By Steve Hill
Commitment phobia is the fear and avoidance of having to commit to anything, relationships in particular.
Usually the sufferer will be overly critical of the other partner in the relationship. They will set out to annoy or hurt the other person, thus sabotaging the relationship even if its thought to be going well.
Sometimes the commitment phobic will reject others from the word go, thus not allowing a potential relationship to develop and keeping themselves at a safe distance. Other commitment phobics can be flirtatious and affectionate and appear to want a relationship until the fear wins out and the other person is pushed away, broken hearted.
Some commitment phobics genuinely want to meet Mr or Miss Right and get married, but will often have somewhat unrealistic ideals regarding possible suitors. They may fall in love with someone who they know isn't interested in a long-term relationship. This way they can deliberately choose a person who can't/won't commit to them, therefore leaving them "safe" from long-term commitment.
The causes of this phobia are sometimes associated with a loss or trauma of some kind such as parental separation or bereavement. Maybe as a child they had poor role models or witnessed/were victims of abuse. This can have an effect on their approach to adult relationships. Often, at the heart of the fear, is the fear of rejection by others. To pre-empt this they will reject first, impose distance between themselves and others and thus feel safe.