Modern dating relationships tend to have one thing in common: a lack of commitment.
We use the phrase “committed relationship” to describe when two people use the words “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” but what do those words even mean?
Many of us go through several boyfriends and girlfriends throughout life. We take our dating relationships seriously until push comes to shove and we aren’t “happy” anymore. Even for grown adults, so many of us take our boyfriends or girlfriends as seriously as we did in the seventh grade.
One of the saddest scenarios I’ve seen is where one party wants real commitment — marriage — and the other doesn’t. Sometimes this is for valid reasons or concerns, but most of the time, this lack of commitment is out of fear.
Why are we so scared of commitment?
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the fear of commitment. But there are a few key culprits.
Fear of Vulnerability
Imagine giving your full self to someone, opening your heart and soul to them, and then being rejected for not being “good enough.”
Commitment requires us to open ourselves up to another person and be vulnerable. This can be terrifying, especially if we have been hurt in the past. Commitment is risky because there is always a chance that things won’t work out. For some people, the fear of getting hurt or rejected can be overwhelming.
Being vulnerable is terrifying but it can also be a beautiful experience. To know that your walls are down and that even the deepest or darkest parts of you are still worthy of love is a freeing experience.
The biggest combatant to this fear of vulnerability is the development of trust.
Trust is a crucial component of any committed relationship, and people who have been let down or betrayed in the past may have a hard time trusting others. By the time we get to our teenage years, almost all of us have had an experience of betrayed trust.
This can make it unbelievably difficult to open ourselves up to a new person — but not impossible.
In any healthy relationship, trust will develop over time, and experiences where both parties learn that even their less-than-perfect attributes do not mean that they are unworthy of love.
Fear of Losing Independence
Some people may worry that committing to a relationship means giving up their autonomy or sacrificing their own goals and dreams.
To some extent, this is true.
Any relationship is going to require some level of compromise. You are two different people! There are inevitably going to be times when one or both people are required to sacrifice their own personal wants and needs for the sake of the relationship.
Living life together is hard. Raising children together is hard. Managing finances, getting enough sleep, and running a home while managing full-time jobs are going to be hard.
But again — hard does not mean impossible. It may require tremendous sacrifice and selflessness to make it work in the long run.
If you are mainly interested in having your needs met and doing what is best for you — your relationship will eventually turn as sour and selfish as you are.
So, yes, commitment means sacrificing your independence to a large extent. But the benefits of having a life partner, a best friend, and a teammate through all of life’s trials and tribulations might just be worth it.
The most important thing is finding a partner who wants to build a life with you, respects your opinions equally to their own, and is willing to make compromises, too.
Fear of Missing Out
Ah, good ol’ FOMO.
In today’s world, we are often presented with many options and opportunities. Some people may worry that committing to one person means missing out on other experiences or relationships.
Especially when it comes to dating apps, this generation has been conditioned to think that dating is just like shopping for new shoes. You never know when or where you might find the “perfect pair.”
Good enough suddenly becomes not good at all.
Many young people have been deceived into thinking that their “perfect” person is out there — only to realize that nobody is perfect.
If you are looking for the perfect partner before making that commitment, you’ll unfortunately never find them.
But when you find someone great — someone who makes you a better person and loves you for who you are — don’t take them for granted.
If you have that, you’re one of the lucky ones.
It’s important to note that everyone’s reasons for being afraid of commitment are unique to them.
However, it’s also important to recognize that the fear of commitment can prevent us from experiencing the joys and rewards of a fulfilling relationship.
Don’t let fear keep you from experiencing the best things in life.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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