Fear of Commitment

by Laura
(Miami, Florida)

I've had this weird issue with guys my entire life. I love the chase and beginning stages of hooking up with someone but once I realize it is no longer a chase and the guy actually likes me I get this really weird feeling. When I'm with the guy I'm fine but when I'm alone and think about him I feel nauseous and I kind of freak out. All of my friends have had long-term relationships but I've never been in one. I'm a pretty girl who wouldn't have a problem getting a boyfriend and have had a few prospects in the past but I've ruined it by freaking out every time and it ends badly with me being upset. I also seem to find an excuse as to why I haven't been in a relationship (like I am still not over my ex or I only like certain types of guys). I also find myself having ridiculously high standards which I think is a way for me to convince myself a guy isn't good enough so I shouldn't see where things go. I always like guys who have girlfriends I think because I know it can't lead to anything. I don't know what's wrong with me but it's a serious problem because if I can't get over myself I'll never have meaningful relationships. Please help me!

Ben's Answer:

Laura -
This is what would be called "fear of intimacy." There isn't any one single reason why a person has fear of intimacy. But usually there is either a fear of losing yourself in the relationship - losing your autonomy - your individuality or independence. It can also come from being a "pretty girl" who has always gotten attention for her looks, yet feels that nobody really knows her for who she is. You might feel excited when you get that initial interest from a guy but then think, "What will happen when he really gets to know me? What if he doesn't like the real me?" So then the real fear is that you're actually unlovable, and you expect to be hurt or abandoned if you really open yourself up and trust someone.

It's best to be gentle with yourself, but face your fears. Find a guy who has some maturity, and be honest with him about your fears of commitment. If he can handle it, it will be a good sign that maybe he's someone you can trust.

Relationships are always painful at times, if they are of any value. You can't love someone without going through some pain. A pain-free relationship is a shallow relationship. Relationships teach us more about ourselves and about life, than anything, and you only can figure out through actually having relationships, and taking the risk. In matters of the heart, pain and joy go hand in hand - but it's worth it.

Take Care,

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