How to talk to a commitment-phobe about committing

For many people who are dating or looking to date, the “C” word is the biggest issue they face. Commitment is a big stumbling block for many: they want to be in a relationship, but the thought of locking something in with just one person when they have problems committing to one coffee order can be extremely daunting.

If you’re dating someone who has some concerns about commitment, you probably want to bring it up with them at some point. But just talking about committing is like committing, so what do you do? Here are some tips for talking about the Big C to a commitment-phobe:


First, what do you want?

If you know you want a committed relationship but don’t think the person you’re seeing feels the same, then you could consider using online dating. This allows you to speak to people more naturally about what they’re looking for.

Before that though, ask yourself if commitment in your current relationship is what you want. Picture yourself a year, five years, 10 years into the future. Do you still want to be with this person? Is this potentially an enduring partnership or is it a fleeting romance? While it’s hard to know and no-one can predict the future, you should be clear as you can on your position before bringing up the question of commitment.

How you met will often give you a good clue about how prepared the other person is for a relationship. If you met in a bar, this might be an indication that they’re less interested in a long-term relationship than if you met on an online dating site, where people have actually made a time commitment to filling out the detailed questionnaire to help them find a compatible partner.


Choose your moment

This one is important. Don’t bring up commitment too soon in a relationship where you’re both just finding your feet. And when you’re sure the time is right, pick the right opportunity. During stressful periods at work, when you’re just about to rush out the door or in the car aren’t great choices (nothing says “you’re stuck with me now!” quite like a tricky discussion on a long car journey).

Ideally, you’ll both be relaxed, in a comfortable environment and sober and it should come up in a natural way.


Be demonstrative

Show that you are committed to the relationship through your actions – this will indicate to your partner that you want to solidify what you have. Treat them with respect and honesty. Be irreproachable: keep your promises and go the extra mile to show your feelings. This will subtly show that you’re thinking seriously about the other person and putting their wellbeing high on your list of priorities.


Be sensitive to concerns

There might be some good reasons the person you’re dating is concerned about commitment. They might have had a very bad experience with a long-term partner, making them afraid that they will be eventually rejected, or cheated on. Take their worries seriously.


While you don’t know what the future holds, remind them of the old adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained”: sure, you can avoid relationships all your life, but taking a risk pays off much more than staying “safe” and single. You have to put something on the line in order to get the joy that comes from a satisfying, committed relationship.

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