Girl Talk: I’m Commitment-Phobic

Most of the time, when you hear “commitment-phobic,” you think of a man. But that’s not always the case. I’m commitment-phobic, and I’m a woman. The thought of being in a relationship terrifies me. The thought of committing to someone forever scares the pants off me. Oh, and getting to the altar? Watch me quake.I wasn’t always this way. In fact, for years, and years, and years, I’d say I was commitment-happy. All I wanted to do was couple up, get serious, and get married. I had my fair share of relationships, and while more than one was moving towards marriage, that commitment, the big one, never happened. At the time, I thought it was him. Or it just didn’t work out. But now I’m starting to wonder if the one who derailed the relationship before the vows was me.

Instead of being in relationships that made me want to commit more, the relationships I was in, over time, have made me more paranoid about committing at all. I know it’s not “right,” or “productive,” or “positive” to think in these terms, but when you’re in enough relationships that don’t work out, you start to question whether or not committing to someone legally, finances and all the rest of the until-death-do-you part, is really such a good idea after all. If it’s going to end eventually, why not keep things so that you can cut and run?

Now the thought of moving in with someone, marrying someone, heck, having a kid with someone, makes my stomach turn and my head spin. I feel like I’d lose myself. I worry I’d never be able to escape. I fear that it’d be like getting buried alive, only domesticity is the casket, and it’s … forever. If I gave myself to somebody totally, does that mean I’d no longer be me? Would the lives of my significant other and our kids take over my brain, turning me into a zombie, rendering me into a vegetable state?

For so long, I’ve kept my dream of commitment alive by mentally banking on love, hope, and a vision of the way things could be. Still, I can’t shake this concern that that’s just a fantasy, and reality means giving up who you are for the sake of a wedding, a ring, and the privilege of saying, “I’m married. He’s my husband. I’m his wife.”

The thing of it is, I don’t want to be like this. All these muddled anxieties live in my head and have nothing to do with my heart. A part of me wants to believe that if you follow your heart, if you do the right thing, if you give yourself to someone else totally, you get everything that your old self was too stupid, too stuck, and too scared to believe.

Sometimes, though, I think the problem is that I know way too much about what it’s like to be alone, and it might be time to find out what it’s like to be committed.

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