The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Girl Talk

Commitment Phobia
 Girl Talk
Girl Talk

Girl Talk

Commitment. The “C” word is the scariest word in my vocabulary.

I grew up with the notion that guys are the ones who can’t commit, that the male gender is the one with the problem with monogamy. But now that I’m all grown up (which is still debatable, according to my mother), I look around and wonder how true that notion really is.

Thinking back over my 2 years in college, it’s been all my guy friends that have girlfriends with a fear of commitment, not my girlfriends’ guys. Now I’m not talking about the people who “just like to go out and have fun.” I mean those out there with a genuine fear of any sort of relationship responsibility.

So how does the commitment phobic know when to stop running? I always assumed that when I found the right guy I’d just know, ya know? I thought my fear of a long-term relationship and (I still shudder to even type the word) marriage would just—POOF—be gone.

I think I might have been a little off the mark with that fairytale. Surprised, right? Now I believe that you know you’ve found the right guy (or at least the right guy for right now) when you still get scared but stick around to try to make it work anyway. The right guy (or girl) is someone you’re willing making the effort for.

It’s not that you’ll never be attracted to or even interested in anyone else of the opposite sex ever again (wouldn’t life be easier if that were the case?). It’s not that you’ll never feel like heading in the other direction. It’s just making the choice that this is the guy you want to be with—and making it again every day.

Not that that’s settled, maybe the bigger question is why do we run away from relationships in the first place? I hate to reference chick-flicks but Julia Roberts’ character in Runaway Bride was a total commitment phobic.

For her, it was because she didn’t really know herself. She didn’t know how to be her own person and the thought of spending an entire lifetime as a reflection of someone else made her bail at the last second. Maybe if she’d stopped a little sooner and figured out who she was, she wouldn’t have had five almost-weddings.

Another reason some girls just can’t settle into something deeper than a casual thing is scars from the past. Basically we have trust issues. When I was a naive little high school freshman I thought my boyfriend was the universe—until he screwed me over.

Ever since, I just wait for the guy that seems great right now to prove he’s really just another jerk. It’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy, but that’s another column. I don’t trust anyone anymore. Now it’s just an automatic defense mechanism.

And trust me, it sucks. Not completely trusting or opening up to the people that you care about is one of the worst feelings ever.

But no matter how awful it is, nothing beats being on the other side of the equation. Dating a person who’s terrified of commitment can make you really frustrated and insecure (just ask my ex boyfriends). That is, unless you fall in that category as well, and I’ve recently discovered that that combination doesn’t work either.

When your significant other swings back and forth like a pendulum, being really in the relationship one second and backing away from it the next, there’s only one thing you can do. Maybe this sounds like really ridiculous advice (and who am I really to give advice?), but I’ve tested it and it’s never failed.

Be patient. Be very, very patient with them. And if that’s not enough, make them figure out how they feel (okay so maybe that qualifies as two). But that’s easier said than done, right? Not really. It’s actually relatively simple.

I have a guy friend who’s been with the same girl for a few years. For the last year or so, it’s been difficult for him because one minute she was there, the next she was gone (emotionally speaking). Now he’s a terrific boyfriend—we should all be so lucky as to find one like him—but her behavior had him more than a little worried.

Here’s what I told him to do: leave her alone. Just leave her alone. Don’t be mean about it and don’t go out of your way to avoid her; just act as if you two weren’t together. Let her see what her life would be like without you in it. If the relationship is really important to her, she’ll figure it out pretty quick. If not, it’s better that you know now.

And she did. She realized that she was being silly and that she really wanted to be with him. I’m not saying everything was suddenly perfect, but she’s working on her issues now, and that’s all you can really ask of someone.

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