I was chatting with a friend the other day and a guy from her past has recently resurfaced wanting them to get back together. As we chatted, it became clear she is waiting for someone – God probably – to tell her this is the man she should be with. She being a commitment-phobe worth her salt said: "I just need clarity that he is the guy." I laughed knowingly and told her that clarity is what all of us who are hesitant to commit say that we are looking for.
Let me explain. I am a commitment-phone. My pal dates guys for about a year and finds a reason or 10 to break up with them; I used to do two months. I was great at flings. I would go in knowing exactly why I will break up with a guy. Too short, too Kikuyu, too dark, too white… whatever, fill in the blanks, I’m out.
I laugh about this aspect of myself because, well, if I think about it too much, I will cry in despair. You see my brother and sister are not like this. They are both married to great people. They both took the plunge. Did they wait for a sign from above? The ever elusive ‘clarity’? The holy grail for commitment-phobics like me and my friend? No. They made their own choices and did not need anyone else to co-sign. They were not waiting for some outsider to validate their choice. Their spouse might have been endorsed by others, but that came after they had announced their engagement. They had the courage of their conviction and the confidence to stand by their choice and commit to it regardless of outside influences.
I believe that confidence is the main difference between those who commit and those who dawdle. We who meander into and out of relationships make a list of our partner’s positive qualities and try to sell him or her to ourselves: he or she is kind… good looking… has a great job… will make a great father… my friends like him… my family loves him…we have fun together… On our shambolic journey down the relationship path, we hope that this soundtrack will get us to an ‘Aha! moment’ when all will be clear and we can finally commit, assured there is no heartache or (God forbid) a better partner just around the corner.
So do I have advice for my fellow phobics? Hee hee! I wish. I take little comfort in having identified my issue. They say knowing and naming your issues is half the battle. Now I am waiting for the other half to be fought and no, not by ‘clarity’, but rather by faking a confidence in my choices that will eventually become real.