Commitment-phobes are unable to truly love people beyond their close family members and tend to only have short-term romantic relationships, says psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. A fear of dedication prevents the commitment-phobe from entering into a serious relationship. This fear may stem from a childhood trauma, a previous heart break or a personality disorder, says relationship coach Jane Roder. Dating someone who is unable to commit is frustrating and stressful if you are keen to take things to the next level.
Be absolutely certain that you want to move on from the relationship. Trust your intuition, says life coach and relationship expert Natalie Dee. You may still have strong feelings of love, but if your partner's issues with commitment prevent you from feeling happy, secure and fulfilled, you need to put your own needs first.
Be bold and don't put off ending the relationship. In the short term it may seem easier to stay with your partner than be on your own, but those commitment issues won't go away. Talk to your partner. State that you want a serious commitment and that, without one forthcoming, you have no choice but to move on. Stay focused on the reasons you have decided to end the relationship, advises Dee, and explain them clearly.
Prepare yourself for a range of reactions from your partner, who may agree that it is best to go your separate ways or may react with anger or sadness. Listen to your partner's side of things and try to be tolerant and stay calm. Based on this conversation, you may be tempted to believe your partner can produce the commitment you desire; however, you need to stay firm and end the conversation without any uncertainty.
Avoid contact with your ex after you have taken the practical steps necessary to make a complete break, such as collecting belongings of yours. Even if you want things to be amicable between you, give yourself plenty of time to get over the relationship. If you still have romantic feelings, having your ex in your life will make it difficult to move on. Remember why you ended the relationship in the first place.
Forget about being friends -- initially at least. Ariane de Bonvoisin, author of "The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making any Change Easier," recommends giving yourself plenty of time to get over the break up, and she warns that it can take months or even years to reach a place where you can be friends.
Surround yourself with friends and relatives who are in loving, committed relationships. Look forward to the time when you will find a committed partner. Think positively about your future and don't dwell on the past.
Look out for signs of commitment phobia when you start dating again to avoid ending up in the same situation again. Seek professional help if you are having trouble getting over the breakup or if you only seem to attract people with commitment issues, suggests Roder.