A frequent question I’m asked is a variation of ‘Why doesn’t he envision a committed relationship with me?’ .There are all sorts of factors that can cause someone to be afraid of commitment but if you want to tackle the part of the situation that you can control, you need to realise how people see commitment.
As I’ve explained before when talking about values, people work out who you are and who you are likely to be, based on who you consistently are now, hence if you want to come across in a particular way, it’s important to live it now as opposed to bargaining and saying stuff like ‘Well I will be more relaxed and secure when he does X,Y, Z’.
When people make a positive decision to commit, it’s because based on what they see in front of them and what they are experiencing, they can correlate that to future experiences, feel good about it, and feel positive about the idea of being committed.
I make a point of saying a positive decision to commit, because a decision to commit based on illusions, coercion etc is not a positive one – it’s a one way ticket to Doomsville.
A positive decision to commit originates in a relationship with mutual love, care, trust, and respect that feels good to both parties and is based in reality. A committed relationship requires two people with both sets of feet in with both parties actually being in and working at the same relationship.
When your partner looks at you and the relationship without illusions, if the messages that they get convey that this is a relationship that is emotionally demanding, high drama, and basically more than they’re willing to be expected, wanted, or needed from, on some level they receive a signal that you are not the one that they are going to commit to.
This is why it is important to have an honest conversation with yourself, discover your boundaries and values and live authentically because if you do and you start engaging in healthy relationships, who you are now will make a very attractive prospect for a committed future with someone who wants to commit and shares similar values. Note that I say someone who wants to commit because this is very different to someone who has no genuine desire to commit – you could be The Most Perfect Person on Earth and it won’t make a difference.
Aside from having the basics like boundaries, an awareness of your values, and seeking mutual love, care, trust, and respect in your relationships, personal security is what conveys a message about the confidence you have in yourself and also what you are likely to need emotionally out of the relationship.
Personal security means having a reasonable level of self-esteem and your own life, desires, and interests – being your authentic self.
People who lack personal security are (often inadvertently) emotionally demanding because they derive their sense of security from the comfort of having a relationship and a significant other and the level of validation that they are experiencing in the relationship.
The more validation they seek, the more emotionally demanding they’ll be, but also the more insecure they’ll be because as you’ll already know, if you are always seeking validation from others rather than doing a lot of validation yourself, it snowballs and you are never happy.
What conveys that you are not personally secure?
Frequently seeking validation from your partner. This is looking for confirmation that something is true, even when you can confirm it for yourself.
A lack of boundaries. These are your personal electric fence. Life being full of the double standards that it is, even when someone relies on busting your boundaries, the fact that they can will be used to penalise you and determine that you are not commitment worthy.
Being a human transformer. Shape-shifting, morphing, adapting, twisting, turning, and contorting to suit your partners says ‘I am not secure in who I am and I will be whoever you want me to be’.
Basing your existence around them. If you sack off your friends, family, career, interests for the sake of your relationship, aside from being emotionally demanding for the object of your focus, it’s also a dangerous sign of co-dependency. You will smother your partner. Nobody, unless they have control and co-dependency issues themselves wants to commit to you making them your focal point or smothering them forever more.
Unrealistic expectations. If you have expectations from them that would be more appropriately directed at one of your parents, this is emotionally demanding. Pushing for a relationship before you both really know each other and it’s early days or making girlfriend demands when you’re not the girlfriend will cause discomfort. Being emotionally demanding because you have unrealistic ideas about what the relationship should be and what they should be being, doing, and saying, and how you think you should feel, is just bloody exhausting.
Drama seeking. As someone who has had her fair share of drama and created much, I had to give myself a kick up the bum early in my relationship with the boyf because I was catering to my old pattern. Drama is only attractive to people who have no intentions of being committed with you anyway. Other people will tolerate it to a degree but if all you want to do is argue, accuse them of cheating, question the relationship etc, there will come a point where when they envision they future and they correlate you and the current relationship into it, they will just see more of the same and not want to commit to that.
I appreciate that there may be factors in your relationship that are not helping you to feel more secure, but the truth is, commitment really has to come out of a positive place and if you practically have to put the screws in to someone and beg, plead, cajole, coerce, pitch yourself, and essentially run rings around yourself, it becomes a negative experience.
If you are insecure, trying to be whoever you think they want you to be, making them the focal point of your existence, having unrealistic expectations and finding that drama is common place in your relationships, commitment will elude you. Pretending that you don’t have needs to fit around them – commitment will elude you. Trying to get them to commit before there is a relationship to commit to, they’ll back off.
If you feel that you are personally secure but you’re involved with someone who habitually seeks to avoid commitment, you have to ask why you are seeking commitment from an unlikely source?
I hear from women all the time who didn’t realise that they have their own issues with emotional unavailability and commitment because they consistently seek relationships and commitment from men who offer the least likely opportunity for commitment – they’re called Fallback Girls. Make sure this is not you!
If you are looking for commitment but struggling to get it, make sure that you assess your own contribution into the situation and also examine the ‘source’ that you’re looking for commitment from.
If you feel you have a pretty healthy partnering, focus on being personally secure and giving off genuine confidence about yourself and the relationship so that when they do envision the possibility of commitment, they don’t come up with a negativity road block. This means doing your own thing as well as doing things with them, and making sure that any conversations that you do have about commitment are positive conversations as opposed to originating out of tension.
But overall, remember: for any relationship, whatever it is that you think that you should be seen as, make sure that you are being those things now and don’t put off being the best that you can be in the relationship to some arbitrary point where you think you’ll be X,Y,Z in the future based on a whole load of if’s, but’s and maybe’s. Likewise don’t determine that you can become more secure based on them being or doing certain things. You need to be personally secure anyway.
Editors Note: In the interests of clarification, this is a post about commitment. It is not a post about getting commitment from emotionally unavailable men, as this would be an entirely different post which you can read here. There are people reading this blog who want to understand commitment in the wider sense. That, and I don’t have to write about Mr Unavailables and assclowns every day! – thank you