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).