There is no logic to the fear of commitment. And there is no romance in it either.
When you’re scared of commitment, you want to run from the bad things. You want to run from the good things. There is some inherent, unpredictable part of you that has been programmed to “Go! Flee! Get out!” every time you encounter something real and you’re not sure what it is or why it’s there. You simply experience its underlying nuances – it wants and wants and wants until it gets. And then some sort of panic mode is activated – as soon as it has, it wants to drop. It wants to jump ship. To escape. To start all over.
It’s not an insecurity and it’s not a point of pride. It’s not refusing love because you think you don’t deserve it. It’s not disdaining affection because you think that you’re above it. It seems to be nothing more than a flaw in our most basic faculty of reason – the part that moves from want to get to keep breaks down once it reaches that final step. It is the act of being stuck in an undying loop: Want, get, want again. Want more. Always want.
Fearing commitment has nothing to do with a lack of trust. You trust in things almost too much – you trust them to be constant and steady and good and you’re not sure if those are adjectives that you’re comfortable with. You aren’t afraid of the bottom falling out of your world, you are scared of it staying where it is. Of things stagnating. Stopping. Of being thrown into an uncomfortable lurch where nothing new alters or grows. You are comfortable in chaos and suffocated by routine. So even the good things scare you. Even the consistently positive drains.
When you are genuinely fearful of commitment, it goes against all reason and logic. You can sit down and write out a list of ten thousand reasons why you want to be with a certain person or commit to a certain choice and be entirely sold on all of them. You can even truly want to see things through – to invest all of your heart and emotion and to will yourself to make the right choices, but there will still be that voice in the back of your mind – the one that says Go, Leave, Run. You can’t silence it. You can only temporarily ignore it.
I’m not romanticizing non-committal attitudes. There is nothing inherently desirable about the inability to see anything through. It’s infuriating. It’s maddening. It’s a toxic headspace to dwell inside of and yet it’s one that so many of us seem genuinely predisposed to experiencing. Our eyes are eternally bigger than our stomachs and there’s no way to quell the sense of panic that closes in around us every time it gets down to the wire. Something about us has been programmed to jump ship as soon as the waters stop raging. To seek out the chaos inside of calamity. To break away from all that is perfect. To run.
When you are terrified of commitment, there’s no easy answer to a given dilemma. Do you stay where you ought to – where others depend on you and where you have promised to be – even if it means that you slowly deteriorate in the meantime? Or do you follow your impulses – rashly and impressively, without a regard for where they’re taking you or who is suffering as a result? There seems to be no way to win and it’s a maddening game to be playing. You’re perceptive to an absolute fault. You’re losing at your own mental game.
And yet in time, we learn to slowly make sense of things. We make and keep commitments. We slow down and stay put. We see the definite results of putting all of our heart and soul into one project, one person, one place. We understand that we owe so many successes to the things that we have dutifully committed to. And yet somewhere in the back of our minds, that eternal voice is always going to whisper:
Go. Leave. Run.
And some part of us is always going to be at its mercy.