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Four Risks in Loving Men Who Can’t Commit

Commitment phobic men are not wounded birds waiting to be nursed to health.

Should women spend time, energy, and emotion on a man who may never be a part of their future? All too often women say to themselves or their friends: “Well, he wouldn’t commit in the past, but I’m different.  I have more patience than the other women he dated, and I am more understanding than most women. I can help him.” 

If you have heard yourself saying the words “I can help him,” think of yourself as being trapped in the “wounded bird syndrome”  in which your desire to nurse someone back to health is so strong that it clouds your logical thinking.

Before getting too involved with a commitment phobic man consider asking yourself these 20 Questions to Finding New Love and Marriage.  And then make a conscious effort to understand what is most important to you. 2 Virtues Enhance Falling in Love Forever. Also watch his body language and his actions towards you. If you are jumping through hoops for the commitment phobic man and thinking you can nurse him back to love – think again. Many commitment phobic men are reliving a dysfunctional family role (in fact, some women are in this trap as well.)

A dysfunctional family role

As David M. Allen, M.D. tells us in his Psychology Today blog, “Some commitment phobes may not truly be afraid of commitment per se. People who appear to fit this bill may in some cases be playing a dysfunctional family role originally dubbed the go-between by psychiatrist Sam Slipp.” Commitment Phobics.

What are the 4 big risks for women?

Whether he is stuck in a dysfunctional role or incapable of taking on the role of a trusted partner, a woman who dates such a man does so at her peril.  Keep in mind that he may have a list of ideals—and you may well meet his 50 requirements. But once he realizes this, he will add another challenge.  Now you are up to 51 hoops to jump through.  So if you really want to keep dating the commitment phobe, consider the risks.  

Delusion takes over: As the two of you become increasingly intimate, you begin to think to yourself —"I know he really likes me. I give him unlimited space, joyful sex, and we laugh a lot. This can work." Pinch yourself. You're delusional.

Self-esteem takes a hit: As you invest more of yourself in Mr. Non-Commitment, and he does not return the affection in little ways, you begin to feel unworthy. What little ways? A card. Spur of the moment surprises. Flowers or little gifts for no reason at all. Do you dream of such joys? Snap out of it, with this guy it will never happen.

Time is lost: The time you invest in the man whom you wish could be Mr. Right, but who does not want to be anyone's Mr. Right, is time you take away from finding a loving companion. Instead think about going out with some fun girlfriends or settling for Mr. Good Enough (Video)

Heartbreak looms: If you are willing to risk the heartbreak of a man who cannot commit just make certain he is worthy of your tears. When the day comes for you to admit that he was your wishful-thinking-fantasy, you want to remain grateful for whatever joy you shared. So get out before you become angry.

Why are men afraid to commit?

Matthew Fitzgerald says in AskMen magazine that for men who can't commit it boils down to fear:  No more freedom. Loss of space. One sex partner, forever. Being burned again. Lack of compromise.  Fitzgerald says this to men, "Whether or not you ultimately want to settle down is up to you, just be aware of the reasons you might be afraid to make that commitment." Why guys don't commit - AskMen

Those men who put up walls to protect themselves from commitment also risk fencing off love. In some ways the man who can't commit might be the one who suffers the greatest loss, because even after meeting "the one" — he remains afraid.

Copyright 2012 Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved

Follow Rita Watson on Twitter @ LoveColumnist

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Rita Watson, MPH, is an Associate Fellow at Yale's Ezra Stiles College and a columnist for The Providence Journal.

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