Pathology of the Commitmentphobe

Until last month, I had never heard the term. Of course I have known many men in my life that were afraid of commitment. Women, too. I’m afraid of commitment in some ways. And I’m too committed in others. (Maybe should be committed :D)

But while searching for answers last month after a sudden and thereby shocking breakup, I’ve learned some new things about people, relationships, and myself.

One day when I didn’t want to spend another day leaning on very patient friends or crying alone, I went out to Barnes & Noble to find How To Survive the Loss of a Love. While there in the relationship section of the store, I saw a book called He’s Scared, She’s Scared: Understanding the Hidden Fears that Sabotage Your Relationships. Although I didn’t really understand what had happened to cause my recent relationship to crash and burn so suddenly, I did know that it had to do with both of us being trapped in our fears.

As I sat in B&N with my Tomato Basil Panini, I started reading. There it all was in black & white. It was as if the authors had observed our relationship, took notes, jumped in the TARDIS, went back twenty years, and wrote this book. There were all the answers I was searching for. The explanations of why he did what he did. Perfect descriptions of everything that was going through my head and my heart. Soon thereafter, I had not only bought that book, but I also got the authors’ first book Men Who Can’t Love.

By the end of the week, I had read them both cover to cover. These authors and their research helped me heal. I was finally beginning to understand what had happened, and I finally got that it wasn’t my fault.

Back during the first week after my breakup, I wrote a blog post called Engulfment Fears: Running Away From Love, in which I expressed just how ridiculous that fear was (along with how its polar opposite, abandonment fears, were also absurd). One commenter said I had totally missed the mark on that post. And he was right. I did. I had no idea that this level of commitment fear was actually a psychological illness, a pathological phobia in many cases, and it makes me feel ever so sad for those who suffer from it.

From the foreword in Men Who Can’t Love:

Woman after woman told story after story about man after man who went from loving to rejecting–for no understandable reason. These men were in hot pursuit one day and in flight the next, omnipresent one week and “gone,” “vanished,” and “unreachable” the next…

When a woman is involved in a relationship with a man who undergoes a transformation that takes him from attentive and caring to distant and hurtful–for no apparent reason–it’s not surprise that she typically becomes profoundly traumatized…

In fact, the intensity that surrounded their relationships was usually so overwhelming that the women frequently saw their connections to these men as something preordained and beyond any logical explanation. These men were running away from acceptance, love, and passion!

The authors go on to say that they wrote the book to let these women know that “they were not at fault.”

This was not happening to them because they were not giving enough. This was not happening because they were not understanding enough. This was not happening because they weren’t patient enough. This was not happening because they were not enough. This was happening because they had partners with serious problems, and any attempt to do more for these partners would only intensify their confusing behavior.

As I’ve written about time and again, everyone has fears. I know I sure do. And it’s in sharing those fears that two people can become closer. It’s in facing those fears together that intimacy can develop, and a couple can actually learn to deal with them in a healthier way and perhaps even transcend them. But in order to do that, one must first acknowledge their own fears. It’s difficult, and it takes serious courage to look at oneself and then to admit that you are swimming in fear.

But we all are. It’s okay.

What’s not okay is to avoid those fears, deny them, and allow them to hurt other people again and again. And that’s what these commitmentphobes do. They know they hurt their partners (and yes, women can be commitmentphobes, too. It’s stereotypically, but not exclusively, men), and they keep doing the same thing time after time. They keep finding new partners, jumping from one intense relationship to the next, leading each new wo/man into believing they are in love and intimate and special. Then they turn from loving to callous overnight, leaving yet another broken heart in their wake.

This is not okay.

A relationship with a commitmentphobe is both so deeply profound and transcendently loving on one side, and completely crazy-making on the other. They always keep their partners off-balance. As soon as their partner gets comfortable in the relationship, their phobia makes them create drama. Because a happy relationship means commitment. It means that they might not have a way out.

If his fear is strong enough, this man will ultimately sabotage, destroy, or run away from any solid, good relationship. He wants love, but he is terrified–genuinely phobic–about commitment...

As I read through these books, I was appalled by story after story of (mostly) men doing the same things my ex did, some to much more horrifying degrees. One woman said, “I was overwhelmed by the level of emotional intimacy he gave and expected. And I liked it–it made me feel safe and secure.”

Yep.

I think the most horrifying part of the book is when I read the section called “Meaningless Tears.”

At the very beginning–on the first or second date. [for me it was the 6th date, three weeks in]

And amazing number of women have told me that these men are apt to have tears come to their eyes early in the relationship. This usually happens when he is telling the woman some “sensitive” tale about his life or displaying his emotions on some subject…The message that is conveyed to the woman is: I trust you with my feelings, and I want you to trust me. She usually does.

I did.

That’s also the night he first said he loved me through those tear-filled blue eyes.

Hook. Line. Sinker.

Woman after woman. Story after story. They all “spoke to the same issue: an abandonment and betrayal of trust that had taken place in a relationship in which they had been encouraged, by the man, to expect tender intimacy.”

These men pursued. Convinced. Wooed. Loved.

Turned on a dime.

Then left.

Every man interviewed said basically the same thing, too. They all knew they do this to women. They know their patterns. They know they send mixed messages. They know that there will come a point where they will have a total Jekyll/Hyde transformation and turn from a loving, attentive, compassionate man to a cruel, heartless, arrogant asshole. They know they will break her heart. They may feel guilty, but they refuse to take responsibility for the harm they’ve caused. Then they jump into another relationship to relieve their guilt, believing that THIS time will be different. Always looking for some perfect fit that doesn’t exist because when the anxiety sets in, the smallest flaw can be an excuse to leave.

And they do it again. And again. And again.

These wo/men are manipulative and emotionally abusive. The damage they cause is very deep. They toy with their partner’s emotions, always giving mixed signals:

No matter how much these men and women claim to want easy, uncomplicated love relationship, on some level they are always creating conflict. These men and women will usually be giving their partners a wide variety of intense messages that can best be described as mixed or double. For example:

  • Very seductive/very rejective
  • Very intimate/very withdrawn
  • Very accepting/very critical
  • Very tender/very hostile
  • Very romantic/very distant
  • Very sexually provocative/very sexually withholding
  • Very giving/very cold

…Your touch says yes while your words say no; your body says stay away while your eyes say you care; your tears say you’re sorry, but your behavior doesn’t change; your smile says you’re happy, but your posture says you’re scared. There are always two messages; there is always a contradiction. (He’s Scared, She’s Scared)

They are so deeply conflicted and severely terrified, so desperately wanted love and intimacy on the one hand and their pathological fears stopping them from keeping it on the other. They feel claustrophobic, as if their very life is being threatened. It’s tragic and so very sad.

Perhaps even more sad are the partners and string of broken hearts left in their wakes. These wo/men who have so cruelly been cast aside out of the blue generally blame themselves. But it’s not their fault.

But, as I’ve said before, my sympathy ends when your issues hurt other people. Especially when you KNOW your issues hurt other people. Get help. Stop dating until you can stop hurting others.

You know your pattern.

Get help.

Stop hurting people.

“Love and fear cannot exist in the same space” ~Unknown

-_Q

More research:

-_Q

**Added 01/27/13** Since this is my most popular post, along with PTSD from Emotional Abuse, I thought I’d write an update for clarity in each of your journeys.
This post was written nearly a year ago, just about six weeks after the split. Looking back, I can see that I was deeply trapped by the Betrayal Bond. I’ve learned a lot about Betrayal Bonds, PTSD, and survival between now and then. So many people have written me just having been victims of a commitmentphobe, too, and in almost every instance, what they describe is not only hallmark commitmentphobia, but so many also sound like their abusers were what my abuser turned out to be: a narcissist, and very likely either a psychopath or sociopath, depending on which definition you go with. I’ve written extensively on all these subjects after this post.
You can follow my journey with the links from the post called Polyamory Podcast Hiatus, also anything with the tag “austin poly rapist.” It’s an interesting one, and it might be helpful to you, reader, as it shows how one is in so much denial at first because of the shock, and how, if you commit to healing, you can uncover some pretty horrific things. Still, I’d rather know, accept, and heal than to fall into the same trap with another predator like these people.
Peace.
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~ by omgrey on April 4, 2012.

176 Responses to “Pathology of the Commitmentphobe”

  1. oh, i feel like emailing this post or sending the book to the last guy who f*cked with my mind and heart. i still hate him and will never forgive him. i hope he lives a long lonely life, fully aware of the fact that he can never make anyone happy, the only thing he’s good at is causing pain.

    • Certainly don’t let him back in your life, but if you can find a way to forgive him, you will feel more at peace. Don’t forgive him because he deserves it, because he probably doesn’t. Forgive him because you do. It’s not about him. It’s about you and your peace.

      These men are good at causing a lot of pain, but that’s because they are in so very much pain. They are trapped in and crippled by fear. It must be hell. So you can have sympathy for their plight…but have that sympathy from a very far distance.

    • Wow. My thoughts have sure changed on this over the past year. I was still so wrapped up in the Betrayal Bond when I wrote those words, feeling such compassion for The Rapist.

      They might be in pain, but that’s no excuse for causing so much more. Men and women who do this to other human beings are horrible people. I’d almost say evil, as I have in other posts, but that sounds also like an excuse. Evil and monsters can’t help but be evil and monsters. These are people with free will who have a choice.

      They choose to do this.

      Fuck forgiveness, btw. I’ve come to realize that this “forgiveness” rhetoric is a way to normalize and minimize abuse. Sure, you can be at peace if you forgive, but you can be at peace if you don’t, too.

      Peace to you.

  2. Your blog entries are always interesting, this one made me think. I had stopped dating for 6 years because I had failed relationship after failed relationship. Part of it was being commitmentphobic, the other part was dating men who were just as commitmentphobic.

    I decided to “fix” what my issues were before dating again. I recently waded back into the dating pool and of course came up with a winner of a commitmentphobe.

    It’s interesting, the changes in my attitude regarding this. Your post helped define some of the behaviors and of course makes me think, which is always a good thing :)

    I’ll be looking up the books you quote, they sound like a good read.

    Thank you :) Keep writing and I’ll keep reading.

    • First, GOOD FOR YOU for being self-aware and responsible enough to own your stuff. That alone is so very rare. And even greater kudos for actually working on it!

      These books really helped me put words to some of the behaviors, which tend to be so insidious that they’re hard to pinpoint, let alone articulate. They are a great read, and I think you will find them very beneficial in your circumstances.

      Thank you for commenting, and thank you for having the courage to look within and work on your stuff. Most people can’t do that, I’m learning. I’ll be publishing a post next week on the problem with being self-aware…and that’s most people aren’t.

      Namaste.

  3. SO interesting…thanks for sharing. Anything in any of these books talk about how to address these issues with a lover? Is that even possible?

    • Yes. They do talk about how to address with a current lover, to help save the relationship. I wish I had read these books first, but sometimes it just can’t be saved. If both parties aren’t willing to invest themselves, there’s not much you can do.

      A quote from He’s Scared, She’s Scared: “a real relationship and a real love requires two people. One person can end a relationship, but it takes two to make it work.”

      I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It does have ways to help you save the relationship, all based around not getting caught up in your partners psycho-drama of ups and downs, pushes and pulls. Keep your own distance. Become intensely self-protective, and build up a life outside of your partner.

      The best way to address the issues with the partner is to go to professional therapy together. S/he must admit they have these unhealthy, pathological fears and find the courage to face them. You can’t be their therapist, but you can support him/her while they go to therapy and even attend therapy with them.

  4. Reblogged this on pickled feelings and commented:
    ever come across one of these? it’s a recipe for disaster and heart-ache, all bundled up in a guy with a pretty face:)

  5. commitmentphobe- i think i’ll be using this term more often… thank you for this wonderful piece of information.

  6. wow. I’ve been lucky enough not to run into any extreme versions of this type of person, but it’s sounds scary–for everyone involved. How do these people deal with family members who might demand something? Do they run from them, too?

    • That’s an interesting question. It must be different for family member, depending on the level of pathology. There are some commitmentphobes who never buy furniture or anything. They rent everything. But I think most aren’t that extreme. Most “active runners'” fears play out in romantic relationships. Although, my recent ex refuses to be held accountable for anything. He feels freest when no one knows where he is or what he’s doing, like he’s invisible to the world.

      As the “passive partner,” my commitmentphobia comes out when I need to order something off the menu and there are too many choices. Decisions are very hard for me to make, and then sticking to them is even worse.

      Extreme versions must be truly devastating, like a man just disappearing the night before the wedding. It was hurtful enough the way my ex did it, I can’t imagine something like that.

      • Interesting. While a certain desire for freedom is normal, that level of mania would seem to point to something else. Not wanting to be accountable for their own actions, not wanting to let anyone know where they are… sounds like the person is mentally on the run. Like they have some deep-seated guilt for some past action, real or imagined, and they are afraid the consequences are going to catch up to them.

        Doc

  7. I love your writing on relationships, the wisdom and honesty you bring from your personal experiences resonate deeply with me. This one is especially timely for me.

    I just ended an intensely vibrant & emotionally painful relationship with a man who I now realize is likely a “dry” commitmentphobe. (borrowed from the 12 step term “dry alcoholic”- somebody who no longer drinks but also doesn’t address the underlying causes of their dysfunction)

    This particular variation on the theme went like this: he was very forthright about how he ‘didn’t really know what love was anymore’ and didn’t want to try to figure that out. But he was also very attentive to me, more so than any man I’ve met in a very long time. The sex was amazing. And the simple fact that he was willing to admit he had problems with commitment and would talk about that in an intimate way (though, in retrospect I now see, awareness does not = willingness to try to change) made him intensely shiny and attractive to me.

    Luckily for me, I fairly quickly realized that despite our mutual attraction, he was quite content with his life the way it was and he had no desire to do the work necessary to build a healthy, mutual relationship. For him, the pain & fear of change far outweighed the pain & loneliness he’s currently experiencing. So, with tears in my eyes, I strapped on my jet pack and made good my escape.

    But what I long to do was somehow post a huge warning sign for the next woman who encounters his seductive charms. Because she is probably already falling hard for him. And I feel sorry for her. No one needs to go through that vortex of pain and vulnerability, no matter how good the nookie is.

    And the reason I’m commenting here is mostly to echo your wise words: sometimes no matter what you do, things aren’t going to work out. It really isn’t you. It’s him. And that sucks. But as Barney (Neil Patrick Harris’ character in “How I Met Your Mother”) says: “When I feel sad I stop being sad and be awesome instead.” Wise words indeed from one of the most prototypical commitmentphobes ever seen on tv.

    • You describe by ex almost exactly. Awareness does not equal willingness to work. He, also, is incapable of investing in and building a healthy relationship.

      My ex, however, seems to go in and out of awareness. He knows he hurts women, as he told me that “women tend to get hurt” at the beginning of the relationship, but he deals with that by absolving himself of all responsibility. The women are responsible for their own emotions, which is true.

      However, if these women were falling while all along he was telling them and showing them he wanted something casual, and that was the agreement, then he is not responsible because he was clear in words and actions of his intention.

      But he’s not. With me, both in words and actions, he led me to believe how special I was, that he didn’t give up on relationships, that he was attached to me and crazy about me, that we were solid, then over the course of a few hours, turned into another man altogether.

      Looking back, the subtlety of the underlying emotional abuse, articulated so well in these books, has become glaringly clear. The lies and deception have become clear. How he lies with the truth or by omission.

      The damage is quite deep, and I realize that I’ve been traumatized. This, after all, was the most signifiant relationship in my life next to my marriage, and he led me to believe I was safe. Without warning, he turned from loving to cruel, tender to abusive.

      Yes, terribly traumatic.

      I hope your recovery hasn’t been as hard.

      Interesting that you cite NPH, as my ex resembles the actor greatly. What is it about our society that makes us praise and practically revere the womanizer? What is so funny about devastating other people with lies and promises?

      I want to warn other women, too; and I also pity them. I’ve tried to warn one and her husband, not only for the potential emotional betrayal if she opens her heart to him, but also for the STD he has and doesn’t tell lovers about before sex, if ever. I didn’t find out until 6 weeks in, and his other GF didn’t find out until after having sex with him for 5 months. Disgusting, really. That level of disrespect and downright antipathy for women, regardless of the low risk of transmission. It speaks to his character and complete lack of integrity.

      But, yes … be awesome instead.

      Peace.

      • “women tend to get hurt” Red flag! This is like the wife beater who describes his spouse as being accident prone. *He* doesn’t do these things, she brings them upon herself. *He* doesn’t hit her, *she* keeps running into his hand. Bullshit. This kind of person doesn’t understand how they are involved with the misery they sow all around themselves. It’s borderline psychopathy. He doesn’t see those around him as people.

        Why does society praise the womanizer? Because he’s confident, and confidence is attractive. Of course, he’s confident because he’s delusional. In his world view, the only result of his actions is success. Any other outcome is someone else’s fault.

        Doc

      • My goodness! Do you know him?! This describes him perfectly. He refuses to take any responsibility, as in my poem “Oh, that’s right.” And, yes, huge red flags that I didn’t notice early enough.

        It is psychopathy, I believe.

  8. Reblogged this on Ma tanière… My den… and commented:
    Interesting read, it sort of hit home.
    I’m scared of making choices, and yes scared of moving in with Bear, deciding he’s “the one” (for however long the relationship works, that is). What if I’m missing something? What if I make the wrong choice? What if?
    What if I choose to trust life instead?

    • This post really helped me.

      I was in a relationship too with someone who said all the right things and romanced the hell out of me at first. In the beginning I wasn’t interested, but became so due to the intensity of his pursuit. We dated happily for 2 months before I showed up at his place after a party a little worse for wear and he dumped me a few days later (in what I later realised was his ‘panic mode’) telling me things had moved too fast, we had become a couple too quickly and he needed to take a step back. We separated for 3 weeks and then I stupidly took him back.

      Things went on the same way for a while – he would do lovely, romantic things for me but kept me very compartmentalised from his life and never let me meet friends or colleagues. We spent 90% of our relationship in his apartment. Then he started to flake on dates and become unreliable, and went through a period of 5 weeks where he worked every day until 11:30pm and went to work at weekends so we barely spoke and barely saw each other. I didn’t realise at the time, but this was clear distancing behaviour. I expressed my unhappiness with the situation a couple of times and instead of coming to a conclusion which would help solve things and make us both happy, he refused to discuss it. He then told me he wants a baby in the next 2 years (he goes clubbing all the time and has absolutely no intention of following through on this) just to push me away – he knows I am 25 and career-focused with no intention of having children soon. The excuses he used to end the relationship were weak (just like the excuses he told me he used to end his other relationships). It was clear that he panicked and fled. This was very shortly after telling me how perfect I am, and how happy he was.

      I was and still am very hurt by his behaviour. I sought therapy which helped initially; but what helped the most was undoubtedly ‘Men who can’t love’. I beat myself up for a month after we split trying to work out what I said or did wrong, but now I know it wasn’t me at all. The worst part is that he told me he had commitment issues when we first met, but I didn’t know what it really meant.

      Sorry for the long post – I hope this helps any other girls out there in the same position!

      • Write as much as you like. :) Thank you for commenting.

        I’m so sorry you went through that. How horrible for you. Upon hearing one has “commitment issues” at the beginning of a relationship, unless one has suffered a commitmentphobe before, there’s no way of knowing what’s in store. Even if one has, until one understands what exactly that means and how pathological and methodical they are, one has no idea what’s in store.

        I’m glad those books helped you. They were the first step in uncovering a huge facade for me.

        May you find peace.

      • Thank you :) I had absolutely no idea how awful commitmentphobia could be until I realised it meant not even being able to commit to plans in advance, and sabotaging every chance at a good relationship.

        Although it’s very sad that other women have gone through their (often more extreme) versions of this, I’m glad that we’re able to share our experiences with each other. It’s been a horrible time for me thinking that if I hadn’t said this or done that then we’d still be together, but we wouldn’t. He literally told me we were breaking up because he ‘didn’t want to be responsible for my feelings’ ‘didn’t want to settle down’ and ‘didn’t want to waste my time’. No matter how ‘perfect’ I was, nothing would have changed the fact that he doesn’t care about my emotional needs. I’m very glad I only wasted 6 months of my life on this jackass and not longer.

        I just want to wish the best of luck to anyone else who’s currently going through a break-up such as this. Please know it’s not you, it’s them.

      • It’s totally them.

        This: “didn’t want to be responsible for my feelings” – was something mine said over and over and over.

        Huge red flag.

        I didn’t know how devastating “commitment issues” could be either. I’m glad you’re away from him.

        Peace to you.

  9. [...] Scared, She’s Scared. Highly Recommended Book on Commitmentphobes. Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

  10. [...] That’s how much he cares about hurting me. [...]

  11. [...] if I talk about it or try to warn others to protect their hearts, souls, and bodies from this man, warn them about his lack of integrity, I risk being branded a [...]

  12. [...] Pathology of the Commitmentphobe [...]

  13. [...] Pathology of the Commitmentphobe (omgrey.wordpress.com) Rate this:Share this:TwitterFacebookMoreEmailDiggRedditTumblrStumbleUponPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in No Strings Attached and tagged Intimate relationship, Ramadan, Scared, Sexuality by lizajack25. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  14. Reblogged this on thehuntformrrightnow and commented:
    More on the commitmentphobe. A good read. Zac had tears in his eyes early on in our ‘relationship’. Tears. Yes! Tears!

  15. [...] Pathology of the Commitmentphobe (omgrey.wordpress.com) [...]

  16. Reading this was intense.A week ago today the love of my life ended it out of the blue and left me totally heartbroken, confused and lost.I believed 100% that he was the one, and he gave me no reason or signs whatsoever to think otherwise.He persued and persued me in the beginning and made me feel like the most beautiful woman alive.Everything he did made me feel so safe and happy..just complete.He was aware of how I had been hurt before and told me how he would never hurt me, thought the world of me, was very excited about our future together and all the adventures we would have.He even said I had ‘converted’ him to believing in marriage after never believing in it before…he made me trust him completely and every second together felt like a fairytale.I’ve never met anyone like him and he just lit up my life and I could tell the feeling was mutual, he had told me how excited he was about our future together and how happy I make him.
    He opened up one day telling me about his last relationship which was 6 years long.It ended because she used to make him feel guilty about doing his sports etc, he had expressed to me how he was worried it would happen again,how he had never been heartbroken and thought it was weird how he didnt cry when the relationship with his ex ended, how hes not sentimental and doesn’t understand love.. but I reassured him and everything carried on as normal…he had to go for an operation a couple of months later,and for the first time we hadn’t seen each other for a week.He came over and said how he thought I was ‘more into the relationship’ than him, this was a total shock as you can imagine.We had a long talk about it and it seemed to boil down to his fears because of his ex so I figured it was just something I’d help him overcome.Again, everything continued amazing, great sex life having adventures together, going out all the time,it was perfectI had NO idea how bad this problem was/is for him until a week ago today. I had noticed his phonecalls and texts getting less and less, but then he’d ring and we’d chat for hours so I thought nothing of it.He’s always busy and I like that we could have our own lives aswell as the one together..which he agreed on.Then I got a call from him,after not speaking to him for about 4 days..I knew something was wrong..he heard I was out and asked me to ring when I was home.I felt sick.He casually began talking to me about work, then ‘I have to say something you’re not going to like, but I no longer want to continue with our relationship.’ I had no idea this was coming, it was like the loving caring man I had fallen so hard for, had been replaced with a cold, calculating stranger who was suddenly on a totally different level to me.I was like he had it all planned and ringing me to tell me was just a task he had to do.I was in such shock I couldn’t even cry, it was like being shot in the chest.We spoke for 2 hours, me just asking questions, his giving the same answers ‘its not you, its me, Im so sorry, I just know this is the right thing to do, you’re my perfect girl but I just feel like you need love and I can’t give it to you..I should want to be moving in with you and I don’t, I know we wont be together in a year,I dont know why I feel like this’….there was nothing I could say.I’ve been a mess all week, sleepless nights trying to analyse everything and make some sense of it…so far nothings worked.I haven’t heard from him, I feel like someones ripped my insides out.I obsess about the thought of him being with someone else, we had the perfect relationship and no-one can believe whats happened.
    He built up my trust and made me feel this was the real thing.I feel like I did everything I could, gave him space, was understanding, always affectionate and gave reassurance when it was needed.Its like this fears over ride everything else and he has just sabotaged an amazing relationship.He lost his mother a few years ago and said a counsellor told him he has commitment issues, I just never had the faintest clue from him that it was so bad.I miss him terribly and just keep rewinding in my mind how great it was and going crazy trying to figure out how I could have prevented this from happening, Im devastated.Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated x

    • I am so so so sorry. I know what it feels like, and agonizing isn’t a strong enough word. Shattered isn’t descriptive enough. Devastated doesn’t even come close…

      First, go buy the book “He’s Scared, She’s Scared.” it was my lifesaver during those first months.

      Commitment issues to say the least. Some narcissistic qualities in there too, sounds like. Although he could at least for the words “I’m sorry,” as hollow as they were.

      What you describe here sounds so very similar to what I had with the auctioneer. It is, unfortunately, the way most victims of committmentphobes and/or narcissists describe their relationships.

      Perfect.
      Fairly tale.
      Blissful.
      Unlike anything I’ve known.
      Ecstatic.

      And I have no doubt it was, my dear. Mine surely was.

      I’m right here for you. Find a supportive network who will be there for you and who won’t tire of hearing the cycle of questions over and over as you try to come to grips with this deeply traumatic betrayal.

      Keep people who give you platitudes like “some things just don’t work out” or “there are plenty of fish…, etc.” out of your life for now. Listen to *no one* who even suggests this is your fault or you should’ve seen it coming.

      This is a traumatic loss of a love. Overnight. It’s a shock, like a car wreck.

      You will likely suffer PTSD symptoms as you pick up the pieces he so callously left behind. Find a therapist who knows how to deal with trauma and PTSD. There is no such thing as too much support during this time.

      Read everything you can find on narcissists & committmentphobes.

      Read everything you can find on the effects of trauma and PTSD from emotional abuse. Because this was indeed emotionally abusive.

      Read through my blog over the past four months as I went through the same thing. You are not alone.

      Write down five things you can do to care for yourself everyday. They don’t have to be big things. Like, rubbing lotion on your body after a shower with loving, caring thoughts for yourself. Having a cup of tea while listening to classical music for 15 minutes. Eating well. A 30 min walk everyday. Things like that.

      But most of all. Read that book.

      It’s what saved my sanity.
      You are not alone.

  17. First time I’ve ever posted anywhere about anything. 3 weeks out of a CP and I’m finally starting to feel myself again. I do have a few questions though. I am a male by the way.

    1) Would any of you consider yourself co-dependant or knights in shining armor thus being easily succeptible to flattery or sympathy/wounded bird manipulations?

    2) In heindsight did the nit-picking phase of things seem innocent or joking in nature but border on being condescending?

    3) Were you ever accused of being insecure because you called them out on an obvious inconsistency even though you know it was a valid reacton/question? Or were you told that your expectations were to high especially when it came to open dialogue, consistency or reliability?

    4) Did they act omnipotent or arrogant or lacking empathy for others heartbreaks at times but weak and needy at others, sometimes in the same day or conversation?

    5) Did you ever feel controlled in anyway or punished through emotional withholding if you stood up for yourself even over really insignificant stuff?

    6) One second they are telling you your meant to be, the next they are barely contacting you and if they do it’s in a very matter of fact manner or coming up with a reason to change plans?

    7) When they break up with you its through a situation designed to make the other person feel insecure, in her case this was subconscious, so that they can then villify the other person for asking a valid question.

    8) Did you have to actually be the one to say or ask, that it was over?

    9) Expect you and others to be completely open and honest with them but don’t hold themselves to the same standard and when you ask them why they weren’t honest they say it was to “protect you.”

    10) Have they had recent interactions with an ex to keep them on the line but villify the ex at the same time. Or rationalize it with I didn’t feel bad using him because he/she had been abusive to me. Never have anything good to say about any past relationships, everyone else is a “creeper”

    11) Accuse you of picking fights or ruining they’re night even when they inist on knowing what your thinking even if its negative. Mine accused me of having a laundry list of complaints. I complained about 3 things in 6 months and never did it in an attacking way, I would pose it as a simple question and then the tears would kick in.

    12) In heindseight did you feel like more of an object or status symbol then an actualy person?

    13) Are any of you terrified of what you will do if you ever hear from this person again?

    14) Loss of weight, digestive issues, new found social anxeity? Telling the story over and over so you don’t feel crazy? Sleepless nights, vivid dreams about them etc?

    15) Anybody ever take any medication to help cope? I’m already in therapy but wondering if I need chemical assistance. I have no experience with drugs.

    16) Accuse you of the one who is the problem and even when you admit your faults and say you would want to work on it, it’s still not good enough?

    One day she told me we were meant to be, giving gifts, teasing about marriage the next she told me she was terrified and had been for a while but didnt want to tell me because she was protecting me and that was the difference between me and her. She couldn’t tell me what she was scared of. They’re were no signs of her slowing down at all until we hit a wall with our first argument. That was it, like she was looking for an out.

    • 1) I have considered myself codependent earlier in life, but I don’t anymore. It was one of the labels forced on me by CPs and players, turns out. I’ve been very happily married for 12 years in a very healthy relationship. However, what I find, is that people like CP bring out the “clinginess” in others because of their Jekyll/Hyde behavior.
      2) Yes. Mine passed way over the border of condescending at the end. He was seriously condescending and downright cruel.
      3) Quite often. He told me that he didn’t have the processing capacity to talk about things. Toward the end, he would evade and hide a lot.
      4) Emphatically, yes.
      5) Yes. Or sometimes a thinly-veiled condescending mockery: “I love it when you sass me,” as if to say ‘how cute it is that you think you’re my equal.’
      6) Absolutely. Mine turned to me and in the tone of scolding a petulant child would say (with the scariest deadness in his eyes) “Plans change sometimes. You DO KNOW that RIGHT?”
      7) Yes. Exactly. He tried to use my greatest fear to control me and push me into a position of submission on the sidelines, keeping me around for sex while he searched for the “relationship [he's] always dreamt of.”
      8) I did break up with him after the second sexual assault, and then I tried to heal things a few days later (not recognizing it as assault yet. So blinded.). But he hammered the final nail in when not accepting reconciliation.
      9) I didn’t get the “protect you” part, but there certainly were double standards. Like he wanted me to take his feelings into consideration before I did something or said something (which, of course, I did!) and in the same conversation say that he didn’t want to take my fears into consideration before he did or said something. Freaking out and shutting down that last week and accusing me of bring too much anxiety into the relationship. Things like that.
      10) YES! Two of his most recent exes were “crazy.” One threatened to burn his house down and the other, supposedly, stalks him. I never saw her once. But. Whatever. The fire one, he still (as far as I know) sees her often and keeps her hanging on for scraps. That’s the position he tried to put me in at the end, and I wouldn’t be pushed to the sidelines. All he ever did was talk about her and complain about her. But he sure didn’t let her get away. See my post on When Love Becomes Toxic.
      11) Oh yes. Accused me of shooting him down on his big night because I said “I felt completely neglected,” referring to a few hours spent with him, my husband, and his ex. He completely ignored me and made me and my husband uncomfortable by grand displays of inappropriate affection to his (previously mentioned fire-obsessed) ex. Confusing her. Insulting me. Infuriating my husband. That was what started the devalue/discard portion of the relationship. How dare I suggest he could be anything other than perfect at every given moment. How dare I actually express my emotions.
      12) Absolutely. In hindsight, I feel like an object who was very (frighteningly) easy to replace. Like a wallet.
      13) Yes. I avoid huge sections of town. I’m actually leaving moving out of state soon. The abuse, assault, and trauma caused by this man is so extensive, that I’ve been hardly able to function for the past 5 months. I’m terrified.
      14) Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. Only two dreams in 5 months, thank goodness.
      15) I was on medication for awhile, but I’m off it now and feeling better. I needed the medication with him more than without him.
      16) Every. Single. Fucking. Time.

    • I dated a woman just like this she was a angel and then out of nowhere turned on me told me i was perfect and talked about our kids then she would start picking at me she then just said she changed her mind came back three weeks later telling me she left me for another guy to get rid of me because she was ouf control she then told me i could have her body but she has a wall around her heart she also was very selfish and talked bad about all her friends she would break up with me numerous times and come back she would treat me good but then get rude again its just so confusing and sad because she was so erratic im sick inside because it was so great and then just twisted shit just kept coming she went into a rage and told me im not in her heart i left and then she came back all sweet and telling me she knew i was a great guy with a good heart i took her back and she lost it again. Did anything like this happen to yoi? I told her i couldnt take anymore but i cared for her never heard from her again thanks for your questions that stuff happened to me

      • Yes. It’s happened before and it will happen again unless you address the underlying issues that are subconsciously drawing you to these kinds of women.

        Their abuse is not your fault. But still, it’s you who ends up hurt.

        You will have to build strong boundaries and filters to protect yourself.

        Your stories are textbook. I’m so sorry. I know how hard it is to see it from the inside. Read everything you’ve written to me as if your best friend or brother or sister wrote that about their lover…what would you tell them?

  18. Continued from above:

    17) Did you ever feel like you or the relationship was put on a pedestal?

    • I think it was a little bit looking back, but I put it on a pedestal as well. I guess I believed his pedestal, perhaps. He was so very convincing, but then my CP is also a psychopathic narcissist, turns out.

  19. Thanks so much for taking the time to read through those and get back to me. I asked about the co-dependant thing because the way this person won me over was through her outoing, charming personality and a tremendous amount of flattery on her part in the first months of the relationship. Subtle flattery though, “my sister should really follow our example with her relationships, I’ve wanted you for so long but I was afraid you would reject me, she would tell me how jealous she was of this other person I dated, etc. This person also required a tremendous amount of reassurance on a daily basis, she would ask me things such as: if I a had ever felt this way before, can you rate last nights sex on a scale of 1-10, a host of other sexual insecurities(these were an issue almost every time we were intimate) which according to her were brought on by her ex’s, her job, her job, her job, money, living with her parents, the list goes on. I was always happy to lend my shoulder but in heindseight a huge red flag, nobody should require that much validation on a regular basis and she may just have been in it for the validation/adulation and when I finally spoke up about something….well their went her fun.

    The whole objectification thing was also pretty obvious at the end. She was always very proud of how many people would “like” pics of us, sometimes if I was moving too slow she would say c’mon, c’mon like I was a puppy and another time when a ranger asked if we wanted him to drive the fire wood to the camp she immediately said oh no, he can carry that. But the best one was when she was reading 50 shades and getting turned on she would say to me over the phone “where’s my bf when i need him.” Flattering on one level but on another kind of degrading as if that’s all i’m good for. If I’m going to be honest with myself though, part of me got off on that ownership that she was projecting. Maybe I should examine that.

    In our final conversation, she started the conversation with “I think we just really like the idea of a relationship.” I started laughing, not at her, it was just some weird reaction to the sudden shock of it. All she could tell me was that she was scared and she didn’t know of what. I asked her what changed in the last 5 days since we had seen each other(during which time she had given me giftts, told me that her family could see us getting married and had even said that their was a reason we met. In a vey matter of fact tone her response was “well that was 5 days ago” things change. Thats when she started in with your to0 insecure, your expectation are too high. I tried to illustrate to her in as non condescening tone as possible, even going as far as to say “I’m not trying to be condescending,” that in her next relationship if the other person is otherwise healthy but starts to act insecure it’s probably due to some valid questions or lack of communication. Her response was, I don’t need life lessons from you…I also asked her if their was anything else I needed to know for my own closure and she again accused me of being insecure. She didnt understand that once that bond of trust is broken through deception or manipulation even if it’s to “protect” somebody that the other person is probably going to wonder what else they have been hiding. She also used the “processing” excuse on me, even though I always expected to tell her what I was feeling immediately, that is until it was something, then I was attacking her. I do think people need time to process I just didn’t like the double standard. She never overtly pressured me into sex but she would pressure me into not using condoms even though she wasn’t on any form of bc. “don’t get mad at me, lets just do it without one for a little while.” Getting my ass to the clinic soon if this is how she was with other guys.

    I’m probably having entirely too much sympathy for her especially considering the manner in which she tore me apart so she could walk away guilt free but that’s just who I am, pretty twisted…I’m torn between whether or not this person has a real issue/s or is just still in the selfish @sshole/unaware stage of her life. I guess in my mind I would like to believe the latter just because I do want her to be happy down the road.

    Thanks again for listening, I loved the rest of your site as well.

    • This line made me nauseous:

      “well that was 5 days ago things change”

      OMG.

      Almost verbatim.

      A week before things went to hell with my narcissistic CP, he told me that he was happier when I was around and when he was alone. He told me he adored me. That he was attached to me. But he was crazy about me. That he loved me.

      When I reminded him of these things he said just a short week ago, he said “well it depends which day you ask me.”

      Cold.

      I know about your confusion right now, I’m just getting over my confusion and it’s been almost 5 months. The vacillation and the wildly different personalities leaves you feeling like you’ve suffered a car wreck and are in shock.

      I hope it’s the latter two, but I’m guessing it’s not. Please read He’s Scared, She’s Scared, and it will become much more clear.

      I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I truly and deeply know just how devastating and shattering this is.

  20. Speaking of personality changes….literally an hour after she told me “their was a reason we met” we were sitting on the couch when my pocket knife fell down the crack in the cushion. We heard it hit the floor and she immediately said we need to get that now, I told her I would just get it when we went to bed and she again insisted that we get it now. I was just about to capitulate and get it when her younger sister actually stepped in and told her to just let me get it later….control…when we broke up she actually told me that part of the problem was that I asked for explanations on things. She actually told me that I shouldn’t question her even if her story changes but that I should just accept whatever she’s telling me. Their was one other incident early on when I gave her a sincere compliment on how she looked. She went all stone face and told me that she really didn’t like it when I said things like that to her. This was wounding to me but I apoligized and asked her why it bothered her, she didn’t elaborate. The next morning she acted like it wasn’t even an issue and didn’t understand why I would be concerned. During the break up she brought this up as an example of me being insecure and that I don’t just listen to her.

    I actually purchased it yesterday and it’s sheddling a lot of light on this most recent relationship and most of my past one’s. Their has definitely been a pattern worth examination. So maybe she was right, maybe we did meet for a reason…for me to learn more about myself and the people we choose to love.

    Best wishes and thanks again!

    • I’m sorry you had to go through so much pain to be lead to the book. I’m sorry we both did. I suppose most who buy the book have.

      This: “She actually told me that I shouldn’t question her even if her story changes but that I should just accept whatever she’s telling me.”

      Tells me she’s probably a narcissist.

  21. [...] again, without missing him so much I was nauseous, without remembering how blissful it was, without questioning how he turned on a dime, without realizing it was all I lie. That’s what I was [...]

  22. This describes everything PERFECTLY. The guy I was dating was a serial serious relationship type of guy. Jumping from one serious relationship to the next. He was previously engaged to a woman of 3.5 yrs and then bounced, saying she wasn’t the one. He said he didn’t ‘feel it’ and loved her like family and wasn’t truly in love with her. He said his ex-fiancee came up to him crying and said ‘I thought I was the one for you.’ at a recent party. Then he got out of that, dated another older woman for 3 months and said he left because he thought it was a repeat of his ex-fiancee. I started dating him 2 yrs after he broke up with his ex-fiancee. He explained all these things to me and I never thought he was a commitment phobe. Anywho, we had started the relationship with the presumption that things were going to end because I was already applying to schools in NYC when we started dating. I think he was okay with the relationship because again he is a commitment phobe. Things were very serious between us, living together, having his parents stay at my apartment, integreated into his social circle, etc. He said he never had a girlfriend like me, so fun, spontaneous, adventurous, curious, willing to try anything. (I’m also 24, and he’s 30 but he usually dates older women). I think he let himself go and deeply love me because he knew I was younger and wouldn’t want anything to go further until later in my life. Anyways, I ended up moving to NYC a year later. He bawled at the airport when it was time for me to move. That was our breakup. He went to a camping trip/festival for 2 weeks and then came back and called me. He said he couldn’t imagine being with anyone else but me, for the first time in his life he said he couldn’t imagine dating anyone else and had no desire to, he said he was ready to make a change and sacrifice to be with me. At this point, I gave myself up to him because he did too. He said he wanted to come see me in NYC, and I said only if there was a real commitment because otherwise there’s no point. He came to NYC and we had an amazing time. We painted our future together, talked about everything from marriage to kids. The day after he left me in NYC, he started to change completely. He said being in love with me was conflicting with finding the perfect job in NYC. He did a complete 180 degrees. He broke up with me, I spilled my guts out. Then a few days later, he said he wasn’t in love with me, that he talked about the future with me because it sounded like a nice picture. (He also talked about marrying me before I left for NYC too, and he said it was because he was perhaps teasing me). He’s said I was his ideal woman, hands down. He said all these things that made me believe that I was the one for him.

    All of his friends have said we were perfect together and I was the perfect woman for him. They even told me to marry him. Now it makes sense. I think he was truly in love with his ex-fiancee but got scared. It takes a lot to get to the engagement phase but he did. Obviously he was in love with her. I can’t even imagine the pain she went through. I hope to dear god that he doesn’t do this to more women.

    Is it sad that I still miss him? I’ve never had such passion in a relationship, and he brought out sides in me I never knew I had even though I was in a 4 yr relationship previously. He was the one who told me he had learned the philosophy of “Love more, fear less.” within the past few weeks. Now, he’s contradicting his own theory.

    Will he ever learn? Or will this one just end like his others?

    This happened a week ago, and I was a wreck the first few days, but I am slowly understanding and recovering.

    • I’m so sorry to hear this has happened to you. Yes. He sounds like a classic commitmentphobe. How horrific for you.

      And, unfortunately, he will do this to more women. More and more and more and more. Unless he faces his demons and gets serious help.

      It’s completely understandable that you still miss him. The words “Love more, fear less” are great to say, harder to do. Doesn’t sound like he’s fearing less at all. And his definition of “love” is to ensure the woman is completely in love and attached and secure, and then rip the rug out from under her. I don’t respect that, not even a little bit. It’s deplorable. It’s disgusting. It’s cruel, and it’s not love.

      He will learn if he faces his shit and gets help. But, he probably won’t. Not when there is another “oooh shiny” that hasn’t seen this part yet. He can believe that THIS is the perfect love. THIS TIME will be different. Again, and again, and again, and again — ad nauseum.

      I’m thrilled to hear you are this okay just a week ago.

      It’s been over 7 months for me, and mine was *very* short-lived. I still miss him. I still love him.
      He not only turned on a dime and went from a charming Dr. Jekyll to a horrific Mr. Hyde literally overnight, but in that last week of hell he also raped me twice and was so condescending and cruel…it was like a totally different person.

      And I still miss him.

      Those trauma bonds are fucking strong.

      I’m so sorry you had to endure this. I hope you recover well. I’m right here if you want to talk.

      xo

  23. Mine was extremely short lived too.
    It started with an email thru connectingsingles.com……..he recently moved from Ireland to London and had only been in country three weeks with his new company. We chatted via email progressed to gmail…..got quite comfortable. Due to the nature of some guys online, I put up certain barriers……so when he asked about how long my longest relationship was i said that it was off limits talking about it. Because of certain limits that I put on our conversations, he thought it may not be appropriate to meet me. I wanted to keep it at a friendship stage. I organise social meetings and invited him to one of it as a friend….meet first for 45 mins and then go to the meeting….which was a comedy show. He never showed up….after waiting 15 minutes I left…..he then called and sent me msgs explaining that there was a situation at work….people were getting fired and it was impossible for him to get a message to me. I gave him a second chance…..ended up meeting him……..got along awesome. He said all the right things…..flirted with me……said I looked better in person than my pics….had a great smile. Was the best three hours of a meeting that was supposed to only be a friendship. He made the first move…..at first i was a little taken aback. So I said no…..he then took my hand in his his……walking down the street hand in hand. He made a pass at me again and I went with it…..it felt quite good. He knew all the right things to say.
    Despite it being the first three hours we met…….we discussed so many things….like marriage and kids.
    Then he wanted to meet again……so we met the next day. I wanted to meet him so that I could tell him lets just be friends. I felt things were progressing way too quickly. But he kept insisting that he would only meet if we could continue from where we left off the previous night. On my way to meeting with my friends…..he asked to meet up the next night to take me out to a french restaurant for dinner. One of the reasons i told him that I dont think i wanted to be with him was because he was not as adventurous as me….this was before meeting the second time. He met me the second time …and we ended up making out like a couple of teenagers in the middle of the city. I discussed the unadventurous thing…..what i wanted from life…and he agreed with it all. He told me such intimate things about himself and made me get emotionally close. We ended up at his place….of course nothing happened….we just made out. The next day (the day he was supposed to take me out to dinner) he was literally non responsive…..he refused to pick up my calls and barely replied back to sms’. All I was trying to find out was whether we were going to do that day what we had discussed the previous night………….he kept avoiding me. The next day I was pissed….told him I didnt want to be with someone who is unreliable and undependable. Said good bye even! But he persisted…came back to me and wanted to meet me that night. Asked if he could come over to my place and spend the night despite knowing I was pissed off at being treated so lamely. we decided we would meet somewhere close to my place and then see how the night went. I got home and waited…..after a while decided to check up and find out what was happening………….turns out he was sleeping in bed…….apparently he texted me that he wouldnt be able to come. The funny thing was that he knew that I wasnt receiving most of his texts….so he could have called to tell me but he didnt. I then blasted him on the phone for being an inconsiderate jerk. When he realised that the text did not go through he said that maybe it wasnt meant to be which of course pissed me off…..relationships should not be dependant on whether a sms goes through or not. It took me a day to cool off…..but i still liked him a lot. So I then emailed him the second day after the final phone call saying perhaps we could start again and be friends……he could always email me since texts dont work……apparently he already had a date lined up for the weekend and he would be putting all his efforts into that!!

    After all the compliments and telling me that he was a ‘taken’ man and not on the market anymore cos of me…..after all the closeness and make out sessions….kissing me on the head…..caring that he showed in action, sms’ that dont go through were what he based that the relationship is not meant to be……Is he a committment phobe?

    It seems like he is but I was the one who kept telling him to go slow…..shouldnt he have been happy and kept it there…..instead he kept pushing and once I was comfortable that we were together he does a complete turn. within the space of a day!!! I know this relationship wasnt very long…..but Im still trying to figure things out…..this is the fourth day after the breakup…..and ive been boring my friends with the moaning about it and trying to overanalyse/psychoanalyse it.

    My question is does this guy seem like a committmentphobe and how would someone stop such a person from doing it to other people?

    • Thomas G Hanrahan ….. tomghanrahan@gmail.com hopefully he hasnt done this to anyone else…

      • You can list him with places like Don’t Date Him Girl as WomanSavers.

        Hell!! Create a blog about him. :)

        I say out these fuckers!!

    • I only wish we could stop these abusers from hurting other people. The inky thing we can do is share information, share the signs, and warn other people.

      I don’t know if he’s a Commitmentphobe. Sounds like it with the love bombing and creating false intimacy (on his side) by going so deep so fast and then keeping you off balance by being unreliable and inconsistent. He’s an abuser, and he’s definitely a predator. Your boundaries made you too difficult prey.

      Good for you.

      Look at my post on Love Bombing and the ones on narcissism and psychopathy. Also look at my posts on Emotional & Sexual Predators.

      This man is dangerous. You like him so much because after such a short time because this love bombing mixed with the pulling away has created the beginnings of a trauma bond. Very strong.

      Also read”A letter to the new girlfriend of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.” You’ll see your future with this man or any man like him.

      Run. Fucking far away.

      • Thanks….glad I came across your blog. I’m perhaps one of the lucky ones – he disappeared within a few days.Its horrible to know that others have gone thru far worse for longer. Hopefully my posting will help someone else who is in the same situation or someone who is getting ready to go out on a date with him right now. Fore warned is fore armed! This is all the post was meant to be information……so whoever it is can make up their own mind.

  24. Your writing gave me comfort. I had an almost 3 year relationship with a commitment phobe and now it is over. I ended it. I am still hurting and is in the process of moving on. Tough! Very tough! He wants to continue communicating but I said I can’t, though part of me.. out of love and pity wanted to say yes. But I am glad I had been firmed saying NO. I can’t imagine how all of those men with these issues really display the same stuff…I have read other forums and blogs about this for I am having difficulty with my situation and I was opened up in the world where many women had experienced the same stuff. And it is saddening that many will still encounter this kind of relationship. Thanks, again. You are doing so much help to people seeking comfort and explanations in relation to getting involved with a commitment phobe person. GOD bless you!

    • No contact is the best way. Unless they are ready to admit their crippling fears and go into therapy to deal, there is no hope for a healthy, respectful relationship with a Commitmentphobe.

      I’m glad you found the strength to leave.

      Thank you for your comment. It’s always nice to know my words helped someone or eased their suffering somehow, even if by showing them they’re not alone.

      Peace.

  25. I know the strength that I am having now is because of GOD. At times though, I really feel so down and low, but somehow I can manage to go about my day carrying hope for the future. I just pray one day I will wake up feeling whole again and really over with him. It is really soul crashing that the most beautiful thing I had experienced will also led to giving me this much pain and loss. It breaks my heart how things are now for both of us. He had begged a lot for me to still be there for him at times because he has no one else in his life who cares about him… but me alone… It is like leaving a child who feels so lost, needing care… I don’t have any hatred on him. You are right omgrey, they are just trapped with their own world. My favorite adage is old yet I really really love this… “LIFE IS TOO SHORT, so make the most out of it!” We all deserve to be happy and I just wished people could realized how much our lives are borrowed and how I wished that those commitment phobes out there will realized this…(ooohh… wishful thinking!) My ultimate dream is to have my own happy family life in the future… I hope I could have this before I die. Thanks, again. Even if I do not personally know you… I felt like I found a friend. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance :)

    • I strongly suggest you read the book He’s Scared She’s Scared so you don’t fall into the same pattern again.

      I’m surprised he’s so adamant. Normally the active runner is who easily turns away and finds someone else to fill that void. Usually it’s not the Commitmentphobe that’s devastated, it’s the one victimized by them.

      Happy New Year

  26. Yes, he is like that to me. When we were settling matters, he said he cannot envision his life without me and that it is very hard for him to accept that we were really over. He said, he knew it is unfair for me to stick with him because of his uncertainty on marrying and having a family. He did promise me that it will be on 2013.. but when I have brought up the issue about it… that was the turnabout… him telling he is not ready…and of when he could not tell. He is just too afraid of failing another marriage, having, kids, etc. (he was divorced and he’s marriage was really unhappy…so was his childhood). He loved my family dearly and asked me to tell my parents that he loved them. He had always been honest with what he feels… he did tell me before that he has issues in committing but because I fell in love with him and I really loved him so much… I stayed and waited… for almost 3 years…I just want the next level… I will soon be 32.. He is 56 by the way (but he looks young)… so I was wanting things for family… of which he is not ready.

    He said, I deserve someone better… but he is not closing the door for us… that maybe in time it could still be us… he asked if he can still talk to me at times (while I may have a new search for a new love) because he is considering me not only as a lover or partner but his best ever friend as well. Being firmed on my NO with his request is really painful knowing he wants me to be there for him still.

    • Especially with the considerable age difference, you did the right thing. If he’s still this scared at his age, that’s it. He’s not changing.

      You do deserve better.

      Peace.

  27. Thank you…. so much! Peace too!

  28. I have been in a relationship for 2 years with a man i thought was the most amazing person, We meet at work, we had been friends for about a year, I thought he liked me but I wasnt ready for a relationship, as I had just come out of an emotinally and physically abusive relationship, with a definate commitment phobe ( which is my final question, do I attract these people?)
    When we first started dating he became very intense very quickly, i tried to hold off a little, as that was how my last relationship had started. But he was relentless in making me feel so special. We talked a long time about not getting involved due to him be 15 years younger than me, I was worried about the child issue, as this had been used against me last time. He told me how he wanted me more than a child, and that we could always adopt.
    Within a few weeks of dating, we took a trip to London, when in St Pauls, he baegan crying, telling me that churches make him cry, something to do with him mom and dads divorce , thought he was always vaue about the details.
    This made me feel like he really trusted me and must value me, I was gone, my heart was his. Things progressed, he constantly told me how he wanted tto marry me, how he couldnt wait to put a ring on my finger. I would say one day, I had been quite clear that i wasnt that bothered about getting married, been divorced once, and the last relationship only became physically abusive once i agreed to marry him and booked a wedding, then he ran away.
    He moved in, invested time and effort in my children and made everything seem perfect. A year in, on my 40th birthday he proposed, a grand gesture infront of my dearest friends and family. I truly believed he must love me. 4 months later he got a new job, and was excited as he would now be able to book the wedding, another 2 months later we book a wedding. Suddenly everything changed! He became distant, was constantly working, got stroppy every time the wedding was mentioned, he went of sex (which had always been amazing) I constantly asked him what was wrong, he said nothing. Then suddenly he came out with’ im not happy’, stating that he couldnt get over the fear of not having his own child. A bit of a bombshell! he became more distant, I tried to talk to him, saying we could try for a child, that I would love one with him, this wasnt good enough, I was just saying it to keep him, and that he didnt want one now because of his career.
    I can understand him wanting both and I have made every suggestion to how he can have both, but no matter what i suggest he finds an excuse why it wont work. We broke up, but for the last 6 months it has been on off, the more time we spent together in this period it became apparent that he is terrified. We tried counselling but he just let me take the blame for everything and took not responsibilty, so I stopped going. He tells me he loves me more that anyone ever will but he cant be with me because he is scared of the future. It is trapped in a circle of negative thinking, destructive behaviour and anxiety. I became very ill, losing 2 stone and struggling with anxiety and depression myself. But I got myself help and took a course of CBT, during this time i distanced myself from him, this seemed to work, he started tellin me that he knew he had problems and wanted to get help to sort them out so we could be together.
    We resumed counselling toegether and for 6 weeks things seem to be progressing, we started trying for a baby, and making plans for him to move back in , once he had rebuilt bridges with my eldest son. We were just getting there, with him staying over some nights, when he panicked again. He started talking about taking jobs abroad again, I tried to understand he is young, so i suggest he works abroad for a year and we will make it work, it still wasnt enough, he suddenly needed to do it for 4 years! and then he wont be able to have a baby and there we are again…back 6 months. The only reason i took him back was that he was going to get help, but he hasnt, we have gone back to couple counselling, but its not tackling his personal issues, he needs to got to CBT, or at least read some books, but once he had me back, he didnt seem to make any effort. It was all down to me again. To the point he wouldnt even split time this christmas between me and his family. everything seemed to come before me, family, friends, work and most importanly money! He seems to lurch from one idea to another and commit to none of them, and then beats himself up because he isnt achieving anything! meanwhile, im left in turmoil feeling loved and planning a baby one minute, then unloved and undervalued the next. He ended it again on christmas eve!!

    • Sweet lady. I am so sorry to read this painful story.

      He is quite clearly a Commitmentphobe, and if he refuses to take any responsibility for his actions, it could even be worse than that. Look at my posts on Emotional & Sexual Predators and Sociopaths/Narcissists.

      You do not want a child with this man. I wast you to re-read what you wrote above and imagine your sister or daughter wrote those words. What would your advice to her be?

      He. will. not. change.

      No contact. Get him out of your life. He is toxic. Poison. Nothing will hurt more than doing this. You will need a strong support system and counseling.

      As to your question about attracting them, yes and no. You are subconsciously drawn to men like him likely due to some unresolved childhood issues that have been replayed again and again, deepening the wound and trauma.

      This has been highly traumatizing, both with this man and your former abusive relationship. Make no mistake, just because this man isn’t hitting or physically/sexually assaulting you, doesn’t mean he’s not abusive. In a way, it’s worse because there is no physical “proof.” This Jekyll & Hyde act is tremendously abusive and traumatizing. Plus, trauma is cumulative, so it will keep getting worse and worse. Find my post “To the Mew Girlfriend of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

      You are no doubt suffering from PTSD. Good on you with the CBT, now look into EMDR as well and start working out some of this horrific trauma you’ve endured. Until you do, you’ll keep being drawn to men like this.

      That said IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. His abusive treatment is HIS CHOICE. He knows what he does, and he chooses to continue.

      Read He’s Scared She’s Scared, linked in the post above. You will be amazed. You will think they must’ve answered your relationships and gone back in the TARDIS to write that book. It will help you so much, if for no other reason to show you you’re not crazy and you’re not alone.

      The biggest problem lies with him.

      Get out. Get away. No contact. It’s the only way to regain your sense of self and your sanity.

      May you find peace.
      xo

      • Everytime i read one of these stories i am struck again and again by the similarities, not only in the stories themselves but the feelings of loss, confusion and despair. Recently i was talking with a friend who has recently been betrayed. I tried my best to empathize with his pain over the breakdown of his relationship(which was not hard to do) but at the same time i wanted him to understand exactly what it was he lost. What he lost was a supposed best friend and partner who consistently lied, manipulated, emotionally blackmailed, coerced, demeaned, belittled, “teased”, demanded, expected, operated with double standards, contradictions and hypocracies, was selfish, had terrible tunnel vision, was arrogant and controlling, insecure, had poor impulse control and self awareness, was disrespectful and judgemental of other peoples flaws and shortcomings that she herself had.

        What she lost was somebody that cared for her, reassured her, nurtured her, encouraged her and loved her despite all of that and would probably take her back if she wasnt already out there on the prowl.

        Maybe 2013 will be his year.

        Cheers

      • Thank you for this. Seeing it in black and white like this touched me so deeply that I cried.

        You’re right. I lost a cruel and manipulative rapist. Someone selfish who lied and deceived. Someone who exploits people and takes pride & pleasure in their pain and downfall. Someone who is condescending and uses sexual and emotional violence to punish and coerce. Someone who had double standards and always kept me off balance to remain in control. Arrogant, abusive, demanding, withdrawn only to be affectionate moments later, exploitative, sexually deviant, and narcissistic. Someone who is incapable of empathy, true intimacy, and genuine love.

        He lost a woman who loved him deeply, who supported him and encouraged him to be himself, to explore his freedom. Who accompanied him to a place of sexual ecstasy and spiritual euphoria without fear. Who nurtured him and adored him. A woman who, even after the assaults and subsequent devaluing and abandonment, would open her heart and her arms again if he showed a shred of humanity and humility, acknowledgment, and apology.

        Yes, it is quite clear now.

        Thank you so very much for this.

        I hope 2013 is the year for your friend, too. Have him read He’s Scared She’s Scared, linked in the article. It will help him feel like he’s not alone in this.

        Peace. xo

  29. Hi im four months out of committment phobic gf who started out as a friend became lovers and left me for dead when i told her i couldnt continue her abuse. The friendship and sex was amazing but then she just changed. I read the book and its everything that happened she ran off w another guy after our relationship got strong she came back three weeks later and i took her back she told me she has a wall around her heart and that she doesnt trust. I tried to tell her she could trust me if she could just slow down and go with the flow and define our relationship. i foolishlu thought i could show her what a true friendship with trust could be…it lasted a few weeks and then she went crazy on me saying she loved the sex but we are not having it again because i am not in her heart. I left a week later she came back apologizing saying everything i wanted to hear. I told her i was done but for two weeks she kept saying she knows she is a mess and has deep issues i trigger. We finally talked she was all over me and it just started again i broke it off and she said she didnt understand i told her i couldnt take her abuse never heard from her again i miss the woman i met but i cant believe what she did to me with push pull abuse silent treatment she hit me once threatened me with police and told me about childhood rape ect. Its just so sad but there was alot of good times and feeling my heart wont let go i used to be a confident man but now i quetion everything about me and why she would treat my kindness and friendship this way i guess i wish i knew if she will do this again or it was me. I am a loving person but she made me insecure because of her erractic behavoir she is on the radio and has a fanbase so she looks so happy yet with me she talked about how unhappy she is with other peoples happiness i know she has issues but do you think she will act like this again? It would hurt to know i created her anxiety and nobody else. Thanks for your site i needed it to know this isnt about me but i cared for her and she made me feel like she cared too. She kept coming back and i was weak because i cared. She probably thinks im weak for trying to be good to her i only took the abuse hoping she could see she could trust me but i just couldnt take another day. Wish she cared i still do and dont know how to trust again u am a shell of who i was

    • I’m so sorry to read this.

      It wasn’t just you. You DID NOT cause her anxiety. If she was raped as a child (or even as an adult) and has never dealt with that, it could be the basis for her deep issues, which she clearly has. But then, who doesn’t? No one that I’ve met. We all have baggage. Some of us own it and work on it and ensure we don’t hurt and abuse others, most don’t.

      Of course you went back, you loved her. It’s perfectly understandable, and that’s why it’s so very difficult to stay away and commit to NC (no contact). I still love the man who raped me, devalued me, and then discarded me. I’d like to think I wouldn’t take him back, even after all this time, and because of my very supportive and loving husband (polyamorous), I probably wouldn’t because I know how much it would hurt him after everything The Rapist did during our short, intense relationship, the week of rape and overt abuse, and since: the stalking and threats and such.

      It seems crazy that I would even question whether or not I’d take such a toxic person back into my life, but as fucked up as they are and as much as they can jump from one to the next, for me the love and depth was real. Sounds like it was for you, too. My love for him, contrary to popular belief, especially his, does not speak to what a great catch or lover or (certainly not) man he is, but it rather speaks to my depth and capacity to love and forgive. It speaks to my integrity and ability to be genuine and loving, even in the face of severe betrayal and trauma.

      Fortunately, he is a cad, so he won’t be back. I hope. It would be very bad for me to forgive and accept a raping, narcissistic sociopath back into my life and my heart. My willingness to forgive and trust and love just might. So, I truly hope I won’t hear from him again, although one day, I’m sure I will. It is the commitmentphobes and narcissists MO.

      She can seem so happy, but you know first hand that it’s just an act. You know how she is backstage, even when you see her on stage. Just remember that. She is deeply troubled, and she will NEVER be happy until she can deal with those fucking scary core issues, until she can deal with the rape, the PTSD, and admit/accept/apologize for all the pain she’s caused you and undoubtedly others.

      She. Will. Never. Be. Happy.

      She’s hiding behind false intimacy and fleeting ecstasy. Both of those things look really pretty on the surface, like her radio persona, but they are empty beneath, just like it sounds she is. She’s getting high on the oxytocin of New Relationship Energy, again and again. She’s an addict.

      Of course you are a shell of who you were. So am I. So is anyone who has been treated this way by a commitmentphobe and/or narcissist and/or sociopath. It’s devastating beyond description, and no one can believe it until it happens to them.

      My advice to you, and this is so hard–I struggled against this for months, is to be celibate for awhile. Just 6 months to start, a year if you can, and go into therapy for PTSD. You have been traumatized. YOU HAVE BEEN TRAUMATIZED. If you don’t, if you choose to cover up this pain with another round of oxytocin, you will just be compounding your trauma time and time again. Because you will most likely, subconsciously, choose another woman just like her. This time, it will take the new one longer to convince you, but she will, because something in your brain feels the need to work out this, the right way this time, but it will end the same.

      Take care of yourself. Learn to protect yourself, recognize the red flags and signs, and LISTEN to them! Meaning, walk the fuck away as soon as you see one.

      That’s my advice to you.

      May you find peace. xo

      • I just wish i didnt walk away before we cou talk in person she denied saying horrible things to me so i just gave up the book is dead on with the breakup and the mixed messages i wish she missed me i miss her not the toxic part but the part that was our friendship all she did was care about her and she put me down for being her friend dont understand it but before we were intimate we were friends wish she didnt hate me i dont hate her but i should

      • It’s better that you did. There would’ve only been more lies and confusion. More vacillation and cruelty.

        You did well to walk away.

        Yes. The book is right on. It’s what saved my sanity those first 6 weeks.

        Staying away is so painful, I really know first hand, but you loved her mask. The fantasy she wove. The Dr. Jekyll high on NRE, love bombing.

        Who is beneath is quite empty and ugly, indeed. Although I’m sure you love that part too, as a genuine person would.

        No matter how much it hurts, it’s like a withdrawal. Only cold turkey and no contact will help, and it is an agonizing as any physical dependency withdrawal. Moreso, in fact, because it is intangible.

        I don’t envy you, my dear, at the beginning of this. But 4 months out, you’re seeing the abuse now. And more might become clear.

        For me, I didn’t recognize it as rape for 5 months. I couldn’t understand why I was so upset, so devastated. I knew I had been violated, as I felt violated, so I knew it was some kind of borderline assault, plus the domestic violence of emotional abuse led me to call a survivor hotline. They first confirmed it was indeed sexual assault, and the PTSD specialist I saw out of desperation convicted me it was rape. That’s when the healing truly began, but not before stuffing secondary trauma from my (now former) communities for not believing me, then being stalked by my ex and threatened with a lawsuit.

        Still, the support of rape counselors, sexual assault lawyers & professionals, and PTSD specialists saw me through. It’s still a struggle, some days more than others, but I’m so much better. The pain is all but gone, and so is he.

        You will find peace, but to do so you must stay away from her. She is toxic. Poison.

        Peace.

  30. [...] This blog was viewed 110,000 times in 2012, with 183 new posts. My busiest day was December 9th with 1008 views. Most popular post that day, and a very important one at that: People Who Hide Behind Poly. Overall, my most popular post is PTSD from Emotional Abuse, followed closely by Pathology of the Commitmentphobe. [...]

  31. Will she do this again to the next guy? Just hurts feeling another man wins her heart guess i knew why she wouldnt trust me she just was so evil telling me she doesnt trusr her ability to pixk a guy thanks for your help

    • She likely will do this to the next guy and every guy after that, if it becomes too “real” for her. She can likely have very superficial and shallow relationships, but they are in satisfying for her. She craves the depth, the intimacy, and that’s why she’s in hell. As soon as she gets it, she runs.

      She’ll never be happy. It will all be a facade.

      Get into therapy for PTSD. Take care of yourself this new year, and see through these shallow, cowardly women earlier next time, before your heart and soul are committed.

      It has been my pleasure. Anytime, my dear.

      • Last question is that why she kept coming back because it was too real for het so she kept running? Thank you i am going to talk to someone

      • She kept coming back because she knows it’s what she wants and needs, but she can’t have it because of her utter terror. She knows she’s the one who is empty. She’s feeding off your energy & emotions.

        A friend once compared it to a starving person in front of a succulent feast that he is unable to touch.

        It must be truly a horrible existence.

        But she can stop it if she admits it, takes responsibility for her actions and the trauma/pain she’s caused, and gets help.

        She likely won’t do one of those things, let alone all.

        I’m so sorry for your pain, sweetie.

      • Kaiser could be wtiting about me sounds like your friwnd and i dated same woman im having a hard time with this my question is do they ever miss us or were we truly used as a toy my ex was so erratic but it was extreme loving me one day and then upset next almost bipolar i have to admit i still care for her and want to understand…what is a trigger and how did i hit it i miss her and just cant believe this is real how do you just kill a friendship and not care

      • This was really hard for me to accept, too, so my apologies for having to say this.

        You were a placeholder.
        You meant nothing to her.
        No one does.

        She is empty. Incapable of feeling anything but fear. She doesn’t experience love like we do. She doesn’t experience any emotion like we do. She enters into relationship after relationship to cover the fear. It doesn’t matter who.

        You will never understand because you can’t. To understand you would have to be a void and terrified as she. You would have to be incapable of empathy. You would have to care for no one but yourself.

        Truly, until you’re over the pain, think of her as a different species, inhuman disguised as human to better feed off you. She’s a predator, a vampire.

        Seriously.

        Read the book again. I marked several sections and read them over and over.

        The bipolar you mention isn’t bipolar, it’s the Jekyll/Hyde bullshit, characteristic of the Commitmentphobe.

        Read my posts on emotional predators, narcissists, & psycho/sociopaths. Read and read and read…until you don’t have to anymore. Reading & searching helped quell my need to understand, as it helped me do just that, to an extent.

        I’m do sorry you’re in such pain. I know what it is like, so much so.

        Look into EMDR and other treatments for PTSD.

        Turn into the grief. You won’t find it bottomless. When the next wave comes, do it again.

  32. what is wrong with me?
    my ex slapped me, threatened me with cops, is on depression medication, puts down everyone she knows, kept leaving me and coming back, telling me the sex was amazing but said I thought it was average, telling me all her negative issues in life ie bankruptcy failed out of college, foreclosure, teenage rape, ect, pushed pulled, was disrespectful, ran off with a guy when we were doing good, came back and told me I can have her body but not her heart, and I finally put my foot down and tell her I cant take her abuse and now she disappeared. I miss the woman who was my friend and in the first month of dating(total seven months) I am so afraid of people now that I have a wall up. I have trust issues, and I dont want to turn into one of these monsters. I cant beleive she moved on after all this destruction without caring. Is this committment phobe behavior, or a personality disorder, or was it me? Sorry for ranting but I am so hurt to know she is moving on like it was nothing when there was so much said in the beginning and then the venom just started. I cant beleive she hates me or that I mean nothing. Its so sad because i have to admit it-I met my perfect girl and she just did everything she could to hurt me, and then pull me back with kind words. When will the heartache end. How do you find a way not to miss the person presented and start thinking about the vicious animal they became. My biggest problem is that I feel like she wont do this again to the next guy so question my ability as a man to make a woman feel safe, secure and most importantly loved. I thought I met my best friend. thanks for letting me vent

    • You are suffering from PTSD. What you’ve described is a highly abusive relationship. Cut off all contact with this woman & get into therapy for PTSD. You still love her and miss her, although you clearly recognize the abuse. That’s called the betrayal bond.

      I’ve written about both PTSD and the trauma/betrayal bond on the pages of this blog.

      She’s not okay, likely suffering from PTSD herself from the rape if nothing else. Her depression is likely a symptom of the PTSD.

      She will do this to the next guy & the next after that, again and again until she gets the help she so desperately needs.

      It’s not that you weren’t enough, it’s that she’s severely broken. This is not your fault. You couldn’t have done anything differently.

      Get He’s Scared, She’s Scared, linked from this post, and you’ll understand more. Read up on gaslighting & abusive cycles.

      I wish you peace.

      • Do you think she is really messed up based on what I wrote? My problem is she moved on like it was nothing and seems so happy runing around on facebook. Yet in person she is so mean sweet then mean again and puts everyone down. I dont know if she acts like this with me or everyone she gets close to. She actually asked me if I wanted to fix her. I told her I didnt have the ability but I could be suoportive and she should talk to somebody I just miss the woman I met

      • Yes. Very messed up.

        Read that book. I’m serious. You’ll find so much comfort in it. It will feel as if the authors observed your relationship then wrote that book.

        What you describe is TEXTBOOK Commitmentphobe.

        Block her in FB. Right now. You’re just torturing yourself. Read that book. Turn into yourself & care for you.

        She is toxic for you. She’s toxic for the new guy too. He’ll find out soon enough.

        Peace.

      • I read the book here is my question the reason she is acting hot and cold is because she wants a relationshop but pushed me away because we got too close? She told me she has deep issues and I trigger them. What did I do to trigger it? At the end of the day I guess I dont understand why she wanted me then turn vicious. I know she has problems but I miss my friend. I dont understand why she chose to hate me instead of wanting to be my friend do these people really get this mean? Like our friendship means nothing? Thanks:)

      • Yes. They really do.
        You didn’t trigger anything, and even if you did, you’re not at fault. Anything can trigger PTSD, like for me, the word Austin or auction or even sex.

        She’s using that to put the blame on you. Because certainly as can’t be at fault!!!

        She wanted you the. Turned vicious because that’s her pattern. She’s deeply damaged. Yes. They really do get that mean. My ex, when he turned vicious, raped me, humiliated me, then discarded me, but not after raping me a second time.

        They destroy things utterly because they can’t deal with the emotions, and that is not to excuse their behavior. They are severely dangerous.

        I know you miss your friend, and this is was was so hard for me to deal with…took me nearly a year of very hard work: your friend wasn’t real. It was an act. Not genuine. The person you loved doesn’t exist. It’s just a fantasy creation, a very convincing hologram.

        I’m so sorry.

      • I never had anyone go from saying I the perfect guy talk about how our kids would sould with our personalities and then just pick me apart and put down everything good I did for her I wish I understood why she would give me her body but not her heart she just crushed me breaking up and came back apologizing saying she cares and knows she is a mess. I didnt break up because I wanted to end I did it to protect myself but she never called after I told her I wouldnt take her abuse. I thought she would realize her behavior was bad and acknowledge it instead she left not even a goodbye or hope we can be friends I wish I knew for sure she would do this again but I feel like she did this because she is afraid of our closeness and not because she used me

      • The end result is the same. She shattered you. She’s done it before, and now she’s doing it with a new guy.

        It’s what she does.

  33. This is so sad…so disgusting and sad. I put these commitmentphobes/narcissists on a par with serial killers. As you can probably guess, I am the latest victim on your blog. My story is no different – he ripped my heart out and stomped on it. It’s been 8 months since the breakup (we were together for a year)…and yes, our breakup was sudden….out of the blue….but the writing was on the wall….I just ignored it. My relationship was fraught with mixed messages too. It was a nighmare.

    I think you are absolutely right when you compare the emotional pain to PTSD. My concern is that I willl never be able to love or trust another man again.

    I read the two books you recommended right after the breakup….but it helped very little. I refused to believe that he was a commitmentphobe. Afterall, he was SO wonderful to me….he said he loved me SO MANY times. He was so tender…so kind. Needless to say, I was in denial BIG TIME.

    I’m a lot wiser now…..you know the saying, “fool me once shame on you. fool me twice shame on me.”

    What’s sad for me right now is that whenever I look at any man, I feel deep contempt. I can’t help but think they’re all like that….they’re all a bunch of cons. This is the damage these creeps can cause….I wish there was a law against it!!! Ha! That will be the day!

    I think you are very gracious to give these no good creeps a pass – saying that they are sick. So is a sociopath who commits murders.

    I have never been so hurt or humiliated like this by anyone before.

    • I’m so sorry he did this to you.

      They are sick, but that’s not an excuse. They have a choice. And they might very well be a sociopath and/or narcissist as well.

      No one wants to believe they’ve been lied to for months or years. I know what it was like for me after 3 months, I can’t imagine a year.

      The books certainly don’t cure anything, but for me they showed me I wasn’t crazy, it wasn’t anything I did or didn’t do, and that I wasn’t alone.

      This post was written about 6 weeks after my split. If you read further along in my blog under the Relationships category, you’ll read so much more as the veil was lifted.

      I’m much less forgiving as my own betrayal bond was loosened and eventually broken.

      I look at men the same way. I’m terrified or everyone. I trust no one. I’m disgusted by sex.

      But then, my “Commitmentphobe” raped me. He turned out to be very likely a sociopath. Very few sociopaths are serial killers. I’m starting to think thee ones that are at least release their victims by taking their life. The ones like this just kill one’s soul. One’s will. One’s entire sense of self, sexuality, ability to function and trust.

      It’s like like PTSD, this fallout, it is PTSD.

      I’m right here if you need some support. Get into counseling, someone who is familiar with PTSD, psychopathy/sociopathy, and narcissism.

      I’m so sorry this happened to you.

      You are not alone. This post is my most read post, consistently. These bastards do a lot of damage to a lot of women. The PTSD is another.

      Keep reading through last spring and summer/fall, up until now. You’ll see how my perception changed as the veil lifted. It might help facilitate the change for you.

      If nothing else, get into PTSD recovery & heal. Don’t date for a long while. Now after the damage causes by this bastard, you are more susceptible to be victimized again. These horrible men can smell prey, and you already know how convincing they are.

      Read the books again, I would read sections over and over just to quiet my mind and derail flashbacks. For a good nine months, I couldn’t do anything but survive, quite literally. Writing these posts helped because of the self-expression, because of the solidarity.

      Peace to you.
      Remember, I’m here.

      Research sociopaths and psychopaths. I’ve written extensively on them on this blog through my research. Read through the Romance & Relationships category, linked on the right sidebar.

      • I am SO very sorry for what you’ve been through….it was clearly by far worse than my experience….to be raped. I was raped by my ex-fiancee (when I was in my early 20’s….I was a virgin! Imagine having your virginity taken away from you by a rapist!). Needless to say, I didn’t marry him!

        I am so grateful for you support as well. I will be sure to read all your posts on the subject.

        I have no desire to date anyone…like I said….I can’t trust anyone right now. What’s worse is that I continue to love him….he still has my heart. For the most part, he was good to me…though he was relentless with his mixed messages….and alll of a sudden, heyanked the rug out from under me. We were talking about getting married….buying a house…etc…..then all of a sudden…presto….changeo…..it was over.

        I found out through the grapevine that I am NOT the first person he has done this to. It’s his pattern. I wish I could warn every woman out there….but I can’t…..impossible. I want to talk to him though….let him know just how badly he can hurt somone….and that he should get help before he devastates another woman. But he is SO egotistical…..he never could take criticism, no matter how delicately I put it…..he would get defensive and fire back in passive-aggresive ways.

        I will also re-read the two books. I think now that some time has passed, I will have better perspective.

        Thank you so much for your blog, and for making yourself vulnerable so that others could share their stories. My prayer for you is that you are completely healed and that you’ll be able to have a loving relationship with a great guy :o)

        M

      • I’m married to a wonderful man. The man who raped me was a secondary relationship, as my husband and I are polyamorous.

        No more. Although our orientation remains, I don’t trust other “poly” people to be truly poly. They’re sex addicts and children and cowards and liars and narcissists. Predators. No thanks. Not for me.

        I don’t think that what happened to me was worse. Certainly the rapes were awful, and I didn’t even recognize them as such for five months and extensive therapy in PTSD. The worst of the trauma came from the rape of my soul, not my body. Same as what you’re experiencing. Just to be discarded so unceremoniously, to suddenly mean so little. To be reeling, wondering what happened. That was the bulk of the trauma for me. Understanding the assaults just reinforced who the man really is. Too, suffering secondary trauma from my community and “friends” who called me a liar, etc. That was hard to take. The PTSD and fear of seeing him, etc. etc. etc.

        I’m so sorry you were raped by someone you trusted, too. Horrible. You are suffering from PTSD from this abuse as well as from the rape years ago (and probably more abuse in between), and it’s fucks with our boundaries, enabling other narcissists and sociopaths to find us and prey on us. Somewhere we equate abuse with love because of what’s been done to us. This is where therapy is essential.

        There is no doubt in my mind that you weren’t the first and you won’t be the last. It is a pattern. My ex, The Rapist, has been with 80+ women in 15 years. No kidding. He also has herpes and just doesn’t tell anyone about that because he has decided the fear is much worse than the actual risk. He’s god, you see, so he can make these decisions for everyone.

        I am utterly disgusted by him.

        You will feel this way about your ex, too. He is pathetic and cruel. Not worthy of your love, that’s for sure. But I do understand how he still has your heart. That’s the betrayal bond. Learn a lot about the Betrayal Bond. In fact, get the book. Read that, too.

        You’ll see in my posts and in my poetry how long I loved The Rapist. You’ll see how I struggled with cognitive dissonance, another phrase you should become familiar with, as you’re suffering from it right now. You’ll see how long it took for me to believe he was as despicable a human being he is. And he is. Utterly disgusted now.

        It’s been almost a year since the assaults and the split. I finally see him for the monstrous, cruel human being he is. I no longer have to demonize him into a monster, because he’s far worse than a monster. A monster can’t help but be a monster. No. He had a choice, and he chose to rape, betray, devalue, and discard. Just as he’s done so many times before, just as he’ll do in the future.

        One day soon, you’ll feel lucky to have gotten away when you did and you’ll pity the next girl.
        There will always be a next girl.

        Thank you for your bravery, for speaking out on this blog. For connecting with me. You are not alone.

        May you find peace.

  34. Thank you so much for your post/blogs. I am 7 weeks (almost 8) out of a 2.5 year commitment phobic relationship. Mine was interesting. In the beginning, I was the pursuer, which is why I don’t understand it. I pursued and he was non-committal. We ended up dating and together. We were both recently divorced, so we never even discussed marriage until over a year in, but the cycle started less than a year into our relationship. He broke up with me 9 months into the relationship, and then as soon as he got home, said he was sorry and we made up. We were really happy. We “clicked”. We had so much fun together. It was very blissful. I had the time of my life.
    Then a year and a half into it, I started talking about marriage/family/kids. He broke up with me again, saying he needed “space and time to himself to discover what he needed/wanted out of life, worries about his freedom…” He came back a week later, stating his was sorry and he loved me so much, promises, promises, etc. etc. I took him back, thinking that oh, now is when he will propose. I was such a fool. I believed he’d changed, because he said that things would be different. Things were great again and fast forward 6 months.
    I moved to the same city as him and let him know that I wanted to move in together and think about weddings. I wanted our relationship to progress. That was the beginning of the end. We broke up again and then the next 4 months were the make up/break up cycle. He would come back, make promises about the future, then break up a week later, stating he needed his freedom, time to sort things out, etc. etc. It was awful. He actually had a full blown anxiety attack at my house one day. He would be really romantic one evening, then distance himself that night.
    We finally broke up for good right after my birthday. He was particularly mean to me and we ended it. The final texts and our last conversations were about him taking the time to figure himself out, having his space, freedom, etc. We read all the commitment phobia books by Steve Carter. He admitted he had commitment phobia. We went to counseling one time. Then he stopped. So, it ended Dec. 9, 2012. 3 weeks later, he is in another relationship. So much for space and figuring yourself out. He actually texted me 3 weeks after that to let me know that he is seeing someone else. The worst part of this all, is that we work together. That is how we met. And he is dating someone else from work. And now, he is flaunting it in my face. I called him and screamed at him and he said that he had to follow his heart. He said our dynamic wasn’t good in our relationship and that is why we kept breaking up. He broke every promise he made to me. We both agreed to not date anyone else as work. It’s been horrible. I felt like I was slapped in the face. I am doing my best to avoid them now, but it’s incredibly hard. And so very hurtful.

    • You have been slapped in the face. I’m so sorry this has happened to you.

      He’s a fucking spoiled child.

      This is obviously his pattern. He’s not interested in working on himself or finding himself or having the space he needs. He’s interested in what he wants when he wants how he wants. Like a petulant child. He’s interested in sex without strings. He’s interested in “freedom,” and he’s too blind to see he’s imprisoned by his own cowardice.

      Seriously.

      You deserve so much better than this. I feel sorry for the new girl, because she will be where you are before too long, and she’ll be kicking herself for falling for his bullshit. The man obviously has no integrity, or at the very least he wouldn’t be dating someone from work after promising not to.

      A promise, after all, is a commitment.

      I know this doesn’t help right now, but you are so much better off without him. The best you can do right now is to stay as far away from him as possible. Rage, and you have every justifiable reason to do so, and heal. Find Heal My Broken Heart workshop and others. Grieve, and you will be grieving for some time.

      Every time you think you want him back, you remember how kind he *could* be, you remember how blissful it all was, remind yourself that he discarded you after toying with you for years. Remind yourself that he’s fucking someone else right in front of you and rubbing your face in it.

      Next time he texts you tell him curtly: Don’t ever contact me again. Period.

      Then ignore any other text that comes through. Block him, if you can. Block him from social networks. Avoid him at work if at all possible.

      HE IS TOXIC POISON, and for you to heal, you have to purge the poison.

      No contact. The man is an abuser, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a narcissist. Very dangerous. They do a lot of damage.

      You got away. You will one day be thankful for that. Until then, let the waves of grief come over you, don’t push them away or hold onto them either, and start to get angry. Really fucking angry that this douchebag narcissist fuck wasted so much of your time. Lied to you. Deceived you. Abused you.

      You deserve so much better.

      I wish you peace.

  35. This is a great post!
    I am probably ordering the books you refer to: I have read a lot about psychology and self-help: I used to be a very negative person and always going after the wrong things in life (looks, prestige, career). I reached a dead end and realized that I wanted to change, and have ever since, and gave up a lot of things to do that.
    I still attract negative people though, and, since our fears and wants coincide a lot, I am too attracted to them. There is this girl I like, she is very cute, we live in the same small town in Greece, she has never lived anywhere else, she rarely goes out, she takes walks alone, refuses invitations, etc. We met at work, but not working in the same space any more.
    For almost two years now, we have had periods where we were getting very close: she gives me looks, or tells me “I want a serious relationship”, then we go out once, touch for a while, then we start texting, then one day she never texts first anymore, and when I do, her responses get smaller and colder. I call her and tell her “I went there and did this” and she tells me “why didn’t you call me to come with you” so on the next occasion I call her, she says she can’t make it, again and again.. She refuses every invitation. Sometimes she tells me, “we will go out, you will meet my friends” but she never does anything she says. When we meet occasionally in the street (it is a small town) she gets “warm” and friendly, but no steps ahead. This is the particular phase we are in right now.
    The first time we got very close, a year ago, we were still working in the same space and started to leave work together, walked around for a while. Then I had to move to another place of the same company, so we didn’t see each other. But then, when I tried to get through to her, nothing. She backed off, no reason; always rejecting invitations, not returning calls. A month later we finally met, because two colleagues of ours were getting married and we were both invited, she was friendly, but nothing more. I came on to her, made a fool out of my self, and decided to give up. And there I was sure there was nothing beween us but, two months later, when I visited that place where we initially both worked, and obviously a girlfriend of hers called her to tell her I was there, she showed up being all in sweetheartness, telling me “lets go, lets leave” etc, in the same way she used to ask me to call it a day and leave work together, as if nothing bad had happened.. I just drove her home that day. Then in the next two months she even called me three times (!) to go out, once we did, the other times I was away. Before all of this, I begged her to go out and she got irritated, even ironic!
    She fits the person you describe: you are nice to her, her eyes fill with tears, then she tells you she’s looking for a serious relationship, starts texting you “I kiss you goodnight”, then nothing. She feels bad, she expects understanding. If you feel bad, she treats you like an idiot and makes faces of disapproval at you. She fits the list in “Signs of a commitment phobe” link, particularly points 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 16, 17, 19, 20, and many others…
    Now it is happening again. She it taking steps back. Quited texting, does nothing to meet. What’s up with that? We met today by accident, she was smiling and expecting attention. I don’t get it. I don’t want this any more, I want someone who is willing to give, like I am. Is that wrong? I thought she was special, enjoying simple things, not wanting to show off, like I have become, but now I am not sure if she really feels this way about things or if she is just to shy to show off and to party etc. I don’t want to break her heart, she is such a fragile and sweet girl..
    Thank you for your time to read this!

    • You don’t have to be cruel and break her heart, if she’s truly fragile, but it sounds like she’s been jerking you around for quite some time now.

      You deserve better than that.

      Set some clear boundaries with her and keep them no matter what. Like no sex, no romantic behavior, no even being alone together.

      That’s a start. Ensure she’s initiating contact as much as you. If she’s not, stop contacting her.

      If she continues the abusive behavior you describe above, which she probably will, then cut her off completely. I mean COMPLETELY. No text. No email. No looking at her Facebook page. Nothing at all for at least 3 months.

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

      I wish you peace.

  36. I am a recovering CP victim. I have read the books and must say that they really do help you in your darkest hours. I was in an 18 month passionate and lust-fuelled relationship that ended in August 2009. I still to this day think about him and I wish to god that I didn’t.
    I am now almost a year into a happy, secure and loving relationship and although it took me another 2.5 years to let this man into my heart, it really has shown me how hard and damaging my previous ‘chapter’ was. Relationships should NOT be hard. You either want to be with someone or you don’t. The difference is that some people have the courage to leave in the right way.

    My CP’s history…a married man. proposed to his wife after 3 months and who cheated on her for 10 years, even with her best friend. (Red flag!! Why did I think I could change him!)

    My history….a 10 year long term relationship with my high school sweetheart. I had tried to get get out of the relationship for years, but due to having children, felt that I couldn’t. I also cheated as I was so unhappy.

    My CP and I worked together and I had no initial interest in him….he chased and pursued me until I began an affair with him. It was unlike any kind of passion that I had ever imagined. Over the passing months we both left our existing partners and tore our worlds apart. Personally I believe that we both used the other as a reason to finally leave. I suppose almost as a saviour to get us out of our unhappy relationships, that’s how I felt at least.
    I told him that I didn’t want a relationship with him and that I just wanted to be single for the first time in my life but I swept me off my feet with such ferocity that I melted in his arms at the idea of ‘US’

    We planned our futures together, met each others families and created bonds with our children. I was the happiest I had ever been and pretty much as soon as I reciprocated any of the feelings and emotions he displayed to me, he changed his mind.
    He became cold and distant at times. Spending less and less time with me.
    Trust was always an issue between us and it grew increasingly apparent as one of our biggest problems. I noticed he would hide his phone and then on one of his teams works do’s, he went home with one of our female colleagues. I was destroyed inside and ended it. He denied that anything had happened and blamed his reasons for staying away from home on me by saying “sometimes I just don’t think you like to be told no when it comes to sex”. I stupidly took him back.

    Our sex life was amazing, the best I have ever had. It felt as though our bodies were one and that I could never find this connection with another soul. I did always want sex with him, I fancied him like crazy and the more he became vacant, the more I panicked about the next time we would become intimate again.
    That’s when he started withholding sexually towards me. He told me that he sometimes didn’t want sex and for a whole week I lay next to him crying myself to sleep thinking that he didn’t fancy me anymore.

    He became more and more distant. Our relationship was extremely painful until he finally told me that he needed to speak to me. He told me that he believes that he has issues when it comes to commitment and that he misses me when he is not with me, but feels anxiety in his stomach when he is and immediately wants to leave. I was shocked and hurt. Straight after this he made love to me to the point where I cried, it was so emotional. The next night he didn’t touch me and was cold towards me again. I couldn’t take anymore of it and ended our relationship the next day.

    He kept curtain calling for about 4 months after, telling me that he was going to get help. I even gave him a copy of the book. He told me that he would read it after I had a stupid moment of weakness and agreed to meet up with him. We ended up fooling around together and I ended up feeling used afterwards.
    Needless to say he never read the book. After four months he started a relationship with another one of our colleagues (breaking my heart further). I moved to a different department so I wouldn’t have to see him and within a matter of months was to,d by friends that he was engaged.

    I have many mutual friends on FB with them both and know that they have recently got married. I have seen the wedding pictures. I do not miss him or my relationship but can’t help but wonder ‘why her, what did I do wrong and why did you just give up on me when you told me I was your everything?

    I never got closure from him, I never got my answers and I never will. I hope that he has changed and won’t treat this girl the same way that he treated me and his previous wife, but is that likely? He turned my life upside down. My high school sweetheart and I are still great friends and we have both moved on for the better.

    What I really want to know is ‘do I ever cross his mind, Does he ever regret the way he treated me and ripped my life apart, do you think he felt the intensity of our connection the same way as I thought he did or was it all an act?’ I feel so mugged off even after all these years. I can’t escape him ever because of work and FB.

    • I’m sure you do cross his mind, but you either represent his failing, so he pushes you out, or he’s wondering if you’re still hooked.

      He’ll do the same thing to the next woman. And the next one after that.

      He already has a history of cheating. Serial cheaters don’t stop cheating without some serious introspection, self-awareness, and therapy.

      I’m so sorry you have to work with him! What a nightmare!!!!!

  37. PUSH-PULL

    A long term relationship dynamic in which one member “pushes” the other away if intimacy becomes too great or the relationship threatens to become “too serious”, yet also “pulls” the pursuer back with signs of interest if the target begins to give up on pursuing the relationship. Typically this habit is the result of some one with a fear of commitment who craves the relationship yet is unwilling to give up the option of keeping all of their options open. Often a form of subtle indecisiveness, in this manner they can effectively stake a claim on the other member with their scent and keep them in relationship purgatory while still being able to jump on a better opportunity if one happens to come along.

  38. They usually have a history of short relationships and they may never have been married – there is often an excuse that they haven’t met the right woman, or they justify their history by saying they still have plenty of time to settle down as they can have children at any age. A favorite line is “someday”.

    If they have been married it is likely to have been for a short time, or, if they have been in a long term relationship or marriage, they will usually have a history of infidelity.

    They want a relationship but they also want freedom and space so they are often attracted to long distance relationships and busy independent women.

    They are fast to move in on a woman they are attracted to, and they pursue ardently until they win the woman over.

    They are very charming. They say and do all the right things and they can be very romantic. They are very good salesmen to get their own needs met, but in reality they have very little concern for the woman’s feelings, as they are always operating from hidden agendas.

    These men are usually very affectionate and loving. This is because in their mind the relationship is not going to be long term, so they feel free to give affection and love, knowing it won’t be forever. It isn’t long though before they suddenly start rejecting the woman, by not ringing or not wanting to see her for days, or not including her in weekend arrangements etc. This is because they subtly want to give the woman the message that they don’t want a long term committed relationship.

    Severe commitment phobics play the seduction/rejection game. They can’t make the decision to give totally to the relationship, but they can’t commit to walk away either. They feel trapped by both choices. They feel love for the woman when they don’t see her, but they want to run away when they become involved again.

    Commitment phobics love the chase but they don’t want the kill. This may happen after 1 night, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months or 1 year. They may start sabotaging just as they are about to get married, or just before or after there’s a decision made to move in together.

    They spin stories to justify their contradictory behaviour, and when the woman threatens to leave the relationship they may make promises to change, but they never do.

    They tend to treat the woman like a mistress rather than a real girlfriend.

    They tend to limit the amount of time they spend with the women and treat her as a low priority.

    Commitment phobic men often will say they want a relationship, but they won’t say they want a “no strings attached” relationship.

    Their behaviours announce subtly…“You will be special for a short time, but it won’t be forever”.

    They often choose women who are not the type of partner they are looking for, for example they may be much older, much younger, married, or they may have different interests. They use these differences as excuses to end relationships.

    They can have a history of frequent career change and often work in environments where they have a certain amount of space and freedom.

    They treat requests for respect as demands and become, angry, obnoxious and rebellious.

    Severe commitment phobics avoid events or outings that may include the woman’s family or friends.

    They know an ongoing sexual relationship often leads to commitment so they choose to run when things start to head in that direction.

    They like to feel in control and create time frames that suit them, often treating the woman like a puppet on a string.

    They don’t like structure, particularly in their personal life.

    They tend to compartmentalize their life and keep their work environment, friends or family off limits. They can create wonderful excuses why the woman shouldn’t meet these people.

    They prefer not to include the woman in their weekend or holiday plans.

    When they get the feeling they need to run, their words and actions are full of mixed messages. They play mind games.

    Commitment phobics don’t allow the relationship to grow and they have no intentions of ever doing so.

    They can be moody or aloof and blame the woman for why they are acting so bizarrely.
    They may withdraw sexually and blame it on the woman for being demanding, or on work fatigue, or illness, or anything else that they can think of.

    They can have a history of unavailability and inaccessibility .They can be hard to contact, and they are often unpredictable when it comes to returning phone calls. They can even avoid answering calls completely.

    They lie, or they are evasive and secretive about where they are and what they are doing to create space.

    Their living arrangements may be rather off-beat. They may have an apartment but they may rarely stay there, preferring to stay at friends places, with parents or ex-girlfriend’s.

    They hate planning ahead because that means commitments.

    Severe commitment phobics may have very little furniture, not own property or a car, as these represent commitment as well. To some buying a car can be as big a decision as deciding to get married – it can be all too much for them as they don’t want to feel stuck with anything.

    They often don’t invite women to their home because of their peculiar living arrangements, but they have no desire to change their situation. Even if their home is comfortable it exudes the feeling that they want to be alone. It is not welcoming to the outside world.

    They are often unreliable, late and sometimes they don’t turn up at all. They are like this with family and friends as well, although this is not the case in their working environment.

    They tend to blame and find fault with the women they are with, and use this as an excuse to end good relationships.

    They are often unfaithful in relationships.

    They can be overly committed to their work or to their children to avoid spending a lot of time with a woman.

    They may create distance by having affairs, mentioning another woman’s name etc.

    Severe commitment phobics rarely lower their defences because they don’t want to get too close to a woman, or vice versa. If they do, they usually only give little pieces of their soul in well- planned instalments, except if they are having an affair. Affairs are perfect for commitment phobics as they feel completely safe to disclose and to chase, as commitment is not an option while they are in another relationship.

    If a man has been married he may void putting his divorce papers through as he can use this as an excuse to keep a woman at bay. This helps him to feel safe from the possibility of ever getting married again.

    Behavioural inconsistencies are very noticeable with these men when they find themselves getting too close. They become argumentive and abusive, or they create distance. A lot of uncaring sabotage behaviours surface eg. working long hours, taking on extra projects, creating space, not ringing, being late, finding fault with the woman etc

    They often choose to travel a lot for work, to play a lot of sport, or be involved in many projects to create distance.

    These men know on some level that they are deceptive and cruel to women.

    The word “forever” terrifies these men. Love doesn’t scare them; rather it is what love represents to them that scares them. This is due to their negative damaged belief system about love and relationships.

    They usually end up behaving worse and worse, and they sabotage more and more because they want the woman to end the relationship as they feel too anxious and guilty to do so.

    Severe commitment phobics can also suffer from claustrophobia and/or a personality disorder.

  39. Thank you for your wonderful blog!Thank you for opening our eyes!
    My story is pretty complicated:( We’re both 23 years old,We’ve been long distance for 7 months now.Even though the distance is an issues I don’t think it’s the biggest issue.I live in LA he lives in NY,I visit him and i have the opportunity to visit him.He visits LA cause he has family here,but he has never visited just to see me.But he’d tell me that i’m the greatest woman he’s ever had.That i’m perfect and i;m too good to him and for him.But he would always contact me on his time and talk to me when he wanted to and answered questions he wanted to answer,i felt like i wasnt totally a part of his life,like he hid a part of himself from me :(and when i wouldnt answer his texts quick enough he’d ask why and made me feel guilt,at the same time it takes him hours and sometimes days to respond.I feel so taken advantage of.:(Yesterday he told me that he wants me to find a good guy in LA and that our relationship wont work cause of distance.Well he’s been saying this for a while now and I kept ignoring it.2 months ago he accidently told me that he has commitment issues cause he was cheated on in the past so he distances himself and he said that’s not good.He said he doesnt feel good enough.And I always felt the distance because whenever he’d be in town he would’t even wanna see me often.And he’d make excuses that he was tired.I know that he has feelings for me because he told me that he has them but he’s in denial and he locks up his emotions because hes afraid to get hurt.last month I came to visit him and stayed with him for a whole week 24/7.It was the first time we actually got close,I saw another side of him.I saw emotion.We had a wonderful time.but then things changed.He stopped initiating contact with me.I’d do all of the contacting and he’d just respond.And whenever i’d start to get emotional he’d change the subject and not want to talk about feelings.Now he’s become so cruel and cold.He talks to me as if i’m his worst enemy and I don’t get it.I’ve been the nicest most caring person to him,i’ve always met his needs and did everything for him and he never did anything for me.Never even spent a dime on me,I always paid.At times he’d also tell me to be mean to him for some reason,idk why :( I keep blaming myself,I think i did something wrong.I’m not good enough.I’m so heart broken.I cant eat,sleep,live a normal life.This whole experience was abuse,emotional abuse :(He did the dumping and It feels wrong cause he deserved the dumping for treating me like crap for 7 months.

    • Yes he does deserve the pain. You don’t. I’m so sorry this happened to you.

      One thing I’ve learned the very hard, heartbroken way is that when a man tells you he’s not good enough for him, BELIEVE HIM.

      Part of the reason you are so very heartbroken now is because of the abuse. The vacillation between affection and cruelty created a deep and strong bond called the betrayal or trauma bond. This is so difficult to break.

      No contact is a must. Cut him completely out of your life. No text. No FB. No peeking on his profiles. No nothing. He is dead to you.

      There is no such thing as too much support at this time. Keep one or two friends close. Friends who will tell you what an abusive dickhead he is but won’t drown you in platitudes. Friends who will listen with compassion as you struggle through the cognitive dissonance.

      You’re in detox now, as he was extremely toxic to you. It felt wonderful, like a drug, but it was really slowly poisoning you. Now it’s time to cleanse & heal.

      Don’t date anyone new for at the very least 6 months, preferably a year. Anyone who you meet between now and then, if they are truly a good guy and not an exploitative asshole will understand and be there when you’re ready.

      Read the books I recommend. They will help so much.

      I wish you peace.

  40. [...] maybe, in some circumstances, “He loved me AND he raped me.” Some people are just so damaged themselves, that they don’t know how to show love in another other way than through abuse. Others [...]

  41. I’m not sure if describing this as a ‘mental illness’ is all that helpful. Isn’t it better to see it as a weakness in interpersonal relationships, perhaps combined with many of the underlying insecurities that are mentioned? Sometimes it does more harm than good to ‘pathologise’ behaviours and look for certain ‘types’ – there’s certainly a long and lively debate about this in the literature – but while it may sometimes be harder and less immediately cathartic for us, it seems more honest to admit that the situation is actually pretty complicated.

    A small example of what could be a problem – one comment refers to ‘commitmentphobes’ as not ‘buying anything, renting furniture etc.’ This could be very much a socially determined understanding of the phenomena. In many countries, especially Europe (e.g. Germany), renting is a common practice, and the idea of ‘owning’ things is, while nice, not always as important as in the USA, where property rights etc. are an important social and economic consideration and matter of security.

    There are all sorts of factors. While I’m not condoning lying to and using other people, which of course is wrong, I think sometimes we have to see the act of naming something and then basing our understanding around this as just one strategy among many…in a complicated world! E.g. while there is certainly some truth in likening inability to choose items on a menu with ‘commitment phobia’, it’s also the case that sometimes it is just damn difficult to decide! Perhaps it’s also a comment on our necessarily flexible and dynamic modern values – we simply don’t want nor should we just take the same thing all the time…It works for menus, but doesn’t always work out so well for relationships! Great discussion and blog though, because we can’t come to an understanding of our values and who we are these days without what John Stuart Mill calls ‘experiments in living’…

    (I came across the blog researching ‘abandonment issues’, and ended up making a connection – seems like a good thing anyway :) )!

    • Agreed. Behaviors and patterns are over-pathologized, something I discuss in another post.

      As with every disorder or issue or behavioral pattern, there is a spectrum. Not being able to make choices on a menu or keeping from owning anything as part of a cultural norm aren’t enough to consider the behavior pathological.

      I’m mainly talking about people who habitually, consciously, and methodically exploit, deceive, and destroy others in romantic relationships. This is an early post in a series written last year in the aftermath of a traumatic event and subsequent breakup. Through my research and desire for understanding, this idea of the commitmentphobe was relevant, and it open the door to discovering deeper issues, such as sociopathic narcissism and rape.

      Agreed, writing it off as a mental illness suggests these jerks don’t have a choice. They most certainly do, and the choose to hurt again and again.

  42. This post has been extremely helpful. I would like to extend my gratitude for the information provided in your post. Unlike many of you, I am a 25 year old man who is currently in this situation. I have been a commitment phobe to some extent. However, I am extremely honest, and always let women know where I see things going. I have been heart broken in the past, and promised myself I wouldn’t even do it to another person.
    I have been single for the past 4 years, and have always avoided relationships. I currently go to school and work as a club promoter, constantly meeting women. about 4 months ago, I met this beautiful girl through a friend. although her first impression didn’t initially captivate my attention, I suddenly began to feel a strong attraction. She was the complete opposite of what I thought she was. She was loyal, smart, funny, independent, and serious about her career and education. to be honest, my first impression was “stuck up brat who thinks she can do what ever she wants because she is hot”. long story short we randomly started hooking up on weekends after parties and suddenly found ourselves seeing each other 4 days a week. at this point, we would spend day and night together enjoying each other’s company along with amazing sex. it was so obvious we both began to really like each other. although I may be younger, I am experienced enough to know how to play the game. although we always hung out, I would have my own life and never became clingy or needed. This obviously made her attracted. After the first month, thing became very intimate and romantic. we were like teenagers, being lovey dovey and constantly playing and having tons of sex. after 3 months, we both knew we liked each other. At this point I decided to bring up dating (which I never do first). I was under the impression that it was definitely going to happen. she was against the idea and told me she was a commitment phobe. she simply said “I don’t date”. knew she had mentioned it at first when discussing the last guy she spent a yr talking to and ended the relationship herself. I had never dealt with one of these women and didn’t think much of it. I simply believed that it was probably the guy instead of her. I tried to be understanding and told her we needed to tone t hings down because I didn’t want more emotions to get involved if it was never going to go anywhere. This is where she freaked. saying I ruined everything for bringing commitment up so soon and it was completely my fault. I spent that entire week beating myself in the head and blaming myself. Now I know it is her excuse. I am a prideful guy and decided to simply tone things down a bit but keep seeing her, giving her more space to feel comfortable and hopefully rekindle that amazing spark we had before the dating conversation. Suddenly she completely changed. one day shes distant, the next shes super intimate and lovey dovey. It has been a roller coaster ride these past 2 weeks. Both mentally and emotionally draining on my part. We have gotten into a few dramatic arguments in these last two weeks. On Friday I went over her place and we had such a great time. the next night, she was completely distant in front of our friends. She wouldn’t even let me talk to her or kiss her. I got upset and told her I was leaving. Why would I stay there speaking to myself in the corner? Once I get my stuff and walked out, she chased me out and made a scene. I’ve never seen a girl talk so much crap and try to apologize at the same time. it was so obvious that she cared about me so much she couldn’t see me leave, not knowing she was the reason I left. It was as if she was two completely different people. we eventually made up and she was lovey dovey again. I just shut up and enjoyed it haha. things have been crazy. when we go out as a group I try to keep my cool and not get jealous when i see guy hit on her, but it has been getting real tough. this past weekend i asked her with we were doing and she told me i stress her out and pressure her. (which I don’t). she told me to hook up with other girls and I calmly said it was a good idea and I have had a blast and don’t regret it. I walked away and within five minutes met another girl. I decided to just have fun. then entire night she kept looking at us and clearly jealous. although I left my car at her place knowing we would go back as usual I decided to give her a taste of her own medicine. I completely ditched the group and slept at my friend’s house, making it seem as if I left with the new girl. although it may have been immature, I felt like she needed to see it. I ignored at 12 texts and 10 missed calls from 2-5 am. i couldn’t understand why someone who cared for you so much would try so hard to push you away. i tried to be honest and tell her nothing happened but obviously she doesn’t really believe me. Oh well.. we have talked a bit all week and I took her out for the first time in a while last night. she was distant and didn’t seem interested. once we got to her place it was all lovey dovey and intimate once again. this has been a completely roller coaster. logically my mind tells me to avoid because it will only lead to heartbreak, but emotionally I try and find hope. I have feelings for her and I am too foolish to end it. the sad part is that she really really likes me. even her best friend tells me she does. when she sees me pull away she freaks out and tried her best to pull me back in. its obvious she doesn’t want to loose me. This is so messed up, I have no idea what to do… I have other options but I an simply not interested in anyone else but her. these past 2 weeks however, only continue to painfully ruin the spark.

    • I’m so sorry you’re gong through this. It sounds incredibly painful for the both of you.

      It also sounds very passionate, which is the way things are with Commitmentphobes, as they give their all knowing it won’t be long. Remember this: “passion” comes from the Greek pathos, meaning to suffer.

      These games you’re playing aren’t healthy, in fact they’re very damaging to you both. More to you, I’d gather with how you feel.

      I suggest you do some research on attachment styles as well as read the book I suggested.

      Breaking it off is so painful, I know. Shattering. It will be that much worse in the long run if you don’t. Alternatively, you should at least get into therapy to explore these patterns and such so, of not with her, you’ll soon be able to have a healthy relationship. If she’ll go with you together, even better. I’m quite sure she won’t, however.

      At the very least, stop fucking long enough to talk to each other. Relationships based on sexual passion never last. You must have a more solid base. Establish some true intimacy out of bed. Share fears & find out what she’s so afraid of. Ask her if she ever wants a relationship with real intimacy. Lasting. if so, shes got a lot of shit to sort out first. If she has any sense of compassion and empathy, she’ll have to know she can’t keep hurting people like this. If she doesn’t, she’s likely a narcissist and more dangerous than you know.

      If you’re 25 and she’s older, then she’s old enough (by far) to be taking responsibility for her actions. Hurting other people again and again to have a whirlwind fuckfest of ecstasy is not only cruel and irresponsible, it’s the hallmark trait of a narcissist and maybe even a sociopath.

      This is not a game. These are people’s hearts and souls. This is your heart and soul.

      I’m glad you found it helpful. May you find peace.

      • I totally agree. for the past 3 weeks we have dramatically toned down the sex. out of the last 4 times we have hung out, we have only had sex once. I have stopped playing those games as well. I am to old for the childish games. If i am uncomfortable or unhappy with her actions I simply let her know and leave. She can bitch all she wants but the fact that every guy she has dealt with have always given her the power to do as she pleases. I refuse to be that guy. She now knows she can loose me at any time. It is so tiring to always be the mature person in this relationship. It has been killing the attraction. She admits the commitment issues but I don’t see her trying.. then again she might be, she just hides her emotions. it saddens me to see a young woman ruin her chance at happiness. she told me the last 3 guys she talked to hate her because she could never commit. I am glad she is opening up to me slowly but she has major trust issues. I am happy she is feeling more comfortable with me to share this. not only this but the fact that her parents currently put her in the middle of a bad divorce. it is so sad hearing her dad on the phone threatening her to tell her mom to settle or else he won’t pay for her graduate school. it breaks my heart. As much as I should probably end it, I cannot help but feel the need to be there for her even though she hides the pain real well. As of now, I will only see her 2-3 times a week and keep things positive. I will not invest as much as I use to in order to prevent more emotions on my part. I need to learn to control my emotions and learn to accept the fact that things might end. thanks again for your help. I don’t know anyone who has dealt with a commitment phobe, so thank God for blogs in order to share people’s personal experiences and advice

      • You’re very welcome. I’m right here anytime you need to talk more. You can also email me.

        Sounds like she’s going through an emotional maelstrom at the moment, and her father’s behavior is extremely abusive.

        She has trust issues, and it’s good for you both to accept that. Now it’s up to her to do something about that with your support.

        Something horrible might have happened to her, and that’s why she has trust issues. If her father has been emotionally abusive like this for her whole life, that could be a big part of it. Perhaps she’s afraid of ending up with an emotionally and/or physically abusive SOB like her father.

        Identifying what you are most afraid of and what she’s most afraid of can truly build intimacy between you and deepen your relationship, making sex an expression of love and a way to deepen that intimacy rather than a series of feel-good chemicals and orgasms.

        Take a step towards intimacy, turn I to each other, and see how scary that is. Then, when you’re utterly terrified, you turn into each other again. It’s not the other than you’re afraid of, it’s the monsters inside yourselves.

        Good luck to you both.

  43. I’m the person you all seem to have such disdain for. I’m currently still in my relationship, but have put a completely selfish strain on it as of late. We were about to move in together, we signed a lease, and I backed out with just a week before move in. I’m well aware that I have some sort of commitment issues from my relationships in the past. After my last ltr I took 3 years off, just because I recognized my patterns, and hated myself for the wake of hurt and destruction my actions had caused. When I got into my now 1 yr and 6 mo relationship I was very cautious, but completely in love with my girlfriend. I got really sad and disappointed in myself when I started to have feelings of needing to break things off. Our relationship is great, and could be described as the ideal relationship emotionally and sexually. Right now I feel so horrible about stringing this beautiful human being along while I try and work through whatever makes me need to sabotage my relationships. I can see clearly that I’ve done this unconsciously, but on purpose, and I do not feel good about it. My mind is in a place right now where I don’t want to lose my girlfriend, but I don’t want to get entrenched in something that could just make things even harder in the long run. This is selfish to go on this way, but I’m in a place where I don’t know what to do. She doesn’t deserve this, and is no way at fault. I’m not standing up for the other side of this post, just adding to the dialogue as someone who knows they have an issue, but doesn’t know what to do. Thanks for your posts and responses, and I’m sorry for everyone’s lost. For the record I have never been physically or emotionally abusive. Although after reading your posts I can see how my actions could be perceived as emotional abuse, and it makes me feel even worse. I don’t feel sorry for myself, but regretful for the pattern I continue to repeat. I want to save my relationship, say all the right things, and make it better; but am just so scared that I’m setting myself up to repeat the whole thing again. The other side of all this is not easy; I’m willing to change, I just don’t know how.

    • You are far, far ahead of most commitmentphobes. I’m very impressed with your comment & willingness to change.

      First, voice what you are so very afraid of. Tell me if you can’t tell anyone else. Ultimately, your going to have to open up to your GF. Facing those fears is what’s it about. Turning into those fears.

      It’s like trying to run away from a wave. You’ll exhaust yourself and still get bowled over. Turn into the wave and dive through it.

      There will be pain and disappointment. There will be sadness and difficult times. These are what real relationships look like.

      Read the book I recommend in the post.

      You don’t have to “string her along.” Take her on the journey with you.

      So, tell me what you’re so afraid of.
      They’ll be someone better? Someone more perfect for you? Someone easier? Someone who lets you be you? Afraid of losing yourself?

      I’m glad you see some of your behavior might be abusive. Most abusers don’t intend to abuse. They’re just unconscious that what they do is abusive.

      Please don’t take my disdain personally. This “commitmentphobe” I speak of actually turned out to be a sociopath who raped me, so I have a lot of anger around him and men like him because they hide behind charm and looks and privilege, leaving a wake of distraction at which they scoff, writing it off as “over emotional women.”

      You sound like you’re trying to change, and you’re already different by acknowledging you have this problem and it is your, not her, responsibility.

      Big difference.

      Now, I challenge you to take the next step. Define your fears out loud. Take her on the journey with you. Go to therapy & work through your shit.

  44. Thanks for the response, and for not laying into me. It saddens me to read that someone could do something so horrible to you, and to know that those people exist in this world. It’s disgusting, and I’m sorry.

    Honestly, it has been really hard to tell her how I feel about things, and to even express it to myself…mainly because I just opened up this dialogue, and like most partners of commitmentphobes, she didn’t know that I felt this way.

    I’m afraid that I won’t continue to excel creatively and professionally. I’m afraid that I’ll lose something of myself not operating autonomously. The ever present man animal that is inside me also finds it hard to see myself with one person. I’d love to explore what it’s like to be with other people, but it seems like it might not be what I actually want, when I’m in love with the person that I’m with. Another huge fear that I have expressed is that I know I’m this way, and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time that wants a long term commitment, marriage, and even children. I feel like I’m taking someone else’s life away, knowing in the back of my head that it will end one day.

    I’ve been totally faithful in my adult relationships, and I wouldn’t cheat on anyone. When I say I don’t want to string someone along, I’m saying this because even if I invest myself in figuring out why I keep repeating these patterns, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll arrive at the conclusion that I want to be with this person. I can’t help but feel so selfish, because I know I’m being that way. She is totally devoted, and now it’s all up to me. I can’t give her the immediate reassurance that she needs to hear because I’m not sure, and it wouldn’t be right. She has suggested therapy to me, and I’m currently looking into it. I’m willing to change, but I’m a little worried that I’ll land where I already am. I have no fear of being alone, just the fear that I’ll toss someone aside and deeply regret it. Like I keep saying; I know this is selfish, but it’s what I’m dealing with. Thanks for your thoughts.

  45. I am going through exactly this since 2 weeks ago. Monday night, he said “I love you”. Wednesday morning, he says he wanted us to break.

    I had no idea!

    I told him that he should know by now that he is in a holding pattern even though when he met me, he says that he has been seeing a PSY and wishes a long-term. At the time I met him, I had no clue about this neurosis!

    His previous girlfriend, who was bipolar suffered immensely – atttempted suicide, etc.

    I am restarting my life and wham… this comes along… We have been together only 8 months.

    He tells me he knows about his neurosis. Yet again, he does not seem to want to take responsibility for his actions. He says that he cannot be responsible for the women he has relationships with, which tells me that this guy really does not have a clue about the havoc and emotional devastation he causes.

    It is emotional violence. Yet he justifies it by saying that it also hurts him to break up.

    Well… I am with a lot of people here. These people should stop ‘falling in love’, seducing then rejecting. Life is hard enough as it is. They should be given some kind of medication to help them resist their impulses to go around and around a wheel like a freaking hamster and causing havoc and emotional violence. It is like mind and heart rape…

    They are so casual and blase when they say that “each one has the right to change their mind and fall out of love…” . But when asked what changed in me – he said nothing… It’s not me but it’s him… Mind and heart rape – that’s what it is….

    I wonder if anything truly bloody violent ever happened because of the suffering that these commitment phobic have caused. I would not be surprised.

    • I’m right there with you. And, yes, something violent often happens. The commitmentphobe that inspired this post raped me. Twice. In fact, he turned out to be a sociopathic narcissist, not just a commitmentphobe. That was just a symptom of a deeper, more horrific pathology. Although many commitmentphobes are narcissists.

      I think they’re well aware of the emotional havoc they cause, and many of them get off on it. It makes them feel powerful. It’s so easy to say “I’m dealing with my shit,” but when they continue to make the same mistakes and choices over and over again, they’re really not doing a damn thing.

      Look up my poem “look into my eyes” in the search field in the right sidebar. It was before I understood that he had also sexually raped me (serious denial & trapped in betrayal bond), but long before I accepted that fact, I knew that he had emotionally and spiritually raped me.

      I’m not surprised that his former girlfriend is bipolar. Emotional predators like him prey on those struggling with mentally illness. Those women are extremely passionate, so the predator gets a great high during the relationship and feels extra powerful when it ends.

      May you find peace.

  46. HI Omgrey. I wanted to give an update. My “phobie” (I like to refer to him that way) and I broke up now about 9 months ago (together about 2.5 years). I am finally starting to feel a significant change. He is stil with the poor “next victim” that he started dating 3 weeks after our breakup. I am now dating someone else too. It has been a nice change. When I remember our relationship, it is not so rose colored anymore. I remember how much he hurt me, compartmentalized me and trivialized my feelings. He gave me such mixed messages and hurt me so very badly. I hope that I have learned from this experience and grown. My boyfriend now is entirely different. I’m excited for our future.

    The one thing that I know and believe in, is karma. And Karma can be a bitch. So my philosophy is to be nice to one another. Because ultimately treating people so badly exacts a very high price. And the commitmentphobic person is the one that will pay that one. Peace and be well. :) Thank you for your post.

    • I’m so pleased you’re doing well!! Once out of that betrayal bond, the blinders come off and you see it for what it was, like you said. They’re very good at administering that blinding, euphoric drug that keeps you distracted while they drain and damage you. Yes, indeed.

      I hope you’re right about Karma.

      Thank you for writing again. xo

  47. I have come across your blog out of pure helplessness into getting over a textbook CP. After reading every last story, comment, and reply, I am even more ashamed of my passive CP behavior. Longer than anyone above, I have continued the typical cycle of off and on for 5 years. After one of our longest breaks, about a year into it, for about 5 months, I too, had picked up “Men who can’t love”, in the pile of self help, psychology, Christian, even astrology books, that I had accumulated in effort to find something, anything, that could aid in easing the worst heartache I have ever endured in my 43 year old life. I read it, knew it’s truths, and had started reading “He’s scared, she’s scared”, when I let his mere interest in me again, slip me into it’s denial. I have wasted so many years obsessing over a man who, in the end, never even knew my middle name. I knew so much about him, his family, friends, his work, his past, his day-to-day routine, his ex’s and not-so-ex ex’s, that when slapped with the reality of the “relationship”, (Suddenly treated as if I or we never existed) I realized I had become that dreaded “psycho ex-girlfriend” who, so many times before, I had judged as pathetic and weak, as they couldn’t get over someone who obviously didn’t want them. Even though I believe wholeheartedly that these men DO walk among us, I always slip back into the hurtful fact that I was never good enough. I was the one that would always call, or text, after about 6 weeks of “trying to finally move on”, or “this is the last time”, only to start the cycle of suffering all over again. December 7th of last year, a week into an on again phase, his Mr. Hyde provoked for the first time a physical altercation that put him in jail on 3 counts of battery and a bond restriction of no contact until sentencing. In June, I managed a way to con him into seeing me, to “talk about” what happened that night, engaging in the shortest, most hurtful, and last get together. Ending in typical CP fashion, stripped of any worth that I had left with each unanswered attempt to provoke a response, ANY response, rather than face the hard truth, like so many times before, only, THIS time, THIS time, now that I’m left with no self esteem, no dignity, no one, that hasn’t heard the same shit time and time again that I can talk too, with my faith crumbling and my strength long gone.THIS time I realize that no amount of therapy, prayer, sobriety, reading, writing, pain, reality, denial, hope, or thoughts of ending it all, will ever change someone else. This time I realize that I am the only one that can make change possible, shit, what do I have to lose?

    • Here’s what you have to lose: That scumbag. For good this time.

      Without his mind games and manipulation and gaslighting, just think how far you can go! You will not only heal, but you will shine in your freedom.

      Seek out some support, please. Visit a domestic/intimate partner violence center for counseling. Find a good therapist who understands this kind of insidious abuse. Those kinds of people will help validate you and start the healing. They will help keep you out of his twisted reality.

      You know nothing will change him. He’s worse than a monster because he has a choice. He CHOOSES to keep hurting you in this way. He CHOOSES to abuse you and fuck with your mind. He’s worse than a monster.

      You’re not alone.
      May you find peace.

      • Found out Today that his case was dismissed after he was finished attending some anger management, community service, and paid a fine. His attorney was his best friend and cousin, as well as “one of the best criminal defense lawyers in the county”, which I was told by the solicitor of his case. The police photographs and pictures of my own depicting my injuries were what the solicitor exclaimed, “Not bloody or gory enough to really bring to a trial”. The word “DISMISSED” now carries a weight and a vulgar finality in it that I never knew before. I’m not hurt anymore, hurt comes from sincere feelings. I am angry. And for the first time I see him for the creep he truly is. My lack of compassion drove me to exposing him in a Facebook page, with invitation to anyone who would like to post pictures, names, or simply vent upon it. I’ve fondly named the page, “RUN LIKE HELL FROM KELL!!”, check it out when you can!

      • I’m glad you’re angry. A therapist once told me that anger is the beginning of “I deserve better.” You do.

        Be angry. You have every right and reason. Use it to fuel your healing.

        I’m sorry about the trial, and I wish I could say I was surprised. I’ve come to the harsh realization there is no justice when it comes to violence against women. None. Zero. Not in this rape culture patriarchy. The only justice is what we exact ourselves. Good for you for the FB page.

        go to a domestic violence counselor and get help for the PTSD. They understand and will help you not e further hurt by this scumbag.

  48. Wow – there’s a lot of mutual support going on here. Not much diversity of opinion. Some pretty ugly stories. Very little acceptance of responsibility.

    For anyone interested, there is another perspective, that of the ordinary decent “commitment phobe”, or “avoidant”.

    I understand, some of you were dealing with psychopaths, rapists, and severely disordered personalities. The comments that follow do not address your situations.

    But there are ordinary, decent avoidants out here, trying to find love and acceptance in a world that expects – by default, demands – too much. Maybe you’d like to learn a little about us.

    We’re in a complete lose-lose with people like most of the posters here (who have an “anxious” attachment style – and who, ironically, are strongly attracted to us). If we play along with your fantasies, i.e. lie to you, we’re scum (fair enough). If we tell you the truth, then treat you badly, we’re scum (fair enough). But if we tell you the truth, and treat you well, we’re still scum? No, it’s you who need to own that one. (By the way, some of you are very scary people who stalk and even kill or , too commonly, have those “accidental” pregnancies – way to damage lives!)

    We all grow up hearing the pair-bonding theory of love: when you love someone who is also a sex partner you will want to be joined at the hip forever, and never want anyone else (the polys here have spotted one falsehood already!). So we try. And it doesn’t work for us, but it takes us a while to figure out why. Maybe we panic and run at some point – I did – and hurt someone. We hurt too: the message we internalized didn’t work, and we’re confused and lonely, and we know we’ve hurt people we love, and it sucks. And if we’re not psychopaths (mostly we’re not), once we realize that the common thread is us, we apologize and we try to change.

    Some of us “suck it up” and commit – as we’re encouraged to do by society and most self help books (including “He’s Afraid…”) and too many psychologists. This can lead to absolute misery, the phenomenon of being trapped in a relationship with a person whom you love, who is very likely loving and good, while hating every minute of it and knowing that guilt will never let you destroy their life for your mistake – until, of course, maybe you do. Part of the misery is the fear that, sooner or later, you will.

    If “suck it up” won’t work, what other advice do we get? We get told (in no particular order): take it one day at a time; don’t run; be honest – but don’t use brutal honesty as a way to push a partner away; don’t make commitments (that’s not fair), but do leave room for the possibility that you may not go (don’t push away); don’t mistreat your partner; don’t cheat, or use other distancing strategies; don’t be hurtful to your partner; be supportive and try to meet your partners needs; ignore feelings that this situation isn’t right for you, because those feelings can’t be trusted… In other words, we’re told to simulate the ideal partner, to the extent we can, and to ignore signs of trouble. Can you see how someone trying their very best to behave non-avoidantly and kindly might be exactly what you’re looking for, to spin a fantasy around? This person told you the truth up front and is now NOT pushing you away – wasn’t that what you said you wanted, instead of bad behavior? So, if someone was behaving badly, who was it?

    When this person finally says, hold it, I’m intolerably uncomfortable with your attempts to engulf me (as they experience it), I can understand your pain – really I can! – but do you at least accept responsibility for creating the fantasy around someone you knew didn’t want that? This is a person who cares about you and is being supportive of you, to whom you are probably their most intimate relationship: the fantasy, though, was your creation.

    Once you create that fantasy, what are we to do? To some extent, we live with it – we have our escape fantasies, you have your merger fantasies, and we know better than to take every fantasy seriously. The danger is that we tolerate too much of it, and wind up realizing that any attempt to re-connect you to reality is going to hurt you a lot. Sadly, part of the reason we are avoidant is that we get engulfed by relationships: once in, we can’t bring ourselves to hurt you – in fact, we do everything we can for you – until our own desperation reaches a point where we have no choice. I admit, we’re not always good at handling things when we’re flooded by panic.

    The tears you see in avoidants’ eyes are not fake. Avoidants can be quite sentimental. We may love touching stories, and puppies. We have friends we love. We love our parents and siblings – just as you do. We love you. We feel pain and loss of separation from them – and from you. But, unlike you, we do not dream of merging with any of the people we love: just as you have always known you were separate from your parents and your intimate friends in high school and college, have always known you would have to separate from them some day as your lives diverged and grew, so we feel about our lovers. It will be sad; it will be painful, maybe terribly so; we will be lonely and miss you and be jealous of your new loves later; but deep down we know that sooner or later, very likely, it will be time. And, imagine how you’d feel if your parents, or your best-closest-most intimate friend in college thought they had a right to keep you for life, how you’d feel at the thought of the pain your truth was going to cause them? Getting even a sense of the picture?

    So, you anxious, clingy types, avoid us by all means – we’d be happier too, if you would: we dread the realization that our cool, collected, mature lover is yet another indulger in runaway merger fantasies. But you don’t: you chase us and create romances around even the worst of us, and you break the hearts of the best of us by making us responsible for the pain that stems from your ungrounded fantasies. And after you do, it was always our fault.

  49. I resent your stereotypes of commitment phobes because I am one right now and I’m really struggling. I’m also a woman, by the way, and I found this post because I’m trying to find places on the internet that will give me advice on how to change.

    I spend a lot of my time reassuring my fiance that it’s not him making me this way, it’s me. We don’t always blame the other person. Some of us are in tune with what is actually happening.

    I’m also in therapy and trying to deal with my emotional trauma that made me this way the best I can.

    I haven’t run from the relationship, even though I feel hysterical a lot and I try to be intimate with my fiance, even though sometimes it makes me hysterical to talk to him about things.

    I also feel incredibly guilty whenever I get commitment phobia problems because I know I am hurting him and try as hard as I can to comfort him.

    Yes, some of us are commitment phobic, but not all of us are a-holes. Some of us are trying to deal with the trauma of the past that made us this way and trying very hard to change. It’s just not easy. At all.

    • Glad you’re working on it. Most don’t. The one I dealt with didn’t, and he ended up raping me as punishment.

      If you resent what you read here, go elsewhere. No one is forcing you to be here or to read what I’ve written.

  50. I got mixed up with a horrifying abuser, commitmentphobe and sex addict. I am sick of thinking about what he did to me, but I would like to out him for the torture he put me through. AARON JACOVES. He is an emotional predator. Run away!

  51. Here’s my story:
    I (26/m) went on a date with a girl (25/f) 3 months ago and we REALLY hit it off. From that point, we grew very close and within a few weeks we were sleeping over at each other’s houses 4 to 5 nights a week. About 1 month in, we told each other we loved each other. I knew it was real love because of the little things she would do like pick a booger out of my nose or pop a zit for me. I met her family and she met mine and everyone got alone great. We went on a vacation together and everything went well.
    3 Months into the relationship, she all of a sudden told me that she needed space. She said it didn’t have anything to do with me, but she had some things that she had to figure out on her own. I didn’t know how to react to this because nobody has ever told me they needed space before; I am not the smothering type of person. I am going to give you a breakdown of the week before she announced she needed space:
    Monday- we cooked dinner and spent the night at her house. There was a bad vibe at the end of the night over a small argument about turning the TV off to go to bed. I wanted to watch TV and she wanted to sleep so I turned it off, no big deal.
    Tuesday- She texted me in the morning asking how I slept and what I wanted to do tonight. We ended up going out to eat and had a really emotional conversation about our beliefs on death. I told her that I believe we turn off “like a light switch” and nothing happens. She is more spiritual and believes in heaven, but not particularly religious. I don’t think she liked me “light switch” answer very much, but she didn’t make a big deal of it. Other than that the conversation was great and we were both really into it. We slept at my house and had really passionate sex.
    Wednesday- we woke up Wednesday morning to go to work and when I was about to get up she rolled on top of me for literally 15 minutes, basically dry humping me. She wouldn’t let me get up. She just wanted to be close to me. After work, she cooked me dinner at her house. I didn’t sleep with her this night because I had such a crazy workday on Thursday that I wanted to get a lot of rest at my house. I didn’t want to get a bad night’s sleep like I did at her place on Monday, so I told her I was sleeping at my house. She was completely okay with this and didn’t make a big deal of it at all. I texted her when I got back to my house and said “I love you, great dinner thanks so much!” and she replied “Love you! You’re welcome baby.”
    Thursday- This is the day that everything changed. I texted her in the morning “Good morning” and she texted me back “Good morning baby, hope you have a great day get shit done ***smiley face***” There was still a great vibe. I call her after work and she says that she is going shopping at Costco with her parents and would be done around 7:45. She said she would eat with her parents, so I should grab something before I came to her house. I planned accordingly, picked up food, and called her around 7:45. She didn’t answer, so I texted her “Where are you, should I leave my house?” She didn’t respond so I ended up eating the food in my car and waiting in my car after for around 30 mins. She finally texted me back “NOW (all caps).” I arrive at her house and inside are her and her parents- dividing up the groceries they bought at Costco. Her parents are going to take some back to their house and she is going to keep some at hers. As soon as I walked in the door there was a strange vibe that I could feel. My gf didn’t look at me or acknowledge me. I talked to her parents, who I had met 4 times before and they seem to really like me (my gf mentioned several times they would ask about me and how I was doing). Her parents finally leave and we say goodbye to them. I sit down on the couch and watch TV and she is putting her groceries away. We don’t speak for TWO HOURS. I have no idea what the reason is, but the vibe was so odd that I just didn’t say anything and neither did she. She didn’t even know that I was upset with her for making me eat and wait in my car for over 45 mins when she told me she would be back home. We end up talking and we get into bed. I tell her I want to shower in the morning before work, so she asks if I can wake up a little earlier than normal because she wants to be able to get in the bathroom too. I say absolutely, but the vibe is still strange. We turn the TV off immediately and I start to go to sleep. About an hour later she grabs my leg and pulls herself close and we have sex.
    Friday- I wake up early like she wanted me to, shower, and walk back into her room and turn the light on. I turned the light on because I thought she had to get up like she had said. She yelled at me for turning it on and said she was going to sleep a little bit longer. I said okay in a mean tone because I was mad I woke up early for nothing. A few hours later I text her “Hope you have a good day” she texts back “Thanks” I text back “you’re welcome.” Again, a very strange, hostile vibe. She texts me to “call when I get off of work.” When I call, I tell her I am going to happy hour with some work people and invite her. She said that she isn’t going out tonight because she has to help her sister with her baby shower early the next morning. She is going to get a Christmas tree with her best friend and call it a night. I end up staying at happy hour until about 10PM and get decently buzzed. We talked on the phone a few times during that period, and I cannot remember exactly what was said, only that we “needed to talk Saturday morning.”
    Saturday- I text her in the morning “Good morning” and “I miss you”. She calls me immediately and says she needs space. I don’t understand because I thought our relationship was amazing. I felt like I have done everything the best boyfriend should do and I felt blindsided and very hurt- She said we have been getting on each other’s nerves and the “light switch” thing really freaked her out- She said she thinks we maybe too different and she said that we moved too fast and we have only been dating for 3 months- Due to the fact that I couldn’t understand what lead this to happen- I told her I would NOT wait on her and that she could pick up her things from my house- we talked again later and eventually I said I would wait for her and that these have been the happiest 3 months of my life- she said she “needed to hear that.”
    We don’t speak at all for THREE days! Each day that goes by, I start to lose my composure a little more. Finally, I text her on Tuesday to please talk to me. She responds a few hours later that “I didn’t mean to hurt you. You are an amazing guy and deserve better. I just don’t think us being together is a good idea.” After I receive this text, I begin to text her a bunch of times. I ask her for her reasoning, and to at least give me closure. I call her and she doesn’t answer. She doesn’t respond to any of my texts. She finally responds hours later that she “doesn’t know what else to say and she feels terrible.” I still have not gotten any closure from her.
    I reach out to her best friend and ask her why this happened. Here is that conversation via Facebook: ME: I know this is going to be an awkward message, but I don’t feel like I have any other option. (Name omitted) suddenly broke things off today, and I cannot understand why. I am in a really bad place right now and she won’t talk to me at all. I just want to know why this is happening; I have been a supportive and caring boyfriend. Her previous boyfriends were none of that. She won’t give me any closure and is ignoring me. If you could please give me some closure that would go a long way. Could you please tell me why she did this? It came out of nowhere, we were in love on Thursday and broken up Friday. Does she still have feelings for her ex? Is there another guy? Did I smother her? Any info you give me could help bring me closure. I am so dead inside from this. I really thought (Name omitted)was the love of my life. I just don’t understand how I could love her so much and all of a sudden it was taken away for an unknown reason. Please help me.
    HER FRIEND: I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. I haven’t talked to her since she ended things; I only knew that she wanted some space and time to think about where things were going. I know that you were a great boyfriend to her, and she knows that too.. I think she just feels that it wasn’t right. There is no other guy. I wish I could give you the closure that you need, but all I know is that she feels that she needs to figure herself out before getting so serious with anyone… Maybe just give her some time and she’ll call you. I don’t really know what else to say. I do know that she had a great time with you and really cared for you.
    After Tuesday when she texted me that “she didn’t mean to hurt me and I’m a great guy and deserve better but she didn’t think it was a good idea for is to be together”, I was crushed. She didn’t respond to any of my texts or calls other than to say, “I don’t know what else to say I feel terrible.” So the next day, Wednesday, I texted her this:
    “You need to do something to make me feel better. I am in really bad shape right now. We need to sit down and have an adult conversation- no arguing no judging. This is affecting my work and I need to be able to at least do my job. I don’t have a problem giving you time to do this as long as we set a date to talk. You need to be honest and frank with me and I will accept whatever you have to say and will do my best to move on. I will not judge you. I will never think poorly of you. I need this for my own good. I feel like I deserve this.”

    I waited a few hours and got no response. I talked to my sister in law for a while and determined that even though I was dying inside, perhaps I was being selfish by attempting to pressure her for a response. So a few hours later I sent her this:

    “I think I finally understand what happened. There is no need to explain yourself. Please know that I think you are a great person and I will always hold a special place in my heart for you. You have taught me so much about life and love. You were the best person I have ever been with because your love was so warm. You genuinely loved me for who I am. You picked buggers out of my nose and popped my pimples. That is true love and that is why I loved you as much as I did. You have so much to offer. I hope you realize that. You are something special in a world full of dullness. You are a diamond in the rough. You are rare. Goodbye (Name omitted). I will always love you.”

    She didn’t respond at all until the next morning, around 14 hrs later. This is what she sent and how I followed up:

    Her: “Thank you for that! You’re a great person Max. If you could put my jacket outside I’d appreciate it. ”

    Me: “ok I will leave it outside”

    2 hrs later…

    Me: “I’m glad you can get it back. Don’t worry ab me or my feelings. ”

    That was over three weeks ago, and I haven’t talked to her since. I am still so upset about this. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Sometimes I wonder if she is even upset. I am so in the dark about everything, it’s like she basically hasn’t said anything to me at all.

    Now let me give you some background about her:
    She was a wild child in high school and did some heavy drugs such as cocaine and pills. When she was 19, her bf at the time and her went to a friends’ house and everyone was high on something, I think acid. Her bf and his friend ended up getting into an argument and her bf was stabbed and killed in front of her. This was very tragic for her. She ended up spending 3 years in rehab in another state after that to try to deal with emotional issues caused from that. After rehab, she started dating a guy in this other state. They dated for a year and he was a HUGE alcoholic. He drank an entire bottle of vodka every day. She finally had enough in JULY 2013 and moved back home (to my state). We started dating in SEPTEMBER 2013. She began taking classes at our local community college to try to get into nursing school. She also works part-time at a pre-school.
    Here is some background on me:
    I was never into drugs, as I watched a parent battle addiction and knew better than to make the same mistake. I was always a “good kid” and didn’t get into much trouble. I finished my undergraduate degree in 4 years and recently finished graduate school and got my MBA. I have a very good job and have a lot going for me.
    She mentioned a few times during the relationship that she thinks, “I am out of her league.” I do not think so at all and love the person that she is. I think that her past makes her extremely strong and that is really attractive to me. I think part of it could be that I want to save her though, and link her with my parent who battled addiction.
    Here are my theories, as I would like to get your thoughts as well:
    1. She is very self-conscious and thinks that I am too stable for her. Her past boyfriends have all essentially been losers and she has dated them a lot longer than 3 months. Maybe I make her feel subpar. For instance, when we go out and meet another couple they ask what we do. I say I just graduated from Grad School and she doesn’t have much to compare that to.
    2. She went back to doing drugs and can’t face me to tell me that. She knew about my parent and his addiction to cocaine. One night when we were together I asked her if she had done cocaine since she got out of rehab. She admitted she did it a small amount of time before we started dating. I told her that I WOULD NOT ever be cool with her doing it while she was with me. She currently smokes cigarettes and every time she lights one up I give her a hard time. I think that if she does still want to do drugs and party, she knows that I would be completely against it. However, she only got drunk one time the entire term of our relationship. I get drunk at least once a week. She has a few drinks and that’s it, never really gets drunk and out of control.
    3. When she went to Costco to shop with her parents, she told them about my “Light switch” theory and they freaked out. Her parents are very religious, and I think this is a possibility. I remember talking to her on the phone after she told me she wanted space and she told me one of the reasons was this “light switch” thing and asked how I would explain that to kids. I told her that I wouldn’t tell a kid that nothing happens when we die, just like I wouldn’t tell them there’s no such thing as Santa Claus.
    4. She is a commintment-phobe
    She is such a great person and I am destroyed over this. For one, I believe she is the love of my life and I don’t want to lose her. I fear that she is already gone. However, if she is, I would at least like some closure. It is very tough getting through the days when I have no idea why we aren’t together. On Wednesday we were great! Thursday’s vibe was just so odd, I have no idea what happened. None of those “odd vibes” are worth ending a relationship over though! This was a serious relationship and we even had spoken about marriage and kids eventually. This was real, and she truly loved me.
    Why do you think she didn’t offer me any explanations? Why not just lie to me at least and tell me she loves someone else or isn’t attracted to me anymore? Why is she allowing me to suffer like this? Something just doesn’t add up. There is something she hasn’t told me. I just don’t know what to think anymore and I feel so dead inside. Any advice/suggestions would be a huge help to me. I am trying my best to get over this, with little success.

    • I’m so sorry this happened to you.

      This woman is clearly suffering from being deeply traumatized for seeing her former BF murdered in front of her. She needs extensive trauma recovery therapy.

      That is likely the root cause of her commitmentphobia issues and addictions. Granted, she was already a “wild child” before this incident, which points to even deeper trauma, likely a lifetime of abuse. That her parents are that controlling and religious are huge red flags and common in abusive households.

      Please, please read the book “He’s Scared, She’s Scared,” you will likely see a lot of similarities and you’ll feel less alone. I’m sure it all felt very real, as it does with people who love-bomb like this. Very intense and passionate and very real, but for these committmentphobes, narcissists, and sometimes even sociopaths, they have such a shallow capacity for intimacy, they go as deep as they can quickly, giving their all because they know they won’t have to sustain it for long.

      Three months seems like the magic number for many. Usually between three and eight. They rarely last a year if you can meet them with such openness and passion as you did with her, as I did with the man who chose rape me to destroy our transcendent perfection. He couldn’t do it, so he had to destroy it in the most horrific way possible.

      “Why do you think she didn’t offer me any explanations?” She probably doesn’t know herself. Introspection doesn’t seem like a strong suit.

      “Why not just lie to me at least and tell me she loves someone else or isn’t attracted to me anymore?” I really can’t tell you why. Would that help?

      “Why is she allowing me to suffer like this?”
      She probably doesn’t know what else to do. I’m sure this is a pattern for her, and she’s back to hiding behind denial and addictions.

      I’m so sorry.
      Perhaps the worst thing about dealing with this kind of traumatic ending is that you did nothing to deserve the pain or the discard. Nothing. However, it is now your responsibility to heal from it. It’s infuriating, I know.

      May you find peace.

      • Thanks for your response. So if she knew all along that she was going to lead me on and leave me at the drop of a pin, why introduce me to her family multiple times? She didn’t have to do that, it was her idea. Some things just don’t add up.

      • I think they they think this time will be different. Each time they think it’s the perfect love, a very narcissistic concept.

        Like I said, no introspection or personal responsibility.

        Read the book. It will give you some relief.

        May you find peace.

  52. My commitment phobic introduced me to his entire family – everyone… They liked me… I liked them…

    I think these commitment phobics are also great seducers and they will do things to make you believe that they want to be in a serious long-term relationship. It’s partly because some of them do want to be in a long-term but then because they have not gotten rid of their phobia, they get scared and withdraw. Last night hot, this morning completely cold and over — this is usually what happens. So men and women left behind by these commitment phobics are left feeling like a tsunami hit them… wrong time, wrong place or roadkill syndrome…

    They are very much like other people with serious problems such as being alcoholic. Unless they realize they do have a problem that tend to hurt other people, then they will never change. We also cannot be there to help them. We cannot help them. They are the only ones that can help (themselves).

    When I think of my ex now, I am actually so disgusted how such a person can dare enter my life and hurt me. But as soon as I started hating my ex, the better I felt about myself… It was not me… It was him… And he has no right to hurt me or other women specially when he is aware of his own phobia. But don’t get even… It’s of no use. They don’t feel the same way we do… My advice is to just be disgusted with this kind of people…

    • Agreed.

      They know they hurt people, but they don’t care…they’re able to brush it off and somehow make it their ex’s fault for not being _____ enough or for being ______ needy.

      Also read up on narcissism. Many CPs are also pathological narcissists.

  53. Yes, I see what you all are saying. My only holdup is asking myself the question, “is it beyond the realm of possibility that my ex-gf is NOT a commitmentphobe?” I mean, by me labeling her a CP, that certainly makes me feel better about myself. It answers every question that has been running through my mind for weeks. It affirms that it is indeed “not me but her” and now all can be well with the world. It just seems like a possible cop-out of a very difficult situation. Almost a simple solution to a very complex problem. The simplicity of the solution makes me a little uneasy. Is it really as easy as saying “oh, this person is a CP, so there’s the answer you have been searching for.” What if my ex was not a CP, and I am just believing it to make myself feel better? Is that at least a possibility? In my situation, she has had multiple relationships that lasted well over a year. Granted, all of these relationships were with people that were, for the lack of a better word, losers, and perhaps in the back of her mind she knew that she would never have to commit to them so therefore she could stay with them longer than she did with me.

    • Does it matter if she is or isn’t?

      Fact remains the same, she went from overtly and passionately loving you to casting you aside like you’re nothing. Overnight.

      CP or not, that is the behavior of either a very sick person or a very cruel person. Or both.

      Put whatever label on it that helps you heal. Bottom line: she treated you abysmally, and good people don’t do that to other people, especially those they claim to “love.”

      And, I think you’re right on the mark about there being no possibility for commitment in those other relationships.

      She is highly traumatized and she’s an addict. Until she does her own work to heal and finds some courage to take responsibility for her behavior, she will never have a healthy relationship.

  54. Hello,

    I wanted to post another update and say “thank you”. During the end of my CP relationship, I read many of these posts and the recommended books. It is what strengthen me and helped me from day to day. It has been 1 year and 3 months since my ex-boyfriend left me. I went through the myriad of feeling, betrayal, hurt, pain, devastation. My sadness turned to anger to hate to anger again and then finally it ebbed and now, all I feel toward him is pity. I feel pity because although I was hurt a great deal because of his betrayal and lies, I know feel that I am nearly completely healed. I am now in engaged to a friend I’ve had for many years, who IS willing to fully commit to me. And him, my ex? He moved on to the next fantasy relationship in 3 weeks. He’s still with her. But I can see they’ve moved into the “middle” stage already. I feel pity for him because I almost completely healed from this and I have a wonderful, committed relationship. He will never be able to sustain a relationship or commit fully to anyone. It’s really terribly sad.

    • I’m so pleased to hear you’re healing and these posts helped you get through the aftermath of your CP. Thrilled to hear you’re engaged!

      Yes, I pity them, too. It is terribly sad, but what’s even more sad is what they do to those left in their wakes.

      May you find peace.

  55. I’m going to be a bit controversial here, because I love your writing and I’m keen to get your honest thoughts.

    What if commitmentphobia doesn’t even exist? What if it’s just an excuse? There is no fear, he isn’t scared at all. It’s much more simple than that – he’s just not into you. You are not the one. He’s known this from the day he met you, but thought he’d keep you around for an ego boost and sex. You were good for the time being, but he always had an eye out for something better. Hence the ‘phobia’.

    This isn’t necessarily what I believe. I have an entire blog which narrates my own experiences on this topic. But I was really interested to see what you thought about the other side of the coin…

    • I think that’s accurate for at least some of the “commitmentphobes,” which makes it even worse in my book. To choose to treat someone this way is beyond cruel. It’s monstrous.

      I think engulfment fears are real, but not everyone who treats people this way has them. I think most “commitmentphobes” are narcissists looking for the “perfect love” or, like you say, keep their targets around for narcissistic supply until a better (read: easier) supply comes along.

      • Agreed, if you have a commintment phobic pathology thats is one thing…if your using it as a justification/rationalization/or projection of your own faults and flaws then it just becomes an excuse for using/abusing another human and your credibility or respect in my eyes just hit an all time low. Remember that trust = words + actions + consistency

      • Well put, Zach. Exactly.

  56. But what if it isn’t really an excuse at all? And it’s not intentional? If you ask anyone, genuine CP or a fake one, they usually don’t see *anything* wron with their behaviour.

    They’re using the time in which they’re gradually getting to know you to figure out if you’re ‘the one’. Early on, they realise that you’re probably not. But they’re not sure, so they keep dating you. They like you as a person, but not enough to introduce you to friends, for example. Or there’s something about you that makes them less than 100% sure. The time they’re ‘on the fence’ is just that – them being unsure about you, gathering evidence to help them make a decision about whether or not to move forward with your relationship.

    Then when YOU think they ‘cut and run’ – all it is is them finally coming to a conclusion about you – one they had inklings about the entire time. That you’re just not the one.

    • After reading your post, I have to say that in my case – he was fully aware of his condition. He even told me that he had been seeing a PSY for a year and a half before we met. At the end, he also told me that since he is 44 years old and he has never been married and been in short term relationships all throughout (and he told me all these), then it should have been quite apparent to me that he has a problem in engaging.

      Nonetheless he told me from the beginning that he wants to try a longterm relationship with me. Since I never experienced being with a CP before, I took his words.

      I read your comments above. You see that is simply narcissistic. A CP judging if you are the one. A true relationship is not of judgment. It’s of working out those little kinks with the other person. CPs do not understand that no one is perfect (least of all them). The worse is that they get you in a whirlwind of passion then overnight and without any warning decide to cut and run. The key words here are : WITHOUT WARNING…

      I am over this perverted CP guy who put me through that crappy experience. I actually hate him. I am also disgusted with him and all CP whenever I think about him. And I only think about him when I hear about another CP experience. I really think CPs should be institutionalized. I’m sure you will all say that this is drastic. But you know what? These CPs can be quite perverse, narcissistic and cold. They should not be allowed to be in a normal society. They should deal with each other.

      • Again, he (and his PSY) could be mis-diagnosing him with a ‘condition’. There’s a tendency I’ve noticed among a lot of us who have been wronged, and even qualified therapists to jump to conclusions about what’s going on in other peoples heads. But we will never know. For all you know, your ex has just never found someone who could really make him happy. She might still be out there. He might just be an overly picky person.

        Also, a lot of people think that trying to find ‘the one’ is narcissistic, but many, many others think that its necessary to find someone they think is perfect for them. Someone they feel that magical ‘spark’ with. Your ex was probably the same. That doesn’t mean he’s a narcissist, simply that he was romantic.

      • I consider it narcissistic when he kept on saying he loves me and then wakes up one morning and tells me he wants out because he is not as excited as the first month. Made me feel like a roadkill… no warning…

        The PSY never diagnosed him. He told me he felt he needed to see a PSY. I also choose the person that I am with and I know I have the right to choose and that this is not being a narcissist. What I will not do compared to a CP is to tell the person that I am with that I love him night and day, then wake up one morning and tell him that he needs to leave because I don’t feel excited as the first month.

        Get real… Normal and healthy relationships need work. A CP just walks away. A CP does not know the concept of making a relationship work.

      • Exactly.

        There is *nothing* romantic about the way these people behave. Being addicted to oxytocin highs is not the same thing as being romantic. That “spark” is oxytocin that is present at the beginning of every relationship. It does not last. People who cut and run when that honeymoon period is over and going search of their next oxytocin hi discussed me.

        And yes it is extremely narcissistic to think that you’re going to find “the one” and everything is going to be daisies and bunnies and rainbows and great easy sex for the rest of your life. It’s a fairytale fantasy perfect love and it does not exist. Real relationships require investment, honesty, and courage.

        These people know exactly what they do. I could excuse someone who is under 25 years old, maybe. Depending on how many people they’ve already done this too. Perhaps they just don’t know what’s going on yet because they’re still so young. But if you hit your mid 20s and you’ve had over a dozen relationships already, there’s something wrong.

        At that point, they know their pattern if they have any level of introspection and self awareness at all, and they keep doing it. And if they don’t have any intersection and self-awareness, then that is just another reason to stay far, far away from them.

        There’s a huge difference between investing in a relationship and discovering that it will not work and what a CP does.

        One ends after serious effort and communication and mutual respect, and the other one cuts and runs without a moment’s notice or makes things so horrible in the relationship they force their partner out.

        There is absolutely nothing romantic about that.

  57. I have to add that the CP I was with was not romantic at all. He didn’t know the meaning of Valentine’s Day. He also forgot my birthday. He was always late for every event. Most times, he would mix up dates and events (ex. his brother-in-law’s birthday) and would miss trains. His financial situation is a mess. He throws out letters of demand for payment.

    He had no remorse for the pain he caused to everyone. His girlfriend (who is bipolar) prior to myself, cut her wrists and jumped out the window. When I asked him about it, he said that she’s an old gal and she is responsible for herself.

    I now consider myself lucky to not be with such an emotionally challenged person. What a disgusting person! Yuck!

    • But again, all of his behaviour could also be seen as just being purely selfish. Mine was similar. He was at least an hour late for work *every* day. Never remembered anyone’s birthday, not even his mothers. And he blamed every single breakup of his on the woman, using various excuses that made them entirely responsible. I’m not naive enough to believe that *all* of these women are to blame for the entire breakup. But you could argue that none of that makes him anything other than cold, selfish, and lacking in empathy. Emotionally challenged, certainly. But not ‘afraid of commitment’. I’m sure within time all of our exes will move on and marry other women and be happy.

      • Cold, selfish, and lacking in empathy is pretty much the definition of a sociopath and/or narcissist.

        You’re just calling them by a different word, and it sounds like you’re minimizing, normalizing, and defending their behavior.

        Defense of and excuses for narcissists and sociopaths are not welcome here.

      • Not at all. I actually believe that they’re sick, and can’t be helped. I’ve read about a number of women (and recently I’ve been hearing from guys, too) who have been strung along for as long as 9 years by CPs who leave, then come back, then leave, then come back and show no remorse for their behaviour whatsoever. I’ve been reading a lot about it, and I recently had someone *insist* to me that commitmentphobia does not exist at all. That it absolutely doesn’t. That it’s the construct of a fantasist and that none of us can handle the blows to our ego that we’ve received – so we’ve conjured up this false theory that we stick to so steadfastly. The person said it was a defence mechanism we use to protect ourselves, and wouldn’t back down about it. So, I was curious to see what others thought of that point of view – playing devil’s advocate, if you will.

        Just like the rest of you, I was severely damaged by a CP and it inspired my research into the subject (and my blog, Tissues&Issues – http://www.tissuesandissues.co.uk). I’m trying to understand what’s happened to what seems like millions of people, and I’m really trying to help people understand how they came to be in their relationship in the first place, why they put up with a push-pull dynamic and how they can make sure it never happens to them again. But I think its important that we look at things from every point of view that we possibly can and consider the possibility that sometimes there are men and women who use CP as an excuse when their actual issue is simple immaturity, and then there are those who genuinely have a problem.

        Regardless, I have the utmost sympathy for everyone on this thread because I know first-hand how absolutely devastating this experience can be (and I’ve found so much solace in this post and other resources on the Internet, because even my close family didn’t understand what I was going through).

      • Excellent. Thank you for clarifying.

        I think many people use it as an excuse and use it to euphemize a deeper problem, like narcissism. The people who wrote He’s Scared, She’s Scared are the same people who wrote Men Who Can’t Love, about narcissism. There is a lot of overlap, and like I’ve said before, I think most CPs are narcissists and/or sociopaths. One in 25 people is a sociopath, don’t forget, incapable of empathy.

        I think people do use it as an excuse to make themselves out as the victim, something narcissists excel at. It’s a manipulation tactic to hide their true dark heart, empty nature.

      • Definitely – and on top of that, I feel like there’s an awareness in some men, yet a lack of understanding and no willingness to STOP dating and hurting people. They seem to think there’s a miracle cure in the form of the ‘perfect woman’ but *everyone* is flawed. Everyone. So the fact that they’re dating a human ultimately becomes the reason they run.

        Nancy, my experience sounds quite similar to yours. We met, he bowled me over, we dated and were extremely happy until I made a mistake and threw up in front of him. He used that as a excuse to say he wasn’t attracted to me anymore and left. Never spoke to me at all for weeks until I contacted him to say sorry (stupidly – but I didn’t know what I was dealing with). He told me it was ok, wasn’t my fault, he just couldn’t commit, etc. I was ok with this and left him alone. Of course he came back claiming he missed me etc and we got back together but as soon as we got comfortable the second time around he started instigating arguments for no apparent reason, being incredibly controlling of me and just generally causing conflict. He would also withdraw periodically and just go completely cold. It was the oddest thing I’ve ever experienced, and the breakup was the worst thing that has ever happened to me. He trod me into the ground so hard that I swore that I was going to help other women who were involved with men like these because I simply couldn’t bear the idea of somebody else going through this with no guidance, blaming themselves for someone else’s cruelty.

      • I’m so proud of you both for speaking out. The more we speak, the less other targets of such cruelty will feel alone. The more we speak, fewer people will fall prey to these CPs.

      • To Jennifer – I don’t know anything about your experience but mine is definitely a CP. He is selfish and more… he lacks understanding and empathy. Even my youngest daughter who is 18 years old exclaimed that what my CP did to me is something that an adolescent would do. My CP is 44 years old. In a span of 8 years, his relationship with me was the longest he had… 8 months…

      • Narcissists have been described as being children in adult bodies. Their emotional development has been stunted at around 10-12 years old, sometimes younger.

        I’m so sorry you both went through this. When I wrote this post two years ago, it was after the sudden, traumatic end of a relationship with a sociopathic narcissist who punished me with rape for making him angry, just for saying the words “I felt completely neglected.”

        It took me months to recognize the rapes for what they were and to see him for the sociopath he is as well. As of two years ago, at the age of 34, he had had over 40 relationships an over 40 more one night stands in a span of 15 yrs. I didn’t know that until halfway through the 3 month “relationship.” Nor did I know until then that he had a highly contagious and incurable STI he kept from me and his other lovers. I didn’t catch it, fortunately, but it serves to illustrate who he is, as if being a rapist wouldn’t.

        Had I realized these things earlier, I wouldn’t have ever written a post on “CP” because I understand what a euphemism it is now. Still, it was part of processing what happened and coming to terms with the depth of damage, so I’m glad it’s out there like this as part of the overall process. Plus, along with PTSD from Emotional Abuse, it’s my most popular and read post. I’m thrilled it’s helped so many people.

        May you all find peace.

  58. CP is not a figment of the imagination. There is a BIG difference between breaking up after trying to resolve issues versus a ‘death-blow’ inflicted by a CP. It is just a common pattern… Very hot and passionate… CP saying he loves me night and day and then wham…. it’s over. And this is a story told over and over by so many… Same pattern… Also usually the CP does not have good adult models re: love. In my CP’s case, the parents were fighting all the time… his mother making him the go-between since he was a child. Money difficulties as well… living on a day to day basis… My CP even says that he need to ‘kill his mother’ before he can ever feel good about being with a woman. I know who I am and what I am. I know who I was with. Definitely a disgusting CP… As I said, they should just deal with amongst themselves. These CPs are not humane.

    • Agreed, and I agree that they should be removed from society. Anyone who inflicts habitual pain and trauma should be.

      My “CP” told me he loved me and adored me right after raping me. They’re beyond sick because they choose to behave this way.

      • I am at peace after I realized how disgusting CPs are. I don’t want poison in my life. My life now is serene and beautiful.

  59. There is only one thing that I don’t understand about CPs. The CPs I’ve read about and my own personal experience with a CP is that he never showed remorse or asked for forgiveness. He lied to me, betrayed me, cheated on me, and there was only justification. On the CP stories I’ve read in the Steve Carter books, it seems the same thing. Why do they never feel remorseful to the people they hurt? Can you give your insight on the issue?

    • Yes. Most CPs are narcissists and/or sociopaths, meaning they are incapable of empathy. They simply don’t care, and in their grandiose view of themselves, they can do no wrong. It can’t be them, so it must be your fault.

  60. I’ve been in a relationship for 7 months. I’ve just met his family and also his children (from a previous relationship).Since the breakdown of that relationship 7 years ago he has never brought another woman to meet his children or parents. That break up was hard for him.

    This week I discovered that my partner has been “sexting” other women (sending sexually explicit text messages), I’m not sure how long for, he says “not that long”. When I confronted him about it he was incredibly remorseful and swears he’ll never do anything like this to hurt me again. He has since deleted some female “friends” from his social networking profile and I really do believe he means it when he says he’s sorry, but I haven’t yet figured out if “sorry” is enough.

    He says he knows that he does this. He pushes people away when they get close. He gets scared. He was genuinely upset talking about it. He has said if we can make it through this, this time, that he knows he’ll get scared again and that he’ll tell me when it happens. I’ve known from the start that the thought of being in a committed relationship frightens him. Initially we couldn’t even make plans for the following week without him panicking mildly but he has improved hugely over time….and now this. I don’t know what to do now. The sexting I can forgive I think. It’s the breach of trust that I know I’ll struggle with. I do want to try. I do love this man. Advice???

    • This is tough. At least he’s admitting the problem and willing to work on it; however, that *can* be the pattern of a habitual abuse cycle. He says he’ll do something like this again, and he will. He’s being honest about that. Whether or not he’ll tell you about to is yet to be seen. He’ll likely lie as long as he’s getting away with it. He might be more sorry about getting caught than the action.

      It’s a HUGE red flag that he turned outside the relationship to get these sexual needs met instead of inside.

      If he’s really sorry and wants to change, he will go to therapy to work through the issues that causes him to lie to his partner. You could insist on 100% transparency, but his underlying issues will enable him to show you just enough to believe him…once you relax he will lie again.

      Bottom line, does he just lie about sexual stuff because of some underlying, unhealthy shame, or is he lying about much more? Will this sexual stuff become an affair?

      Will you be able to accept that he’s a liar about some things, no matter what?

      The things that concern me the most is the minimizing and vague “not that long” bullshit. That, and he’s afraid of commitment. HUGE issue.

      You’ve got a tough decision ahead of you. My advice would be to get out now, only 7 months in…because if he’s doing this after 7 months, imagine what he’ll be doing after 7 years. It’s easy for me to say because I don’t love him. I have loved men like him, and I didn’t leave when the blaring red flags appeared, and it always ended up in disaster. My disaster, not his.

      May you find peace.

      • I completely agree with this. It’s so difficult being in love with a man like this and typically, the longer you stay and try to deal with the issues, the harder it is to eventually leave. I have been through almost exactly the same thing as you and my advice would also be to leave. I highly doubt you will, but it’s the right thing to do in this situation. As the relationship progresses his fear will likely intensify and he will probably hurt you more and more by acting out with progressively more hurtful behaviour. There are SO many stable men in the world who actively want love and commitment, and who won’t do the things he has already done and that he will continue to do.

      • I’ve read everything above, searched the internet and read countless articles and almost everything is telling me to leave now…and yet I can’t. Not without at least trying. We’ve spoken in depth about his behaviour since I last posted and he answered every question I asked him in as much detail as I cared to know. No more vagueness or minimising.

        It’s not shame or anything like it that had him sending those messages. It was his fear, without a shadow of a doubt.

        I’m assuming that the degree of fear varies for each person, that it’s on a spectrum. I’m hoping that he is at the lower end of it. Naive of me I’m sure but I’d rather try and then get hurt again, knowing what I’m getting in to than not try at all.

        I know I’ll most likely regret it but need to try, for his sake and for my own.

        What I was hoping was that someone might have some advice for me on giving us the best chance that I can. To be honest, where we live therapy isn’t really an option (even though most likely it’s what he needs). Of course, though, the more support I offer the higher the chance of being pushed away again……

      • I do to envy your position. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Therapy is available online. That’s the best chance you have. Complete transparency and professional help.

      • Just an update. I know he still contacts other women online but he has booked his first counselling session. Who knows what will come of it… I’m being realistic, he may never change but I’m hopeful.

  61. I thank God for people like you who unselfishly give their time to help others heal. How I wish I’ve read this early on the relationship but I’m still very fortunate that I found this blog post less than 24 hours after my CP did his final disappearing act so the blow wasn’t that terrible. Repeating to myself the line “It wasn’t my fault” offered a lot of comfort and helped me deal with my chipped heart and bruised ego. Given my “obsession” for clarity, answers, and explanations, I know I could have lost my sanity for weeks/months/years thinking and analyzing what and where did I do wrong and why he instantly dropped me like a worthless piece of crap. One day I’m this most perfect woman for him, even talking about marriage and how exciting life will be for us, then the next without warning he just withdrew and turned stone-cold.

    My CP is a classic Narcissistic-commitment phobic who came from a very dysfunctional family and he has a long history of failed short-term relationships. He opened up to me his struggles while growing up with an apathetic father who emotionally starved his mom and forced her into the arms of his uncle. The uncle and the mom eventually hooked up and had children. So the CP’s two sisters are also his cousins. His uncle and mom divorced and the mom remarried and moved to the west coast with his sisters. He was bullied as a child and was unpopular in high school. Early on he had a couple of serious relationships that hurt him so much. I guess maybe these explain his behavior. He is a sex/porn addict who confessed that he could not function if he doesn’t masturbate twice a day. He is 42 and never been married but has dated women half his age, women 15 years his senior and women with boyfriends/husbands. He also subscribes to online dating sites where he would meet women for casual sex. His finances are completely goofed up with huge amount of student loan debts. He rents a room but barely stays there except to sleep and shower… the rest of his time is spent either at work or hanging out with his mom who lives 40 minutes away.

    I was not actually attracted to him at the beginning but he pursued me relentlessly for about two years while I was living abroad. He had a very active presence in my Facebook life. And I haven’t met such a charming listener and a passionate lover who made me feel very special and beautiful (not that I needed that validation but he just got this was of making you feel even better about yourself). Sex between us was mind-blowing and amazing as well. I was not actually looking for a relationship and dating was the last thing on my mind when I came back to the US, but I was just surprised to find myself falling for this man who for all I know is flawed in many ways. Looking back, I could have been terribly hurt psychologically and emotionally if the relationship continued longer. It lasted only six weeks but it was a period of insanity where he exhibited sudden switch in seduction/rejection, intimacy/withdrawal, acceptance/ criticisms and romance/distance, which made me question my worth as a woman and my value as a person. He was able to turn me overnight from a self-assured confident woman into a “nutty passive-aggressive” (as he terms it) confused person unsure of where she stands and what she’s doing. And every time we have a disagreement/misunderstanding it is often my fault or that I’m acting crazy according to him… and I always find myself saying “I’m sorry.”

    Well, he vanished five days ago, which I think is final since he even blocked me in Facebook. I think I have 75% moved on but I have an issue I want to consult with you. I accidentally left a pair of estate diamond earrings at his place that my grandmother gave me. He was supposed to give it back the next time we see each other but unfortunately, that next time did not happen. I have also deleted his phone number out of frustration (prior to the Facebook blocking). I really need those earrings back. I told him at least three times to mail it but he never did. What to do now? Though we took same classes in grad school but we don’t have common friends. I haven’t met his family but I know his sisters and a couple of friends in Facebook. Do I contact this CP through his sister/friend about the earrings?

    • I’m so glad you’re away from this person. He sounds very dangerous. Indeed, like a typical narcissist.

      I’m also pleased to hear my words gave you some comfort and clarity.

      If you’re friendly with the sisters, that’s your best route for the earrings, although you might have to write them off. No contact is the best way to deal with narcissists, cutting off all ties, including family. I wouldn’t contact him, though. He’s already had a chance to send them and didn’t. Enlist the help of his sister. Tell her what they mean to you, but you’re unable to get them yourself because of the breakup. Just be kind and brief.

      I’m glad you weren’t significantly damaged by his treatment. They have an uncanny ability to get very deep, very fast…and the can wreak havoc in such a short time. No one believes it until they’re the target of a narcissist.

      May you find peace, Meredith.

    • Also, I was bullied as a child, unpopular in high school, and have has several relationships that have deeply hurt me, but I don’t go around using, exploiting, and destroying other people. No excuse.

      Masturbating twice a day? Revolting.
      My CP/narcissist/rapist has 8-hr lovemaking sessions with himself and a big blue dildo. He claims he once made love to God this way.

      These are deeply disturbed people. Get far, far away.

      Your sanity isn’t worth it, even if you must give up the earrings.

  62. Hi again, Olivia. Thank you for your response. Just want to let you know that I got my earrings back today. I asked one of his friends to contact him and good thing the friend was pretty empathetic about my plight and strongly agrees that he’s indeed a CP. When I asked the friend if he freaked out, he answered, “Does it matter?” Yup, he’s right. I shouldn’t care about what he thinks anymore and should focus on things that really matter. I think I’m really moving on towards the road to recovery. There were times when my mind would play tricks on me, especially come midnight till the wee hours of the morning, and it would just think exaggerated nice things about him. Good thing your blog is here and I would just come by here and read your articles and people’s comments and I’m shaken back to reality. Thank you, Olivia, for helping me heal. You are in my prayers.

    • I’m so pleased you got them back! How validating for the friend to see the truth.

      I’m glad my blog continues to help in that way. There were several blogs, articles, and self-made lists I consulted regularly to keep me rooted in reality, too.

      May you find peace.

  63. First, let me admit that I have not read all of the comments on this page, so I won’t presume to know where the conversations have progressed to. I did however read enough to see that I fit a significant number of the categories that are issues here.

    I am young(ish) and I have only had 3 committed relationships in my life. The first was love, and it lasted 3 years(16-19 so I’m not sure if it counts but I would like to believe I can tell the difference) and that failed because of mutual psychological issues. I have abandonment issues and I need to be needed. This is difficult to do because the gender role is so defined that a man has to do it himself, that I have not been able to find as yet, a woman who I can be emotionally open with and her with me.

    This leads into one of the other problems I have in my relationships, “post-feminism”, I believe in equality, I think I should be able to speak to a woman as an equal, and vice versa, I am attracted to intelligence and I like women to have their own opinions and be vocal about them, but I like to argue, about everything, with everyone.

    I guess what I want to know is, will I be alone forever? I push everyone away when we are in a relationship, I hide from my family, and the rest of the world, but I am not cruel, I often hurt people with words because I lack restraint when I feel threatened(not in an argument I’m very structured and point by point in those) but more like when I’m accused of something or whatever, just to provide a little more context.

    I don’t have casual sex, I feel like I need to be in a relationship to sleep with someone(not for religious reasons, I’ll sleep with someone on the first date but it has to be more than just a fling) but I have been avoiding meeting women because I broke the last girl’s heart and I don’t know how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    Regards, Nathan.

    • You will unlikely be alone forever, although I felt the same way in my 20s. I met my husband at 29.

      As for not breaking someone else’s heart, that depends on a lot of factors. Why was the last girl’s heart broken? Because the relationship ended or because it ended suddenly, out of the blue? Because of lies or deception?

      Broken hearts are inevitable when it comes to love and relationship; however, you can minimize the damage done to yourself and the other person by being honest with yourself and honest with them, by communicating on a deeper level than most people ever do.

      To be honest with yourself means knowing yourself, too. Facing harsh realities about yourself and your issues, which you seem to be doing. It’s not enough to just acknowledge these issues, you just also actively work on improving them.

      It’s fine that you’re staying away from girls for now. Get comfortable with yourself and to a place where you don’t need someone and you don’t need them to need you.

      To be deeply honest with another takes courage at a level most people just don’t have, I’ve learned.

      Finding a partner with whom you can be emotionally open and honest with, to the depth needed for true intimacy, is extremely difficult. As I’ve said, by far most people don’t have the capacity for that level of communication, honesty, courage, integrity, and depth.

      May you find your emotional & intellectual equal, and may you find peace.

      • Re: why her heart was broken.

        I broke up with her, not out of the blue so much, but because I realised that if I didn’t I might cheat on her.

      • Was it out of the blue for her? Did you talk to her about your urges to be unfaithful? Did you try to work through it or did you just call it quits?

        BTW, good for you for ending the relationship rather than cheating. Few things are as cowardly and cruel as infidelity.

      • CPs always think that they might cheat. They also think that they can find someone that will not make them not think of cheating. Somehow they think that a perfect somebody is out there that embodies their ideal. And this ideal is often unreasonable. It’s like an alcoholic thinking that he might meet someone who will make him stop drinking. ..

        I had a horrendous experience with a CP. Unlike a CP, I do not fantasize about everlasting excitement in a relationship. I also understand and accept responsibility which CPs don’t seem to have a concept of. …

  64. Thank you for this post. I am in agony right now. I guess my relationship ended officially yesterday, though he really left (stopped talking to me) three weeks ago. This was after he woke up one day and did a 180 and stopped feeling anything for me. The last thing I want it for someone to give me bullshit to make me feel better. I don’t want to label him a commitmentphobe if the truth is that he just wasn’t into me. For some reason I have a need to know what happened, because of course I blame myself. I feel like I just wasn’t good enough. That I am not worthy of being loved. And I just need to describe what happened and get an unbiased opinion. The pain is too much right now. Sorry this is long. I want to give an accurate depiction.

    We started dating last summer. I was just out of a serious relationship and wanted to take it slow. For the most part we did take it slow, though he made comments from the very beginning about us doing things together in the future (like going to his next high school reunion with him in 5 years, and going to see a movie together that wasn’t coming out until 2 years later). After our first date he told me I was the most amazing woman he had ever met. But he also told me he had never had a long relationship. He had not dated anyone in the year and a half before meeting me, and he said it was because he couldn’t trust anyone and was too paranoid about getting hurt. He told me his last girlfriend lasted a little less than a year and he loved her but he left her because he couldn’t trust. He said she was a great girl who did nothing wrong and everything right but he had to leave her.

    But then he said that after his 1.5 year dating hiatus he decided it was better to take a chance than be alone, so he was going to try again. I did notice that although he seemed extremely into me, I kind of had to drive the relationship. I had to plan the dates. Anytime it was his turn to plan something he would just take me back to the same places I had taken him. And our communication was only text messaging. It was daily, regular contact, and I like texting so it was okay. But there was never a phone call. And no integration into his life. I did go to his apartment frequently and I met his roommate, but other than that I was not invited out with his friends. Again, I was okay with this for awhile, and even felt responsible for it, as I had mentioned I was fresh out of a relationship and wanted to go slow.

    For the most part things were good. We were very compatible. No major issues that made it obvious we couldn’t work out. No big fights. We were both attracted to each other. We had fun together. We made each other laugh. He seemed so into me. I had to bring up the topic of becoming official boyfriend and girlfriend, but when I did he said yes- that he has wanted that for some time but felt I wasn’t too into him. He once told me he worried he liked me more than I liked him, and thought maybe I was just passing the time with him until I found someone better. I assured him this was not true, but realized I hadn’t always been attentive and good at showing my feelings to him. About two weeks after becoming boyfriend/girlfriend he stopped talking to me. This was about 6 months in. And after a decent evening together. We had a little disagreement and he freaked out because he worried he couldn’t trust me. But he expressed interest in working it out. But then he just stopped talking to me. We went a few weeks until I finally reached out. For about a week he was cold and distant and I thought he just hated me. Then one day he broke and said he had missed me but didn’t want to say it for some reason. He said he didn’t understand himself sometimes, and he had been staying in his room and lashing out at everyone.

    We got back together and things were amazing. I put in a real effort to show him what he meant to me, we were going out and doing more things together, I was incredibly happy, he was incredibly happy. One thing I can say about him is his is very honest and blunt, so I always know what he is feeling and thinking- even if I don’t understand it. We started talking of a future together. We mentioned living together at some point. He said his main focus was me and making me fall in love with him. He said he was falling in love with me. For about 6 weeks we were back into an amazing relationship..totally on the same page and falling in love.

    Then 3 weeks ago, after about 8 months total together, he woke up one morning and stopped talking to me. He had stayed over the night before. We met up after I got off work and went to work out. He freaked out about something silly and was screaming at me, but when he calmed down he apologized profusely and said he was sorry for being stupid sometimes, and he was clinging to me all night..holding me tight, apologizing. I calmed down but remained a bit standoffish because he had been so angry over nothing that it scared me and I didn’t feel I deserved that.

    So the next morning he leaves and I don’t hear from him anymore. After two days I reach out and he replies with a very generic message, and then never says anything more. A week goes by with no contact and I finally ask him what’s up. He says “I think it’s best we don’t see each other anymore. We don’t communicate well at all.” Well, I communicate like crazy but it feels like I am talking to a brick wall. He says he is sorry because we both seem to really enjoy each other but it seems something always goes wrong. It really wasn’t that bad. A few minor bumps that will happen in any relationship, but he decides it should be over all of a sudden.

    A few days later I went to see him because I figured we at least deserved to have this conversation in person. At first he was extremely cold and distant. He said he isn’t mad at me, but he thinks of me and doesn’t care. He likes me but doesn’t know how far it goes. He just doesn’t really feel anything for me. Then he goes on to tell me that he doesn’t know if he is just making up excuses to leave and run from me. And he knows he has done that before. He said he really thinks it’s about him, and not me. And it started the previous month when he got a parking ticket he felt he didn’t deserve. It pissed him off and he never paid it or contested it. Then he started thinking about how he moved here seven years ago and took a job that was meant to be temporary but he is still there seven years later, and none of the other jobs he has applied for have worked out. He was currently waiting to hear from one job and was just realizing they were never going to call. He didn’t know what to do with his life and if he should go back to school or what. He said he had just been in his room, drinking, eating junk food. Nothing made him happy. He started crying, saying he feels bad he doesn’t see his parents very often because they are getting older and won’t be around forever. Then he said what if we got back together and then he had to move to be near his parents or for a job? He was softening a little and letting me hold him. He gave me huge hugs and said he likes talking to me, he loves hugging me, he loves the way I smell, and he does miss me. And he promised not to shut me out.

    I left but stayed in contact, asking how his day was and saying I hoped he was well. He would always respond and say he hoped I was well too. He was fine with small talk, but if I ever said I missed him he would change the subject to weather or something. This past weekend, now 3 weeks since he changed overnight and left, I had a rough time. I was sending him messages wishing he would come back soon. Telling him I care for him and life is too short to be apart for long, telling him I would be there for him and hold him and help him figure things out. He would ignore the messages or respond with something kinda generic.

    Yesterday I sent a long message saying that I wasn’t trying to drive him nuts, I just didn’t want to throw us away over something silly. I told him he said he was falling in love with me and that he wanted me to love him. I told him to take a chance and come back. That I know he has issues with relationships, but I have proven my loyalty and feelings. I told him not to run and wonder later if he let a great girl get away. To just come back.

    He responded “I don’t feel that way. At least for now.”

    Then he went on to say his lease is up next month and he doesn’t want to stick around here. He doesn’t know where he is going to go but he needs a change of scenery. And he said my anxiety is a big problem for him. When I am under stress I do get a little anxiety but it’s not out of control and all i need is a hug. He has said he sees what anxiety does to people. I told him it’s something I acknowledge and work on and I’ve been doing very well with it. That he is using it as an excuse to say being with me would be awful and that it is presumptuous and it’s crap. And that he has his own anxieties and issues too. And that all I need and want in those times is a big hug.

    He never responded again. It kills me.

    What happened and what do I do???

    • Ruby. I feel so bad for you, but you have to know that from an outsider’s perspective, this was NOT your fault. You sound like a wonderful, loving person who really did not deserve this.

      I’ve been through this too (a very, very similar situation to yours – in fact I was even wondering if we dated the same guy!) so if you’d like to talk about it, reach out to me via my blog (www.tissuesandissues.co.uk).

      I really hope you feel better soon, please take care of yourself and try to keep your head up.

      • Thank you for your supportive comment to Ruby, as it alerted me to her comment as well. Somehow, I hadn’t been notified of the comment when she posted.

    • I’m so sorry this happened to you, and I’m also sorry I didn’t see this until today. For some reason I wasn’t notified when you commented.

      This is not your fault. Not at all. His blaming your “anxiety” is what these people do. Gaslight. Make it your fault to absolve themselves.

      I know what agony you’re feeling, and I wish I could say something that would ease it for you. You are not alone.

      Reading others’ experiences and reading up on narcissists and sociopathic behavior helped me cope in my case. Read the books I mentioned in the post. Especially He’s Scared, She’s Scared. It was my bible early on. It not only helped me feel I wasn’t alone, but it also showed the pathology wasn’t mine.

      This isn’t your fault. You did nothing wrong. You had the misfortune of falling for and trusting a CP, who may be a narcissist as well. Many CPs are, as their searching for the narcissistic “perfect love.”

      May you find peace.

      • O.M – No worries at all – we all have to stick together, those of us who have been through this, as its really a very traumatic experience. I fully support how your blog has provided so many of us with peace of mind and gone some way to proving that it isnt our fault. If we all believed our CPs silly excuses, we’d come out of these relationships thinking we were unlovable and seriously flawed, which of course isn’t the case at all. Ruby, I hope you know this.

        Ruby – I completely second everything O.M has said about gaslighting. If you weren’t ‘anxious'; you would be something else. In fact, if your anxiety was the only thing he was able to pick on, you must be a fabulous person, because they will literally grasp at anything they can to make out like the whole dynamic is a result of you not being good enough. In fact, this isn’t the case at all – its completely an excuse. One day you’ll be able to see that as clearly as O.M and I can.

        Definitely read all Steven Carter’s books – Men Who Can’t Love and He’s Scared, She’s Scared were invaluable to me. I’ve also recently read Rhonda Findlings ‘The Commitment Cure’ which I thoroughly enjoyed – it goes into some detail about the types of CPs that are out there and when you start dating again (and you will!) you’ll be able to see the signs that much clearer.

        Best of luck to you, and one day soon it will be better.

  65. […] Reclaim, Evan Marc Katz and Caught in the Cogs – particularly this post by O.M Grey titled The Pathology of the Commitmentphobe. O.M Grey is a fabulous writer and the comments on this post are incredibly worthwhile reading […]

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