What I Learned When I Stopped Being Afraid of Commitment

I used to be terrified of commitment; I stopped talking to the person who could well have been the love of my life because I was afraid of what the label ‘girlfriend’ meant I would become. I was scared that I would be trapped, I would change my mind, I would get hurt or I would hurt the person. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I had my first serious relationship and finally got over my fear of commitment. That relationship was the best, and worst, thing that could have happened to me. I knew it was different from the start, there was something about my feelings and my emotions that was different from anything I’d experienced before. I finally felt grown up, ready for a relationship and I felt safe, until they cheated on me. After that trauma I thought maybe I would go back to my old commitment-phobic ways but I haven’t, in fact I’m sort of the opposite now.

And here are some things I’ve learned on my journey from being terrified of commitment, to actually liking relationships.

1. There’s nothing wrong with fully opening up to someone. I always thought the worst possible thing was telling everyone my deepest darkest secrets because they could reject me, or tell someone my secrets. But really, I had nothing to fear, opening up to someone is actually kind of great and if they betray your trust, it’s just a sign you aren’t supposed to be with them.

2. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun. If you’re in a relationship you can still go out with your friends and have fun with or without your partner. And if they’re trying to stop you from having fun, that isn’t the sort of relationship you should be in.

3. Your relationship is yours to work out on your own terms. Just because your best friend and her boyfriend see each other every day doesn’t mean you and your partner have to. There are no expectations to meet now that you’re in a relationship--you just do what works for you.

4. Once you’re in a relationship and you’re happy, you stop caring what people think about your relationship. Your sister thinks you’re a weird pairing? Your friend thinks your new partner is a bit odd? Never mind, because once you’re in a relationship you realize, so long as you like them and you have a good, healthy relationship nobody else’s opinion really matters.

5. I was always paranoid that my parents would be embarrassing, or that it would be awkward to tell them, but they were great. And chances are your parents are probably just really happy, as it means they might actually get grandchildren at some point in the future. And really, they just want you to be happy.  

6. Just because you’re in a committed relationship doesn’t mean it has to last forever; some relationships just run their course eventually. There’s no need to fear everlasting commitment because who knows what is going to happen in the future.

7. Just because you’re trusting someone with your heart doesn’t mean you’re destined to get hurt or heartbroken.

8. You can still get hurt by someone if you aren’t in a relationship with them – a hard lesson to learn for anyone, but there’s no reason to fear the heartbreak that might come from a relationship … when you can get just as hurt by someone you aren’t in a relationship with.

Those are just a few lessons I have learned, I’m still learning and adjusting and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more in my future relationship endeavours, but for now I couldn’t be happier with how far I’ve come.