THE BLOG

50 Shades of Commitment Phobia

02/13/2015 05:41 pm ET | Updated Apr 15, 2015

If Anastasia could tame Christian then hope should be restored to women everywhere. But where the lines of reality and fantasy are blurred, knowing the difference between love and lust can be harder than it seems. And when it comes to commitment phobia, not even Cupid could predict what this mysterious man has in store.

The Commitment Phobe comes in all races, shapes, sizes, professions and ethnicities. He can cleverly disguise himself as a romantic, a gentleman, a prince or a die-hard cheerleader of Team You. Not only does this pose a difficult problem if you are looking for Mr. Right, but this guy is the most confused of all because the Commitment Phobe truly wants one thing -- to be able to commit.

His counterpart, the Love Addict, is not pathetic, weak or stupid. She is not the waning wallflower waiting to be asked to dance. Rather, she can be spotted for her strength, honesty and secret addiction to love. She is a woman of analytical sorts, distrusting and calculating in her romantic relationships. Not altogether dissimilar from the Codependent, the Love Addict fears abandonment and will hold on to men who appear to offer her the love she internally lacks for herself.

Having written about and studied this man for many years, I can luckily spot a Commitment Phobe from miles away. They are my friends, my family, my neighbors and my colleagues. It may come as a surprise that I do not think the Commitment Phobe is evil. This man may have issues, but he is not the worst of the bunch. However, I strongly believe that staying with a Commitment Phobe out of pity for his inner struggles is a recipe for unhappiness, especially when his struggles are pointed directly at you! Having compassion for him is one thing, but taking on his drama as a second job with little to no pay can be a real dead end.

If the Love Addict and the Commitment Phobe are equally dedicated to resolving their own personal issues of abandonment and intimacy and want to support each other on the journey toward recovery, then there is hope for them in the relationship. But this dynamic duo can't help but demonstrate some telltale signs.

SIGNS OF A COMMITMENT PHOBE

1. Always looking around the corner for the better option.

2. Avoids labeling the relationship as much as possible.

3. Trouble dealing with feelings from the past.

4. Living two different lives.

5. Difficulty keeping his word and integrity.

6. Desperately wanting to find the perfect woman.

7. Uninterested in sex after just a few months.

8. Anxiety about having made the wrong choices or difficulty with upcoming decisions.

9. Difficult time trusting himself, often feeling he has no control.

10. Getting bored after the Honeymoon Phase and taking that as a signal to escape from the relationship.

SIGNS OF A LOVE ADDICT

1. Fear of being single.

2. Worried about what others think.

3. Manipulating/lying for love and attention.

4. Feeling a sense of abandonment from relationships and friendships.

5. Terrified of rejection.

6. Seeking to be "above" or "better than" others.

7. Tolerating abusive behavior.

8. Taking the blame just to diffuse conflict.

9. Scared of saying or doing the wrong thing.

10. Constantly analyzing the relationship.

The Commitment Phobe can suffer a serious wake up call if a Love Addict abandons him. In fact, sometimes it can be the only wake up call for a Commitment Phobe. He may come back genuinely willing to change. But buyer beware, when the Commitment Phobe re-enters the push/pull relationship, he always comes with promises...keeping them is another story.

While working through the relationship with a Commitment Phobe, the Love Addict needs to be careful that she is still not influenced by his moods, making her vulnerable and still subject to his behaviors. The Love Addict has to get her own life together with or without the Commitment Phobe. The bottom line is no one should be held to a higher importance over you. We cannot emotionally and spiritually afford to stand by a man who is perpetually on the fence about whether or not he wants to be with us.

When the Commitment Phobe feels close to the Love Addict, he will move to sabotage any intimacy that was just created. The closer he gets to you, the more he pulls away. In the end, the Commitment Phobe's feelings of enmeshment cause him to simultaneously sabotage the relationship, putting even his own happiness in harms way.

This magnetic twosome loves a challenge and thrives on drama. If you want to make this relationship work, be prepared to put up a fight and be unwilling to back down. In the end, it may just be simpler to find a new man!