It's always fascinating to read about the trials and tribulations of relationships. Not to take joy in the struggles of others, but rather to study the challenges that couples go through and learn how to best overcome them. After reading HuffPost blogger Bree Maresca-Kramer's recent post on "7 Signs He's Never Going to Propose," I immediately thought of the flip side to this debate. Fear of commitment is not uncommon in men. And yes, it will unfortunately be the deciding factor that ends many relationships. However, I think it's important to not paint all men with that brush. Being afraid of commitment is acceptable, as long as both sides make it their primary objective to work through their fears and become healthier because of it.
Here are five common reasons why he may be hesitant to pop the question -- and how to work through them:
1. He's in a money crunch and wants to climb out of it before committing to the expenses of getting married. Money talks, or in this case, prevents action. The average cost of an engagement ring is $5,200, and that doesn't even begin to compare with the costs of putting on a wedding. Another facet to consider is that many 20-somethings are saddled with student loans that really limit financial flexibility. Men want to provide and may not feel that the present time is the best to make such a large financial step.
If a big wedding and a fancy ring aren't important to you, let him know. You can always delay these things until you're more financially stable as a couple.
2. He's already reaping the benefits of a married man. Sometimes being in a long-term dating relationship can make you feel like you're already married. If you've already moved in together or are sharing finances, he may think marriage is no different than the status quo. He may even feel some sense of boredom. You can combat this by bringing back some of the old feelings of "the chase" that will remind him of the beginning of your relationship. Check out a few suggestions here on how to put a little excitement and intrigue back into the relationship.
3. He's focused on his career. In his mind, he may think that if he settles down and takes on the commitments of being a husband and father, there may not be any time left over to climb the corporate ladder or achieve his dream of building his own business. This also ties back into the first point about being financially secure. Can you really fault him for wanting to be able to provide the most he can for you and your future family? Let him know that pursuing dreams is also a goal of yours and that you would never let that stand in the way of your relationship.
4. He thinks he's giving up his freedom. This topic has been rehashed in every relationship book ever written. However, there is some merit to it. It's important to convey to him that marriage isn't the end of his personal life. Equally, it's important for him to know that he's going to have to make sacrifices as he enters this next phase of his life. Instead of two poker nights per month, he may get only one. It seems a small price to pay for marrying the woman of his dreams.
5. He comes from a broken family. This one is often the toughest to deal with. If he grew up in a single-parent home or lived through a tough divorce, he may have developed a fear of marriage. Talk and trust are going to be your best allies in conquering this unfortunate issue. If he's open to it, consider seeking the help of a counselor. It may sound cliché, but this can really go a long way toward understanding that he's not responsible for the failure of his parents' relationship. Just because he wasn't exposed to a healthy marriage doesn't mean he can't be a part of one of his own.
Fear of commitment is not a death sentence for your relationship; it's just something that needs to be worked through. So before you decide that he's just not that into you, consider these points and work through them together.