"Why Won't a Man Commit?"

Actually, most men are prudent about making commitments, because they take their commitments very seriously.

How Should We Define Commitment for a Man?

Men are accused of being afraid of commitment. Perhaps they are. But what is it that they are accused of being afraid of? 

Definition of Commitment 

Here are definitions of commitment with those specifically relevant to relationships marked in yellow.  

  • engagement; involvement 
  • the state of being committed 
  • the act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself  or a pledge or promise or obligation
  • perpetration or commission, as of a crime
  • confinement to a mental institution or hospital or prison; an order, as by a court or judge, confining a person to a mental institution or hospital or prison
  • in parliamentary procedure, the act of referring or entrusting to a committee for consideration
  • a sale or purchase of securities, or an agreement to buy or sell securities

Which naturally asks for a definition of commit as it applies to men in relationships:

  • to bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance; pledge: to commit oneself to a promise; to be committed to a course of action.
  • to entrust, esp. for safekeeping; commend: to commit one's soul to god.

The relevant definition of commitment for a man in a relationship involves binding and obligating himself and entrusting himself to another person.

Here are some of the reasons men fear commitment:

  • He becomes responsible for supporting his mate and their children.

  • He may become trapped in a miserable job to do so.

  • He may have to give up on following his own dreams. 

  • He may have to abandon the higher purpose for his life. (To learn more about this, watch this video through.)
  • He is expected to entrust his needs for intimacy — physical and emotional — to a single person.

  • He is expected to renounce the male fantasy of many sexual partners. (This fantasy is the product of natural selection. It is not easily renounced. See our pages on infidelity's meaning for men and male mating behavior.)

  • He may want to commit to a woman as he knows her, but he is aware that women often change after marriage. 

  • He has seen other marriages, and many of them are cautionary tales.

You can overcome male reluctance for commitment. There are two good sources of insight. One way we've recently discovered is the Girl Gets Ring system. The video on their page is chock full of important insights. The authors of the system have established a goal of helping 1,000,000 women get married, and their system may well succeed. 

Another way to overcome his reluctance is by exhibiting a feminine strength and power, "feminine grace" as Kara Oh has named it, and by learning to understand and appreciate men as men.  You will find a more complete discussion in the mini course on Understanding Men. The sign-up is in the sidebar.

Fear of Commitment: Phobia or Simple Prudence?

Commitment phobia is the fear or complete avoidance of committing oneself to another person in a relationship. Commitment comes with promise, pledge, and obligation. Some may fear to commit because they think they will lose their freedom and are afraid of being controlled by their partners. Nevertheless, men who are commitment phobic have their own stories to tell. Their phobias may have been the result of their past experiences — maybe a broken family, a battered childhood, or terrible commitment stories heard from others.

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Commitment phobic individuals usually distance themselves from getting into serious relationships. They avoid getting intimate with the opposite sex thinking that they will be trapped in a whirlwind of no escape. Some will appear to be charming, affectionate, sweet and flirtatious and seem as if they want to be in a relationship, but whenever they do get into a relationship, they always try to sabotage it. One moment they get to be romantic, but then they pick a fight or an argument over small things. Later on, they leave their partners hurt and broken hearted. They always prefer short-term relationships. They may also fall in love with someone who is not interested in long-term relationships. At least they agree on one thing.

Those who are reluctant to commit are often wrongly interpreted as someone who has commitment phobia. Reluctance to commit is just the state of having second thoughts on commitment. It does not necessarily mean that they are completely afraid of getting married. A person may be reluctant to get married now for several reasons, and not because he is afraid to commit. He might think that he is not yet financially ready to support his future family, or maybe he still does not have a stable job, or maybe he thinks that his current partner is not yet Miss Right. Whatever the reasons are, he still plans on getting committed in the future.

"Commitment phobic" has  been used loosely. It is important that it not be. A person who is delaying his plans on getting married maybe wrongly accused of being commitment phobic when in fact, he is just waiting for the right time to settle down. Because he is mistakenly judged as a person who is afraid of commitment, some women may avoid him. That would be unfair to him. On the other hand, commitment phobic individuals can perhaps be understood. They have been through traumatic experiences in the past which cause them to have this particular type of phobia. Examine their history, and you can correctly deal with their fears.

In summary, a commitment phobic individual is completely avoiding being committed to another person, while a person who is reluctant to commit still has plans to commit oneself to another person but not just now — maybe in the near future. As you can see, commitment phobia and reluctance to commit are two different things.

Learn More about Men

For an introduction to how to gain a man's devotion, sign up for our mini course on Understanding Men. Most of the lessons contain videos to give you more than one way to absorb the material and frankly to be more entertaining. Many of the lessons deal with aspects of masculine behavior that women have difficulty accepting. If you can stop berating him for being a man, and especially if you can appreciate him for it, you are well along the way to having his lifelong devotion. Just fill in your first name and email address in the sidebar and start to receive the mini course immediately.