Adverse reaction to commitment

Joey Garcia

After three fantastic dates, the man I’m seeing expressed
pleasure at spending time together, but was vague each time about
seeing me again. Why doesn’t he just say, “Can I see you
again next weekend?” if he’s enjoying my company as much as
I’m enjoying his? His noncommitment makes me uncomfortable, and I
wonder if it’s a red flag. I have dated a lot of
commitment-phobic men and I’m trying to change.

Congratulations, you have changed. Your old habit was to fall
heartfirst into a relationship with a man who withheld his investment
in a future with you. That’s what commitment phobia is, the fear
of making a mistake that will affect the future. Commitment-phobics are
fundamentally insecure about whether they are loveable. They do not
trust their own capacity for decision-making and long for, but are
terrified by, sustained intimacy. These men and women are often in
denial that the problem begins inside their own heads and histories.
Instead, they believe that their uncomfortable feelings would disappear
if they could maintain better control or if they met the right person.
That, of course, explains the extraordinary number of
commitment-phobics who are permanent fixtures on online dating

It’s possible that the man you are dating is
commitment-adverse. But what if he simply has a different rhythm than
you? Perhaps, after each date, he discerns his desire for a continued
connection. Or he checks his work calendar before making plans with
you. It may be frustrating, especially since there is mutual pleasure
in each other’s company. But you have options. End the next date
by inviting him to a specific event the following weekend. Or dig deep
into your past and puzzle out why you are so bothered. It could be that
not receiving an offer for another date leads you to
question—again—your ability to separate the men who are
ready for a healthy relationship from those who are not. If so, slow
down and discover how to trust yourself to make the right decision and
to move on when you don’t.

I am divorced with full custody of my son, who is in elementary
school. He does not see his mom. Since the divorce, my son has been
acting out at school, and it’s been so bad the school has asked
me occasionally to sit in the classroom with him. I have started dating
and wonder, given the situation with my son, when is a good time for
him to meet my dates?

After your son has had therapy. He’s experienced a profound
loss and needs your focused love and attention. Provide him with
consistency around his comfort rituals. If his mama made pancakes for
him every Saturday morning, you need to step over to the stove. Either
learn how to make hotcakes or find a restaurant that makes them just
like mama did. Talk to your son about missing his mom, but don’t
say, “We’re better off without her.” Even children
with an abusive parent sometimes miss that parent and must learn how to
grieve. Remind your boy that the divorce is not his fault. Children
wrongly assume they are responsible for the terrible things that happen
in their families. And don’t have women over to spend the night.
Your son has enough on his plate without having to face the complexity
of feelings that will arise if you have a sleepover. That said,
introduce your son to a girlfriend only after you are in a serious
relationship. Serious is nine months or more of consistent dating (no
break-up-and-get-back-together scenarios) with a spoken intention to
build a future together. One last thing, I understand that you want to
move on with your life, but your son’s needs must precede your

Meditation of the week
“If beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, no one is ever
unattractive,” writes Veronique Vienne, author and bon vivant.
How do you see the world?

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