Gamophobia: The Fear Of Commitment [And How To Overcome It]7 min read

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It is always delightful to have a nice human interaction; but what is even lovelier? Romance!

That sort of connection between two (or more) can be so intimate it feels like a spiritual experience – soul-bonding, soul mate, you name it.

It has been depicted by Hollywood in a myriad of movies: A romance like that of Allie and Noah from the movie “The Notebook”, would melt any heart.

“…and that kiss in the rain was made all the more intoxicating through knowing the Hollywood couples were at the same time living out a real-life relationship,” said Jadie Troy-Pryde after seeing the movie.

And, yes, there are true-life romance stories as well

Sadly, a certain kind of fear can get in our way of having this beautiful kind of relationship – a fear of commitment – Gamophobia

What Is Gamophobia?

It’s the kind of fear that makes you “hum and haw” at the thought of getting into a committed relationship (e.g marriage). It is having “cold feet” getting into a relationship, then freaking out when the other person makes advances.

But do not mistake a simple nervousness about choosing a partner, with Gamophobia. Gamophobia is much more intense, unreasonable, and often uncontrollable.

In extreme cases, the feeling of love may even turn to hate.


Signs Of Gamophobia: How Do You Know If You Are Scared Of Commitment?

We are talking about an overwhelming fear that could change the course of anyone’s romantic life. A fear so strong it is accompanied by anxiety, panic attacks, stomach groans, and other forms of bodily unease

You can tell you have the fear of commitment when you find yourself 

  • Feeling dreadful at the mere thought of committing to a long-term relationship, not to mention marriage.
  • Skipping wedding ceremonies, or romantic movie scenes
  • Keeping an absurd distance from couples. 
  • Experiencing rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, nausea, light-headedness, or intense fear and irritation when close to the opposite sex.

While this fear cannot be clinically diagnosed, many people are slaves to its influence nonetheless. 

People under its shackles are likely to say in their defense;

  • Oh, yeah. Relationships are just a distraction”.
  • “What’s the point of getting married if not only to make babies?”
  • “There are thousands of successful people who are not committed to a partner, or married”
  • “At this phase of my life, it’s all about my career and making money”.

If you find yourself making similar insinuations often, you might want to do some introspection.

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What Causes Fear Of Commitment?

It’s stunning the number of people going through this, yet no one has been able to pinpoint the exact cause of fear of commitment or marriage. Although, it’s safe to say that it’s due to mixtures of  factors – mostly a blend of genetics and environmental conditions

Some notable culprits of Gamophobia include:

  • Early childhood attachment patterns, or experience: a child from a dysfunctional family, experiencing family divorce, is likely to feel insecure about having a future relationship or committing to a partner in the future.
  • Societal standards & cultural norms: In almost every era, the social class difference has been a challenge to the spirit of romance – Noah and Allie’s courtship was not exempted. Being with a poetic country boy was a “No-No” for Allie’s parents, who were one of the wealthy people; “how can the poor mingle with the rich?” they must have thought. Almost anyone facing a similar discriminatory tendency in our society will be prone to anxiety and fear of commitment. And while marriage is cultural, some cultures are accustomed to expensive marriage ceremonies, some forbid same-sex marriages and a lot of other cultural biases that make commitment difficult.
  • A Failed or toxic relationship: unhealthy entanglement and emotional pains from the past, are tough stains to be washed off from the fabrics of our minds, often. This makes the prospect of commuting again scary. And it might take some time and care to bleach out the memories.
  • Underlying mental illness is also a trigger of Gamophobia.
  • Etcetera…

Gamophobia is in no way a character flaw,  nor does it pose any sort of clinical or life-threatening harm.

Yet it robs us of the wonderful experiences life has to offer. We must be aware that the emotional and sociological consequences of harboring Gamophobia are costly (for example, it can lead to loneliness).

How Do You Overcome Gamophobia?

Your romantic life would be so much better if the fear is overcome the fear of commitment; below are a few ways to do that

  • Be Honest About It: before we can change anything we must recognize the problem first. Figure out if you have the fear and what might be the trigger – look within, search with no bias or shame to discover the truth about your fear. When you get past that, write about it or speak to your partner or any trustworthy person. They must know your situation – the truth. This would not circumvent the situation completely, however, you will experience the “Christian Grey & Anastasia Steele” vibes (two fictional lovers that were honest about their insecurities, and we’re ready to work it out with the help of each other).
  • Expose Yourself To It: one way to beat any phobia is by exposing yourself to it more – putting yourself right in the center of your fear. It could be by going to weddings, befriending couples who are in a serious relationship, reading about relationships, seeing movies about it, doing anything that brings you very close to your demon. You may wonder why? Well, must have noticed that familiarity soothes anxiety – the more you are aware of anything the less frightened you become. Besides, fear is not the same as danger – you really have nothing to fear.
  • Cultivate Positive Thinking: every phobia is rooted in the mind, in our thoughts and imagination about a possible dreadful outcome. Replace these negative thoughts with positive ones. Instead of focusing on the everyday headlines about toxic and unsuccessful relationships, redirect your minds to the healthy and successful stories out there. Go from cynicism to optimism.
  • Get medical help; when all efforts to beat this fear are futile and it proves overwhelming to deal with alone seek professional help. Various therapy techniques such as; Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy (ET), et cetera, are shown beyond doubt to be helpful – so why don’t you get therapy?

Conclusion: Love Requires Courage

Challenges are parts of our lives and we can’t runway from them. Hence, we should remember that we always have two choices: Courage or fear.

Fear is easy to lean towards because it is instinctive. But you would need to go against your instincts – you must push yourself to love and to commit even when your adrenaline goes crazy – if you want to love.

It requires courage to love

“Love always requires courage and involves risk.”

— M. Scott Peck

To conquer Gamophobia you must allow the cupid’s arrow to sink into your heart, and don’t try to pull it out. Only then will you be able to enjoy the benefits of commitment or marriage.

A mindful self-help writer and photographer

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