22 Signs You Are Dating a Commitment-Phobe
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If you’re looking for love, running into someone who fears commitment can be a problem. This person may drag you along, spend time with you, and give you hope that there is a future for the relationship but refuse to settle down and commit exclusively to you.
Here, learn all about the signs of a commitment-phobe. These signs can help you to determine if you’re dating a commitment-phobe, and learning about them may give you the courage to move on to someone who can give you the relationship you deserve.
Who is a commitment-phobe in a relationship?
Put quite simply, a commitment-phobe is someone who fears committing to a serious relationship. Instead of settling down with a significant other, they may engage in casual flings, one-night stands, or simply keep you on the backburner as someone to occasionally hang out with at the bar or when they need a date to a wedding.
Common commitment-phobe traits include a tendency to live in the present because they want to enjoy what life offers now rather than thinking about the future. A commitment-phobe will also fear missing out on something better if they settle down in a relationship with you, and they may talk about not wanting to be tied down.
What makes someone a commitment-phobe?
So, how does a commitment-phobe develop these behaviors? In some cases, a poor experience with a past relationship can lead to commitment phobia. Maybe a person had a horrible breakup, or someone they were truly in love with hurt them unexpectedly. In this case, they may fear commitment because they don’t want to settle down, only to be hurt again.
Someone may also be a commitment-phobe because they aren’t ready for a serious relationship. Maybe they’re enjoying the single life too much, and they aren’t yet ready for marriage and everything it entails. Perhaps their parents’ marriage went sour, and they’re afraid to commit and have things turn out badly.
Suppose a person has childhood trauma or was exposed to unhealthy relationships. In that case, they may develop an avoidant attachment style, in which they learn to fear intimacy and reject closeness in relationships. They can come across as cold and distant, and they may have a fear of commitment based upon not having their needs met as a child.
To know more about attachment styles, watch this video.
Finally, sometimes commitment-phobe traits arise from selfishness and immaturity. A commitment-phobe may desire to enjoy some benefits of a relationship, such as sexual intimacy and having someone to spend time with, without having to settle down for a long-term relationship and miss out on the opportunity to hook up with as many people as possible.
They may not necessarily care if their commitment phobia hurts you; they simply want to have their needs met without being tied down to someone.
22 signs you are dating a commitment-phobe
If you’re seeking a long-term relationship, it’s important to be aware of commitment phobia warning signs. Being with someone who fears commitment only sets you up for heartbreak, so it’s important to know about red flags, which you can identify before it’s too late.
Consider the 22 commitment phobia signs below:
1. Everything is extremely casual
When you’re with a commitment-phobe, the relationship will be pretty casual. You won’t be going home to meet Mom and Dad anytime soon, and you probably won’t have any real dates.
You may occasionally go out for a drink or meet up at the bar to watch sports, but don’t expect a commitment-phobe to plan a trip or take you out to a nice dinner.
2. They won’t label the relationship
One of the key signs of a commitment-phobic man is that he won’t dare put a label on the relationship. You may ask to call each other boyfriend and girlfriend, and they may say something like, “I hate to put a label on things.” Or, they may avoid the conversation altogether and change the subject when you bring it up.
3. You haven’t met any of their friends
When someone sees a future with you, they will be excited to introduce you to their friends. On the other hand, if they aren’t ready to settle down with you, they’ll be hesitant to introduce you to friends.
They don’t want the embarrassment of introducing you to significant people in their life, only to have you out of the picture shortly after. When you’re dating a commitment-phobe, they may balk if you even bring up the topic of meeting friends or family.
Related Reading: Scared Of A Committed Relationship? 10 Signs You Are Afraid Of Commitment
4. You’re the least important thing in their life
Some people may be generally careless or forgetful, so it will seem as if they do not put forth much effort.
Still, if the person you’re interested in is a commitment-phobe, they will seem to work hard at their job, and they’ll put effort into maintaining their friendships, but you won’t get much effort from them at all.
It will seem like they are very conscientious about putting time into other areas of their life, but if they give you time, it will be an impulse decision because they happen to be bored or have nothing to do. It will be clear that you come last.
5. They give vague excuses
When someone wants you in their life for good, they will be ecstatic to spend time with you, and they’ll make clear plans with you. One of the key signs of lack of commitment in a relationship is when your significant other (or maybe you don’t even have that label yet) doesn’t make solid plans with you.
They will give vague excuses, such as, “Life is hectic right now,” or, “I’ll contact you as soon as I can,” instead of settling on plans.
6. They disappear and then come back
Commitment phobic relationship cycles can be incredibly frustrating. One day your significant other may seem to be pulling you in and connecting with you, and the next day, they disappear and may stop talking to you for a few days.
Someone who fears commitment may become anxious when the relationship gets too serious, so they take a step back to slow things down until they feel comfortable again.
7. They’re often late or canceling plans
Another one of the signs of a commitment-phobe is that they don’t take plans seriously. They may arrive late to a date or cancel at the last minute because they truly aren’t prioritizing the relationship.
Someone who truly wants to commit to you will go out of their way to keep plans because they’ll be excited to see you and grow the relationship.
8. Their relationship history is lacking
If you’re still young, perhaps in your early 20s, it is not necessarily out of the ordinary to have a short list of past relationships. On the other hand, if you’re approaching your mid to late 30s and your partner talks about never having a serious relationship, this is a good indication that a fear of commitment is at play.
9. They can’t make future plans
If you’re dating a commitment-phobe, you’ll probably find that they struggle to make any sort of plans. They certainly won’t commit to going on a vacation with you over the summer.
Still, something as simple as contacting them midweek and asking if they’d like to go out on Saturday night can be a challenge because they don’t want to set anything in stone.
A fear of commitment usually involves a fear of missing out, so they won’t want to commit to a date with you until they’ve ruled out the possibility that something better might come up.
10. Leaving things unfinished
Keep in mind that a fear of commitment can sometimes arise from immaturity. If this is the case, your significant other may constantly start and stop projects, ultimately leaving them unfinished.
They may take on a project around the house, leave it halfway finished, or start taking a class and then drop out before finishing it. They don’t like being tied down to one thing because of their immaturity, so they don’t put in the work to see things through to the finish.
Related Reading: 10 Signs of Emotional Immaturity and Ways to Deal With It
11. Text message conversations are short
A person who wants a lasting relationship with you will be enthusiastic in text messages because they are genuinely interested in developing a deeper connection. On the other hand, a commitment-phobe will keep things short when texting.
They may give one-word responses or take hours to reply because they aren’t interested in developing a deep connection.
12. Your preferences aren’t considered
Someone who just isn’t ready to commit to you will not care to take your needs or opinions into consideration. Every date will be based upon what works for their schedule and is convenient for them, and they probably won’t ask you what your preferences are or what works best for you.
For example, they may contact you at the last minute on a Saturday and ask you to meet them for drinks at a bar by their house, but never consider whether you might have already had plans or preferred to go somewhere else.
13. You’re always the first to reach out
A commitment-phobe in relationships will just wait for things to fall into place, so you’ll probably be the first to reach out any time the two of you communicate. They won’t text you first thing in the morning; you’ll be the one to send that text.
They also won’t start the conversation on a Saturday morning to see what your plans are. You’ll have to do the legwork, or you won’t hear from them.
14. They don’t reach out after a great date
It’s pretty natural to want to reach out and follow up with someone after a great date. Maybe the two of you connected or spent the entire night laughing, but the following day or the next afternoon, you don’t hear anything from them.
This is because they’re simply living in the moment and not trying to commit to something lasting.
15. They blame their ex for everything
One of the big red flags that points to the signs of a commitment-phobe is that they never take fault for issues in their past relationship.
They may talk about their ex being crazy or have an elaborate story about why they were an innocent victim of past relationships, but their inability to commit actually led to relationship breakdown.
16. PDA is off-limits
Someone afraid of missing out on other potential relationships won’t want to show affection in public. They want to make it look like things are just casual, so holding hands or a peck on the cheek while out in public are off the table.
If the two of you look like you’re just friends, others might think that your significant other is single, which leaves the possibility of a better relationship open.
Related Reading: Appreciating And Valuing Your Spouse
17. Their go-to excuse is that they want to “take things slow”
Forcing a relationship or rushing from casually dating to moving in together probably isn’t the best idea. Still, healthy relationships should involve forward progress, even if you’re careful not to move too quickly.
If your significant other constantly states that they want to move slowly, and the relationship isn’t heading anywhere, commitment phobia is probably to blame.
18. They constantly ask for space
When someone who has a fear of commitment is in a relationship, they will become anxious any time it seems like the two of you are getting too close. They don’t want to risk losing the relationship entirely, so they will simply tell you that they “need space,” as this seems acceptable.
In reality, they are pushing you away to manage their commitment phobia. You may even find that you have given them what seems like plenty of space, and it’s still not enough.
Related Reading: How Much Space in a Relationship Is Normal?
19. They tell you they don’t want anything long-term
If you talk about plans, a commitment-phobe will get jittery. They’ll be willing to spend time with you when it suits them, but they won’t be willing to commit to anything lasting.
Talks about the future may even cause them to completely shut down or change the subject. If they are willing at all to engage in a talk about the future, they’ll probably tell you, “I’m not really looking for something long-term now, so we’ll see how it goes.”
20. Monogamy isn’t really their thing
One of the clear signs of a commitment-phobe is that they outwardly reject monogamy. Perhaps their friends give them a hard time about not settling down yet, and they make a statement about society placing too much pressure on people to settle down and find “the one.”
They may fear conforming to societal pressures to spend the rest of their life with just one person because it seems like too big of a plunge to take.
Related Reading: 10 Signs a Monogamous Relationship Isn’t for You
21. They end conversations abruptly
At the heart of commitment phobia is a fear of becoming too attached to someone. If you’re dating a commitment-phobe, they will be quick to exit a conversation when it gets too deep, or they’ll cut you off in the middle of a text conversation and make an excuse about being busy.
Refraining from getting to know you on a deeper level prevents them from becoming attached.
22. You get a bad gut feeling
Maybe you’re drawn to the commitment-phobe because they are so charming and fun, but deep down, you get a bad feeling. If your gut tells you this person will probably break your heart, the chances are that you’re correct.
Dating a commitment-phobe can end in heartache, and it’s important to keep this in mind if you get that gut feeling.
What is it like dating a commitment-phobe?
Dating a commitment-phobe can be frustrating and anxiety-provoking. You may feel as if you never know where you stand with this person because you may have a great time together one day, only to have them blow you off for the next week.
Your self-esteem can also begin to take a hit because the commitment-phobe may treat you as if you are not important or as if you are unworthy of their time. Everything will center on their needs, and you will feel like you don’t matter.
The relationship may also feel like an emotional rollercoaster. One day, you are having a good time together, and the next, they are barely responding to your texts.
In the end, being with someone who has signs of commitment phobia can feel quite lonely. You won’t feel as if you have a healthy, reciprocal relationship. Instead, you’ll be doing all the work to maintain the relationship while they reach out and connect with you only when it suits them.
Should I cut off a commitment-phobe?
You have a right to be happy and fulfilled in your relationships. If a commitment-phobe continues to blow you off or show selfish behaviors like meeting up only when it works for them, cutting them off might be the right choice.
Do commitment-phobes come back after you cut them off? It depends. One of the signs a commitment-phobe loves you is if they return after you cut them off. No contact with commitment-phobe people may give them time to realize what they’re losing, and it might just be the push they need to change their ways and settle down.
On the other hand, if they’re not yet ready to move past their fears of missing out, commitment-phobes might just move onto the next person if you’re no longer available.
How can I get a commitment-phobe to commit?
The unfortunate reality is that sometimes, you might not be able to get a commitment-phobe to settle down in a relationship. If you try to pressure them into a serious relationship, you’re likely to worsen their fears and drive them even farther away.
Sometimes giving them time and space to grow with you can be effective, especially if they fear commitment from childhood trauma or an unhealthy past relationship.
In this case, they might have a condition called gamophobia, in which they have a significant fear of committed relationships. This fear can lead to significant anxiety and cause difficulty with relationships.
If your significant other is gamophobic, you may be able to get them to commit by expressing understanding of their fears and encouraging them to go to counseling. They may not be willing to do this, but it can be helpful in some instances.
Ultimately, you may have to walk away from a commitment-phobe to get them to see the value of a relationship with you. After some time apart and self-exploration, they may be ready to commit to you.
How to deal with a commitment-phobe in a relationship
If you’re dating a commitment-phobe, you probably want to know how to deal with them. You may also have questions like, “Do commitment phobes get married?” or, “Do commitment phobes fall in love?”
Truthfully, a commitment-phobe can fall in love, even if they fear commitment, but they are likely to experience many obstacles to forming loving relationships, given their behavior.
They may ultimately settle down and marry because this is what society expects of them. Still, they may appear cold and distant in their marriage or experience chronic dissatisfaction if they do not address the underlying issues that lead to their fear of commitment.
Figuring out how to cope and make a commitment-phobe fall in love can be difficult. Should you deal with their behavior and hope it eventually changes, or should you just walk away from the relationship?
It can sometimes be helpful to look for signs that a commitment-phobe loves you to determine whether it’s worth moving forward or walking away.
One of the signs a commitment-phobe loves you is that they do spend time with you and seem to have fun with you, and they are at least willing to address the fact that they do fear commitment.
If this is the case, you can deal with them by clearly communicating your wishes and boundaries. You might tell them that you are looking for something lasting, and if they cannot commit to that, you are not willing to continue a partnership.
You can also deal with a commitment-phobe by compromising and providing a timeline. Sit down and discuss your expectations. You might tell them that you are willing to “take things slow” for six months, but if the relationship doesn’t progress, you will have to walk away.
It can also be helpful to clearly communicate with them how their actions make you feel. Perhaps they are so accustomed to their commitment-phobe behaviors, like being flakey about plans and canceling on you at the last minute, that they have not considered how they affect someone else.
Voicing your concerns might call attention to the issue and motivate them to make some changes.
In summary, these are some solutions if you’re trying to figure out how to deal with a commitment-phobe:
- Have an honest discussion about your expectations for the relationship
- Give a timeline for when you’d like to decide about committing
- Express how their actions make you feel
- Consider walking away from the relationship, in hopes that they may come back if they have regret over losing you.
Relationships with a commitment-phobe can be challenging because you want to settle down and enjoy life with them. Still, they are too fearful of missing out on other opportunities to give you the lasting commitment you seek.
You might notice that they never solidify plans with you until the last minute, ask for excessive space, and hesitate to put a label on the relationship.
If you notice these commitment phobia signs, you’re left to decide whether this relationship is worth continuing or if you should just walk away and find what you’re looking for.
If you notice signs a commitment-phobe loves you, it might be worth sticking around and helping your significant other work through their fear of commitment.
On the other hand, if you are unhappy in the relationship and don’t see things improving, it’s probably time to talk away. Maybe the commitment-phobe will show regret and change their ways, or maybe they won’t.
You deserve a relationship that makes you happy. Saying goodbye to a commitment-phobe who won’t change their behaviors can be difficult, but it might free you up for the relationship that’s meant for you. Suppose you’re having difficulty processing your emotions after being with a commitment phobe. In that case, it might be helpful to seek counseling to help you cope with your feelings and develop the confidence to seek a relationship that truly meets your needs.
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