Fear of commitment can be problematic

Sunday, May 6, 2018

I am a commitment-phobe. When traveling, I won’t reserve hotel rooms because I might change my destination. On any given day, I leave the house with two changes of clothing because I have a hard time committing to the outfit on my back. I rarely accept invitations more than 1-2 days in advance, and prefer last minute invites.

This is often problematic for the men I date because everybody wants to get married. Except the ones who are also commitment-phobic. Ironically, they’re the ones I would consider committing to...at least partially.

Preacher: “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

Me: “Could I just take him on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and every other Saturday?”

Groom: “How about one Saturday a month?”

Me: “That totally works.”

Preacher: “I now pronounce you partial husband and skittish wife.”

Me: “Are you hanging around for the reception?”

Groom: “Actually, I was planning to grab a beer with the guys. You?”

Me: “There’s a movie starting in an hour that I really want to see.”

Groom: “Alright then, so we’ll consummate this thing on Tuesday?”

Me: “Yep! See you Tuesday!”

I blame it on my Sagittarius nature. A desire for freedom and independence is an integral part of my makeup. So, you can imagine after forty-five years in a confining religion, and twenty-five years in an all-consuming marriage, I was ready to fly.

I left my marriage and my religion almost simultaneously, although my downward slide out of both had been happening for some time. Let me rephrase that. To say it was a “downward slide” implies that I was slipping into an undesirable state. More accurately, I began climbing out of those holes by sheer will and determination. Innately, I knew there was something better at the top.

Not a single day goes by that I don’t consider how fortunate I am to be one of the relative few who have escaped both an unhealthy religion and an unhealthy marriage. Those two things go hand-in-hand more often than you might realize. If you’re struggling with your marriage, look at the teachings and expectations of your church.

So, anyway, back to my commitment issues. Last summer, I decided to embark on a dating relationship with a man I’d known for years. I drove across two states to see him, and then at the very last minute, I turned back. In a follow-up conversation, wherein I was apologizing, he said he understood because he knows the kind of person I am.

Me: “What kind of person am I?”

He: “The kind who will drive eight hours because a man wants her, and then turn around ten minutes from his driveway because he wants her.”

I couldn’t argue with him. Fortunately, I didn’t damage the long-term friendship that we still enjoy. There’s something beautiful about being accepted exactly as you are. It reminds me of a favorite scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary. Bridget is spouting a list of her self-perceived flaws, and handsome Mark Darcy says, “No, I like you very much. Just as you are.” And then, right along with Bridget, we all swoon.

In reality, no one should swoon over the concept of being fully accepted, but that shows the rarity of such a relationship. It also reinforces my need for independence, and allows me to joke about being a commitment-phobe. Because in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t matter who else accepts you. What matters is that you fully accept yourself. That’s a commitment I’m not afraid to make.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Ginger’s column was at least a day late this week. I assume she had trouble commiting to a topic or sending her column to the papers that carry it.)

Syndicated columnist Ginger Claremohr is an author, motivational speaker, and mother of five. Follow her on Facebook, find her on the web: www.claremohr.com, or contact ginger@claremohr.com.