Are You Commitment-Phobic?
Relationships: Sabotaging your Love Life? Six Signs You’re Avoiding Commitment
Looking for love?According to relationship guru John Gray, whose new book is”Why Mars and Venus Collide,” you may have already found it.And walked away from it, with your eyes wide shut.”Like most things in life, finding love is a matter of many variables, all coming together at once to create the perfect storm. If you hold firm to some wish list that has too many limitations or too many qualifiers, soon you’ll have missed your window of opportunity.”
Gray’s advice is to set your sights on what you really want out of the relationship “ as opposed to setting the bar so high that no one can meet it. “Those of us who have found our soul mates first figured out the few traits that mattered most to us and worked around those traits that weren’t deal breakers. For instance, how handsome a guy looks to you may be more important than financial security. Or maybe you can live with a mate who has no sense of humor, but he or she can be counted on when the chips are down. Enjoying a mature relationship means making some compromises.”
Needless to say, a man doesn’t have to be married to be unattainable.Explains Gray: “Women who choose men who are, or have been, consistently ambivalent in their previous relationships, aren’t doing it for the challenge. Lust, or passion, is more than likely the reason. And she’ll put up with it because she doesn’t believe she deserves to be in a successful, fulfilling relationship. But until she does, she will always be attracted to the wrong guys, for the wrong reasons.”
Men have a different problem, says Ken Solin, of the workshop company Roomful Of Elephants. As a moderator of private men’s relationship discussion groups, he’s noted that the men who move on first “ and often “ do so because they’ve already been left behind once, and the experience was too painful for them to go through again.
“These men have a true fear of intimacy. And remember, men have been trained since they were boys to ignore their feelings: ‘Act like a man.’ ‘Suck it up.’ ‘Real men don’t cry.’ One guy I know explained that, to him, it’s become a numbers game. He goes from one girlfriend to the next, to the next.”
To illustrate why this strategy sabotages the ideal endgame “ a partner who shares your dreams “ Solin uses this analogy with wary men. “Unresolved issues are like baggage. If you don’t take the time to empty those bags, they get heavier with each trip. Pretty soon you’re dragging a steamer trunk of bruised emotions with you into subsequent relationships.”
Samantha Daniels, a renowned matchmaker and author of “Matchbook,” explains that there are true telltale signs that an individual is just not ready to delve into a relationship just yet. For example, some clients describe traits that are totally opposite to their own personality. Or perhaps they come in with a laundry list of 20 traits that describe some sort of ideal person and then are inflexible when it comes to reassessing those traits that really don’t matter.
And if and when they do go out on a date, they are nitpicky and don’t give their dates a chance. These are all signs that they are still processing the divorce, that they feel things are moving to quick, and they just aren’t yet ready to start dating again. They may be sitting across from the most wonderful person in the world, but it’s also true that timing is everything.”
Gray agrees. “There is always a source of the ambivalence. If you want to move beyond it, first you’ve got to address it. Then you can assess your true needs in a lover, a partner, a soul mate. And you’ll find that someone who is fully deserving of your love.”
SIX SIGNS OF RELATIONSHIP SABOTAGE
You’re sabotaging your chances at love if you . . .
1. Have too many do’s and don’ts on your list.
“If you’re serious about a relationship, you have to be flexible,” explains Gray. “No one is all good, or all bad. Nothing is all black, or all white. There are gradients in every issue, every personality.”
2. Look for excuses to drop out of the relationship.
“If you look hard enough there will always be something,” warns Gray.
3. Always need a second opinion as to whether it’s working.
Says Gray: “The opinion that counts the most is yours. Trust your gut.”
4. Flirt in front of your partner.
“If you respect the relationship, you should want to honor it at all times — particularly in public,” says Gray.
5. Would rather be somewhere else.
Couples in love enjoy their time together. It’s where they want to be, first and foremost.
6. Avoid intimacy: either physical or emotional.
“A satisfying relationship needs both. And truly, you can’t have one without the other,” says Gray.