Commitment Phobe by Choice

It makes my blood boil when I read Generation who refuse to grow up: No mortgage. No marriage. No children at the Guardian, mainly because it reminds me of the many people over the years who have suggested to me that now that I have turned thirty (or when I was in my late twenties) that I must be a responsible adult and buy a house, get married, and have children.

There is so much negativity about commitment phobia on men that you’d think there was a concerted advertising campaign being funded by the real estate, wedding planning, and children’s lifestyle industries in order to encourage us to spend more.

Buying a house, getting married, and having children are very personal matters, so I don’t want to criticize others if they decide to walk down these paths, but what I hate is the assumption almost everyone has that by a certain age I must do this or that. People give you all sorts of rules that are clearly just made up: you must date a girl for this long before you are officially in a “relationship,” then you must be in a relationship for x years before you buy her a ring. You must then save up y years worth of salary to buy the ring, and then you must marry her, and then you must buy a house, etc, etc. And if you don’t follow this formula like a slave, many people have the balls to tell you that you are not “man enough.” They tell you to “man up” and start taking responsibility.

Seriously? If I were a conformist beta male who followed what other people say I should do and get married, buy a house, then that makes me a true man? And if I defied society and did what I wanted to do instead, that would make me less of a man?

The term “commitment phobe” is used a lot. There is even an article on Psychology Today titled Understanding and Dealing with Commitment-phobia that talks about reluctance to commit as if it were a mental disease. I absolutely hate it when people talk about reluctance to commit in relationships as if it were scientifically proven to be some mental impairment when if fact it is not a scientific or medical defect.

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