Subtle Signs You’re Dating A Commitment-Phobe

Dating a commitment-phobe when you’re looking for something serious is one of the quickest paths to disappointment and heartbreak. With a strong fear of commitment and settling down, a commitment-phobe will usually avoid getting into anything serious with you, no matter how promising dating them is. So how do you know if you’re dating a commitment-phobe? Check out these subtle signs.

  1. They won’t talk about the future. When someone’s got a fear of commitment, the last thing they want to do is talk about the future. To plan for the future, you have to commit to something. And even if you’d just like to talk to them about the future—without getting them to plan or commit to anything—the very idea might cause them anxiety. That’s why commitment-phobes so often avoid conversations about the future. In particular, they don’t like talking about your relationship with them in the long term.
  2. They have crazy standards. Sometimes, people who have a fear of commitment also have crazily high standards. While there’s nothing wrong with having standards when it comes to dating, this is often used as a defense mechanism when you’re a commitment-phobe. For example, if you only pursue people who are so perfect that they don’t even exist, you’ll never have to face your fears and settle down.
  3. They try to turn serious discussions into jokes. A commitment-phobe might avoid having all serious discussions, not just those about the future. Serious discussions between a couple tend to help bring those two people closer together. It’s a form of bonding that doesn’t usually happen during the “chase” period of dating. A commitment-phobe might feel like those discussions are a sign that things are getting too serious. And so, when they can, they try to turn serious topics into jokes.
  4. They won’t claim you or own you in public. You can pretty much forget about a commitment-phobe claiming you or owning you in public. Letting other people know that you’re dating someone often feels like a huge step. To someone who fears commitment and settling down, it’s likely that this feels like too big a step. So they’ll continue to see you in private while avoiding you in public.
  5. They are attracted to people they can’t have. In the same way that commitment-phobes have high standards, they often want people they can’t have. For example, they might be interested in someone who’s already taken or someone who lives on the other side of the planet. Again, those barriers mean that they won’t have to face their fears, because a genuine long-term relationship is unlikely given the circumstances.
  6. They’ve never had a long-term relationship. To be clear, never having had a long-term relationship doesn’t automatically make someone a commitment-phobe. There are lots of reasons why someone might not have had a long-term relationship! But when paired with other signs on this list, this might be a clue that the person you’re dating fears commitment. Someone like this fears being in a long-term relationship, so it makes sense that they’ve never had one.
  7. They’re very difficult to make plans with. Commitment-phobes don’t always exclusively fear committing to a relationship. Sometimes, that fear extends to other areas of their lives as well. It’s possible that someone who fears relationship commitment might also have a problem committing to any future plans. This could be the case if the person you’re dating is notoriously difficult to make any future plans with, even a few weeks in advance.
  8. They’re inconsistent. People with a fear of commitment tend to be inconsistent. They might be great at responding to messages sometimes and terrible at it other times. Sometimes you’ll get promising vibes from them and other times they’ll shut you out. That inconsistency might come from them testing their fears and then feeling scared again.
  9. They’re super attracted to the “chase.” The “chase” part of a relationship, where you’re flirting but not officially together, is often very attractive to commitment-phobes. They get to have all the fun of dating someone without actually facing their fears and making any commitments. Pay attention to whether the person you’re dating has a history of ghosting after the chase is over.
  10. They don’t have a lot of close friends. It’s possible that a commitment-phobe also has a problem with establishing long-term healthy friendships, along with romantic relationships. That’s not to say that if the person you’re dating doesn’t have a lot of close friends that they’re automatically a commitment-phobe. But, again, when paired with other signs from this list, it’s a possibility. Perhaps they don’t like the idea of tying themselves to anyone at all, including friends.
Vanessa Locampo is an Aussie writer who’s equally obsessed with YA fiction and pasta. Her time is divided between writing all the things, reading all the things, listening to Queen, and bopping her cat on the nose. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and has written for sites including and Discovering Montana, and currently works as an editor at Glam. You can keep up with her on Instagram @vanessaellewrites.