new roles.
- Initiate contact with at least 10 new people and explore different aspects of your personality that may have not found expression before (your various alter ego states).
- Come clean about your feelings and your culpabilities about past relationship failures with at least three of these contacts.
Written by Susan Anderson for ThirdAge.
More from ThirdAge:
- The Top 10 Fantasies For Men And Women
- 10 Things To Do When He Stops Wanting Sex
- The 10 Essential Ingredients for Building a Healthy Relationship