Now That They Have You – Fear Sets In.
The hot pursuit has won you over. You have been swept off your feet and are convinced that love is possible. Feeling reassured by the romantic promises, you are now open, willing and expecting some form of commitment. The tables turn and the pursuer begins to run.
Welcome to Part 2 of the 4 part series that explores the 4 Stages of the classic commitment-phobic relationship.
This 4 part series will explain step-by-step, how a warm heart turns into a cold shoulder.
This article is a continuation of: Part 1 – The Beginning: They Must Have You – The Hot Pursuit!
The Sweet Spot
There is a delicious place in the beginning of a relationship where you are both enthralled with “the chase”. You are both in the discovery or fantasy phase and are going with the flow. This can be as short as one brief conversation, one date, one week or it can even last for years. At this stage, you are both happy without placing any pressure or discussing the future. The critical shift out of the sweet spot and into the panic mode happens when the person being pursued has been “won over” and is now ready for morethan the pursuer is actually willing to give. It is the moment when the request for a deeper commitment is made and demands to deliver begin.
The Panic Button
The pursuer realizes that they have “caught you” and fantasy is quickly becoming reality. They are not as ready as they thought they were and everything is all together too suffocating – panic sets in. They begin to pull away and look for space to think things through. The act of pulling away confuses their partner and pushes their panic button. The roles reverse, the dynamic changes. The avoid-er now becomes the pursuer and looks to minimize the distance with attentive behavior. This pushes the commitment phobic partner further away and the escape tactics begin. [i]
Note on marriage: People with commitment phobia can even get married. Things may be fine until the fear of “forever” is triggered. This can be the day after the wedding, after a major purchase or change (home) or a child. They begin to feel trapped; like they cannot breathe and panic sets changing their loving behaviour.
The Middle: Indications that You are in the Middle of a Commitment Phobic Relationship.[ii]
Check all that apply
Now that the relationship has reached this stage, the inevitable is on the horizon – the end. In some relationships, this begins the pattern of “break up and make up”. Others can drag on in this dreadful dance of push and pull and even get married; feeling slighted, insulted and abused. This is why we encourage you (both men and women) to have high self esteem before going into a deep relationship so you can recognize when you are not being treated right – or getting crumbs, and leave. Others may also stay in the relationship – enthralled by their partner and lower their expectations for commitment just to be together. They will say things like, “We are just having fun.” Or “We agreed not to talk about anything serious until next year.”
To make this conversation more relevant to you, ask yourself these questions: