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Opinion: Does the moment ever arrive when ‘The One’ feels right for forever?

The fear of commitment shouldn’t be regarded as a flaw but rather as a freedom
Author: Thubelihle Chance Ntombela
Mon, Dec 04, 2023

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Often enough, the term commitment phobia is associated with degrading words particularly when it comes to women who aren’t quite ready to settle down.

As a twenty-four-year-old transgender man, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been called names ranging from serial dater to gamophobic and serial monogamist … a few went over my head.

Aside from looking at it through a gendered lens, commitment phobia is a complex and often misunderstood aspect of human behaviour.

I sometimes like to imagine my dating life as an eternal migration. I have never felt comfortable enough staying with the same people for a long period of time. The beginning of my relationships are often mind-boggling and exciting just as any but I live next to doors marked exit, always ready to jump ship. It’s satisfactory to know that I have little control over who gets to stay in my life and for how long. Perhaps my obsession with power dynamics has led me to believe that by dating several women I have control over what happens next.

I’ve often wondered at what point people actually sit down and think: “Now I’m ready to do this life thing with this one person?”

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I’ve been in a committed relationship in the past for three years but it never really felt right. Yes, I have struggled with detachment and abandonment issues before, which my psychologist thinks might be a reason I use the “leave them before they leave you” method. However, commitment to me seems too much of a burden. Having someone depending on me for their happiness, needs, reassurance, and whatever people need from one another isn’t exactly what I seek. What I’ve witnessed in my past relationships is that commitment equals dependency and God, and it’s too much of a cross to bear.

Knowing how to sweep women off their feet always gives me an upper hand. I keep running into women I’ve dated while on dates with other women. Crazy enough, I’ve never cheated on anyone I’ve dated but there’s always an expiration date of sorts. Two to three months at most. Oftentimes I go on a date knowing in advance that I’ll be dropping a “it’s not you, it’s me” text soon. I have a rule of ending things just when I’m starting to feel myself getting vulnerable, undressing myself, and stepping out of this thick skin. Does that make me a narcissist or someone completely out of touch with normalcy?

Being in a monogamous relationship has never seemed quite appealing to me. In fact, I’ve even suggested open relationships and threesomes in my previous serious relationships. I’ve found that people are more interesting when you’re still trying to get to know them. Before dating, I used to love having conversations with strangers on a grocery aisle, at a bar, or any random place. It freed me from thinking that they’re now responsible for my feelings, thoughts, and existence. I was just a stranger they’d serve at their dinner tables without even remembering my name.

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It’s not that I’m emotionally unavailable. And for me, there’s no thrill in having someone at your heels chasing you and coming ever closer. They always do come back for closer. I try to be as honest as possible about my intentions, that I’m not looking for anything solid from the very beginning, but they always hope for something more. No, I’m not excusing myself for leading them on. I share equal responsibility.

Lori Harvey who has been making headlines on the internet about dating a series of men over the past few years has been criticised over and over for her choices. In one of her recent interviews on Essence, she says she’s centred on living life on her own terms regardless of how others try by all means to devalue her based on her choices. “But what I would love for people to know is that I am a young woman just trying to figure it out – but I’m trying to figure it out in the public eye. That magnifies everything. It magnifies your mistakes,” she was quoted as saying.

For me, it has never been about sex, being seen as a playboy or even getting revenge for having my heart broken years ago. Sharing my life with other people is completely out of the question, be it friends or romantic partners. People leave and often enough, we don’t get to have a say when it comes to endings. Be that as it may, people don’t like commitment for various reasons either from the past, present, or future.

I am afraid of committing to another person and that’s totally valid.

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