Have you ever heard of commitment phobia?
As the word suggests, commitment-phobe refers to someone who fears commitment. Specifically, it refers to someone who has a genuine fear of commitment, generally present when committing to relationships. This is related to having a problem with committing for a long-term issue. Getting pregnant, is an example of a long-term commitment.
Getting pregnant involves commitment from both partners, and therefore being in a relationship with a commitment-phobe can raise multiple questions and issues when it comes to taking the big steps within the relationship. The idea of getting pregnant might be instilling high feelings of anxiety within your boyfriend. Or else, he wants to be prepared before you get pregnant, and maybe at the moment he is not prepared yet.
What can you do if your partner is a commitment-phobe?
Rather than criticising, it is important to understand the possible reasons behind the fear of commitment. The causes behind this fear vary with every individual, but in general they tend to revolve around having problematic relationships in the past, either with family members or with past partners. The reason behind this could be due to fear of the reoccurrence of past experiences. Therefore, as a partner one needs to take into consideration the history of the individual, and understand that several relationships and instances in their life can lead to the fear of committing.
As a partner of a commitment-phobe, you can suggest to your partner to start going to psychotherapy in order to help him/her understand the roots of the issue and deal with this fear effectively. As a partner, one needs to be patient and understanding. By going to psychotherapy one can gain self-awareness and self-development that can improve the perspective of the situation. He would be able to understand from where this fear and anxiety is emanating and work on it.
You can also discuss the idea of getting pregnant with your partner and discuss the reason behind wanting to get pregnant. Do you both want a child? What are the reasons behind wanting to get pregnant? Does your lifestyle support getting pregnant and raising a child? Getting pregnant can involve a lot of planning and preparation, which can be complex. Therefore, I invite you to reflect on what getting pregnant means to you, what it means to your partner, and what it means to you both as a couple.
The idea of compromise with regards to the time of getting pregnant might solve the situation temporarily. Maybe, delaying the time of getting pregnant might help relieve some anxiety, whilst both of you as a couple work together on the issue of fearing commitment and getting pregnant.
This is an important time for both partners during the relationship, as it invites the couple to reflect, and if possible, grow together.
Danica Cassar is a third-year psychology student at the University of Malta. She is the Triage Manager at Willingness.com.mt.