You’ve been in a relationship for a while and you feel ready to move on, but somehow, your partner seems to be dancing to a different beat. A beat which is going much slower than yours and one which seems to be keeping you both stuck to the same place on the dance floor. This is usually when you may start to wonder if you are in a dead end relationship. Are you with someone who has no intention of moving on to the next dance with you? One which is likely to culminate in a romantic waltz at your wedding and a lifetime of happiness together?
Reasons for a Lack of Commitment
There are many reasons why you, your partner or even both of you may feel unwilling to commit further to your relationship.
You just haven’t Found Your Perfect Match
The simplest reason could be that you just aren’t the right fit for each other. Something is holding you back from seeing yourself in a real partnership together; one which includes kids, a family and a retirement savings plan. You know this is the case when you can never seem to talk about the future. Either they change the topic, laugh it off as something to serious to talk about for now or you have an argument, so you find it easier to simply keep quiet, avoid the subject altogether and continue to date each other without thinking beyond tomorrow.
Your Partner has Deep Seated Commitment Issues
The other reasons why things aren’t moving forward can be more complicated. This happens when your partner may have a real fear of commitment. People with this issue usually want to have a long term relationship and want to be able to love and have a family of their own. However, they also experience fear and anxiety at the prospect of commitment. Both men and women can experience this and often it is rooted in issues such as a fear of, or having been in an unhealthy relationship in the past, some forms of childhood trauma or abuse, and perhaps complicated and negative family issues and dynamics as they were growing up. If this is the case, and you are committed to the relationship, you may have to be prepared to work with your partner through their issues and seek professional counselling and advice.
5 Signs Your Relationship has Commitment Issues
What are some of the signs which should alert you to a possibility that you are in a dead end relationship? How do you tell if it’s a commitment issue on your partner’s part and not a situation where you are just too anxious to move forward?
1. Avoids Talking about the Future
This is a definite telltale sign. Someone who can’t make a commitment to you, can’t see a future with you either. If every time you bring up the future such as talking about a wedding date, children, growing old together or even just seeing more of each other than you do now you find that the conversation goes sideways, then you need to understand why your partner can’t seem to paint that picture together with you. Typical ploys to avoid talking about the future will be: not talking about it at all, changing the subject, laughing it off, telling you it’s too early to think about stuff like that, telling you that loving each other the way you are right now is more than enough and that it completely fulfills them, or even picking a fight with you. Look beyond the distractions and see if there is a consistent pattern in avoiding discussions about your future together.
2. Complains of a Lack of Freedom
If your partner is always complaining that being with you prevents them from doing what they want to and from being who they really are, then you have a problem. It means that they find the relationship stifling, and people in stifling relationships don’t want those to last.
This can often happen if your partner and you don’t share the same values and goals in life. In this situation, every step towards the future results in each of you pulling the other away from the direction you feel you should be going in. In this case, moving together means either giving up something you or your partner wants, or staying in a stalemate. Both are conditions in which one or both of you will feel that you no longer have the freedom to grow and develop fully.
3. Doesn’t Include You in Family Gatherings
A future together has to include both your families. If your partner hasn’t introduced you formally to his or her family, or if you are often not included in family gatherings, then you know that they have not reached the point where they think of you as a part of their future.
4. Focused on Other Goals
If you are always being told that the future needs to wait until your partner has made Vice-President at the firm, or qualified for the Ironman Triathlon, or won the Nobel Peace Prize, then you know that your relationship is not a priority to your partner. People who are committed find a way to move their relationship forward no matter what their other goals in life are because being together and building a future together is their first priority and their most important goal.
5. Doesn’t Keep Promises
A commitment is a promise. If your partner doesn’t keep even the small promises in life, then he or she won’t be able to keep the bigger promise of being together for better or worse.
Taking the Next Step
First, you need to decide if your partner really wants to have a long term relationship with you and if you feel it is worth working through all your issues together. Have a frank and open discussion. If at the end of that discussion, you still feel frustrated and that you are the only one interested in building a future together, then it may be time to call it quits.
Moving on from a non-committed relationship is better in the long run both for you and your partner. When you close one chapter of your life, you give yourself the chance to start the next one, and the next chapter may just see you meeting your soulmate and future spouse.