“You have commitment issues.” Have you ever been told this? Have you ever told a partner this? Commitment issues are a popular subject in relationship conversations. While the struggle with commitment issues has been around since our parent’s generation, there are ways that technology has made them more prevalent than ever. The swipe of a dating app or the direct message of a social media platform can make some feel like there is “always another option” or “maybe someone better out there” or just serve as a distraction from authentic feelings. Since commitment issues have withheld the test of time, it begs the question: What is the root? Where do our ideas of committing (or not) to a relationship/person come from?
Getting at the Root of Commitment Issues
If you are wanting to better understand the causes of commitment issues, it’s important to know that the causes may be as varied as the people who have them. That said, here are a couple of ideas to ponder (or not, no commitment needed):
Commitment and the Role of Our Primary Caregivers
Our primary caregivers teach and/or model commitment to people, places, and things in their lives. This includes the way you watched caregiver’s commit to each other, their friends/family, their obligations, and themselves. This also includes the way they committed to you. The way they showed up for you, or didn’t. The way you felt when they didn’t go to your football game or piano recital or graduation, we hold on to that. If it continues to happen over and over again, that becomes our story of commitment, worthiness, and interpersonal relationships.
We could break down our primary caregivers’ interactions with us (and commitment to us) with attachment styles. Anxious, Avoidant and Secure. There have been many hybrids that have emerged from the 3 attachment styles created by Psychologist Mary Ainsworth, but here are the basics:
- Anxious: worry that their partner may not love or care about them the way that they say they do, may become frustrated or irritated easily when their needs are not being met, may find it difficult at times to control the worry regarding their partner’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors
- Avoidant: may appear not to care about or be invested in close relationships, may prefer to see themselves as independent instead of needing to depend or rely on others, they may push their partner away when there is conflict or uncomfortable feelings
- Secure: confident that their partner will show up for them when they are in need, able to set and recognize healthy boundaries, are open to depending on others, and having others depend on them
If you or your partner are struggling to commit, Connected, Seen & Heard offers relationship and couples counseling, specifically in the area of commitment issues if needed. Head on over to our Couple’s Therapy page for a deeper look.
Not sure if it’s commitment issues or you’re just not sure if you love them? Check out our article: How Do You Know if You Love Someone?