Fear of commitment in gay relationships
I’ve always been the one who loves less. I’ve always wondered if there are guys out there who are better for me. I’ve always seriously doubted every relationship I’ve been in. Oh, and I’ve never been broken up. That’s right, out of the 9 or so serious people I’ve dated, not one of them broke up with me.
I broke up with all of them. I tried figuring out what that meant, because to me, it seemed like a red flag. I know if I met a guy, and he told me he’d never been broken up with in his decades of dating, I’d think there was something fishy about him.
It took me a while (and a bunch of therapy) to realize what the red flag was. I fear commitment. But because I didn’t fear it in a way that’s portrayed in movies, I didn’t put two and two together. My fear was much more insidious. It snuck up on me.
It made me question everything about him. It wasn’t as blatant as what we think of when we think of the stereotypical guy that fears commitment – a guy with Peter Pan syndrome who wants to be a playboy for life.
Surprisingly, not once in my years of dating had a partner ever mentioned to me that I have a fear commitment. But the truth of the matter is, I do. Or rather, I did.
I want to pass on what worked for me to help me get over my fear of commitment and allowed me to move into a house with my current boyfriend. (First time I’ve ever lived with a partner!).
Here are 5 steps to help you get over your fear of commitment specifically written for gay men.
1. Ask yourself, has this been a constant in your life?
At this point, you’ve dated enough guys to analyze if this is a pattern in your life. Do you have a tendency to date guys for 3-9 months and after the new relationship energy fades, you break up with him? Does the idea of being with someone forever make your stomach turn? Are you constantly second guessing your relationship?
If you have a pattern of having these thoughts and doing these things, it’s not the people you’re dating, it’s you. (Or you’re just picking some real duds, which is a whole ‘nother issue.)
2. Ask yourself, what do you have to lose?
This sounds cliche, but seriously delve into the answers. Most of the time, you don’t have anything to lose. Let’s say you have a relationship with him and it doesn’t work out. You’re heartbroken for a little bit, but then you get over it. That’s it. Is your fear that you might meet someone else who’s better while you’re dating him? Then maybe discuss being in an open relationship.
Most of the time, there’s nothing to lose besides time and heartbreak. While there are few things worse than a broken heart, your heart will heal, and the time you spent isn’t a loss. Surely, you’ll have grown and learned from your relationship. Whenever I’m heartbroken, I think of what Christopher Isherwood wrote in A Single Man, “My mother says that lovers are like buses.
You just have to wait a little while and another one comes along.” There’s some sadness to this quote — that there isn’t one true love — but it can also be therapeutic to have a mindset like this, especially after having a broken heart.
3. Truly believe that commitment doesn’t mean forever
Commitment takes place in the present. Marriage, yes, that’s a commitment for the future. But dating someone right now, means you’re doing just that, dating someone right now. Now you shouldn’t be planning your future without your partner, or know that down the line you’re going to break up with him. That’s leading him on. Of course, don’t do that.
But attempt to live in the present. If you like him and are enjoying him now, then date him. If not, don’t. Don’t excessively worry about your future with him. It can lead you down a slippery slope of questions and doubt. You’ll cross the next bridge when you get to it.
4. Tell him you fear commitment
Odds are, he’ll sense it. But in order for you to get over your fear, you need to be honest with him. He may be able to help. He may say, “Honey, you’re great, and I care for you, but if things don’t work out, they don’t work out, and that’s okay.”
For large issues like commitment, you need to be upfront about it. If they can’t handle it, and your fear of commitment is going to make him worry, then you shouldn’t be together. It’s better to know that sooner than later.
5. Get into therapy
I’m no therapist. I can promise you that. But I know that I wouldn’t have gotten over my fear of commitment, or even realized I had commitment issues if I wasn’t seeing a professional.
And do yourself a favor, see a therapist who specializes with LGBTQ+ clients. It’s SO much easier having a gay man as a therapist (at least for me) than it is having anyone else.
By: Zachary Zane