Dating Magazine

Is Your Ex Commitment Phobic? (And How To Make Him Or Her Committed To You)

By Louise Hadley
Is Your Ex Commitment Phobic? (And How To Make Him Or Her Committed To You)

Did your ex come on real strong in the early stages, then started backing off once you'd fallen in love with him or her?

Did your ex keep sending you mixed messages and always came back to you after he or her had dumped you?

Did you find it very upsetting because you thought you finally met someone special and the only thing that is stopping you two from being together is your ex's commitment phobia?

Did you feel deep down that you two would have another chance if your ex could work on his or her commitment issues?

Breakups caused by commitment phobia, I must say, are one of the worst kinds of breakups because you would not have a proper closure and maybe even not have any clues as to why this happened to you and your relationship.

Commitment phobia is not a rare condition. And not just men have commitment phobia. Women can have it, too.

Understanding the signs and causes of commitment phobia can help you get a better idea about why your ex behaved that way. It will also help you see that there is nothing wrong with you. You didn't cause the relationship to end. Your ex did.

It is equally important, if not more, to know what you should do when you are in a relationship with a commitment-phobe or you are thinking about getting back with a commitment-phobic ex.

Common Signs That Your Ex Has Commitment Issues
    At the beginning, your ex pursued you earnestly, even though you might not be as interested in them as they are in you. They could make all those sweet and romantic gestures, compliment you, shower you with attention and affection. It gives you the impression that they come on pretty strong and would not give up until they win your heart. Finally, you cannot help but fall very hard for them.
    Your ex would openly talk to you about a future together and always use the word 'we' at the early stage of your relationship. It makes you feel that your ex is looking for a serious relationship and you are the one that they have been waiting for.
    Typically, your ex would have a history of short term relationship or they have divorced quite a few times and each of their relationships was rather short-lived. Most of the time, they are the ones who initiated the breakup.
    As your relationship progresses, there is pressure for your ex to be more committed to the relationship such as moving in together, getting married or having children. You can feel that your ex is pulling away and their attitude has also changed.
    Your ex would avoid meeting your parents or going to your family gathering. Your ex might also keep you from meeting their friends or take you to meet their family. It feels like your ex is trying to hide you and not wanting to make your relationship official.
    You are no longer a priority in their life. They call or text less often than before. It is also taking your ex very long to reply to you. Sometimes, you might not even get a reply. When you make plans to hang out together, your ex would cancel last minute and give you some lame excuses.
  • They associate bad experience or feelings with commitment

  • They fear they would lose their freedom and individuality

  • They are always in pursuit of something better or someone better

    When you two are getting closer and it is time to take things to the next level, your ex starts to find faults with you and get easily annoyed by some of your habits or even try to agitate you on purpose. You are confused by this sudden change in attitude because your ex didn't seem to have a problem with these habits of yours before. This is a classic case of your ex trying to sabotage the relationship and looking for a way out.

    You might also receive mixed signals from your ex. One minute they could be telling you that you are the love of their life. The next minute, they could be ignoring you and giving you the cold shoulder. This hot and cold treatment from your ex is a result of their conflicted emotions.

    The breakup would mostly likely not be a clean breakup. Your ex would dump you when they feel pressured and anxious by the looming commitment, then come running back to you when they start to miss you and feel lonely. However, the pattern would just repeat itself again because their commitment issue was never addressed and dealt with. So, you probably would go through the cycle of breaking up and getting back together a couple of times.

The Cause: Why Does Your Ex Fear Commitment?

Did your ex exhibit some if not all of the above-mentioned traits in your relationship? If yes, chances are that you were in a relationship with a commitment phobe.

So, what is the cause of your ex's commitment phobia? Is it curable? Do they ever regret ending the relationship?

These are probably some of the questions you are desperately trying to find answers to. We will address these questions one by one.

Below are the a few typical reasons why some people fear commitment:

Let's first look at the first typical cause of commitment phobia. The bad experience can come from different sources.

It could come from growing up in a family where their parents' marriage was loveless or their parents were constantly arguing and fighting with each other. You can imagine the unhappiness and tension that are suffocating everyone and making everyone want to get out of it.

In the case of parents always quarreling with each other and then just walking out afterwards, we can imagine that the child would be in a state of emotional panic and anxiety most of the time because he or she wouldn't know when either parent would get angry and start shouting at each other again.

Being brought up in such an environment would make the child feel insecure and also have trust issues. This is where they start to develop an association between bad experience/feelings and commitment.

How To Make Your Commitment Phobic Ex Commit To You?

Apart from that, it can also come from previous relationships where your ex were hurt really bad after they got very serious with their boyfriend or girlfriend. This makes them have second thoughts when it comes to having a committed and serious long term relationship with another person.

Why? Because they are afraid of getting hurt again.

The second typical cause for commitment phobia is that your ex probably value their freedom and individuality a lot. They are scared of losing control of their life and losing themselves if they get into a committed relationship or marriage.

This fear of losing their freedom stems from all the worst scenarios that your ex has been imagining in their mind. For example, they would think that after they get into a committed relationship with you, they would not be able to just go wherever they want or do whatever they want with their friends.

So, in essence, it is not the commitment that is scary to them, but it is the experience they think they will have in the future that makes them scared of commitment.

The third typical cause for commitment phobia is that your ex is always looking for someone better or someone perfect. That is why they tell you that they like you but they just cannot commit now. They are afraid that they would miss out on someone better that will come along in the future.

Often, the books we read and the movies we watch let us have unrealistic expectation about what our ideal partner should be like. Some of us might even have a checklist for all the qualities that we want in a perfect lover.

However, the truth is no one is perfect and no relationship is perfect.

So, is commitment phobia a curable? Is there any way to make them commit to you?

First, we need to find out what is the cause of your ex's commitment phobia?

Is it childhood experience?

Is it previous bad relationship experience?

Is it that they are afraid of losing their freedom?

Is it that they think there might be someone better out there for them in the future?

Whatever the cause is, they themselves first need to realize that they have a problem.

However, you cannot just go and tell them that they have commitment issues, expecting them to admit they have a problem and work on it.

It does not work that way.

What I suggest is that you can have an honest and open discussion with your ex about what concerns they have regarding commitment( or moving the relationship forward). Be careful not to come across as you accusing your ex of having commitment issues.

Once you have a clearer understanding about your ex's problems, you need to get them to work with you together on resolving these issues. You alone is not going to make the problem go away. Your ex has to make conscious efforts to do something about the root cause of their commitment phobia.

If the root cause is childhood experience, then going to see a therapist would be the best option. It can help them get in touch with their inner feelings and why they do what they do when it comes to commitment.

If the root cause is fear of losing freedom, then this problem would be a lot easier to tackle. First of all, we all know that we always want things that we don't have or have little of. If we have a lot of freedom in our life( work life or social life), we would not be affected as much by the thought of losing a bit of freedom that comes with commitment.

Let's use a simple analogy here. If we have a lot of money in our bank account, we would not mind having some money taken away to give to the homeless. But, if we have little money and it is not even enough to feed ourselves, we would hold on to the little money that we have and would be scared of the money being taken away from us.

So, the key here is to create as much freedom as possible in your ex's life. Assure your ex that you want them to have freedom with your words and more importantly with your action.

For example, let your ex freely hang out with their friends whenever they want and wherever they want without having the fear of you getting upset for not spending time with you instead.

It also helps that you have your own circle of good friends to hang out with, so you would be less likely to want to restrict your ex's activities.

The main idea is to reshape your ex's view of the experience that they will have in a committed long term relationship.

If the root cause is that they think there might be someone better in the future, what you can do is to show them that you are more than good enough for them and they should feel lucky to have you in their life.

How do you do that?

That is where self-improvement comes in.

Do you think you are at your best you can be right now?

If not, what can you do to help yourself become the best version of yourself?

Are you physically fit?

Are you feeling good about the way you look?

Are you doing well at work or with your business?

Are you financially stable?

For more strategies & tactics to get your ex back, click one of the pictures below:
Is Your Ex Commitment Phobic? (And How To Make Him Or Her Committed To You)
Is Your Ex Commitment Phobic? (And How To Make Him Or Her Committed To You)

Are you having good relationship with your family and friends?

Are you emotionally mature?

These are just some of the questions to help you evaluate your own situation and identify the areas that need improvement.

Just imagine for a moment what it will be like when you are the best version of yourself.

Would your ex be attracted to you?


Self-confidence is one of the most attractive traits in a person. And becoming the best version of yourself gives you an immense boost in self-confidence.

When your ex realize how lucky they are to have you, they would want to keep you forever and not let you go.

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