Friday, September 12, 2008

Aspects of Commitment Phobia, Part 1 of 3

Commitment phobia is one of those pop-culture terms which people throw about without really understanding its meaning. More often than not, the term is one that women use to describe men who don't want to settle down with them. Often the case is that the guy has doubts about that particular person and doesn't want to hurt their feelings. Other times, the guy (or girl) may just have a difficult time deciding what to do. I write this to shed some light on commitment-phobia so that you can decide whether you have it, and also to understand that it's not necessarily a bad thing as its connotation might have you believe.

For years I struggled with making small and big decisions. It was interesting because I just thought I was over-analytical (which of course helped me do extremely well in school). I also recognized it as indecision, which it was. But throughout the years I never thought to attach the term commitment-phobia to my persona. Looking back though, I have had time to see how the indecisiveness of making small decisions lends itself to having a fear of making a commitment. The real fear is making a decision about something that you think you can't undo.

Do you have the same issue? Take a look at some of these examples to see if they sound familiar:

1. do you find yourself taking a long time to decide which restaurant to eat at? Then when you get there it takes you longer than everyone else to decide on what you want to order. Finally when you do order you call the waiter back, change your order, then regret your decision later.

2. do you prefer being on a month to month term with your cell phone because you don't want to be locked into a contract, for example, being stuck with one company for over a year?

3. are you renting a place or did you bite the bullet and buy a place? Or are you on a month to month tenancy so that you can pull out at any time? Also, do you hold off on buying any decent furniture, for years, because you figure you'll take care of all of that stuff when you finally settle down and buy a place?

4. when you make plans with someone do you find yourself only tentatively agreeing, even though you have no other plans at that time? Do you find yourself canceling those plans for no reason other than to stay home?

5. when deciding between two things, jobs or something at the supermarket do you find yourself always whittling your choices down to two things, then mulling over for a ridiculous amount of time, which one of the two you should purchase? No matter, what you choose, you always end up questioning your decision.

6. have you avoided applying for jobs because you're afraid that you might, *gasp*, actually get it?!

If any of these situations sound familiar to you, you may also be suffering from an aversion to commitment. It's not just indecision which makes these seemingly simple decisions difficult and excruciating, it actually has some roots in being afraid of committing to the wrong thing. Ultimately, whether we are conscious of it or not, we are always afraid of choosing the wrong thing. But I promise you, there aren't wrong choices for most things. So you ordered the Big Mac instead of the cheeseburger - maybe you would have enjoyed the cheeseburger more, but guess what? That wasn't the last meal of your life and next time you can order the cheeseburger.

1 comment:

Henry Brown said...

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