The Fear of Commitment

fear of commitment, commitment, the indie chicks, dating, relationships, love and sex

For the last few years my inner circle has tried to convince me that I have a fear of commitment. I combated these wild accusations with the following argument:

“Um, that’s bullshit. Wanna know why? Because I have been totally committed to AT&T wireless for the last 6 years and have been completely satisfied. So, suck it.”

Then I inhale another cupcake while watching yet another episode of “Sex and the City” with my hand in the air, yelling “preach, Carrie! PREACH!” as crumbs go everywhere.

(Maybe this is why I’m single?)

Fear of commitment, what a joke. The only thing I fear is fear itself….and whales. Definitely whales.  Also needles.

In the last few months, however, I have begun to take a look at my life as a whole, which sadly includes all the dating fails of the last 10 years, and realized I might have a problem.

I call this problem “pushing 30 and still being single”.

I’ve always thought that I was the kind of girl who “loved love”. I longed for the comfort that a relationship would bring me, and thought I was the victim of bad luck or that I was just a “douche magnet”.

I could not be more incorrect.

In the last few years I have dated a few guys, had one serious relationship that lasted a whopping 4 months and gone on more Internet dates than I care to share, all with the same end result: me being alone. Now, I could easily blame this on the men because obviously they don’t see what a total catch I am, but after breaking down the similarities these guys have (and also breaking open a few bottles of wine to cope with the situation), I realized the problem is me.

I have a tendency to date men who are emotionally (and sometimes geographically) unavailable. Oh you live 3,000 miles away? You have baby mama drama? You aren’t sure where your life is going? You need a strong woman who will put up with your shit but only via text?  You’re in transition? SIGN ME UP AND BRING ALL YOUR BAGGAGE WITH YOU.

How an intelligent, successful and not-so-bad-looking woman like me ends up in these circumstances blows my mind. The only thing I have left to blame it on is this:

If I never fully commit, I will never get hurt. I can avoid the impending doom of a break-up. I can stay safe. By knowing the guy I’m talking to isn’t playing with a full deck, I can partially check out of the relationship and never feel too bad when it ends, nor do I have to add him to my “favorites” list on my iPhone. Everyone wins.

I fear the idea that a man might actually like me for me: that he might find me irresistible because I am a catch. The thought of a man wanting to commit his entire life to me, because I deserve it, is terrifying. Am I the only one who does this? Who pushes away from perfectly nice guys and goes for the perfectly unavailable one because she’s scared? What a disservice I am doing myself.

As I near 30, I’ve made a promise to myself to put distance between myself and my old dating habits. I will not allow myself to be scared of getting hurt, of being loved completely or accepted fully.  I will be ok with jumping in with both feet, with opening up to a guy for the first time in a long time and risk being hurt. Maybe by writing it down and putting it out into the blogosphere I will actually stick to it.

Or maybe I will just stay with AT&T and call it a day.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Ashten Giardine

Ashten is a native Southern California who moved to Atlanta in 2010 to further her career. She writes and manages her lifestyle blog, alwaysashten, where she talks about lessons learned, funny life stories and her Boxer mix, Warner while being the sassiest SoCal girl to hit the South. When she’s not blogging, she’s usually drinking coffee, watching her beloved USC Trojans play football or cleaning up after her messy roommate. “Sassy, classy and a little smart assy” is a way of life in her mind.

  1. Hey, I’m rocking a 14 year commitment to Nextel/Sprint and I totally get it. Emotionally unavailable men are kinda my thing as well. I also use the “too busy for a relationship” thing to keep people away. Granted, I’m legit busy as hell but I’m sure I’d make it work for the right person. Then again, man that sounds like a lot of work.

    1. Good for you, Jewels! I am of the opinion that being able to commit to a cellular provider is half the battle! We are on our way to a successful relationship…..someday.

  2. LOVE your writing Ashten!

    I’m very impressed that you’ve realized it’s not the men that’s the problem– it’s the fact you choose the wrong men. And being 30 ain’t no thing girl– welcome to the best years of your life!

    When you love YOU and are living your awesome full life and are open to whatever comes your way, you’ll say “no thanks” to the guys at carousel 4 and “yes, please” when the right one comes along.

    Open your heart– love, real love is always worth the potential heartbreak. It sounds like you’ve got this!

    1. I love this, Chrystal! You are so wise! I appreciate your kind compliments on my writing! I have always dated jerks and am not quite sure how to break the cycle…hopefully soon I can get my ish together and find a nice fella. If you know of any, send them my way! hahaha

      Again, thank you! SO happy to be a part of your team!

  3. So I’m pretty sure I just fell in love with you and I want to clarify, that might mean you’ll have to commit to us Indie Chicks. And if you can only commit to one thing, thank AT&T for their service and move on to a pay as you go.

    You are one hell of a writer, Ashten. Totally had me. Welcome to our little fam :)

    1. Well I love you too, Chiara and since I’m working on opening my heart, I will gladly commit to Indie Chicks AND AT&T!

      happy to be a part of the fam! I feel so welcomed and loved! I’m already working on my next post!

  4. Just go ahead and say yes to opening your heart. Just once, that’s really all it takes because the one worth it will rock your world -in so many ways! :)

    You are a catch. And a babe. And a brainiac. Which makes you a power house that some man won’t be able to stay away from. Until then, do you. Because you is (obviously).

  5. I didnt find my guy until I was 35. Im 36 now. Were getting married next year so Ill be 37. Oh and btw, he was literally the LAST guy I liked out of the few I was dating. Why? Because he wasnt an asshole of course. Because he was reliable and nice and respectful of course. Do I still inwardly cringe when he says Im beautiful and I look like crap? Yes. Do I sometimes feel I dont deserve to be happy and loved so unconditionally? Yes. But then I get the hell over it because after all the bad, toxic relationships I made it through, I deserved this prize. And so does everyone else!

      1. You’re welcome! I’ll share a little something my therapist and I discovered. (Yes, I wondered why I was still single if everyone thought I was so purty and fabulous so I went in for a looksie inside the old noggin. WORTH IT!!!) 1. There’s a difference between being confident and having self-esteem. You can be confident and still suffer from low self-esteem. 2. Don’t create a cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies: Meet a guy, fall fast/get infatuated, chase him/the idea of him, things are going well but too “slow”, create drama to “test his affections”, guy freaks at your drama, you assume he’ll dump you, so you create more drama, he dumps you, you scream “See! Everyone leaves me!”. Stop getting in your own way. Date the seemingly unremarkable guy. He’s the one who reveals his devotion and worth over time. Oh and though it may sound crass, find someone who likes you a little bit more than you like him. It creates the kind of balance a wavering self-esteem needs.

  6. I can totally relate to this post! Subconsciously, it’s not that I fear commitment, but the fact that I want to avoid getting hurt. When emotions are not heavily invested in a relationship, it can be much easier to walk away unscathed. On the other hand, in order to have a meaningful relationship my guard has to be let down; and this is something that I’m definitely working on. With that being said, I understand to let my guard down I must be grounded within, so no matter what the outcome of a relationship is, I’m not taking it personally or internalizing it. When a person possess self awareness, and is grounded within; they’re better capable of bouncing back from a broken relationship with their self-esteem and self-worth still intact.

    1. I admire that you can let your guard down! I struggle with that, even in relationships that I was in for awhile!

      I so agree about the self-esteem. Sometimes, I find that easier said than done. Working so hard to become more confident, and this article was the first step! Thank you so much for your comment!

  7. I can totally identify with this post. I clued into my fear of commitment about 3 months ago because the same thing kept happening. Namely, dating the emotionally unavailable baggage laden men who aren’t over their exes. I’ve been the dateless wonder since the epiphany but I’ve been happier. Women who are catches shouldn’t have to settle for someone else’s leftover. I’m 33 and divorced. Not settling again! Thanks for the post!

  8. [email protected] says:

    This sounds a lot like me. I date mostly emotionally unavailable and guys who are assholes to me. I do not have to worry about getting my heart broken. I know what is coming. I am scared too. I am afraid of a long term realtionship. I am scared to take that plunge into the unkown. Thinking of spending forever with a guy who I deserve is a scary thing. I can’t imagine being married. The thought terrifies me. I do want to get married in the future.
    I am going to change my dating habits. I deserve a great guy. Every woman deserves to have a good guy in her life.

    Great Article Ashten!
    I had a long relationship with tmobile, six years. Unfournately, I had to drop Tmobile because it wasn’t meeting my needs. :)

  9. Ashten – as a previous commitment-phobe (CP), I found your insights wise, funny and refreshing. I think the trick is finding someone who has the intuitive smarts to provide the physical and emotional space for love to grow. Us CPs feel like rats trapped in a skinner-box when even the “right” people move too fast. We look for an exit strategy! Be patient!

  10. I recently wrote about being single in my 30’s.

    I had an ephiphany long the same lines myself.

    I go for unavailable men (emotionally) so that I don’t have to commit and I can move on after a while without feeling like they didn’t “want” me.

    I blame it on my daddy issues. He left when I was 5 and the next time I saw him was at his wake.

    I have an irrational fear that any man isn’t going to want me, so I make it easy for myself by choosing the guys that aren’t really that into me, but are there for the here and now and not anything else.

    Good job on recognising it in yourself though, it’s the first bit of fixing it I found. The next hard bit is stopping from falling into relationship habits that I know I have if I ever end up in another relationship.

  11. By the time I got to the end of this article, my head was still nodding. Yes to everything you said! I’m only in my very early twenties, but I had the same problem. I pushed guys away because I was scared. I had armor around my heart. Then, I met someone, who made me feel like I could worry a little less. It’s a comforting feeling.

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