Relationship Advice Tips from Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

psychotherapy for fear of commitment West Los Angeles

The buds of commitment were opening for Lukas but not all the way!

Photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Have you found a wonderful person that you want to be with but have a fear of commitment?  Perhaps you wonder whether you’ll ever be ready to take that risk and feel frustrated that you are holding back. So you finally go that final step and you get sick. What is that telling you?

Lukas waited a whole year before he agreed to get a place with his girlfriend. He went from wanting to wait and take things slowly to suddenly feeling the urge to seize the moment and agree to find a new place for them to share together.

 

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The beauty of Lukas’s good feelings hid the fears underneath

Photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Lukas locks away his fear of commitment and goes all out for living together

Lukas’s push came from having forced time away from Desiree. He didn’t do well during that time. He had a rush of allergies and insomnia that reflected his suffering during the separation.  When he was reunited with Desiree Lukas felt compelled to make sure he didn’t suffer again. He decided it was the right time for them to start living together, having backed off many times before. As soon as he told Desiree of his readiness for them to live together, the allergies and insomnia ceased and Lukas found peace.

The peace only lasted for a short while.

First came the excitement of looking for a place together, then came the elation of finding just the right thing, and signing the lease together. Lukas felt like he had finally grown up and took an adult step in the world, not out of fear but out of desire to go get what he wanted without imagining all the ways it could go wrong.

But less than two hours later he felt fatigued. His muscles and head ached. His throat felt sore – all the symptoms of flu! Lukas could barely finish preparing for the celebration with Desiree and friends. He just conked out on the sofa and fell asleep.

Lukas was stressed and scared but he had masked it with the joy of accomplishing his goal with a sense of comfort. He had sequestered his old fears and hesitations so that it didn’t get in his way again. But it wasn’t gone, just not dealt with once and for all. So his body had to prod him into facing the fears that had been put aside but had now escaped out of their cage.



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How Lukas’s stress and fear of commitment came out in his body

  • The aches in his body were representing the ache of past relationships where Lukas had invested everything, followed the rules, and still got burned.


  • The fatigue Lukas experienced just 2 hours after feeling full of energy and excitement told him that he was ignoring his fear of taking on responsibility for making the relationship a success, which involved hard exhausting work.


  • The sore throat irritated Lukas to remind him that relationships were not plain sailing. He needed to be brought down to earth and realize that just because he was in his bubble of joy and achievement, he would face irritations with Desiree from time to time.


Lukas falling asleep was a way for him to tune out of his discomfort. He didn’t want to feel that there were any issues he needed to acknowledge while everything seemed to be so perfect. Sleep took away the pain and the irritation, but when he awoke he was prompted to tackle his fear of commitment.

 

individual cherry blossoms take joint responsibility for holding up the stalk

Each floret takes equal responsibility for the beauty of the cherry blossom

Photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

The fluish feelings miraculously vanished when Lukas woke and talked to Desiree
Lukas felt a little better after he woke up. He felt completely fine and back to good health after he got the message that Desiree was understanding and wasn’t going to put pressure on him to ‘perform’ responsibly in the relationship all the time, and all on his own. He appreciated that it was a joint effort and that one would step in when the other wasn’t able to take on certain maintenance jobs within the relationship.

Lukas’s fluish feelings gave him the impetus to get evidence from Desiree that he wasn’t on trial and that they were equally responsible for the relationship success. Commitment didn’t have to be arduous or a one way street. The fluish feelings brought Lukas to a place of emotional balance so he could enjoy his achievement while still addressing his fears.

So next time you get a sudden attack of fluish feelings and want to ‘sleep it off’, consider what fears of commitment you are ignoring while in a bubble of joy.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you may have while reading the article or implementing any suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond, Ph.D.