Post # 1
Good Morning Bee’s!
I’m in need of advice. After some therapy, converstaions and lots of time I am coming to believe my SO has commitment phobia….Has anyone successfully delt with this in their relationship?
Little back story~ dating a little over 3 years, living together a year and a half. I’m 33 he’s 34
We have gone ring shopping, discussed fall weddings/spring weddings.. he says he wants to get married to me and wants a family but is just so scared. He is afraid of failure. We live in NYC where stautus and job is everything. He has a high pressure job but is doing well. He is essentialy his own worse critic.
I love him to pieces and am willing to wait and work on the fears (I think….). He knows its not fair to keep me waiting forever but right now the fear of the future has taken over. So far I have told him I am here for him. I am here to discuss the fears and help him work on these issues. Crazy thing is I feel like we are married and have pointed this out.
As I mentioned we are seeing a couples therapist but I’m wondering from an outsiders perspective has anyone successfully delt with a similiar situation?
Any judgement aside, advice is greatly appreciated!
Post # 3
I have not personally been thru this, but a friend of mine did, and they were able to overcome his fear thru counseling – together, and he individually, and are now happily planning a wedding for next summer 🙂
Obviously, it was a long/trying road, with many ups and downs. Obviously, there were times she questioned sticking it out, as their wants were on different pages for awhile. Obviously, her love for him was enough to see her thru, and obvioulsy, he ‘got there’ too!
I think as long as your know YOUR boundaries and limitations – especially since you are now doing everything you can to help him overcome it, and he is willing to do what he can too, then you are doing what you need to be doing right now 🙂 Knowing marriage is important to you, and knowing he is fearful of that commitment, he may one day tell you that it is NOT something he can do…ever. Is that your limit!? Or, is it after you have worked on it for another 6 months, year, etc?!
In the meantime, make sure you are taking care of yourself too 🙂 Good luck!
Post # 4
Crazy thing is I feel like we are married and have pointed this out.
Yes, but you AREN’T actually married. I would start with finding out what HE feels is the difference between where you are NOW and where he PERCEIVES you will be if you actually get married. To HIM there seems to be a signficiant difference. Break it down…. what is the difference and why is it significant to him? Then you will be able to figure out if it’s solveable.
I don’t think this is a deal-breaker… at this point. But I would set some very clear boundaries (at least within my own head) as to how long you are willing to wait. I would also make sure you are with a therapist that is focused on behavioral therapy instead of just talking to death and working on “communication skills”. This therapy has to be more “technical” in nature. Figure out the problem…. figure out how to solve it. otherwise, you two will be sitting on a couch, talking about your feelings FOREVER.
I will also be honest. I was with guy for 3 years and kept saying that I didn’t want to EVER get married, to anyone. ever again. Turns out, tough, that I didn’t want to marry HIM. I just didn’t know it until we broke up, I did some additional soul searching and I met my now-FI. So, just be on the lookout. When you know…. you know. But sometimes when you don’t know…. you just wallow.
Good luck. I hope you get what you need.
Post # 7
@starryeye: I think there are plenty of people who go through these sorts of issues/doubts and end up happily married. So i dont think it’s so terrible.
What I would be concerned about is the fact that you have lived together for so long, and that he still isn’t giving you a firm commitment. Would you consider telling him that you are moving out until he decides? Would that be feasible for you?
I don’t think living together always slows down the process, but with someone with these issues, i would give it some thought.
Post # 8
1st off let me thank you to the bee’s who have responded with such sound and mature advice. I greatly appreciate the advice and have turned thoughts into conversations.
My SO and I have had many conversations focusing on his fears along with my limits. One thing I have discovered is that his fears are so deep rooted in the financial aspects of life and simple fears of having kids. He is doing some serious soul searching while we are focusing on these fears as the talks of moving forward continue. Patience and understanding is winning as this situation continues to unfold.
I have laid it on the line that he will not travel home with me for Christmas without a ring on my finger. The commitment is overdue but at least I feel that I have explored every possible avenue before giving up if that is what it comes to.
I wish I felt as if I had the biological timeline to give him time (I want a family), I also wish I had the opportunity to move out for 3-6 months to simply breathe and clear ALL thoughts. NYC is very different in the living aspect. Apts aren’t rented in 6 month leases instead its a year lease with first & last month lease along with security and broker fee included in the move in. This can cost upwards of $8-15,000 for a simple move. Moving is not taken lightly. It is not unheard of for people to live together during a break up and even a time after till one has the money to move out.
Ease of living is not my motivation for staying but rather love. I didn’t realize how much I would be tested to find my true life partner (if this in fact is it). I am rather hopefull right now and optimistic as we approach the holiday season.
Thank you for your thoughtful advice and support throught the ups and downs of “waiting”!
Post # 9
@starryeye: I am glad I asked that question… I lived in NYC for 3 years and I know it is not easy, I feel for you. I am actually in a similar situation with waiting because moving out is not super easy. PM me if you want more details, if you like.
the bee can be great for turning perfect strangers into someone that is baring their soul more than a close friend might. So its good that you came here. It is important to weigh all of these thoughts flying around here, with what is going on under your own roof, and know to be true. Sometimes the girls here really help you put things in perspective. on the other hand, you can get really amped up reading some of the less considered responses on here, and not consider your situation. It just depends on your specifics. I think there is a magical blend of everything you read on wedding bee, mixed with your own knowledge of your relationship (which only you know).
lets hope the mistletoe brings a ring to you. Xoxoxo.
Post # 10
@starryeye: Is it really a “simple fear” of having kids though, or is it that he does not want kids and believes he has to have them or feels pressured by you (or by marrying you) to have them. Because plenty of people (myself included) do not want kids and the last thing we want is others telling us it is just “fear”. I know that many therapists and counselors also seem to break this down as an “fear” to fix and it can feel awfully dismissive and pressuring. That he has said he wanted a family before does not mean he does want kids now…some people take time to figure out what they want.
Overall be careful of being his therapist in the sense of diagnosing what is or is not going on for him and trying to “fix it”. It may just be your have incompatible desires going forward. Neither of you is in the wrong for that and there might not be something to “fix”. And sometimes the answer is the commitment fears turn out to be they just are not ready to commit to the person they are with but it is easier to generalize it. I have dated men like that who married someone not long after we broke up due to their “commitmentphobia”. Sometimes I do think that is a term people use to rationalize or make themselves take it less personally, or to make it something “fixable”.
Anyway, I wish you the best and I hope I am just being overly cautious!