Facing Relationship Fears

In relationships, when the going gets tough, sometimes the not-so-tough get going, going, gone. Fear of commitment, we call it. But what is the cause and what is the effect?

Afraid of Expectations
As a relationship develops, you might realize that your sweetheart has expectations you're not sure you can live up to. She wants you to be thoughtful and flexible, neat and considerate, hard working and fun loving, romantic and funny, and on and on. Maybe you feel it's just too much work to meet her high expectations, so you back out instead of trying.

Afraid of Rejection
Perhaps previous relationships have left a bad aftertaste and you're worried you'll end up on the losing end again. Thinking about how awful it is to be dumped, you decide you'd rather not get too involved at all. So you keep dating for the short term, staying just long enough to get some positive feedback, but not long enough to get emotionally invested in how she feels about you.

Afraid of a Merger
Sometimes you're afraid of your own tendency to make your partner happy at all costs. Does she like to play tennis? You decide it's your thing too. Does she like wine more than beer? You become more cultured for her. Is her favorite show "Glee"? You decide ... well, maybe you draw the line there. Anyway, your desire to share activities with your sweetie is a good one, but you naturally might worry you'll wrap your life around hers so much that you lose sight of your own interests.

In all these scenarios, if you withdraw or end the relationship, then you'll never have a positive outcome. You'll make sure the relationship ends before you can succeed. If you're also afraid of being lonely, then you might try a little harder to overcome your relationship fears - maybe getting counseling, talking to friends about how they cleared those hurdles, or just taking a risk. Who knows? Instead of letting your relationship die of neglect, you might find that you can actually cultivate one that thrives.

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