People often talk about the red flags of a toxic relationship. But they often forget to mention that being with someone with commitment issues is harmful in and of itself. Or they don’t talk about why these issues appear in the first place and how they can affect a faithful relationship.
One of the most common results of trauma, especially childhood neglect, is developing commitment issues. Relationships are complicated, and being devoted to someone for the rest of your life can seem scary and impossible to achieve. Still, people yearn to have someone. So, it’s not uncommon for these people to be in relationships. The bad part is that those relationships never seem to work out.
It would be best if you were careful about commitment issues. If you are the one who has them, you’ll never be able to build something meaningful. If you are with someone who has them, you’ll only get hurt. Either way, you’ll need to learn to manage these issues if you have them and avoid falling for someone emotionally unavailable.
Why Do People Have Commitment Issues?
Most people probably understand what having commitment issues mean, but they are not always familiar with the specific term. The term describes harmful actions and mental health concerns that an individual engages in due to fear of commitment. Feeling anxiety when thinking about being in a relationship is one of the most common symptoms. And it’s not just about serious romantic relationships.
People with commitment issues find it hard to hold onto friendships or casual relationships. Sometimes, these issues can even cause problems in the workplace. No matter how weird it might seem, a fear of commitment might make you reject long-term projects and assignments. Many people don’t give being faithful much thought. They understand they exist but often feel like there’s a quick solution. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just wake up and decide, “I’m not going to be afraid of commitment anymore.”
True, some people don’t want to make a relationship work, and they are the ones who could wake up and decide to change. But that’s not the case with people dealing with commitment issues. It’s not that they wouldn’t want to have a stable relationship. They can’t because they don’t know how to deal with the trauma that caused these issues.
Amongst the leading causes of commitment issues is childhood trauma, especially neglect. The first people we trust are our parents. So, when they break our trust, they teach us we can never trust anyone. If you’ve been neglected or mistreated as a child, you’ll grow up to believe no one will have your best interest at heart.
After all, if your parents didn’t look out for you, why would other people? Or at least that’s what a child is going to believe. Part of neglect is learning that emotions are wrong and you should be cold and independent. Because of that, you grow up without knowing how to manage your feelings or even what they mean.
How Neglect in Childhood Contributes to Commitment Issues Later
Michelle Halle, a licensed clinical social worker, specializing in emotional abuse, warns people that neglect will make them unable to socialize. Her work has shown that neglect can render people unable to have meaningful relationships in the future. Luckily, she believes that people can fix this through therapy.
While neglect is one of the more common causes, other forms of abuse can lead to commitment issues. They all have a similar impact: they make people believe they are unworthy of being taken care of. Often, people find it hard to trust after having lived through abuse. Not to mention that abuse victims have PTSD and those horrible images are likely never to leave their minds. But they don’t even have to be abused directly.
It’s enough to grow up in a toxic environment to develop commitment issues. If your parents always fought and were aggressive towards one another, you’ll believe that’s how all relationships are. A bad example of relationships can affect how you approach them for the rest of your life. Even going through your parent’s divorce or marital problems can make someone struggle with a faithful relationship.
Not all commitment issues are born of childhood trauma. It’s common to develop these issues due to toxic and abusive past relationships. When someone has betrayed you, you may fear it will happen again. You won’t be able to give people the benefit of the doubt. You’ll always assume that everyone is capable of hurting you, no matter how genuine they seem.
3 Signs of Commitment Issues Most People Ignore (You Deserve Someone Faithful!)
You’ll always be paranoid and think you are getting betrayed again. Every text message your partner gets could be from a potential side-piece. At least that’s what will go through your head constantly. You won’t get over your commitment issues without ever healing from all this trauma. But how can you tell when you or others are struggling to stay faithful?
1. Constantly Telling Little Lies Can Hint to Whether Someone Will Be Faithful
People know that when someone is lying, there’s something shady in the middle. But that’s mostly regarding big and apparent lies. People always brush over white lies like they don’t even matter. But when someone goes out of their way to lie about what they ate for breakfast, that’s something you should be concerned about.
Because of how parents raised them, people with commitment issues also have a history of mistrust. They were likely betrayed in the past and are afraid that will happen to them again. Chances are, they are used to lying because of how they were raised. So, they lie even when they have no reason to, just because it feels safer for them to lie.
You must be aware that you shouldn’t let these lies slide. After all, if they can lie to you about little things, they might be hiding something worse. Even worse, they could be making promises they don’t intend to keep. Confront them about those little lies and see how they react.
If they get defensive instead of trying to solve the issue, that’s a sign you can’t trust them. If you find that you are the one who lies about little things, you might be dealing with some unresolved issues. Commitment issues and lying is wrong for both parties involved, and you must sort out these differences.
2. Jumping From One Relationship to Another Signals an Issue With Being Faithful
Believe it or not, only having casual relationships and flings is not always something people do for fun. For many young people, that might be true. They don’t know what they want from a serious relationship and want nothing to bind them. But it can also signify that someone is dealing with commitment issues.
If someone struggles to commit, that doesn’t mean they’ll run from relationships at all costs. People still want to be loved, even if they don’t know how to devote themselves to someone. If your partner has a history of brief relationships and infidelity, that’s a red flag. Sometimes, they might be ashamed of their past and willing to change.
But more often than not, this behavior will keep repeating. Talk to them about their behavior if you want more out of your relationship. But be careful because boundaries won’t work in this situation. If they fear attachment, they will cross any line to get out if they get stuck. The main issue is that, even though people dealing with commitment issues hate abuse and infidelity, it’s all they know.
When a new relationship gets too much, they’ll return to toxic behaviors because those actions are familiar. Your only option is to break up if you suspect your partner is engaging in this pattern.
3. A Person Who Struggles to Be Faithful Will Never Want to Put a Label on Your Relationship
Labels scare the living hell out of most people. You don’t even have to deal with commitment issues to feel anxious at the thought of having to label yourself. On the other hand, happy couples jump at the occasion to present themselves as such. Maybe you won’t be official in the first couple of months of dating. But it’s a red flag if the one you see flat-out refuses to label you as their boyfriend or girlfriend after months of seeing each other.
You’ll often let go of the fact that your partner refuses labels. But what you should understand is that labels are essential in any relationship. First, they act as an unspoken agreement between the two of you that you’ll be devoted to the relationship. Second, it’s a social cue that lets other people know not to make advances on either of you.
No matter how insignificant labels seem, they’re a promise that you’ll take your relationship seriously. But people who have commitment issues won’t go for labels because it makes them feel trapped. Plus, it forces them to take accountability for their actions. They won’t be able to play the “well, we’re not in a relationship” card when they mess up. Don’t wait around for someone who doesn’t want to make things official. And don’t do that to someone else either.
Final Thoughts on Signs of Commitment Issues Most People Ignore
Commitment issues are not something that you should take lightly. It hurts the one who’s dealing with them, along with the people they get involved with, as these issues come from unresolved trauma. Still, if someone has issues being faithful, you should stay away from them. You won’t have a future with them unless they solve their problems.
There are many signs of commitment issues, but many people overlook them. Or some people even make excuses for them. Telling white lies, constantly jumping from one relationship to the next, and refusing labels are signs that people always never take seriously. They often correlate with commitment issues. Instead, they present, as usual, excusable behaviors. If your partner shows any of these signs, you should consider moving on to someone better. But if you are always doing things like these, maybe it’s time to see a therapist.