Commitment Phobia and Early Retirement as an Escape from Responsibilities

We are well into 2020 now. It is a new year and a new decade. Something that has been on my mind a lot is early retirement. Do I really want to retire early? Once you start earning more, it becomes harder to give up the salary. That being said, work has been hard lately, and whenever work gets hard, I begin to think about early retirement. 

Something that happened in 2019 was that I was in a brief relationship for about three months, but that ended. It was nice while it lasted but it definitely is over, which is a pity because I do want a girlfriend, but I think I do have a severe case of commitment phobia. I am fairly certain I don’t want children, and I could go on forever about the reasons for that, but I am also worried about marriage, which to me seems very risky. I have also witnessed many bad marriages. Many people say that conflict and argument are a normal part of marriage and you need to just work through it, but this seems to be an unsatisfactory answer. For 2020 and beyond, my plan for relationships is the same as always, which is to stay single but be open to meeting new women. 

At this point in time, I am probably as lonely as ever. I don’t think I have any friends. I don’t have a girlfriend either. I pretty much have nothing. Most of my interaction with people is work-related and there are a few people I catch up with every now and then. This is a bit depressing, but at the same time, I do like the solitude. I also like the freedom that comes from just being by myself. It is not like I am completely alone. People do contact me to have lunch or coffee with them, and sometimes I contact others to catch up with them, but mostly these catch ups are not that great. Whenever I catch up with others, I feel like I am just engaging in polite conversation. I cannot really express who I am or what I am thinking. Maybe I haven’t fully built up the courage to say what I want to say.

When I started my financial independence journey, my plan was to retire early in Southeast Asia, and I still want to do this. Whenever times are tough, I’d imagine myself living on a beach on an island in Southeast Asia. I’d sleep in a beach bungalow, wake up late, walk along the sands to a beachside cafe or coworking space, and spend my days reading books or writing books on a laptop, which I would self-publish on Kindle. I’d drink coffee and coconut by the beach while I read or write books. In the afternoon, when the sun sets on the horizon, I could go for a swim, and the water would be very warm.

Part of the reason why I’m hesitant to have children or to marry is because of the threat that children or marriage pose to my early retirement dream. There is something about children or marriage that seems so final. The commitment is so large, and it is a heavy burden. 

When you live differently, people naturally challenge you, and when I tell people about my dreams to retire to Southeast Asia, they inevitably talk about how terrible these places are, how they have poor healthcare, how the traffic is bad, and so forth. All these points miss the bigger picture, which is that the reason why I want to go to Southeast Asia is not beause I necessarily want to go to Southeast Asia but rather it is because I want to have the ability to go somewhere else. Even if I don’t like Southeast Asia, I could always move back or move elsewhere. It is the movement and the flexibility that matters. I want to have no major obligations and I want to be completely free. I don’t want to be shackled to a job I initally liked but have grown to hate as I try to pay off a huge mortgage and car loan. There seems to be a tendency for people to push you to decide on something, commit to it, and then settle down, but I want to keep my options open. I never want to commit and I never want to settle.

10 thoughts on “Commitment Phobia and Early Retirement as an Escape from Responsibilities”

  1. Wow that’s a deep post but sounds like you know what you want and just have the community aspect missing. Having been to a few FI meetups it is very freeing to talk about stuff you don’t talk about with regular friends, perhaps a few friends who have also gone down the rabbit hole might help?
    We are probably as rare as unicorns but we do exist (FIRE woman who don’t want kids and want to have the freedom to travel the world), just look out for some frugal tendencies and perhaps you can guide them down the rabbit hole to FIRE and Thai beaches as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yep another women here on the FIRE journey and doesn’t want kids. Marriages would only work if both partners share the same financial view and sadly I’ve never met any guys In real life who want to FIRE. I can relate to everything you said and then some. Being single is actually quite good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Calvin,

    This post deeply resonates with me as I too experience the same sentiment. I believe the sense of loneliness is the direct result of our obligation phobia conflicting with our biological and social imperative; the need to establish relationships and procreate. Unfortunately, as you stated, living differently will often lead to broken relationships but that is fine. Neither you nor I are obligated to the social standards of our society and are free to define what life truly means to us. Everything has an obligation, the key is to find the right balance.

    In my case, seeking a state of contentment is how I combat my loneliness or temporary willingness to take up an unnecessary obligation (ie: agree to more than I am willing to, just to retain a relationship). It hasn’t been easy and will continue to be a consistent challenge but I can honestly say that the financial, physical and social freedom is worth it.

    Just remember, you’re not alone.

    Some Dude

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey just want to let you know about a book I read this week called Affluenza – When too much is never enough by Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss. Written in 2004 but it talks about what causes the average person in Australia (and by extension the Western World) to be resistant to movements such as FIRE and reasons why people you talk with tend to focus on the negative of your aspirations rather than being happy for you. It’s given me food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post, something I use to think is – life in the suburbs will always be there. If you can hit your FI number or close to it, take the plunge to live how your dreaming. I have just done it and even with the covid19 hit to the portfolio exposing me to the worst possible sequence return risk scenario, I’m glad I did it. Once you are living how you want too, the right oppourtunites and women will present themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve just discovered your blog and loved this post. I never wanted children and have never regretted this decision. Ever! ( and I’m old now) Take heart. If I had any suggestions they would be to only do things that you love or are interested in, gravitate gently towards folks who are doing and thinking similar things to you, and in the doing you will increasingly find your tribe. It takes courage to swim against the tide. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: