- Relationship expert April Masini attributes peer pressure and fear of failure as a couple of the reasons that people are afraid of commitment.
- Pew Research found that 42% of Americans didn’t have a significant other in 2017.
- Poor relationships with friends and family, as well as bad past relationships, can cause people to avoid commitment, according to Masini.
The idea of long-term commitment isn’t for everyone. In fact, recent statistics show that marriage – one of the biggest commitments a couple can make – is on the decline over the last several decades.
A Pew Research study found that roughly 42% of US citizens did not have a spouse or partner as of 2017. That’s down 3% from 2007. While the statistics may not seem incredibly significant right off the bad, it is indicative of the fact that marriage is on the decline amongst Americans. This could be a sign of a larger issue – that many people are afraid of commitment.
What drives people to be afraid of choosing just one person to be in a committed relationship with? Here are 10 reasons why people are afraid of commitment, according to a relationship expert.
They may be wondering if there is a better partner out there.
Indecisiveness can strike at the dinner table, movie theatre, and yes, in relationships. For some people, it can be hard to commit for fear they are missing out on something better.
“People who have a good partner where everything is fine may not want to commit because they wonder if there is something even better out there for them,” April Masini, relationship expert, told INSIDER. “They feel that committing to this perfectly fine partner will limit their chances for someone better they haven’t met yet.”
The fear of failure may hold some people back.
Some people let the idea of failing at a relationship hold them back from commitment. Masini suggests that people with this particular mindset are not going to commit under any circumstances because they think the commitment will lead to failure.
“Even if they have dated for years, and everything is good, they think that making an official commitment means they’re going to fail,” said Masini.
Some people don’t want to give up the single life.
When you’re single, you can talk to whoever you want at the bar, swipe left and right all day long, and do whatever your heart desires. When you’re committed, depending on your relationship, that’s not necessarily the case. Giving up that lifestyle can be difficult for certain people, causing them to avoid commitment.
“Some people prefer the freedom of one night stands and playing the field,” said Masini. “They revel in not having to be there for someone when that someone needs them. Commitment means the end of that lifestyle, so they shy away from commitment.
Peer pressure from friends can cause people to avoid commitment.
People tend to mimic those they spend the most time with. Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker, once said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Basically, if the majority of your close-knit friends are single, then you probably are, too, and maybe for a while.
“People who are very connected to their peers are going to go along with the morals and community rules set by this group,” said Masini. “And if this group is all about being single, and they frown on couples who are committed, getting into a commitment will mean losing the approval of this peer group. This is enough to create a fear of commitment.”
Bad relationships can keep a person from committing again.
When a relationship goes sour, it can be hard to get over. If you’ve ever had this happen, you know the feeling of wanting to take time to be single for a bit. Distaste from a previous relationship – or current one – can be enough to keep someone from committing to a new relationship in the future.
“The idea of a commitment to this person seems like misery,” said Masini. “And, if you perpetually choose bad partners, commitment to any of them will seem like a terrible idea. Being with the wrong person, and knowing it, is enough to make a person fear commitment.”
The fear of abandonment is enough to keep a person from committing to begin with.
“This fear can loom so large, that people fear commitment because they are afraid that the relationship will be so good, that when their partner abandons them, it will be unbearably painful,” said Masini. “This kind of abandonment issue can create a fear of commitment.”
People who have been through a nasty divorce may be hesitant to commit.
Masini is quick to point out that divorce can be soul-crushing for many people. She said that people who are back in the dating game are often afraid of commitment because they worry it will lead to another divorce down the line.
“Many people who go through brutal divorces that either last forever, devastate one or both people financially, and create battlefields with children as pawns, are fearful of commitment because their last one ended so poorly,” said Masini.
Some people are afraid of losing their personal independence.
The type of person who values independence more than a relationship is going to fear committing themselves to someone else, according to Masini.
“Many people don’t want to have to answer to someone,” she said. “They want to vacation when they want, have dinner at 3 a.m. if they want, not make the bed, leave dishes in the sink, and have the freedom to quit a job – or take one in another part of the world – without having to consider someone else’s life. Commitment is going to gum up those works.”
Poor relationships with a partner’s family and friends can cause them to regress.
“If your partner doesn’t like your family and friends, they are going to fear a commitment to you – and they should,” said Masini. “Not everyone replicates the decisions and lifestyle that their family and friends have, but many do. And if you or your partner fear each other’s family and friends are going to be obstacles to a healthy, happy relationship, they will fear commitment.”
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