Have a problem with love or life in general? Send Ogonna your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and get them answered here in her column. You can also tweet her at @askogonna
Reader (via my Ask account! Ask.fm/askogonna): How can I overcome my fear of commitment?
Ogonna: For those of us who didn’t have serious relationships in high school, college is a time when we delve into what it means to be in one. We begin to realize how our past has altered our present, and we start to think of the ways it could potentially alter our future.
I think that a mistake we are afraid of making in a relationship is being honest about our expectations. We don’t want to seem too needy or too lenient. But a relationship is all about learning about the other person, being honest and vulnerable with each other and learning how to best compromise your expectations.
If you’ve read my past articles, you know I specialize in talking about introspection. So naturally, I will have to ask you to identify why it is that you are afraid of commitment. Is it a personal insecurity? Is it because of your past relationships? Do you think that you’re too inexperienced compared to your significant other or vice versa? Do you have emotional or physical boundaries you’re scared of admitting to? Do you think that the two of you have different expectations of each other that you won’t be able to live up to?
These are intense questions to ask and answer, but you must do this. And once you’ve come up with solid, truthful answers, you have to talk about it with your significant other. You have to ask each other those hard questions that you’ve been dreading to discuss. You have to be honest about your expectations of the other as well as your insecurities and things you aren’t comfortable with yet, things you are willing to compromise over and things you need to put your foot down about.
In a past article, I talked about how we tend to use the word “maybe” as a copout. Sara Bareilles said it best in her song “Gonna Get Over You” by singing, “’Maybe’ is a vicious little word that can slay me.” This is so, so true. I am a hardcore subscriber to saying the word “maybe” as a copout when it comes to committing to a plan. I’ve admitted it before and I’ll say it again, I like to wait for the best offer to come my way before committing to someone — that way, I’m not exactly ditching anyone because plans were not exactly set into stone.
This is detrimental when it comes to relationships, and it’s something I know I need to work on as well. When we don’t commit to someone in a relationship, when we don’t say ‘no’ but don’t say ‘yes,’ we are basically holding out for the best offer — whether it’s our best offer or theirs. If we are insecure about ourselves, we don’t commit because we think we won’t be the best for this person. If we have different expectations than the other person, then we think that person is not the best offer for us. In both cases, we jump to conclusions about the other person without even talking about it with them first. We might think our expectations for a relationship are so out of line with theirs that it’s better to just stay friends. But if you’ve made it to the point where you’re considering a long-term relationship, you two are probably a better match than your insecurities will let you believe.
Don’t let one honest conversation stop you from being with the person who could be exactly what you’re looking for.