When Your Partner Isn’t Ready to Commit

WebMD Blog:

When Your Partner Isn’t Ready to Commit

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

You want to start building a wonderful future with your partner… but your partner isn’t willing to commit. So, what can you do? While there are no one-size-fits-all answers, asking yourself the questions below might help you to decide:

What do you mean by “commitment”? Be clear with yourself and with your partner about what it is exactly that you want. Do you want to date exclusively, move in together, or get married? Conversations often take confusing and frustrating turns when people aren’t clear (with themselves or their partner) about what they want and what they are asking for.

Are you truly ready to commit (whatever your definition)?  While falling in love can be intoxicating, it can sometimes infuse people with an urgency to live their happily-ever-after immediately. But moving too fast can create trouble in paradise. For instance, you might feel so insecure or jealous that you are driven to “fix” the problem by obtaining a commitment from your partner. But this could lock you into a marriage in which you continue to feel insecure and jealous, maybe even with the added complication of having children.

Does your partner really have enough of the qualities you want in a partner? Although you may be in love, a committed relationship means sharing your life with someone even during troubled times. And these times are when that love will be most strained. So, it’s important that your partner embodies traits that you respect and that are important to you, such as sharing your values, religious beliefs, or financial priorities. Also, as explained in my book, Insecure in Love, you want to consider a partner who is mature, an effective communicator, is appreciative of you, whose personality is an overall good fit for you, and who is ready for a committed relationship.

Is your partner just hesitant or more like a commitment-phobe? It’s one thing for someone to be hesitant about a relationship and need extra assurance or more time to be sure, but it’s another for them to live a life avoiding commitment. While you may be able to nurture a committed relationship with either of these people, think twice about putting too much effort into a relationship with the latter one.

Not sure if your partner is an actual commitment-phobe? Ask yourself if they avoid sharing personal information, don’t show an interest in learning about your deep thoughts and feelings, or avoid talking about your relationship. These can all be signs of someone who has no intention of getting deeply attached to another person (Read more about signs of a commitment-phobe here).

Are there changes you are willing to make in yourself that would help your partner be more willing to commit? Your partner might be hesitant to commit because of concerns about the way the two of you relate, or more specifically about you. For instance, your partner might want you to be more affectionate or to learn to manage your anger better. Rather than just making excuses, you might help your partner make the decision to commit by agreeing to work on these changes.

If your partner isn’t ready to commit now, consider the above questions. If you think it might help, talk with your partner about them. Do what you can to nurture a more committed relationship. But keep in mind that as long as your partner has not committed, it continues to be your decision as to whether to stay in that relationship or move on.


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