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Why Are Men Scared of Commitment?

December 29, 2008

One of the questions many women ask is “Why are men scared of commitment?” It’s not uncommon for men to seem jittery about words like marriage and family or even thinking about settling down, and so a general stereotype exists that ALL men are scared of commitment, though that may or may not be the case. Women are just as capable to be scared of commitment, though it may be more subtle or expressed differently. There are some differences between men and women when it comes to commitment and many other things, but it is not just a “guy thing”. While some people are terrified of commitment, there are others who are a little too commitment eager – settling down long before they’re really ready to.

Commitment in general is understood to mean devoting yourself to one and only one partner. It means having not only the intentions of staying together long term, but also putting forth the effort to make it work in the long term also. Fear of commitment may also be apparent in other aspects of a person’s life – such as moving and changing jobs and careers frequently. Author Andrew Colliver offers some very detailed information about commitment on his website Choosing to Love as well as how to help someone afraid of commitment.

Here are some of the reasons why men (and women, too) are scared of commitment:

1. Loss of Freedom: When you’re in a committed relationship with someone, you do lose a little freedom. Not the freedom to be who you are or what you want to do (at least in a healthy relationship) – but the freedom to think about yourself first and only yourself. You have to take the other person into account and how they will be affected by your decisions and actions. Other than that, there’s really no true loss of freedom as long as the relationship is a healthy one.

2. Lack of Space: Some people are very protective over their personal space. I know quite a few guys who were not too keen on moving in with their girlfriends – not because they didn’t like her or were afraid of becoming husbands, but because they were afraid they would be surrounded by girlie stuff, lose control over the TV, or have their privacy entirely invaded. If this is one of the reasons holding you back from commitment  – reading our moving tips for couples might help overcome the space issue/suffocation fears that might be holding you back.

3. Immaturity: All people mature at different rates. I have met 11 year olds who are more mature than 26 year olds I know. Some people even late into their 30’s and 40’s may not be mature enough to handle a committed relationship and marriage, especially if they are living the college party type of life. If someone is not maturely ready for commitment (ie to put someone else’s needs ahead of their own), there’s a good chance the relationship will not get very far.

4. Legal Implications: Marriage and commitment are many things, but in most states its recognized only as a legally binding contract between two people. Every state has different laws that apply to married couples, but it can affect everything from your taxes and health insurance to your personal property rights. Make sure you know what the laws really are and if need be talk to a family law attorney who can help rationalize some of your fears or make sure you’re legally protected.

5. Previous Bad Experiences: Most of us have all had a bad relationship experience at one time or another. For some, after you’ve had your heart broken and trampled on, your bank account drained, and other bad relationship mishaps, being a little wary of jumping into a committed relationship may actually be a smart decision. However, eventually you should be able to get past this, and if a previous bad experience is holding you back, talking to a professional may help.

What about you? Are you (or were you) scared of commitment? What do you think some of the reasons for being afraid of commitment are?

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