8 Painful Realities About Loving Someone With Commitment Issues

There are a lot of misconceptions about commitment-phobes.

Woman sitting on ground Daniel Monteiro | Unsplash, Alena Shekhovtsova | Canva

Many people in the dating world consider having a fear of commitment a non-starter. People with commitment issues, like myself, are equated with players, cheaters, and heartless losers. I have no problem attaching this label to myself. I'm the Amy Townsend of Trainwreck in my friend group: infamous for having short-lived flings, for purposely dating men with whom things will go nowhere, and for shutting things down before they can ever get started.


I admit it — I have commitment issues. I've only ever dated one man more repelled by commitment than myself, and I admit, I was kind of impressed. It's not that I'm disinterested in love; I'm just not interested in being in a relationship for its own sake. When my person comes along, I'll be willing to re-evaluate if necessary (I think). But until then, I proudly wear the badge of someone who has a fear of commitment. If you're dating or interested in someone who also has commitment issues, there are a few things you need to know if you want things to go well — and yes, things can go well despite their fear of commitment.


RELATED: How To Tell If Someone Has Commitment Issues (Even If It's You)

Here are 8 painful realities about loving someone with commitment issues:

1. You cannot change someone else's fear of commitment

If you're dating someone who fears commitment and believes they will commit to you if you give them time, love them enough, or show them how great relationships can be, you're setting yourself up for heartbreak. There's only one person who can change someone's commitment issues, and that is the person who has them themselves. And people only change themselves if they see a need for change. You can't coerce transformation in anyone. If being in a committed relationship matters a lot to you, you should find someone who feels the same way.



2. People with commitment issues get portrayed as bad guys, but we're not

Not all of us, anyway. Not wanting a commitment doesn't mean we're callous, uncaring, or selfish. It doesn't mean we don't care about you or want you in our life; it just means we don't foresee wanting a commitment and we aren't going to pretend otherwise. If we pretended we wanted that stuff just to get close to you, that would be callous, uncaring, and selfish. And some jerks do that. Those are the bad guys. If we're telling you about it upfront, we're doing it because we want you to understand what it'd mean to date us, so you can decide with your eyes wide open.


3. People who fear commitment see relationships differently

Society has this obsession with committed relationships and marriage as the pinnacle of existence, and well, we don't buy it. We think there are myriad ways to have a relationship, and it doesn't always have to look like what our parents had.

RELATED: 13 Very Upsetting Things I Learned About Men Who Won't Commit

4. We're the best people to talk to about our commitment issues

We all have our reasons for shying away from commitment. More often than not, it's not because we want our love life to resemble an all-you-can-eat buffet, but that isn't always the case. Talk to us. Ask questions. Listen to our answers. What we tell you might make more sense to you than you think. Or, maybe it won't. But it'll be more accurate than what anyone else has to say about it.



5. People with commitment issues tend to make accepting partners

The thing is, since we're not planning on legally binding ourselves to anyone, we don't care all that much about some of the stuff that other people are going to get hung up on. Your messiness/bad credit/low-paying job/messy divorce/debt/horrible driving record doesn't affect most of us in any real way. Are you a cool human being who maybe has a messy life? Eh, whatever. It happens. If you're a walking disaster, it's a problem, but generally speaking, that stuff is your business, not ours.


RELATED: 2 Hidden Ways We Sabotage Intimacy In The Relationship We Want

6. People with a fear of commitment can still be capable of feeling incredibly deep love

We know, we know; this goes against everything everyone thinks about us, but it's true. For a lot of us, it's what scares us the most about relationships. We feel things intensely. We love wholeheartedly. And it's often bitten us in the behind. Add to that an aversion to following the fairytale script, and loving becomes a complicated thing. But if we fall for you, it's going to be that earth-shattering, life-changing kind of love. It probably won't lead to a ring or a picket fence, but it will be its kind of beauty.

7. If you want to keep someone with commitment issues, let them be free

Someone once told me that some people are like jets and others are like airports: jets have to have freedom to do what they do best, and airports need to be grounded and secure. And the only way the two can work together is if the airport doesn't try to keep the jet out of the skies, and the jet makes sure the airport knows it's coming back. If you want your partner with commitment issues to find a home in you, give them the space to fly.


8. If someone with a fear of commitment asks you for a commitment, it means they're a goner

Like, we're toast. We've fallen under your spell, we've found a reason to change, and we're done for — possibly for the long haul. This is not a drill. Lock that thing down, post haste.

RELATED: Are You Afraid Of Love? 2 Big Fears That Keep You Single

Gwen Hutchings is a writer, content strategist, and editor. She works with multiple brands, including Sundance Catalog, Madly Wish, Redmond Minerals, and Single Dad Laughing.