When you’re afraid of commitment, you move into relationships slowly. You take baby steps. You put off even the smallest milestone moments like spending the night together or changing statuses on social media.
Sometimes, just when you thought you were making progress, when you thought you were getting comfortable with the idea of a committed relationship, you retreat. You freak out over hearing those three little words or over meeting families for the first time.
You don’t want to come across as cold, as scared, as second-guessing, but you can’t help yourself. You need some space, some time to yourself, some time to adjust to the big changes happening around you. You aren’t intentionally trying to distance yourself or sabotage the relationship or run away. You just need a second to breathe.
When you’re afraid of commitment, it’s hard to talk to anyone about your worries because they mistake your hesitance for heartlessness. They hear about how nervous you are to move in with your person or to get married and assume there must be something wrong with your relationship. They assume the only possible reason you could be nervous is because you aren’t sure if you’re with the right person.
These people don’t realize your commitment issues don’t care about how perfect your person is for you. You feel safe with this person. You feel comfortable. You trust them as strongly as you know how. Being afraid of making a commitment to your person has nothing to do with your feelings for them — but some people can’t understand that. Some people assume you must be unhappy if you aren’t psyched about the idea of handing your heart over to someone.
When you’re afraid of commitment, you take precautions in order to protect yourself. You erect emotional barriers. You might change your relationship status but keep your exes on your contact list just in case you break up. You might move in together but decide to keep your bank accounts separate in case you lose the apartment. You might act like serious relationships have stopped scaring you but will keep hearing a voice in the back of your mind reminding you that you can leave at any time.
Your person might understand where you are coming from. They might understand why you are hesitant to go all the way. Or they might resent you for it. They might wonder what they are doing wrong. They might get angry with you for refusing to take a leap of faith. They might make you feel like your commitment issues are childish and ridiculous and pulling you apart. And, in the end, they might pull you apart.
When you’re afraid of commitment, modern relationships are scary. The moments everyone gets excited about — from first kisses to proposals to pregnancies — are more nerve-racking to you than anything. But when you love someone and they love you back, you will be able to push past your commitment issues. You will be able to love each other fully, even if there are bumps in the road.