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How do I overcome my fear of relationship commitment?

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Hi Mark,

I have been with my partner five years now and every time the question of children or marriage comes up, I get anxious. The main reason I can find is losing my freedom or what if I'm wrong?

Sometimes, I feel I put things off to make her happy. Like, if I go out somewhere, I'll double-check to make sure it's okay and even if she says she doesn't mind, I'm still feeling bad or guilty for leaving her home when I'm having a good time. Or I'll do things around when she's at work or out doing things.

Is this an insecurity in relationships and a fear of commitment? Should I do those two hypnosis downloads? I've been doing 'Overcome Fear of Commitment', which seems to help a bit.

Any help is welcome. :)

This question was submitted by 'Jonathan'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hi Jonathan and thank you for writing in.

I think feeling panic when the subject or even thought of taking on responsibilities comes up is part of a modern phenomenon. In the old days, everyone was supposed to get married, settle down, and have kids. When something is assumed to be as natural as breathing, it is accepted. Now, we have (or at least have the illusion of) infinite choice of how and with whom we live our lives. In many ways, this is wonderful and much less repressive, but in other ways, it can cause its own problems.

The illusion of infinite choice can cause paralysis: "This is really good…but maybe…just maybe…there's something better out there…" In times when we had to make a go of the situation we were in, then whether 'something better' was out there or not wasn't really relevant. So, too much choice can stop us making choices.

Here is another way of looking at it. You get married and have kids. In one way, you may now have narrowed your future options, but if your partner and you are good together, then you may have expanded your options. Why? Because when we block off some options, we are made to do stuff that will help us develop in other ways.

I had children very young, when I was 21. Now, that made me work, become something, do stuff. You can only really focus your vision when you stop moving it around and focus fully on something. Otherwise, life can pass by in a blur of unfulfilled focus.

That's one way to think about it. Another is that getting married and having kids can be incredibly fulfilling. And when choice is suddenly limited by a sense of 'this is now what I must do', it can be incredibly and paradoxically liberating.

If marriage and children are not for you, then so be it. But if the issue is just one of a sense of diminished choice, then you could really think about what I've written here, perhaps.

As for feeling guilty and extra-sensitive about whether she is happy or not, this could really be about feeling guilty around these bigger issues. If you feel she wants you to get married and have children but you have been dodging the issue, then that might be behind this other excessive guilt. Just a guess on my part – I might be wrong, of course.

I suggest you examine that and see whether guilt around not feeling able to please her regarding taking the future along the lines of marriage and parenthood is filtering across to other areas of your relationship.

You need to make your own decisions, of course, and if you are not ready or it's not for you. But it's great to make a decision for the right reasons. So, keep listening to the 'Insecurity in Relationships' and 'Fear of Commitment' sessions if you feel you are insecure. And remember that, sometimes, seeming to narrow your options can open up new horizons.

All best wishes,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - June 24th, 2015 in

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