In my counseling work, I often work with clients who have a deep fear of commitment. These individuals generally say that they want to be in a loving relationship, yet they keep picking the wrong people. 5 Truths About Long-Term Committed Relationships
One client named Susan, 38, sought my help because she was in two relationships at the same time. This didn't feel right to her, so she knew that she had to make a choice. Yet, she could not seem to decide which relationship was right for her.
Susan had been in a relationship with Shawn for two years. Shawn, 43, was a delightful man, fun loving and sweet. However, Shawn would disappear emotionally for long periods of time. He was also clear that he did not want children, which was very important to Susan, and Shawn was always living on the edge financially.
Then Susan met Calvin, who was totally different than Shawn. Calvin stayed emotionally present, had a job he loved, made very good money and wanted to have children. Susan was very attracted to Calvin, and in her heart, she knew that he was a much better choice for her than Shawn, though she could not let go.
As we explored the situation, it became apparent that Susan couldn't let go of Shawn because she was terrified of commitment. With Shawn, there was no chance of being in a committed relationship because he was not available. Susan felt safe with Shawn.
Susan discovered that she was terrified of really being in love, which was a possibility with Calvin but not with Shawn. In her mind, being in love meant losing her freedom. When she thought of being with Calvin, she felt like she couldn't breathe. Her concept of a loving relationship was that, "You are together all the time. I couldn't just go and be with my friends or take a vacation with a friend. Commitment means giving up freedom."
No wonder she felt safe with Shawn! As long as Susan believed she had to give herself up to be in a loving relationship, she would not be able to make a commitment. Hard Work Ahead: Are Relationships Really Worthwhile?
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