This article has been updated as of August 2018.
As a woman, it’s not hard to get stuck in a relationship with a commitment phobic man! Even if you’re high value, sometimes you unfortunately make the mistake of getting involved with a man like this (Click here to take the quiz on “Am I Dating a Commitment Friendly Man? “)
I truly believe in patience and understanding when it comes to men – yet sometimes, no amount of patience and understanding will get a man to be the man you crave him to be. And that’s ok.
But before I say anything else, I just want to suggest that you don’t blame him, or yourself. Even if a man has all of these signs, which will sometimes happen, that doesn’t mean that you should blame him or blame yourself. in fact, if a man has all 10 of these signs, then perhaps the best thing for you to do is to feel your anger and hurt, rather than blame anyone.
Commitment phobic is JUST a term…
Now, when it comes to the term ‘commitment phobic’ we have to realise that it’s just a term. It’s not the best term – I’m not one to use it in my work – but I use it here, because I know women resonate with this term, and this is a common term which resonates with people.
Commitment resistance versus Commitment phobia
Here’s the thing you need to understand. Commitment resistance is different to commitment phobia. Commitment resistance is not a long-term thing like commitment phobia is. I would like to use the term “commitment phobia” and “investment phobia” interchangeably – because, what commitment phobia really is, is a sense of overarching inability to invest emotionally in someone; especially people in general.
And if someone has commitment phobia or investment phobia, that can be signs of emotional damage to that person or trauma, or it can be a sign that that person has deep-seated patterns of fear when it comes to relating and being close to anther human being.
Commitment resistance – that’s something that pretty much all men will exhibit at some point in the relationship – regardless of whether you are his one and only, or one of many woman.
What I would like to suggest to you is that when it comes to commitment phobia, we often label men’s behaviour as commitment phobic even when they are not actually commitment phobic, they are just showing signs of commitment resistance, which every man will do at some point.
Even if you truly are a man’s one and only woman and not just one of many, he will probably show commitment resistance at some point. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that he is commitment phobic.
If you want to learn how to overcome a man’s commitment resistance, we share step-by-step how to do that in our Commitment Control 2 Program.
The thing we have to remember is that men have a different agenda to women. Both sexes have agendas – just different agendas.
More importantly, men and women both have fears when it comes to a committed relationship, some of these fears are human fears and we all have them. Yet often, men can have VERY different fears than women do about getting into a committed relationship. For example – as a woman, if you ever fell pregnant, would you EVER in your life – fear that the baby you’re carrying inside you is not your own?
No. of course not. Because you carried that baby. Yet men have this innate uncertainty that a baby is not their own, built inside them from eons ago. And that uncertainty…is something that drives a lot of their mating and relating habits.
So how do we decide whether a man is commitment phobic or just commitment resistant?
That’s a good question.
Some of these 10 signs I’m about to give you could just be signs of commitment resistance, and therefore there’s no cause for alarm.
I’ve chosen 10 signs that are most likely to reflect an actual commitment phobia, but please be aware that sometimes, there’s a chance that even if your man exhibits some of these signs, he is not necessarily commitment phobic, but just exhibiting temporary commitment resistance.
Look for whether he is willing to invest in you emotionally
So – and here’s the important part of all of this – what I really want you to look for is whether this man is willing to be emotionally invested in you.
Even a man who is madly in love with you and will still commit to you if sex is taken out of the picture, can have commitment resistance. And this can be due to what stage of life he feels he is at, his lifestyle, how he perceives his own success levels…things like that.
Let’s take my husband David for example. I remember many years ago, after we’d been together for several months and madly in love, when I was sussing out his commitment levels to me – I actually asked him: “would you stay with me if I got sick and could never have sex again?”
Quite a question isn’t it? I was really looking for a commitment, haha!
He thought about it carefully for a while (after all, it’s a big risk for a man to invest in a woman when there’s no future possibility of sex). And he came back with a heartfelt ‘yes’.
And that’s because of what I meant to him, and what he means to me. I am his one and only and he has said that from quite early on (maybe 6-12 months into the relationship). We fell in love, and what we experience together is true love.
Despite all this – I still remember my husband having commitment resistance. Because we just had different relationship timelines!
If you are interested in becoming a man’s one and only – I have a free DVD coming out about it soon!
Some people don’t believe the ‘one and only’ kind of love exists. In fact, they don’t even want to try to believe it. Too risky. They would have to be too vulnerable to believe it. And too many other women would judge them for being a ‘princess’ or being too ‘idealistic’.
But many women out there know this love is true because they experience it every day with their man.
Despite my husband’s initial commitment resistance, he was always deeply emotionally invested in me and the relationship. I could tell because he put all the effort he had into making this relationship work. He stopped at nothing to ensure that this relationship would work out for the long term (that was a huge gift for me after being cheated on by my ex boyfriend…)
So when it comes to looking for signs of commitment phobia in your man, I want you to look for whether he shows he is willing to be emotionally invested in you and the relationship.
To help you, here are the questions I want you to ask yourself…
To find out whether he is willing to invest in you emotionally, here are some questions that will help you…
Does he care about your happiness?
Does he care about the people and the animals that you care about?
Does he care about what makes you laugh and cry?
Does he care about your health?
And does he invest emotional, physical and mental energy in making sure that you are happy in the relationship?
Does he invest emotional, physical and mental energy in making sure that the relationship will stand any tests and challenges?
Is he fearful of investing emotionally in people in general?
Does he have shiny object syndrome? (in other words, he likes to meet new people and soon after meeting them, he gets sick of them and wants to move on to the next person?)
Is he more a taker than a giver? Takers are experts at not investing in people. It takes no work to take from other people. It takes vulnerability, emotional risk and care to invest emotionally in someone.
Here are the 10 typical signs of a commitment-phobic man:
1) He gets sick of you, as well as sick of having sex with you early after beginning a relationship, even if you’re in an ‘official’ relationship.
Yet, despite our biology, when you are invested in someone, and when you love someone, you want to connect with them. And it is this desire to connect and want to be close to them that also drives your desire to have sex with them over and over and over (not just sexual desire or lust or horniness).
Men (and women) with shiny object syndrome, will often treat their partners like a commodity – in fact – they don’t know how to connect to their partner’s heart and soul. They are often inattentive, lack attunement to others, always seeming to need something from the world, and they’re insensitive. This could be a sign of shiny object syndrome – watch out for shiny object syndrome.
2) He is reasonably active on social media, but never shows signs on social media that you two are an item.
This can be a sign of temporary commitment resistance, so don’t jump to conclusions immediately that he is commitment phobic or investment phobic.
When a man is reasonably active on social media, but doesn’t seem to show signs of making it official with you on there or allow you into his world on Facebook etc, it could be a sign he is not invested in you.
For example, does he mind being seen in pictures with you?
Facebook, instagram and other social media is a tell-tale place for making sure that a man is interested in you and is proud to have you in his life.
Why? Because if he is proud and happy to have you in his life, he doesn’t fear you appearing in his news feed, tagging him in things, or commenting on his updates. (Click here to complete the quiz on “How High Value High Status Am I on Facebook”)
Because social media can be such a public place; if he has other women, or if he puts you low on his priority list, he may avoid adding you on Facebook and instagram because it’ll be easy for you to bring issues up and inconvenience him.
Warning: There are some men (perhaps womanizers) who might gladly add you on social media, as more women commenting and liking his updates means he receives higher status and higher regard in his social circle or among his Facebook friends.
It depends on the man and his blueprint of the world.
So, it’s up to you to work out whether he uses social media as a way to have women make him look good, or whether he actually uses social media and deliberately avoids interacting with you on social media or avoids ‘friending’ you for fear of ‘issues’ that arise from that, that might complicate his life.
3) He is in his late 30’s (even worse, 40’s), and has never been married or in a serious long term relationship.
A man has plenty of time to find the right one and to settle down. Unless a man is just really shy, or he has unfortunately lost a long-term partner, the best men can get snapped up really quickly. There’s always exceptions, but in general, boys and men of value are quickly snapped up by women, and vice versa.
People who have high relationship value and who are high value in general – these people find each other – so is this a man who isn’t one to invest in people, or has shiny object syndrome.
Does he have fears getting close and actually being vulnerable to other humans?
4) He talks about women in a way that actually makes you feel uneasy or queasy in your gut.
This takes a little bit of patience on your part. You need to stop and actually start listening to what he is saying and how it makes you feel.
If the way he talks about women makes you feel like: ‘hang on…what the hell….’ and yet you have a voice in your head making excuses for him such as “oh well maybe he’s just…” stop it.
A man that genuinely doesn’t talk nicely about women, has possibly got a backlog of resentment towards women, or never felt like he was worthy of women and may have spent many years feeling like he could not handle them.
Which means there is a good chance he doesn’t feel like he could handle you. Some men are just downright bitter and angry towards females and see them as a pain because they have felt rejected by women a lot, or they’ve been burned by women. (I’m looking at you, MGTOW!)
See if he says things like: “WOMEN! You can’t live with them, you can’t live without them!” or “all women are sluts (as some groups of men online say)”
And when he says those things, is he serious? Because sometimes men will joke about these things and you need to know the difference.
Some men who say things like this end up getting married only because there’s really no other choice or option for them. Not because they fell in love and truly love a woman. Remember, marriage does not have to be a sign of true underlying emotional commitment.
5) He rarely asks you about your life, or how you are.
And if he DOES, it seems more like a pleasantry to you (something he mentions just for the sake of mentioning)….and he doesn’t really listen to your answers. (read my article about Casual Relationships)
6) He ignores your birthday (even when you tell him that it’s your Birthday soon) and ignores you around Easter and Christmas.
I remember a client of mine once telling me about a guy who she probably knew deep down inside was not ever going to commit to her. He IGNORED her birthday even when she told him that her birthday was coming up. The day came and went…nothing from him. Not a single word out of his mouth. And yet she still told me….:”But…but he TOLD me I’m his GIRL!!”
Question is: if someone tells you “Oh my dear, I’d NEVER set your house on fire!” “I’d never hurt your family and set your house alight!” and one day, you come home, and he has burnt your house down…do you believe what he said?
Do you believe that he would never do that?
Or would you believe the actual facts: that your house has been burnt down right in front of you, by this man?
For most men who are willing to commit or will commit in the future, your birthday is an important event for him.
In the beginning stages, he may not spoil you, but at least he’d make an attempt to call you – not just to wish you a happy birthday – but to ask you how your actual birthday was. Again, look for whether he has the ability to invest in you – texting you a ‘happy birthday!’ doesn’t take much emotional investment on his part. However, asking you: “how was your birthday?” is a step up from that, and a bit more likely to signal emotional investment.
7) The story his mouth tells is almost always more enticing than the story his actions tell.
Don’t be dumb, because you are not dumb.
So don’t let a man’s words fool you. I understand, as women, we all make this mistake at least once – we all fall for a man’s words at least once; and that’s because we are designed to.
Nature didn’t make us to be smart all the time; it made us to be more willing to have sex with the man who got to our ears by sweet talking. women fall for words. I still do sometimes and I have to not remind myself – but detach myself from a person’s words, and look at his actions.
So, yes, try to cultivate the ability to detach from words and observe a man’s actions, because any man with a brain knows that they can use their words to sweet talk a woman. It’s an evolutionary strategy – this is so that he could pass on his genes and propagate the human species.
Be good to yourself. And give the right man for you, more time with you!
Do that so that the right man can wake up next to you every morning and kiss you on the head with a goofy smile on his manly face.
8) He often responds to you with defensiveness or deflects questions with verbal abuse.
Defensiveness and verbal abuse – these two things are extremely difficult for a woman to have to deal with in a relationship, and these are the last two things I want YOU to have to deal with.
Ideally, a man would be centred and strong, and would take full responsibility for himself, and would think things through rather than act snide or abusive. If he’s doesn’t value committing to you or the relationship, then of course he’s going to avoid taking any responsibility for the relationship and deflect your genuine concerns with abuse.
You and I both know that some men were not raised very well, or had bad childhood experiences; and as a result, their patterns of relating (or not relating) are ingrained, and it’s going to take a lot of work for you to change him if that’s even possible given the environment he lives in.
A persistent, long-term show of lack of responsibility taking is a prime example of a man who isn’t investing in you.
One thing you need to be careful of – if you grew up with abuse, YOU might think this is love. You may not know love in its real form. Because that’s the only way you know love from the way you were treated.
It’s a terrible thing to get stuck in a relationship like this and find out 30 years later that you only ended up with an abusive man because of your own childhood – what a waste of years.
9) He blames you a lot.
Some men just blame women for things that go wrong in their life. You know, often, men set out to do something that is important to them in their masculine world, and then (in their perspective), somehow a woman comes along and ruins it all…now, this is normal. Feminine often women draw men out of their mission, or their boring, dead masculine world and into relationships. But you know what? If a man truly loves you, he won’t be bothered by this for too long, because he is invested in the relationship with you. He values you.
See – If a man’s consistent reaction to problems in the relationship is to blame you, or constantly point out where you went wrong, then you have a problem.
This man might simply not want to take responsibility for anything in a relationship. which means he doesn’t really care about the relationship; he cares about protecting himself. It happens! It’s unfortunate, but it does happen.
10) He looks down on other married couples.
If a man talks badly about fellow men who are married, or who are taking care of children, then it’s a pretty good sign he doesn’t care much for a deep commitment with a woman.
And it’s a good sign that he is turned off the idea of family and prefers to be alone.
For example, if he sees men with babies and says things like: “I don’t envy you!” or “I’m glad I’m not you!”.
Or…he sees married men and talks down at them, like they are less than him, and are stupid, or dumb for making the choice to be married – then you know this man identifies strongly with being detached and un-invested in anything that is vulnerable or requires emotional energy.
And that concludes the 10 signs of a commitment phobic man…
Please remember, no ONE sign here is a definite indicator that a man is a commitment phobic.
Any random one or two signs could just be isolated signs of temporary commitment resistance, not fear of investment in relationship/commitment phobia.
I cannot say for SURE what combination of the above 10 definitely indicates that a man is a commitment phobic. Remember, look for whether he is willing to emotionally invest in you. (Learn how to inspire a man to commit)
What to do Now:
For now, I think there are 2 important steps for you to take.
1) Check in with your gut. Does your gut feel like this man is genuinely invested in you and in the relationship?
2) Understand that we don’t live in a society that really values relationship, vulnerability, loyalty and connection. So it’s easy for you to get confused about a man’s actions and assume that if he gives you a bit of attention, then he loves you. So, you really owe it to yourself to learn everything you can about men and relationships and commitment. Nobody teaches this at school – that’s why we do what we do.
3) learn how to show up as the ‘One and Only’ in all men’s lives. Go ahead and get a copy of my free DVD here titled ‘Becoming His One and Only’.
Now over to you – help the rest of us women out and let us learn from you! What signs have you noticed that indicate a man is a commitment phobic?