Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate

Carl G. Jung

Someone’s “fear of commitment” might be better understood as a misunderstanding of what’s being asked of them in an intimate relationship. Think about it.

Who is guilty of thinking this “the closer we get, he starts to pull away. I think he’s a commitment-phobe”? I know I am. Ive grown to become profoundly uninterested in thinking about commitment-phobia as if it’s a diagnostic label, but I am profoundly interested in unpacking what is getting in the way of deeper commitment. Sometimes a “ghost” is getting in the way: a childhood wound, a past trauma, an attachment injury, a previously broken heart.

But sometimes what is getting in the way is a projection. Sometimes he isn’t able to truly listen to her vision of commitment because he’s blocked by what he’s projecting onto her. He imagines that what she will expect from him if they become exclusive, get engaged, move in together, get married (whatever the next step may be) is something far beyond what he can provide.

And I chose that word purposely. Provide. Our traditional and dominant relational model is that when a man commits, he takes on a responsibility to provide. Even if she is being crystal clear that she wants to co-create a vision of interdependence that suits each of them– financially, emotionally, pragmatically–her words may not penetrate his imaginings of what he *thinks* she wants and will expect of him.

On the flip side, she may also be blind to this process because when someone is pulling back, it feels tremendously personal. Understandably, she might be getting lost in her story that he would commit if she were different in some way. It’s hard to not take it personally, but we must realize that it is not you.

The work of this couple in this spot is for them to stand shoulder to shoulder and deconstruct together all of the cultural baggage they both have inherited but did not ask for. This process holds the promise of liberating them from others expectations so they can create their own.

*Gender role scripts can create constraints to commitment on both sides*

Much love,


Title inspo: I hate you, I love you by Gnash

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