Fear of commitment, often called commitment phobia, is the avoidance of long-lasting relationships that require any kind of permanent commitment.  Commitment phobes do not only avoid relationships; they can also avoid permanent commitments to careers, jobs, school, and locations.  Commitment issues affect people of all sexes and genders.


  • Failure to make long-term plans
  • Does not allow their significant other to visit their residence
  • Does not introduce their significant other to family or friends
  • Constantly changing jobs
  • Suddenly loses interest when a relationship calls for future planning


The driving forces behind commitment issues are fear and anxiety.  When one partner in a relationship suggests things like moving in together, marriage, or meeting extended family, the other person’s fear response is triggered.  Rather than deal with this anxiety, they avoid the discomfort and end the relationship.  This is not necessarily done on a conscious level.  Commitment phobes may have experienced instability in their childhoods that cause them to be hypersensitive to feeling trapped.


Couples therapy may be an option if both people in a relationship want to stay together, but this may be unlikely.  The theme of avoidance more likely pervades all aspects of the commitment phobe’s life, so one-on-one psychotherapy is more appropriate.  A therapist will help a client search their family history and childhood for experiences that cause their fear of commitment before helping them to reconcile these hardships and learn new ways to meet their own needs and the needs of the people they have relationships with.