Welcome to Part 3: The End: Running Scared
What is going on? How can this be happening? Are the typical questions one asks themselves when facing the end of a relationship with a commitment-phobic person. The charming pursuer you knew at the beginning in now :”on the run”. They got in too deep, and they know it. All of the clarity they felt in the beginning has turned to cloud. They may be conflicted about their emotions, but their strongest impulse is to get away. If you had a fiery start, this stage can be reached within hours. Many commitment – phobics are averse to conflict and can drag on the End until you take action and end the relationship.
This is Part 3 of the 4 part series that explores the 4 Stages of the classic commitment-phobic relationship. This series will explain step-by-step, how a warm heart turns into a cold shoulder. It is a continuation of: Part 2 – The Middle: Now That They Have You, Panic Sets In
It’s important to note that people with commitment phobia rarely have malicious intent. They don’t mean to end things abruptly. They struggle gravely with the desire for things to work. The reason they sell such a great dream in the beginning is because they are believers. They get so wrapped up in you and the story of your lives together that they push all of their needs aside. In the process of winning you over, they lose themselves. Once the reality sets in, they realize that this new life is unsustainable and fear and overwhelm dissolve their attraction. Time to get out of this mess, but how?
The End: Indications that You are at the END of a Commitment Phobic Relationship.[i]
Check all that apply:
- Their attitude toward you has almost totally changed, and they leave obvious clues that they are on their way out.
- They spend less time with you and don’t bother to give you much of an explanation.
- They insist upon flexibility and the need for space.
- They break dates and change plans.
- They are moody much of the time, but they still blame it on something else; they may go so far as to say, “It’s not you.”
- They still confuse you by what they say and give mixed messages One minute it’s harsh rejection or fault-finding; the next it’s sentimental love or total approval.
- They withdraw sexually and blame it on work, fatigue, or illness. They imply that if you were truly considerate, you would understand.
- They won’t do anything at all to try to improve the relationship – they won’t even talk about it.
Commitment-Phobia Can Affect All Types of Relationships
This relationship dynamic is not restricted to love, it can permeate any kind of relationship, including friends, colleagues or co-workers, business partnerships; even parents with children. If you have ever wondered how a mother or father can simply extract themselves from a marriage with children and leave with only a note at the door, it is likely they are overcome with commitment-phobia.
Authors of He’s Scared, She’s Scared, Steven Carter and Julia Sokol teach that, “When the relationship has reached this stage, the inevitable is on the horizon – the end. In some relationships, this begins the pattern of “break up and make up”. Others can drag on in this dreadful dance of push and pull and even get married; feeling slighted, insulted and abused. This is why we encourage you (both men and women) to have high self esteem before going into a deep relationship so you can recognize when you are not being treated right – or getting crumbs, and leave. Others may also stay in the relationship – enthralled by their partner and lower their expectations for commitment just to be together. They will say things like, “We are just having fun.” Or “We agreed not to talk about anything serious until next year.”
To make this conversation more relevant to you, ask yourself these questions:
1. Have I exhibited these traits in previous relationships or in the relationship I am in now?
2. Am I or have I been in a relationship with a person who has ended a relationship this way?
3. Do I have a history of “break up” and “make up”?
4. Am I or have I accepted less than I deserve from my relationships?
5. What is now clear to me from reading this article?
6. Digging deeper within yourself – is there a part of you that loses yourself when trying to win someone over?
We want you to know that as futile as all of this sounds, there is hope. Commitment phobia is a pattern behavior that can be overcome. It is just fear – subconsciously programmed fear that can be reprogrammed to enable people to enjoy fulfilling and long lasting love relationships. You will learn more about the last phase in our next article.
Be courageous and uncover what’s keeping you undermined in your life. Discover 7 Subconscious Beliefs that Sabotage Your Life (and Relationships), read our new book UnderMind www.pnrt.ca/undermind
Courageously yours with love, Joanna and Tanya
[i] “The End: The First Rumblings of Panic.” Men Who Can’t Love. New York: Berkley Group, 1987. 39-40. Print.