Dealing with Someone who Cannot Commit

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What You Need to Know

  1. Even in the most loving of relationships, one partner may want to progress at a faster rate than the other. However, this need not be a major problem, so long as each partner understands the other’s needs and concerns.
  2. Working out why your partner doesn’t want to commit to your relationship, whether that’s by planning a big holiday together, buying a house or tying the knot, is the first step to solving your problems.
  3. Be sure to talk about this in a non-judgmental way; there could be a good reason for their reluctance to commit.
  4. In particular, people who have been hurt in the past or who have recently come out of a long relationship might need more time to be sure of how they feel.
  5. If you discover some deep-routed issues that you feel need to be resolved, an independent voice of reason such as a relationship counsellor might be able to help.
  6. Once you get to the bottom of your partner’s reluctance to commit, try not to dwell too much on the issue. Concentrate on making your relationship work as it is.
  7. If it looks like your partner will never commit to the extent you want them to, you may be best off walking away trying to find someone new.

Most relationships follow a natural progression, where you might move in together, get married or have kids. For many people this is what happens naturally after falling in love.

But for some people, committing to their relationship can be difficult and dealing with a partner who doesn’t want to commit can be even more of a struggle, leaving you feeling like your relationship has no where left to go. So, how do you deal with someone who is scared to commit to you?

Try to Understand Them

Working out why your partner doesn’t want to commit to your relationship, whether that’s by planning a big holiday together, buying a house or tying the knot, is the first step to solving your problems.

Many people start to blame themselves when their boyfriend or girlfriend shies away from big commitments, thinking that they must be doing something wrong. But if your partner isn’t trying to get out of the relationship, then the issue usually lies with them.

People avoid commitment for three main reasons;

  • They feel it's too soon.
  • They're scared the relationship won't work out.
  • They're in love with the excitement of romance.

‘It’s Too Soon’

Different people develop at different paces, and your partner might feel that it’s too soon for them to start making big relationship commitments. They might feel like they need more time to get to know you, or even to get to know themselves properly.

They might also feel that there are other things that they need to sort out before they can fully commit to a relationship, such as their career or issues with family members. You need to give your loved one the time to make their own choices and not try to force them into a commitment.

Often people who have been hurt in the past or who have recently come out of a long relationship might need more time to be sure of how they feel or to really trust their feelings.

Dealing with Relationship Fears

Many people worry about whether their relationship will work out at one point or another, though for some people, these fears prevent them from making commitments and moving their relationship on.

High divorce rates contribute to these fears and people who come from a family that has experienced divorce, or how have been hurt in the past, can be particularly sensitive to worries about how long their relationship will last.

While you can never guarantee that your relationship will pass the test of time, you can reassure your partner of your commitment to them and the longer you’ve been together, the stronger you'll be.

All About the Chase

Unfortunately, some people just love the excitement that the chase, and a new relationship brings and have no intention of settling down any time soon.

People like this don’t want to make the sacrifices that commitment brings and, if you really want a committed relationship and not a fling, then you would be better off out of this situation.

Dealing with a Commitment-Phobe

The best way to deal with a partner who doesn’t want to commit is to talk to them and try to understand why they don’t want to move the relationship on.

Find Out Why: Although you might not be able to change the way your boyfriend or girlfriend feels about moving in or having babies, understanding their point of view might help you to accept the situation.

Reassure Them: If your loved one is scared that your relationship might not work out, reassure them that you love them and are committed to making your partnership work.

Review How You Feel: You don’t have to wait indefinitely for your partner to change their mind. Review your relationship and your feelings towards commitment every six months or so, or at any time that suits you both.

Don’t Dwell On It: Once you’ve talked and agreed to review the situation in six months or so, try to put the commitment issue to the back of your mind and enjoy your relationship.

Small-Scale Commitment: If your partner is worried about making a big commitment, try doing things in practice runs. Try spending whole weekends together, going on holiday or spending more time with the in-laws to see how you both cope.

Consider Couple’s Counselling: If you discover some deep-routed issues that you feel need to be resolved, an independent voice of reason might be able to help. Try Relate, a charity specialising in couple’s counselling.

Remember that you do have a choice: Although it might be difficult to consider, you do have another choice if your partner really doesn’t want to commit. You could wait for them to change their mind or you could leave. Breaking off a relationship is never easy, but sometimes it is the right thing to do.

Further Reading

 

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