THE BLOG

Fear of Commitment

05/03/2013 09:32 pm ET | Updated Jul 03, 2013

It's not fair to guys that they seem to have a monopoly on commitment issues. Even if this is territory that they have themselves claimed, they do themselves a disservice. Women's commitment issues are much more subtle but often way more sticky and insidious.

When a guy is afraid to commit he will usually own it: "Yeah, I have commitment issues and I'm not really ready to settle down." When that guy becomes ready, he usually doesn't have to have his Cablight on for very long before he gets snatched up.

Women, on the other hand, usually think that they are completely available for a relationship, yet they will date unavailable men, be too picky, and the like. Those women often stay single for much longer. I guess it's a tortoise and hare issue.

So let's be the tortoise for the moment.

How do you start noticing and owning your commitment issues?

Look for patterns. If every guy that you have broken up with in the last decade has gotten engaged in the next year after, then maybe the one with commitment issues is you.

Take a look at three factors:

1. your age

2. how many serious relationships you've had

3. how many times you've been in love

See if the profile of your love life (what I call your "dating resume") measures up. Would you "hire" you based on that resume?

Rule of thumb is not to blame the opposite sex. In my coaching practice, I don't allow what I call "malebashing." Women often like to complain: "There are no good guys out there. All the good ones are gay or married. Why do guys say they're going to call and don't call? Why do guys play games? Yadda, yadda, yadda." Blaming others is often an excuse for not wanting to look inward. And blaming doesn't help you find happiness. It's playing not to lose instead of playing to win.

If you want to play to win, you have to make yourself vulnerable and face your fears. When I was single I had created a café with a dating service for our customers. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Well, that was the idea but it wasn't working for me. I started it in '96 and by '99 a bunch of my friends had met their mates but I was "the datemaker who didn't have any dates." I would tell people that line about myself and it was supposed to be funny but no one laughed. The joke was on me, I guess.

It wasn't until I started realizing that maybe I was the problem, that I was able to find a solution. Ironically, owning and running a singles bar was my version of a commitment issue. I was so committed to my business that I didn't have time to date. It was hard to see that I was afraid of a relationship because I was in the business of helping people find relationships. I had my commitment issues well camouflaged but there was no point in fooling myself. As soon as I came to this realization I decided to leave my bar in order to face my fears and put myself "out there." I met my husband two weeks later.

I used to like to be the hare. I used to pride myself on it, like Road Runner whizzing by the coyote. I looked down on the tortoise and made fun of him for being slow. But then I realized that it's nice to get to the finish line. Getting almost there really fast just doesn't cut it.