People often crave interpersonal connections to help them feel whole and fulfilled. Different people go about this in different ways.
Commitment issues are but one of several hurdles that can keep people from forging quality, long-term relationships with others.
They can be the result of anything ranging from mental illness or being a trauma survivor to a plain and simple choice to maintain distance.
Whatever the reason may be, these signs may point to someone with commitment issues who may not be ready, willing, or able to forge such a connection.
1. They rarely make or set up plans weeks or months in advance.
Commitment issues often run deeper than not being interested or avoiding long-term relationships.
They tend not to think too far ahead in the context of their interpersonal friendships and relationships because they know that people tend to come and go from their life regularly.
That can be glimpsed in the way the person schedules their free time or future arrangements – or lack thereof. It can be exceedingly frustrating to try to formulate any concrete plans with this person for the future.
2. They may have a large group of casual friends, but no close friends.
A person with commitment issues may shy away from making that kind of time and energy investment because they feel it won’t last. They may be social butterflies, but their social relationships are often superficial with a large number of people rather than deep connections with a chosen few.
They may also be afraid of what they are potentially missing out on, instead of having the ability to celebrate what they already have.
3. They often have several short relationships rather than a few long ones.
Maintaining a long-term romantic relationship requires effort and sacrifice. Though some would describe it as hard work, it can be joyous if you are mutually working toward a healthy, loving relationship with someone who respects and values you.
People with commitment issues often dwell in that lustfulhoneymoon phase of dating or a relationship, jumping out of it when the shine starts to wear off to pursue something new. That may leave behind a trail of short, passionate relationships.
Another warning sign is an inability to accept any blame or responsibility for a friendship or relationship dissolving. It’s always the fault or shortcomings of someone else, never their responsibility.
4. They tend to dislike or avoid language involving commitment.
A person with commitment issues often wants to treat everything in a casual way and the language they use to describe their relationship, or previous relationships, often reflects it.
They may not want to think of a long-time partner as a boyfriend or girlfriend, may have no interest in advancing a relationship past casual dating, seek only friends with benefits type relationships with no strings attached, or may ghost their partner if they feel things are getting too heavy. That lets them avoid the conversation altogether.
5. They often avoid personal commitments, appearing flaky or inconsistent.
Active self-sabotage can be an indicator that a person has commitment issues. They may have poor time management skills, often showing up late or not at all to agreed upon activities.
This gives the person the option to absolve themselves of the responsibility of maintaining long-term friendships and relationships by pointing to lack of time management skills or unreasonable expectations of their partner.
They will often have different excuses for this behavior that they will use over and over instead of working to correct the issue.
6. They are often attracted to unavailable romantic interests.
There are some people out there who claim to only experience attraction to people who are otherwise unavailable.
Unavailable can mean a person who is in another relationship, currently swamped under academic or work-related loads, is not emotionally or mentally healthy enough for a relationship, or has just been through a breakup where they haven’t healed from that relationship ending.
The person may jump from unavailable crush to unavailable crush, fleeing when it looks like that person may want to give them more time or have a deeper relationship.
7. They are overly picky in their tastes, both in friends and romantically.
High expectations can serve as an excellent shield for a person with commitment issues.
The reality that we live with is that every person is going to have positive and negative qualities about them. Long-term happiness in relationships and friendships comes down to working to find common ground and practicing forgiveness when things go poorly.
A person who is overly picky in their taste in people may be using it as a defensive mechanism, because it’s easy to keep other people from getting too close if no one can ever live up to their wild expectations.
8. They often string along their partner, never quite being ready for anything serious.
Emotions often cloud our perspective and judgment, particularly in the initial stages of a relationship. We may look at the other person through rose-colored glasses, rendering the red flags invisible.
Optimally, we should strive to look at a new friendship or relationship objectively. Does the person want to hang out or go out on dates? Does the person make time for you? Or do they constantly have a reason and excuse as to why they can’t get together or even reschedule?
A person who is interested in getting to know you better and wanting to be around you will actually do these things – but so many people spend their time wringing their hands, trying to figure out what the other person wants or doesn’t want. If they wanted to be there, they would be.
9. They are often poor communicators who are difficult to get in touch with.
There can be several reasons for poor communication. In the context of commitment issues, it’s another deflection and defensive mechanism that helps the person maintain a comfortable distance. That can be in either romantic or platonic sense.
They may do things like not answer messages fully, not answer at all, let their phone go to voice mail and never pick up, or never call unless they need something from you.
Their investment into the friendship or relationship is typically shallow and self-serving, and their communication modes reflect it.
10. They tend to love the chase of a romantic pursuit more than the destination.
The perpetual romantic who bounces aimlessly from relationship to relationship may be afraid of commitment. They may even get involved in a relationship for a brief while, sometimes not even weeks, and then drop it immediately.
They may be the type to constantly want to hit the club or the bars, looking for a temporary good time on a regular basis. That may not even come from a harmful place; they could just want to have a good time instead of dealing with all of the responsibility that a long-term commitment carries.
And that is an important point. Just because someone has commitment issues, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad or a negative thing.
Some people just don’t want to be tied down or in any kind of long-term arrangement with anyone. And that’s okay. People should be free to live their life how they so choose.
The problem comes when a second party tries to impose their own perspectives on how that person should be living their life, often because they want a relationship or a commitment.
That’s a bad choice and is only going to lead to heartbreak and frustration because both parties are not on the same page with what they want out of the interaction.
Do not expect to tame or heal a person that you perceive to have commitment issues; because they may not actually have any issues at all. That simply may be their choice on how they want to live their life.