When it comes to relationships, commitment is vital. Without it, marriages can quickly fall apart. In the United States, lack of commitment is one of the top four reasons couples divorce. Let’s examine what a lack of commitment means and how it can play out in your marriage. We’ll also consider when it might be time to consider marriage counseling or separation and divorce.

“According to various studies, the 4 most common causes of divorce are

  • Lack of commitment
  • Infidelity or extramarital affairs
  • Too much conflict and arguing
  • Lack of physical intimacy

The least common reasons are lack of shared interests and incompatibility between partners.” (1)

Commitment Phobia in Romantic Relationships

People often stall or end romantic relationships instead of throwing themselves all-in with a partner and getting married. When people feel fear, they often retreat.

Healthline outlines reasons why commitment-phobic people often avoid commitment with a romantic partner. A few signs include if you:

  • Don’t want to date seriously, or commit to more than short-lived relationships, or don’t want monogamous relationships
  • Avoid thinking about the future of the relationship. Not having a desire to commit to a full buy-in with the other person
  • Spend a lot of time questioning the relationship or feel afraid of a future together
  • Avoid making plans or commitments on a daily or weekly basis and feel unwilling to do the hard work of dealing with a sense of responsibility to the other person
  • Don’t feel emotionally attached or fail to develop feelings that lead to a sense of emotional attachment
  • Feel uneasy or trapped when your partner shows signs of investment or being committed.

If you see these signs in yourself or a partner, it may be time for counseling or journaling to understand why you’re struggling to make future plans with anyone.

Commitment to a Long-Term Relationship

Once you’re involved in a long-term relationship, other signs of commitment issues can emerge. Past relationships or a bad breakup can affect a person’s ability to stay committed over time. Others struggle with being part of a team or allow their partner’s fear of commitment affect their level of commitment.

Long-term relationships often involve a difference in your idea of where the relationship is going.

While some individuals’ priorities include marriage and more commitment going forward, others focus on the here and now and want less commitment in their relationship’s future.

Especially when one person sees their future life with marriage and children and the other sees friends and fun, they are not on the same page and are headed for a collision course full of hurt.

Commitment Issues in Marriage

Once a couple is married, commitment issues may involve many areas of incompatibility, including:

  • Attachment Style:  Different levels of attachment can affect the willingness of one or both partners to work through complex issues
  • Mental illness: Anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns can lead to a lack of commitment
  • Lack of communication skills: Lack of problem-solving skills or lack of communication over important issues can cause lack of commitment in marriage.
  • Breaking of a Deal: If one partner says they want children before marriage but changes their mind afterward, the other spouse may feel betrayed by their lack of commitment to their promises.
  • Not Understanding What Commitment Means: Not understanding the level of commitment involved in marriage can lead to a lack of commitment. If you find yourself and your partner struggling with a lack of commitment, it’s essential to have an honest conversation about what each person needs from the relationship. Seeking counseling or therapy together may help surface any unresolved issues holding both partners back from a happy togetherness.
  • Childhood Trauma: Unresolved childhood trauma can lead to a lack of commitment in adulthood. It’s essential to understand the root of your fears and address them so that they do not prevent you from having a healthy, committed relationship.
  • Fear of Being Hurt: People may also lack commitment because they don’t want to be vulnerable and risk getting hurt. They may act macho and angry when they feel hurt and abandoned. Acting in ways different than how you feel can contribute to creating a dysfunctional dynamic.
  • Not Wanting to Practice Commitment: Lastly, lack of commitment can stem from not wanting to practice being committed, taking the time and effort to understand another person’s perspective or feelings.

Finding Relationship Help

When one half of a marriage breaks the promises they made on their wedding day, it can be absolutely heart-wrenching for the other. After all, couples marry to experience companionship and commitment from each other – but when one partner only focuses on their needs while ignoring those of their spouse, that connection begins to unravel.

If you are struggling with a lack of commitment in your relationship or marriage, it’s important to recognize that help is available. Couples therapy can be a way for both spouses to confront their apprehensions within a secure environment.

Therapy and counseling can help you better understand yourself, your partner, and the relationship. Understanding can help you make an informed decision about how to move forward.  Sometimes, understanding each other better allows you and your partner to build a more substantial commitment for the future.  

Examples of Lack of Commitment

There are many reasons that a married person may not be interested in doing their part in the relationship. For example, if you work all day, pick up kids at school, come home and care for kids, cook dinner, clean the house, mow the grass, and try to plan fun date times with your spouse, you’re doing quite a bit of work for your relationship.

Suppose your spouse drops kids at school in the morning but then watches TV all day, never cleans, makes messes everywhere, and then yells at you and complains when you arrive home and try to accomplish all that you must do.

In this situation, you do 200% of the relationship work while your spouse does almost nothing. Unless they are sick and unable to put in some effort, it may be time to seek counseling to help your spouse make a breakthrough.

Another example of a spouse unwilling to recognize their commitment issues would be someone who treats their partner with contempt and won’t let them talk without sneering or making snide comments. In this situation, the spouse withholds the commitment to love, honor, and cherish you.

Overcoming commitment issues is sometimes possible when both spouses want to work hard to overcome their issues and focus on improving the marriage. However, when only one spouse is committed to the relationship, commitment issues will not likely resolve on their own.

Separation and Divorce in North Carolina

In NC, you don’t need a specific reason for a divorce. The only grounds for divorce in our state is living apart and separate for one year.

If you decide your marriage is not measuring up to the standards for commitment, you can work with an attorney to establish terms of a separation.

An experienced divorce attorney can help you work out all the details so you don’t get the short end of the stick.

Our Experienced Divorce Attorneys Can Help

At Plekan Law, we understand that lack of commitment can be difficult and emotional. Our experienced family law and divorce attorneys are here to help you resolve your situation and move forward.

If you’re ready to move forward with separation and eventual divorce, talk with us at Plekan Law. We are prepared to help you establish your marital rights during separation, including child support, custody, visitation, post-separation support, and alimony.

We will represent you in all hearings and walk you through the judicial process until your divorce is final.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We look forward to helping you get the closure you need to move forward.