The fear of finding “The One”

We can call it commitment phobia. But before we label it, let’s examine it. I’d bet it has happened to nearly all of us at one time or another.

You meet someone terrific, and he feels similarly. You date for a while — months or even years. You say you are committed to each other, maybe even engaged, but the relationship does not progress beyond sharing each other’s lives — and beds — several times a week.

Many people say this shows a commitment problem or immaturity on one or both people’s part. However, for the couple it may be just fine to have your own space and not want to be together full time. If you live within a reasonable driving distance, it may work well for both.

The complication comes when one or both of you would have to make a big change to be together frequently. If you live far enough apart, multiple visits each week can become a hassle, no matter how wonderful your time together is. If your homes are too small to easily accommodate another person, or if the commute to each other’s place onerous, something will need to change to keep the relationship together. One or both of you will need to move.

Some people try to stave off having to make decisions like this by purposefully avoiding dating people who are outside a reasonable commute difference. Unfortunately, their heart hasn’t heard of this love perimeter, so they may fall for someone regardless of their boundary.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with an astute, conscious, self-aware, long-single friend who shared that the dramatic changes involved when one has found The One has kept him from pursuing serious relationships. While one could diss him as immature, selfish, or commitment phobic, I applaud his insight.

I’ve examined this for myself, noting that I’ve not been in any serious relationships during my 2.5 years of dating, while other divorcées are often remarried in this time frame. If you have been dating for a while, is there a lingering concern that a major lifestyle change will have to happen when you meet The One? You’d have to modify things in your life that are working for you, whether it’s your ability to do whatever you want when you want or having to clean out closet space and drawers if he were to move into your place. Or you’d have to shoehorn your belongings into his place, or you’d move to a new place together. While some people find change exciting, others find major change wrought with concerns, like what if it doesn’t work out after you’ve made this big changes.

Do you have any fears that go hand in hand with finding The One? If so, share them so others can learn from you.

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3 responses to “The fear of finding “The One””

  1. Cupertino Avatar

    Sometimes I long for the days when I could move everything I owned with several trips in my Volkswagen. Logistics get harder when you get older and more settled.

    She and I live an hour apart — not that far, but too far for easy commuting. She doesn’t want to live in my city (she’s lived here before); I don’t want to live in hers (I’ve lived there before). We own our residences, and neither is big enough for both of us. Real estate prices have grown to the extent there’s a big question even if we sold both our places — which we don’t want to do — whether we could afford to buy a place in this geographical area big enough for both of us.

    Logistical, financial, emotional — all of these are big factors. Meanwhile, we live our lives, together and separate at the same time.

  2. Bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    Wow, can I relate to this piece! Remember me? I went on a dating/penpal site just looking for laughs? Well, I met a certain special someone online, we’ve been e mailing and IMing back and forth for the past 2 weeks and are planning to meet up for the first time in the very near future. I am excited and nervous at the same time, what if we hit it off? What if we don’t? As he lives several hours away from me, it could present a problem. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens…

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  3. Mitsy Avatar

    I’d be interested in how the relationship has progressed (or not) since the posting from Bookyone. Did you meet? What happened?

    Likewise, as per this thread title, I think a lot of men simply are not interested in dating long-term or actually trying to find “the one”. A couple guys from my past and I would have gotten along quite well long-term, but they simply were not ready to settle down. I think if they were, that I might have been the “one”. Timing is everything and if you can look at it that way, you don’t feel so bad about not being the “chosen one” at any given moment in time.