Psychologist explains why men suffer more from fear of commitment
Created: 07/03/2022, 15:00
Sometimes relationships end before they really begin because one partner is afraid of committing to the other.
Wieland Stolzenburg explains in an interview why this affects men in particular.
Munich – Anyone who is in love and wants to get involved in a relationship with a partner is more and more alone, because fear of commitment is now a widespread phenomenon.
Therapists and psychologists deal with the topic, among them Wieland Stolzenburg.
In an interview with the news agency "spot on news", the relationship psychologist explains why men are affected more often than women and how the partnership still works.
What triggers the fear of commitment?
Man turns away from partner (symbolic image) © IMAGO / Westend61
Wieland Stolzenburg: People who are afraid of commitment, whether men or women, have had bad experiences with closeness and affection in their childhood and adolescence.
There was either too little good and healthy closeness or too much uncomfortable or hurtful closeness to the parents or a parent.
In adult life, these experiences lead to the fact that if there is too much closeness, too much commitment and connection in a partnership, they distance themselves because the old wound is touched.
The best and healthy adaptation strategy in childhood at the time was to protect yourself, to distance yourself, to become independent early on and not really let anyone get close to you.
This protective mechanism is still active in adulthood if one has not healed these emotional wounds.
People who are afraid of attachment react to being too close with the same reaction as they did back then: they keep their distance to protect themselves from further injuries.
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Are men more likely to be afraid of commitment than women?
The cause can be found in childhood.
Girls often experience an absent, (emotionally) unavailable father.
Accordingly, these women often have the deficiency “I want more from my father, the male one”.
Boys often experience a mother who is too close, too clingy, or unable to let go.
In this case, men later bear the pain "I have to be careful of too much closeness and femininity".
This is not black and white, but a trend, because there are men who are afraid of loss and women who are afraid of commitment.
Do you have any advice for men who are afraid of commitment?
Stolzenburg: Men, but also women, who have a fear of attachment should first become aware of it and admit that they have this avoidant attachment style.
You can find out whether you yourself suffer from fear of commitment by taking my fear of commitment test, among other things.
It is also important to deal with the causes and to heal the injuries.
Because fear of commitment does not go away over time and a separation is not a solution either: Because it is our fear of commitment and we take it with us into the next partnership.
There are great books, I myself offer an online course on overcoming the fear of commitment.
There are also therapists or psychologists who are familiar with attachment styles and partnership issues.
My tip: become active, inform and then do the things that heal the fear of commitment.
And how should women behave if the (possible) partner suffers from a fear of commitment?
Stolzenburg: I see two aspects that are important here: On the one hand, women should check for themselves whether they are afraid of loss.
If you are afraid of loss, then you should first turn your gaze to yourself instead of to your partner and deal with your own fear of loss and heal it step by step.
Because as long as they have this attachment style, they will always attract men with attachment fears as partners.
As long as they "work off" their partner or change partners, nothing fundamental changes in most cases.
Because a large part of the pain in the relationship is due to one's own issues and not to the partner.
The silver bullet would be for both of them to deal with their attachment style and change it.
On the other hand, women should realize that they cannot change or heal their partner, that is not possible.
As long as the partner has no own motivation to overcome his fear of commitment, little will change.
Sure, women could adapt and want as little as possible, accept the few closeness and commitment and live with the little togetherness and emotional warmth.
Every woman has to decide for herself whether this type of relationship is what she wants in the long run.
Does a relationship even have a chance if there are fears of commitment involved?
Stolzenburg: Yes, that is definitely possible - under the following conditions: if the person with attachment fears actively and responsibly deals with their attachment style and continues to dissolve it.
This is a process and cannot be achieved in a few weeks when the fear of commitment is strong.
But it is possible and has already reached countless people.
Since we are not usually born with fear of commitment, i.e. we have “learned” it as a childhood coping strategy, we can also “un-learn” it again and become free of it.
To do this, however, we need the right expertise, the right methods, enough patience and perseverance.
This article only contains general information on the respective health topic and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication. In no way does it replace a visit to the doctor. Unfortunately, our editors are not allowed to answer individual questions about clinical pictures.
This article only contains general information on the respective health topic and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication.
In no way does it replace a visit to the doctor.
Unfortunately, our editors are not allowed to answer individual questions about clinical pictures.