Commitment anxiety: why some women don’t get involved with love?
Mid-twenties was no age to get married, that much was clear. Mid-twenties was an age to live, flirt, party and just not commit. When he asked her anyway, her throat tightened, and the next day she was gone. A few years later, at 29, she would have wanted to commit. She had flirted and partied enough for now. But the man who would have been worth committing himself to was already committed to someone else. At 32, she was only satisfied with one, but not happy; at 33, she had a couple of affairs, and at 35, she had a problem: she didn’t know in the slightest what it felt like to love and be loved back at the same time. And it wasn’t just about the men.
Of course, that would be the most obvious thing to do: blame it all on the men. After all, the world is full of lousy little "you-don’t-want-to-be-in-a-relationship" situations-Saying. But the truth is that the man who doesn’t want to commit needs a counterpart. And he finds this counterpart in the woman, who is just as unable to engage in what is called a love relationship. Who is at least as afraid of losing her independence or revealing her real feelings.
Commitment anxiety doesn’t mean women are alone
American authors Steven Carter and Julia Sokol have found that commitment anxiety is no longer just a male phenomenon. There are more and more women who avoid love. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily left alone. But they unconsciously do everything they can to prevent a good relationship from happening. Even though they talk openly about wanting nothing more than the man for life and a couple of children, they are unable to lay the groundwork for that – namely, trust and real closeness with another person. No question, both are risk factors. What if I realize that I can no longer live without the other person?? What if he leaves me? In summary, the defense strategy of all attachment disordered people is called: I don’t get involved with you at all, so you can’t hurt me.
This works quite well, for example, by getting two men at the same time without deciding on one. Or insist on separate homes throughout, break up all of a sudden, only to arrive again before finally disappearing altogether. Some women are so picky that no man has a chance to get beyond a second date, or they live with someone for years without talking about what really moves them. Very glamorous is the variant of constantly changing short-term loves that never exceed a certain expiration date. The guys are of course consistently grenades in bed, until they are suddenly then annoying, but completely no matter, there is already the next.
Active relationship avoiders is what Carter and Sokol call these women – as opposed to passive avoiders. They like to make the whole world think they are down on their luck and magically attract every idiot within a 100 kilometer radius. In the process, they consistently seek out men who don’t suit them. Men who are married ("I’m going to separate from my wife, only now is a conceivably bad time"), live on the other side of the world ("He’s thinking about going to New York in a year, that’s closer than Bangkok. ") or are simply workoholics ("I’m afraid I don’t have time at all next week, not even to make a phone call"). Regular contact is guaranteed to be out of the question in any case, and the passive avoiders cry into their girlfriends’ phones for hours while telling about unanswered text messages or cancelled dates. They conclude that life is full of bores and assholes and that great love is not made for them.
But where does this fear of too much closeness come from?? "While each of us has an essential desire to merge, we also have a fundamental need for independence", says psychoanalyst Wolfgang Schmidbauer. And nothing makes us more vulnerable and dependent than deep feelings for another person.
But the more we have our life in our own hands and can determine how and with whom we spend it and for how long, the less we want to be dependent and make compromises. It’s no longer about the man who provides for us – we earn our money alone. It is about much more. And that is exactly the problem: "With increasing self-determination", According to Schmidbauer, "the longing for the perfect, ailment-free relationship also grows." Women in particular have increasingly high expectations of closeness and intimacy, and they suffer more than men when these expectations are disappointed. "Since attachment anxiety often arises from disappointment, this is where it comes full circle", says the psychoanalyst. If the great love doesn’t exist, then it doesn’t exist at all. The high number of divorces also confirms for many women that a happy, lasting relationship is impossible. But why do some people manage this closeness-independence balancing act better than others?? How do those do it who meet someone, decide at some point to spend their life with that someone, and that someone sees it the same way, or at least very similarly, and everything is fine??
How well we get along in relationships is something we learn as children. Psychologists call this attachment style, and whether we like it or not, the connection to our mother is the basis for everything that comes after that. That’s why women who had a loving, yet independent mother have the best success rate. One who was there when needed but didn’t constantly set the tone. Such women can fall in love without restraint and let go just as well. A real advantage: knowing that the world is guaranteed not to end from a broken love affair.
Women, on the other hand, who grew up with an undercooled and dismissive mother, have great problems relating to other people. Those who don’t know where they stand hold themselves back. As the daughter of a distant mother, you learn early on to keep your needs under control and just not to show anyone how you feel. Always pretending that everything is fine – the killer for every partnership.
It is most difficult for women whose mothers were dissatisfied with their lives. Who has unloaded all her frustration on the daughter and made her an ally. "Don’t leave me alone", "Never make yourself dependent on a man", "Your father doesn’t make me happy" – such sentences burn themselves in and do not do well. Those who only ever experience attention paired with excessive expectations will stick with it. And becomes a classic drama queen who, because of her fear of loss, constantly oscillates between intense closeness and the greatest possible distance.
The relationship with the mother determines the fear of commitment
But even if you didn’t hit the lottery as a child, it’s never too late to make corrections. The trick is not to ignore the same patterns in relationships. Dry spells are part of every love biography. Hard times, bad guys, lonely phases. Times when you doubt yourself and can justifiably cry foul. The only question that should definitely be asked is: Until when is dry spell, and at what point do you have a real problem? For women without commitment anxiety, the bad to mediocre phase eventually stops, or at least every once in a while. They make clear decisions and know their suffering limits. They say to a man who has really hurt them: "Never call me again", and means it.
The others, however, often move from one dilemma to another. They meander from affair to affair or get stuck in unsatisfying relationships for years, mostly with men who have the same problems as themselves. As if people with attachment disorders have small, fine antennae with which they are guaranteed to locate themselves everywhere. And this, of course, is a vicious circle – but one that can be broken. One study says: people who are insecure about commitment can overcome their anxiety if they have positive experiences. 50 percent of people who have good and secure relationships fall in love with people who are insecure about commitment. There you go, if that’s not good news at the end! It is now necessary to focus only on the potential Mr. Right let in. But fortunately love is at least sometimes stronger than fear.