You’re Not A Commitment-Phobe, You’re Just Selfish

You’ve finally met someone and things are going well, but you’re not sure you’re ready to take things further — after all, you’ve always been a “commitment-phobe,” right? Oh, please. When you’re claiming to be afraid of commitment, what you’re really saying is “I’m too selfish to give anything up right now” — which is fine, as long as you own it.

  1. Being selfish is normal. It’s a thing we’ll all go through on our way to adulthood, but you need to be honest about it. Don’t try and couch it in vague terms that might make it seem like it’s out of your control. Avoiding commitment isn’t something that’s happening to you, it’s something you’re choosing — and that might be normal or even good for you for now. Just come right out and own the fact that you’re not ready for anything serious.
  2. It’s a jackass move to pretend you’re not. If you’re out and actively seeking relationships when you know you’re not fully invested in their success, you have to be honest and upfront about it. Otherwise, you’re entering into a relationship each time under false pretenses and could end up seriously hurting someone.
  3. Don’t hide behind the term. Outline what you’re actually looking for in a relationship before you start chasing one. If you’re just looking for no strings attached sex, that’s something you need to be open about in order to treat others well. You don’t want to be lied to, so why would you go around doing it to anyone else?
  4. It’s fine to not be ready for commitment. It’s probably even normal to have a phase where you need to be more selfish than not. What’s not okay is treating people like your personal playthings and backing out when it starts getting too real. Don’t beat around the bush. You need to be honest with yourself first before you start leaving a trail of broken hearts behind you.
  5. Define your terms. There’s no such thing as a no-cost, no-strings relationship. You’re always going to owe the other person something, some level of trust, even if it’s the most casual of hookups. Be honest with yourself (and with those you date) about the barrier — you’re not a commitment-phobe. You’re not actually interested in a relationship. If that’s the case, say it. You’ll save yourself and everyone else a lot of pain. This way when you enter into something new you’re doing it with the clearest understanding possible for both of you.
  6. You’re being lazy. Really, it’s ultimately a lazy choice you’re making. You’re letting yourself down when you take away an opportunity to be truly brutal in your own self-examination. If you want to get stuck in it, that’s fine. It’s just an unfortunate choice.
  7. You don’t need to stay this way forever. Be honest with yourself; what is it you really fear? Are you afraid of rejection down the road, or the reality that commitment means adjusting your life to make space for a real person with their own set of opinions, needs, and desires? It’s not beyond your ability to grow past these fears and open yourself up to the possibility that these sacrifices might be worth it one day. You just need to give yourself a chance.
Becca Rose is a writer with high hopes for her student loan debt. She's a musician and aspiring novelist, but don't ask her to write poetry, because she's terrible at it. She has written for HelloGiggles, The Toast, The Huffington Post, and more. You can find her on Twitter @bookbeaut