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How to Overcome Fear of Commitment

10/02/2015 05:45pm ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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We all have friends who do not seem to stick to one partner on the pretense that the partner is not good enough for them. Gamophobia or fear of commitment is a very real thing. In fact, this fear is not only real but can have devastating consequences for all parties that are emotionally involved. While the person on the receiving end nurses a broken heart, the sufferer fails to maintain long-term relationships. To them, making a commitment sounds too permanent and unbearable. This factor makes the sufferer feel trapped!

Why You Fear Commitment

You do it because you fear making the wrong decision. That may make sense to you but it is not very logical. Here is why: It is true that you take a risk when you commit to something or someone. However, you are also risking something by extending the wait for that "perfect" opportunity. In fact, the risk of losing the other opportunity is much greater than the risk of the commitment itself! Take a look at exceptional people and you will see that they were not afraid to take a risk and were rewarded by huge success and most importantly with personal growth and fulfillment in return. The cost of success and fulfillment is commitment. If you want to succeed, you need to commit to a goal or a cause. Whether in your professional or personal life, if you want to reach the next level, you need to take an important step in which you must pledge yourself to the cause and take the leap. If you keep thinking about the alternate options that you won't be choosing with your final decision, it will add the anxiety that comes with waiting.

How to Cure It

Can gamophobia be cured through therapy or some other kind of treatment? Fortunately, yes it can! The following ways may be used as a remedy for fear of commitment:

Find the root of your fear

In general, fear of commitment is rooted in fear of intimacy and deep emotional connection. Yet, each individual has his own "specific something" that prevents him/her from the commitment itself. The individual must explore what is stopping him from committing himself. For instance, if you are dithering about committing yourself to a life partner, what could be stopping you? Maybe you think that you will not be able to do things when and how you want. May be it is also the fact that you will have to pitch in when it comes to chores or not be able to go out with friends. That indicates that what you are afraid of is not being free and this understanding is an important one. Once you identify this fear, then your next step should be to find a way to deal with that fear or to minimize that factor. You can also go deeper into your belief and find out if your fear is real or valid. Most of the time you will find that this fear is baseless. In order to eliminate it, you need to make yourself see how much freedom you actually have.

Face your fear

Living in fear is a delusional mental state that takes you away from the present moment, which is the only moment you have to live. It is important to understand that fear has it place in extreme survival conditions. Fear drives your "fight or flight response," which is a primitive, automatic, inborn response that prepares us to "fight" or "flee" from perceived attack, harm or threat to our survival. Once we recognize that in most cases, we are not in danger, we can calmly face situations or challenges in life.

Yet, fear is an integral and unconscious part of our being and even when we understand we should not fear, we still fear. Developing fearlessness means learning to sit still with the edginess of the energy. This is why we have to face our fear with courage and do the right thing despite the negative force of our fear.

Have courage

Everyone needs courage to plant the seeds of their love and dreams. Most of the people that are successful are seldom confident at the beginning of a challenge. They learn to use tools that help them manage the natural fear created by uncertainty. They handle the pressure and complications as they arise and more importantly push themselves to be courageous despite the difficult feelings that they experience.

Motivate yourself

Envision a desirable future. When the fear of commitment gets too much for you, you have to keep the big picture and long term vision in your sights. You will have to keep reminding yourself when you take risks life becomes more rewarding. This reward will be in the form of a partner that will fill your life. The reward will come in the form of experiencing love or intimacy in a way you cannot reach, unless in a committed relationship. But above all, the reward will come in the form of self development, spiritual growth and happiness.

Take your time

By nature, you will not want to hurry into a relationship. If you rush yourself, then it will do more damage than good. Be patient and take your time to know your partner well. Date and spend time with them. Learn about their values and try to pick a partner that shares your values and ideas about a healthy and successful relationship. That way, you minimize your risks and slowly move into greater levels of commitment.

Trust yourself

Believing we can handle whatever comes is something we learn as adults. We can face the possibility of hard times, even failure, when launching a business, starting a new relationship, or taking on a personal challenge.

Remember, you are stronger and more resilient than you were taught to believe. So, if you are committed to someone you love, then trust yourself to have made the right decision, and regardless of what could happen in the future, you will be able to deal with it.

Living based on fear prevents you from seeing the opportunity of life. So, have the power to free yourself from the mental prison that fear creates. Anything worth having is worth working for, and you deserve to live fearless and free.

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Moshe Ratson (MBA, MS MFT, LMFT) is a Licensed Couples/Marriage Family Therapist and Executive Coach based in New York City.

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