Relationships are hard for everyone, but if you have commitment issues, they can be even tougher. In fact, commitment issues can severely affect your relationships or even make it impossible to form new ones in the future.
Today, let’s break down commitment issues in detail and explore how they can affect your relationships for the worse. We’ll also explore ways to overcome your commitment issues for a brighter future.
How Do Commitment Issues Affect Relationships?
Commitment issues can have many different impacts on both your platonic and romantic relationships. Here are a few possible effects.
1. Commitment Issues Can Make it Tough To Form New Relationships
First, commitment issues can make it very difficult to form new relationships. When you have commitment issues, you find it difficult to fully or thoroughly bond with another person. Saying things like, “I love you,” can be difficult, if not impossible, and you may not wish to declare yourself as the boyfriend or girlfriend of your significant other.
Because of this difficulty in making commitments, those with commitment issues can find it hard to train themselves out of these thought patterns since they lack the experience to recognize negative behaviors as they occur.
Commitment phobia can impact mental health so severely that it becomes impossible to make new long-term relationships. A commitment-phobe might find the lack of emotional connection to people excludes them from serious relationships, even if they had past relationships.
2. Commitment Issues Can Lead to Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
Secondly, commitment issues can cause you to engage in self-sabotage in your relationships. Self-sabotaging behaviors are characterized by high drama, a lack of self-awareness, and a stubborn unwillingness to work through relationship hurdles or pitfalls. This results in problems with emotional attachment and is one of the key signs of commitment issues.
Simply put, self-sabotaging behavior is a defense mechanism. People with commitment issues may self-sabotage their relationship when they subconsciously or consciously feel that their significant other is getting “too close.” To prevent themselves from feeling more hurt later in the future, they consciously sabotage the relationship to feel less emotional pain now.
Self-sabotaging behaviors cause problems for people with commitment issues and their partners, making this an incredibly toxic form of behavior.
3. Commitment Issues May Make It Hard To Keep Plans
Commitment issues can also make it very hard to make or keep plans. By their very nature, commitment issues cause anxiety or fear in people when plans are discussed or settled. The person with commitment issues may fear that they will not be able to uphold their end of the bargain, won’t be able to come through for their friends, or won’t be able to make it and will ultimately be a disappointment.
As a result, those with commitment issues may avoid making or keeping plans entirely, leading to a static life without much progression. In a romantic relationship, this can manifest as a lack of desire to plan a wedding date, for example.
4. Commitment Issues May Make It Difficult To Reach Milestones
In a broad sense, commitment issues can make it difficult to achieve relationship milestones, such as making the relationship official, getting married, or having children. Because commitment issues cause fear or anxiety in those with them, such individuals may not want to pursue difficult tasks, like saving up enough money to buy a house or committing to moving in with a partner.
This lack of achievement may then translate into a relationship that goes nowhere, causing the person with commitment issues to be abandoned by their significant other, only for the cycle to repeat again.
5. Commitment Issues Can Cause Emotional Discomfort
Above all else, commitment issues cause intense and repeated emotional discomfort for the person with the issues and their significant other. This emotional discomfort can negatively color all romantic relationships if it persists, potentially causing the person to be afraid of commitment to avoid committing to new relationships later on.
In the worst cases, people with commitment issues may find it difficult or impossible to make healthy romantic relationships. Because of this, they may eventually adopt defensive behavior and stop seeking out romantic or intimate partnerships altogether.
What Are Attachment Insecurity Thought Patterns?
Attachment insecurity thought patterns are the primary drivers of commitment issues, particularly within the context of intimate or highly emotional relationships, such as those with spouses or significant others. Attachment insecurity may manifest in three different types of thought patterns or behavioral patterns:
- Fearful-avoidant behavior, in which a person wants a committed relationship but is too afraid of getting hurt to commit fully to the bond. This is also called the avoidant attachment style.
- Dismissive-avoidant behavior is characterized by a person acting as though they don’t need another person and not wanting the other person to depend on them.
- Anxious-preoccupied behavior is characterized by a desire to be close to another person but not believing the other person wants to be close to oneself. They may have imposter syndrome or have difficulty setting boundaries out of a desire to keep attracting the other person.
All three thought patterns can be problematic and drive many behaviors described above. It can take a long time and a lot of self-reflection to fully understand where attachment insecurity comes from and why these thought patterns exist in the first place.
If you notice red flags and trust issues in your romantic partners, remember that there are ways to counteract these behavioral problems, such as individual therapy, couples therapy, and more.
What Are Some Causes of Commitment Issues?
In truth, commitment issues can be caused by many things and early experiences with caregivers, particularly in childhood and early adulthood. Here are some of the most common causes of commitment issues and relationships overall.
Parental issues are major causes of commitment issues for one big reason: the mother-father bond is the first example of a romantic and intimate relationship that most children see.
If a parental couple splits up, divorces, or showcases abusive or negative behavior towards each other, it can negatively affect a child’s well-being and emotional development. Consciously or not, such a child might develop commitment issues thanks to what they saw when they were growing up or because of the behavior they saw on display from their parents.
Similarly, previous romantic or close relationships may cause commitment issues if they ended poorly or were characterized by abusive behavior.
For example, a person may develop commitment issues if they have a bad relationship in which their partner continually mistreats them and consciously pushes them away. In the end, the victim of the abusive behavior feels like they cannot commit to a new relationship or develops anxious-preoccupied behavior, believing that others can’t find them truly desirable.
Media exposure, such as the depictions of romantic and close relationships on TV, in books, and in movies, can also impact commitment issue formation. For instance, in Western culture, many long-term or committed relationships are characterized or shown as being less desirable or free compared to short-term and not committed relationships.
Because of this, young adults can grow up having different ideas about what constitutes healthy emotional behavior. They may consciously try to model what they see on TV and in other media, especially if they don’t have any healthy romantic relationships to model instead.
Of course, personality traits and personal fears can also affect whether one is at risk of developing or demonstrating commitment issues. Some people are naturally more afraid of being hurt, especially in close romantic relationships.
Regardless of the causes of your commitment issues, remember that they aren’t your fault, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. However, recognizing commitment issues in yourself is the first step to improving your relationships.
Can You Overcome Commitment Issues?
You certainly can. In fact, commitment issues are far from an insurmountable obstacle for anyone. They are simply a type of negative relationship pattern that you can train yourself to let go of and replace with healthier behavior patterns.
You can overcome commitment issues in a variety of ways, such as:
- By attending therapy with a licensed practitioner. Therapists can help you work out your feelings and devise healthy, sustainable ways to think about your emotions
- Practicing self-care and positive self-talk, especially if your thought patterns are dominated by anxious-preoccupied thoughts or behaviors
- By surrounding yourself with people who demonstrate healthy relationship patterns, like loving couples, mature friends, and self-actualized married people
All of these steps can help you overcome your commitment issues and see how they were leading you astray previously. Make no mistake; overcoming commitment issues can be difficult and will take some time, but it is always possible.
Ultimately, you can overcome any commitment issues you may have with the right mindset and personal growth techniques. Meditation, positive self-talk, and in-depth self-reflection can do wonders for helping you overcome commitment issues and make the most of your relationships, romantic or otherwise.
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