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Why can't I commit to a relationship?
I have met the most amazing person and I am very happy. We both have children from our previous relationships and that adds to our shared experiences and common ground. He would like us to get closer and move to another level in our relationship but I am too afraid to commit 100%. I have already had one failed marriage and all around me I see my friends splitting and divorces all over the place and as a result, I feel I am holding back. I am scared of another failure and this is upsetting me. I would appreciate an opinion.
Answer by our Certified Counsellor:

Thank you for your letter.  A number of issues come up for me whilst reading it and well done for asking for an opinion.  Here are some of my thoughts and suggestions for you.

Firstly, you say you are very happy, that you and this ‘amazing person’ have common ground and shared experiences.  This is your reality and life today.  Today is all we have and perhaps this is an important place to put your focus now.

There was a previous marriage which didn’t work out, but that relationship does not have to have been wasted if you can look at the lessons learned from it.  This could bring more clarity to what you really want to gain now from your new relationship.  How you would like your life to move forward?

Sometimes it is helpful to write down what did work for you and what didn’t.  Seeing it in black and white will make it all more tangible.  If you can take the positive experiences from the first marriage, you may not see it as a failure but a stepping stone to what is really important to you now.  If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Perhaps ask yourself some searching questions.

What would 100% commitment mean to you?

Do YOU want to be married?

Is this the right time for YOU to move to another level?

If not, trust yourself to be able to make the right decisions for today.  Perhaps it is too soon for you (you do not say how long you to have been together), be true to yourself, why rush when there is a lifetime ahead?

If you feel you are holding back, there is a reason for that.   What are you really afraid of?

Do you generally trust your intuition and gut feelings when making important decisions?

Think about your life experiences and the times you have made very good decisions in the past.   Again, I would suggest you write these answers down as they could reveal some of your deeper thoughts and anxieties, more than there is at a conscious level.  Just free-write the words that come into your mind at the time.

When you do make your decision, you might start to see it as a no-lose situation and not a win/lose one.  By that I mean whichever path you take, there will be a mixture of experiences to have.  When you see everything as helping you to enjoy life, you will ‘feel’ then if something isn’t working.  When that happens, make a switch and do something different.  People often get locked into “This is the only way” and feel that their decision is written in stone.  It is not.

Try to be more flexible, avoid being too rigid, not so black and white, nor right or wrong.  This will relieve the pressure and ease you into a relationship where you can feel more relaxed.  It is to be enjoyed with fun, honesty and love.

Other friends splitting up and seeing divorces all over the place is a reality and a concern.  There will be many reasons leading to their decisions.  However, how helpful is it to compare? You are you and this is your relationship with very different thoughts, feelings, needs and desires.  When any couple comes together, they come with all their previous life experiences, childhood issues and a huge amount of different thoughts and belief systems from school, religion, friends and family.  No two people are the same and generally we don’t know very much about them unless we have ‘walked in their shoes’.

I hope some of these thoughts and ideas will be helpful to you and if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

Anne E Pilling – CalmCare

Certified Counsellor SRN ITEC

Feel the Fear Trainer.

+33 (0)4 93 87 18 97 OR +33 (0)6 80 84 91 16


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