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How to deal with commitment phobia

Last updated on: March 31, 2013 14:35 IST

How to deal with commitment phobia


Kanchan Maslekar
If you are taking too long to decide on your relationship, chances are you are suffering from commitment phobia. Find out how you can let go of that fear and take the next step forward.

All of us feel jittery and giddy when we finally commit.

Is it the right choice? What if something goes wrong? Are we getting into a relationship too soon?

Many such questions nag us before we say that final yes.

But eventually we do commit.

And most of us stay there, while some just change commitments.

Perhaps, boys face it even more. Or maybe they just pretend to be afraid of commitment.

Or it could just be a part of their macho look.

But then there are a few who just run away from the commitment....yes the Runaway Brides and Runaway groom types.

Take for instance my friends Sudheer Mathur and Jenifer Chigalgatii.

Both are childhood sweethearts, in love with each other for years -- they attended the same school in Pune.

The problem though is Jenifer refuses to commit.

Our friends failed to understand her problem. Some of them even told Sudheer to forget about her and get on with his life.

Very patiently, Sudheer would explain that Jenifer has a commitment phobia and will get over it. 

"I know she loves me but is running away from a commitment," he said.

He even managed to consult a relationship counselor to sort out the issue.

Often considered to be a western concept, commitment phobia can be seen in India too, where couples date, go around but are afraid to say the final 'Yes'.

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Image: A still from Break Ke Baad where Deepika's character suffered from commitment phobia



What is Commitment Phobia?

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In simple words, commitment phobia is when you are extremely scared of committing to a serious relationship.

Like my friends, they want to take their relationship to the next level but are just afraid of making a commitment and at times fear the 'responsibility' that comes with a serious relationship.

There are various reasons that discourage these youngsters from committing themselves to a relationship.

However, the reason for the phobia would differ from person to person, depending on the personality, nature and circumstances.

Mohita Agarwal, an advertising professional in Mumbai, who after two broken relationships was afraid to commit to Marc Monez.

"I really want to be with Marc, but I am just so afraid. I can't handle another broken relationship," she confesses.

"It is a defense mechanism, consoling myself, that I have not committed, so I won't get hurt," she adds.

The fear of losing prevents the individual from committing, says Reena Deore, a family counselor, based in Pune.

She advises that you need to get over your past and believe that this is going to work for you.

Be positive and sure and give the relationship a try.

By segregating the past and the future, you have a fair chance of success.

Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

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Reasons for the phobia

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The most common reason for the phobia is when you are not confident of the person.

"If you are not sure and keep wondering whether the person you are with is the right one for you, then you obviously refrain from commitment," says Reena.

Though Anurag Sohoni, a software professional has popped the big question, Lina Mahajan, his colleague in Hyderabad, has refused to commit.

A nagging doubt, especially if you are in a low phase of your relationship, makes you wonder if it is really worth it, says Lina.

Another reason for the growing number of commitment phobics is 'unrealistic expectations.'

The Mr or Miss Right has to be perfect and this results in very high demands regarding possible suitors, says Reena.

Another cause of phobia is the childhood.

It could be a loss, or trauma of some kind, possibly parental separation, and divorce, broken homes that discourage them to go in for a long term relationship as they often are surrounded by the fear of losing the love.

Photographs: Raj Patidar/Reuters

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How to deal with the phobia

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To deal with commitment phobia, it is primarily essential to understand that the problem exists.

Reena advises to deal with each relationship individually without any biases or burden of earlier relationships.

"Keep your communication channels open and don't go into a shell, because then you won't be able to handle the crisis or the relationship."

Discussing the problem with family and close friends is extremely beneficial and will help you overcome the problem.

Reena stresses that if the person or the relationship means anything to you, it is definitely worth a try so don't be afraid to give it a shot. Say a Yes!

Some names have been changed to protect identity

Photographs: Jason Lee/Reuters

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