NOTE:  THIS IS FIRST OF A THREE-PART SERIES

Dear Neil:  I am a 43-year-old educated, attractive and professional woman who has never been married.  I have left most of the men I have been involved with through the years.  Is there a way to tell if I am afraid of commitment?

Anxious In Portland


Dear Anxious:  Try answering the following questions honestly, using the scale seldom, sometimes or often:

  • I’m afraid that no one will want me because I’m not perfect enough 
  • I’m afraid that any partner I choose won’t be perfect enough
  • I’m afraid people will judge me by the partner I choose
  • I’m afraid of losing the freedom to do what I want, when I want
  • I’m afraid of losing my sexual freedom
  • I’m afraid of being bored
  • I’m afraid I’ll change my mind and therefore feel stuck
  • I’m afraid I’ll end up feeling limited and constrained by the compromises and obligations of commitment
  • I’m afraid of losing my individuality and my sense of self
  • I’m afraid of being controlled
  • I’m afraid of losing control
  • I’m afraid that I won’t have that magic feeling—and won’t end up with the mate that fate had intended for me
  • I’m afraid of growing older
  • I’m afraid that my life will narrow and I’ll die without ever having lived—or  having done everything I want to do
  •  I’m afraid that I’ll love so much that something awful will happen to me
  • I’m afraid that all the things I’m ashamed of will be found out by the person I care about, and s/he will therefore reject me
  • I’m afraid of being dependent on someone else
  • I’m afraid of having someone dependent on me
  • I’m afraid of making another romantic mistake
  • I’m afraid I’ll make my life more complicated and create more problems for myself
  • I’m afraid I’ll be giving up the life I enjoy just the way it is
  • I’m afraid of sharing my money
  • I’m afraid that the circumstances of my life are such that there is no room for another person
  • I’m afraid of the responsibilities that come with marriage and commitment

Scoring:  0 points for seldom.  1 for sometimes.  2 for often.   Although this is not scientific, the rule of thumb I would recommend you use is that if you have a score of 10 or more, you have problems with commitment.  The higher the total, the more likely it is that you are afraid of commitment.

I will explain fear of commitment in next week’s column.

Source:  “He’s Scared, She’s Scared” by Stephen Carter and Julia Sokol (M. J. F. Books).