Psychologists say that there is no exact clinical term in diagnostic manuals about “commitment phobia” or the fear of long-term relationships. Studies about this type of anxiety have been conducted, but mostly, only by way of surveys; suggesting that the results are not entirely comprehensive to provide basis for medical treatment.
Still, survey results were able to establish some common grounds on why most Americans today experience fear of long term relationships. The most common of which is that of being the offspring of divorced parents. Having observed the reasons and circumstances that led to a separation, such as infidelity, abandonment, abuse or even detachment, have made commitment phobes wary about submitting to a long-term relationship.
More often than not, commitment phobes who venture into romantic relationships tend to break-off easily with a partner. They do so without giving their short-term partners concrete reasons why a relationship has to end.
This denotes that some of those short-term partners will also develop a fear of getting into a relationship that could also end abruptly and without clarity. That is why relationships founded on rebound love often times do not work.
Love on a rebound likely looks for telltale signs and at worst, make demands to test their partner’s willingness to commit. Often times, a rebound relationship becomes too difficult to handle, and end up as another failed union.
Which brings us to the question that if “commitment phobia” is a real psychological problem, would it not be best for people to avoid getting into a serious and intimate relationship with a commitment phobe? Lest a person also develop doubts and anxiety over future serious and long-term relationships.
Finding Happiness by Understanding and Altering Distorted Perceptions
Although counseling helps, psychiatrists say there must also be a willingness to understand and change one’s distorted perceptions about serious long-term relationships. After all, the most important element that allows successful marriages to last, is the mutual willingness to commit — to see a relationship through thick and thin; not only during the good times but most especially during the hard times.
In 2016, psychology researchers at Simon Fraser University in B.C. Canada, launched a survey to find out if “commitment phobes’ are happier being single or partnered, however short-lived a relationship may be.
The survey discovered that with today’s generation, those who admitted to being averse to long-term commitments, are more focused in advancing their career or business. They appear to be commitment phobes who have embraced their fear of relationships, yet do not constantly look for a partner on whom they will force their anxiety issues.
Change in perception must also take into account that today’s society no longer view long lasting marriages as the norm of a successful life. David Ezell, the Clinical Director of Darien Wellness in Connecticut said that
”Back then, people had the notion that permanent coupling and raising a family was the only future that people perceived for themselves.” “That is no longer true because people now have other options aside from dependency.”