How I Found My Freedom To Love, As A Commitment Phobic Man
Who am I to speak to this? Just one dude who has struggled with commitment — for decades — imploding many a great relationship.
Two characteristics have made it feel impossible to stick around with any one person — no matter how wonderful and perfect a match they may have been.
One is that I have a high need for love.
Two is an equally high need for freedom.
The tension between freedom and love pulled me in opposite directions, and ended a handful of truly worthy relationships.
My first real insight about what commitment is came a while back from Gay and Katie Hendricks, pioneers of embodied couples work.
“Commitment is not what I say I will do,
but what I am doing already.”
Here’s how I understand this in my own words today…
I realized a while back in my marriage that I did not actually have “commitment issues”.
In fact, I was committed to lots of things (which are rather embarrassing to admit) like:
- Arguing with and invalidating my wife as a way to show I was “right” and affirm my own identity, separate from hers.
- Watching late night TV and being on my phone to avoid my uncomfortable emotions and being intimate with hers.
- Nurturing fantasies of an ideal partner who met all of my needs, without me having to voice them, whenever I wanted, and without asking for anything in return. (Read as my “Spousal Entitlement Syndrome”)
So, here’s how I have come to understand and love, yes love commitment these days.