6 Reasons He Won't Commit

December 10, 2010, 5:44 am

Do you get frustrated wondering why your man won't make that next level of commitment in your relationship? Find out why and what you can do to help.


It probably sounds funny, but I didn’t really understand the meaning of commitment until I started my own business. I would even go as far as to say I was a bit of a commitment phobic, either that or just really bad at long term relationships. Once I started my own business though, I slowly started to understand what commitment really meant and why it is so important for both happiness and meaningful relationships.

When you don’t commit you keep one door open so that you can exit at any moment. Instead of giving all of yourself, you hold back and play your cards safe. I discovered through running my business that by failing to commit 100% you don’t experience as many failures and setbacks, BUT you also don’t experience as much success. Without commitment you never truly get to experience the brilliance of giving 100% of yourself to something—the excitement and adrenalin, the fear and risk, and the satisfaction each time you move past a challenge to a whole new level of operation.

What I realised is that when you make the decision to truly commit to something you approach obstacles in a renewed way. When things are stuck, hard, or a right pain in the you-know-what, you don’t think “oh well I’ll just leave”. Rather, you think “ok so what can we do differently to move past this”, knowing that if you do find the answer, you open the opportunity to take the relationship or business to another new level that you have never experienced before.

It’s in these powerful moments of commitment that we grow the most, discovering who we are, what matters to us, and what we’re capable of. Likewise, we discover sides of our loved ones we would otherwise have never known.

So what do I propose in order to get him to commit? That you redefine commitment altogether so that it serves both of you and removes the fear associated with making that life defining decision to live happily ever after (or not). To help you along a little, have a read of the main reasons he may find it hard to commit.

Reasons he finds it hard to commit:

1. Mistaking easy for happy

People with commitment issues want results without the obligation and responsibility that comes from working at something. They want things to come easily, so that they can have instant gratification. The problem with this is that they constantly need things outside of themselves, over which they have little control, to be going well in order to feel good. As soon as things don’t go well, they give up and walk away instead of working at it to make it better. Until they get this, they will keep running in order to find their next high.

2. Fear of failure

The risk of commitment is that if they give of themselves totally to something and it ends up falling apart or not working, it can be incredibly disappointing. By holding back, they subconsciously believe they’re protecting themselves from too much heartache if it doesn’t work out. Of course the problem with this choice is that by not committing, they also close off the opportunity for immeasurable success—deep love and connection like no other they’ve experienced before. The only way to move past fear of failure is to tip the scales so that the potential best case scenario is more appealing than avoiding the worst case scenario.

3. Fear of intimacy

Yes, it’s the obvious one, people who struggle with commitment usually also struggle with intimacy. They’re in the habit of keeping people at arm’s length so as to avoid being hurt or experiencing loss. They may have witnessed painful relationships in the past such as abuse, parental divorce or their own painful relationship break up. Take it one step at a time to slowly increase the level of intimacy and vulnerability in your relationship, help you partner learn to trust a little at a time, and to feel safe. (You may need help from a coach or therapist for this one).

4. Desire for freedom

The person afraid of commitment fears that by getting married he will lose his freedom and autonomy. Of course, being in a relationship means compromise and being there for each other which can infringe upon our own needs from time to time. However, a healthy marriage also involves independence and freedom. It is healthy for us each to have time to ourselves to be ourselves. Make the goal of your relationship to enhance each others’ sense of freedom and independence seeing this as important in the relationship. Define what freedom really means to each of you, what things you really value to do for yourself and make sure space is made in your busy schedules to honour these values.

5. Dislike of rollercoaster rides

All of us like to feel good and don’t particularly like feeling upset, angry, sad and all the other negative emotions available to us in life. Hence, some people hide from commitment because they fear there will be more potential for experiencing negative emotions. Yes, there is more potential for pain, but equally there is more potential for joy and deep connection. Help your partner learn to be ok with negative emotions and to value the ups and downs.

6. Lack of responsibility for one’s own feelings

Another challenge of the commitment fearer is that he often mistakenly focuses on his partners’ feelings rather than taking responsibility for his own. What does this mean? Instead of realising that he is responsible to be happy in the relationship, he focuses on what she might do or not do to make him unhappy. In order to be happy in relationships and life, you must accept responsibility to do what it takes for you to be happy not for you to make your partner happy or for your partner to make you happy. Be a role model for this and start taking responsibility for your own happiness and encouraging him to do the same.

Rather than focusing on what you think your partner needs to change, my suggestion is to first clean out your own closet! Read these seven points again and ask yourself where you need to improve. Work on yourself first. Then use these tips to help understand why your partner may be running from commitment. Remember you cannot change him, he must desire to change himself. However, you can support him, accept him and help him learn to trust in love and his own ability to cope if something goes wrong.

What has helped you support a partner with commitment issues? Or how have you overcome your own?

Author of De-stress Your Success: Get More of What You Want with Less Time, Stress and Effort, Sacha Crouch is a business, executive and life coach who helps people create the work and lives they love. For other free lifestyle resources visit www.activ8change.com.au and www.de-stressyoursuccess.com

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