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Overcoming the fear of commitment
What can you do about it if you really are frightened to settle?
1) Name your fear
Ask yourself: what exactly are you frightened of? We can get so accustomed to using words that we stop seeing the reality behind them, so what does 'commitment' actually mean? And what exactly do you fear losing? Focus on the fear and see where it leads in your mind. Does it lead to an image of losing the relationship itself at some future time or a single lifestyle or being unable to do what you want when you want? Really get to grips with exactly what it is that frightens you, because 'commitment' is just a word.
Think about what it is exactly that you would be 'giving up'. 'Freedom', 'independence'? What exactly do these words mean to you? No relationship or marriage should take away all freedoms or independence. In fact, a healthy relationship should help you meet your needs for freedom and independence as part of the relationship itself.
Maybe you are used to relationships that are very controlling of your life and time; but these are never healthy relationships if they are based on control of you or by you. A healthy, loving, and respectful relationship should, in essence, be easy to commit to, just as a sturdy sea-worthy boat should be easy to board - easier than, say, a threadbare raft made from rotten wood.
What do you value so highly that you fear surrendering? And ask yourself: Do I want to be 'playing the field' or totally self-referential when I'm 30, 40, 50, and so on? If these ideas have been holding you back.
2) Decide to be more decisive
Indecisiveness becomes a habit over time. Whenever we make a decision about anything, we are committing to it - at least for the time being. If commitment to any decision has been a problem for you, then start practicing being more decisive in lots of small ways.
Sometimes the more time we spend weighing up pros and cons, the more confused we get. And research has even found that over-thinking a decision can lead to poorer choices (2). So get used to just deciding where to eat, what to do, and how to spend your time, and you'll find decisiveness becomes a habit, too.
3) Imagine the fear of commitment has gone
We can get so bound up in what is wrong, we stop looking at how things could be right...in the future. There are many benefits, both physical and mental, to being in a healthy relationship, but you may have only been focusing on your fear of commitment.
Really imagine and perhaps write down in detail your future life without the fear. If the fear just wasn't there to anything like the same degree, what would you do? How will other people know you're braver in this way? What choices will you make free from such a fear? Really explore this.
4) Never say forever because now is all we have
Fear of commitment is so often just a dread of cutting off other options - and thereby feeling trapped. But the funny thing is that, of course, now is all we ever have. Sure, decisions in the present affect the future, but we never really have to say 'forever' about anything, because we don't actually know what will happen in the future.
It's the same with anything. We never have to say 'forever' because life is a series of present moments. Really think about this; maybe what works now won't work in ten years, but maybe it will. The fact is, all of life is an exploration and wanting absolute certainty all of the time about everything is for narrow thinkers.
Trying not to make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all.