How to recognize a commitment phobic man before he breaks your heart

I want you to know that what you will read here has happened to many many women, and if you were ‘lucky’ enough to be in love with a commitment phobic man, then you will recognize yourself in this article as well. This is rather painful stuff, ladies, but the good news is that once you know how to recognize a commitment phobic man, you will NEVER (hopefully) be a victim again.

Commitment phobic relationships are unlike any other relationships. Rather they resemble a CRAZY roller-coaster ride, with emotional yo-yo-ing, mental breakdowns, and that is what you will be ‘privileged’  to experience when in a relationship with a commitment phobic man.

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These men do not fit into a standard mold of an average person and their behavior is rather confusing and bizarre. They are extremely unreliable, contradictory, and unpredictable. They are very difficult to be with, but at the same time, they are very difficult to leave. They are dangerous to our mental and emotional health, and they are masters of breaking hearts.

Let’s take a closer look at what relationships with commitment phobic men look like and what you - the woman – could do to avoid falling into this toxic trap.

Surprisingly, relationships with commitment phobic men have 3 very distinctive stages: (credits to Julia Sokol and Steven Carter (UK - click here) Men Who Can't Love: How to Recognize a Commitmentphobic Man Before He Breaks Your Heart) Stage 1 - The Beginning, Stage 2 - The Middle, and Stage 3 – The End.

The Beginning

‘He was not my type and I was not interested, but he kept pursuing me... it’s like he was obsessed with me big time ’  – Angela.

‘I was immediately showered with roses, expensive dinners, and confessions of love’ – Helen.

One very distinctive feature of commitment phobic relationships is that they are intense in the beginning.

These men act intense because at this stage, when a woman is not THAT interested (or perhaps is not interested AT ALL), they feel safe to pursue. They release their breaks and move with the speed of 110 miles per hour to impress a woman. You won’t believe what commitment phobics are capable of at this stage!!

‘He was sending me flowers every day until I agreed to go out with him’ – Michelle.

‘He wrote a beautiful romantic poem and read it to me during our first dinner. I though he was going to cry’ – Natalie

‘He seemed so desperate for a relationship…. I felt bad for not giving it a try’- Ann

‘Oh those adorable puppy eyes, how could I say ‘no’?’ – Debbie

In general – and it should not be a big surprise – commitment phobics are deeply lonely and unhappy people. They DO dream about being in a relationship, and they hate to be alone which explains why they act so intense and desperate in the beginning; and as long as a woman is not that interested (which means there is no danger of a real connection) they feel safe and comfortable to pursue.

Feeling safe and emotionally distant from a woman (because she is not into him yet) is what drives commitment phobics at this stage.

This stage may last one week, one month, or one year, but it will immediately end after a woman finally responds and falls in love. When we fall in love we have expectations. Having expectations is not a bad thing; as a matter of fact, expectations is something that naturally occurs in every healthy relationship. Just take a look at how this natural, a seemingly innocent progression plays out with commitment phobics.

The Middle

The initial shift to The Middle stage will be very subtle and may not feel like ‘a big deal’ at first. You know, you see that little tip of the iceberg and think ‘oh, it is not a big deal; we have been sailing so well, we will find a way around it’.

Well, not so fast. Unfortunately, this is not what usually happens. Commitment phobics hate to be told what to do and they cannot stand to be tied down. They are the best when they sail alone because that’s when they feel the safest. Having you on board represents a possibility of a real connection with another human being… which is something they feel very uncomfortable about. They do not want to be too close and they do not want to be tied down with anything.

Here is what a woman will experience during the shift. It’s a very subtle shift, but it will be very hard not to notice (and to feel sh*tty about it, too).

‘I never asked anything of him, but I had this one important event coming up and I wanted him to be my date. I called to invite him but he declined. He said he could not do it because he was busy at work. I was baffled because his work was never a problem before.’

‘He used to give me flowers all the time, but when Valentine’s day came along he was nowhere to be found. I had no idea what happened and why he left me alone on such a day. Later on he apologized, but it still left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe he is not into me as much as I thought he was.’

‘In the beginning, when he was pursuing me, he kept talking about traveling together. When I finally agreed to take a week off to see the Grand Canyon together, he suddenly backed off. I could not believe it! Did he have a bad day?’.

‘I did not even like him that much, I was never into men with facial hair. I thought I would give it a try. He was so into me and seemed so in love, until one day, when he refused to meet my friends and family. He said it was too much for him. It has been a while and he still keeps saying that he is not ready. I do not know what his problem is, I thought we were a couple.’

As you can see now, commitment phobics don’t like expectations and they are not comfortable with moving things forward. They feel comfortable with a woman who is NOT interested and feel terribly uncomfortable with a woman who becomes interested. Interested women want MORE and giving more is something they cannot do. As the emotional connection grows so does their sense of panic. Backing off .i.e. escaping from a woman relieves this sense of discomfort.  

‘It was a perfect date… she looked so good in that dress… she was like a dream… At the end of the date I sensed she wanted made me feel uncomfortable… and that’s when I decided to bail out. I just could not do it.’  - Andrew.

‘One day I woke up and was like ‘wow, what did I get myself into??’ It was the morning when I decided that I did not want to see her anymore’ – Paul.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever had someone to pursue you like crazy only to back off after you responded in kind??

Here is what you will experience in The Middle: confusion, pain, sense of betrayal, growing anxiety, and self-doubts. You may also have some hopes that things will ‘come back to normal’ – as they used to be - and may naively believe that what is happening now is just a temporary thing – ‘maybe he is going through something’ and ‘once this little something (whatever it is!) is over, things will become normal again’.

Unlike normal relationships, where two people enjoy a growing connection and closeness, commitment phobics are terrified of it. The closer you get and the deeper the connection becomes the worse they feel. Panic, anxiety, suffocation – is what they will experience during this period. That’s why they back off – getting away from a woman relieves anxiety and calms their commitment phobic fears. It’s like they sort of want to be with you, but they can’t. There should be a fair amount of distance between you two for them to feel safe and comfortable.

If you have EVER had someone to pursue you like crazy one day only to back off the next, then you know how it feels. You think that since they’re pursuing it means that they like you and they know what they are doing. It is hard not to trust their intentions and it is hard not to fall for them after all. Isn’t how all the romances start anyway??

Yes, they do, but with one major difference: unlike with healthy relationships which grow and develop, the commitment phobic ones never develop into anything. It is like one step forward and then two steps back; 10 miles forward and then 1000 miles back. With such see-saw game playing, you do not know where you are, what the hell is going on and where you stand with them. You do not know anything! All you know is that something is happening and something is wrong.

The best thing that a woman can do when someone backs off like this is to leave them alone. Unfortunately, when you are in love, it is not so easy. As a result, many women cling, chase, and/or act super nice. They think that by acting like this it will reduce the commitment phobic gap. The more they chase, the further and faster commitment phobics run. Why? Because they need the distance to feel safe!

The End

The bitter end or The End is the time when a woman feels like she has finally had enough and decides to leave. She feels devastated, disappointed, disgusted with his ways, and hurt. She shuts the door and cuts all the contact. There is also a possibility that he was the one who left. The crazy thing is, however, that commitment phobics cannot just commit to staying, they cannot commit to leaving either!

Once a woman is gone, so does his commitment phobic fears. There is no pressure to commit, no anxiety, no gap to bridge or expand, no excuses to come up with, and no expectations. The distance is just too great for his comfort, and as a result he feels lonely, miserable, and... yearns for closeness. Yep! He misses his woman!!

That’s when one beautiful Sunday morning, when you are on your way to a church or your favorite shopping mall you get that ‘out of the blue’ call. You thought it was over, you thought he did not want more and you knew it was a dead end relationship. What does he want now and what is he thinking??

Unfortunately, he is not thinking anything. No, he did not get hit by an Epiphany and no, he did not suddenly fall in love with you. He is still the same monster. He is still the same screwed up on many levels commitment phobic man who came back into your life to crew you more. Will you let him?

Taking him back won’t change anything. He still will not commit and won’t become your husband. You will go through the same stages (The Beginning - The Middle - and – The End ), but this time in a much quicker time span. It will end the same as it ended last time; and unless you pull the plug, he may even yo-yo you FOR YEARS.

If this article made sense to you and you found it helpful, then you may also like this book (UK - click here) Men Who Can't Love: How to Recognize a Commitmentphobic Man Before He Breaks Your Heart. I personally read it three times! In case you are in an unhappy relationship with a commitment phobic man this book will cure you.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Articles - Be done with your dead-end relationship and How to spot Mr. Unavailable or my empowering e-Book When you are DESPERATE FOR HIS LOVE how to leave your bad relationship without feeling like you are going against yourself