A phobia is an excessive fear of something and gamophobia is a fear of commitment and marriage. “Gamos” is the Greek word for marriage and “Phobos” means fear. It is characterized by feelings of excessive and persistent fear of being in a relationship, making a commitment, or getting married. Here are the signs and symptoms of fear of commitment and marriage and ways to handle it.
Signs and symptoms of gamophobia
People with a fear of commitment and marriage may:
- Be unable to form lasting intimate relationships.
- Experience extreme anxiety when in a relationship and constantly worry about the relationship ending.
- Be filled with dread at the thought of commitment.
- Feel anxiety when they see a happily committed couple.
- Push people away to end relationships abruptly.
- Have organized their lives around this fear.
- Avoid the topic of commitment or marriage at all costs
- Have many short but fiery relationships
- Become distant once the relationship gets serious
- Exhibit repeated promiscuous behaviour
- Appear emotionally unavailable to the partner
- Go after unattainable partners
- Have a preference for ‘friends with benefits’ types of relationships
- Inability to commit in other areas of life
They may also have physical symptoms when they think of commitment and marriage. Symptoms may include:
- rapid heartbeat and heart palpitations
- trembling or involuntary shivering
- shortness of breath
- choking sensations
- chest pain
- light-headedness or dizziness
- feelings of impending doom
- tearfulness or crying
Causes of gamophobia
A fear of commitment and marriage can be caused by a variety of factors and no single cause can determine its development. Potential causes include:
Children with a family history of any psychological condition have a higher likelihood of developing certain psychological conditions. Inherited traits can make a person more prone to this fear.
Children who witness their parents’ contentious and tumultuous relationship may develop a fear of commitment and marriage, afraid they could have similar conflicts.
Past failed relationships
If a person has had one or more relationships that ended badly, they may be left with a fear of commitment and marriage.
Insecure attachment styles
Attachment styles are the patterns of behaviour and emotional bonds that form between people. Early attachments between children and their caregivers are believed to have a lasting impact on later attachments. Children raised by responsive are more likely to form secure attachment styles while those whose needs are not met are more likely to develop an insecure style. People with an insecure attachment style often have a difficult time forming relationships, feel less secure in relationships, struggle with fears of being abandoned or may fear or reject the idea of commitment.
Any past trauma that may have affected your emotions and mental health can cause a fear of commitment and marriage. This may include situations like abuse or violence that may have happened to the person or been witnessed by them.
Diagnosis of fear of commitment and marriage
Gamophobia is not recognized as a distinct condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) which is the handbook used by doctors and therapists to diagnose mental health conditions. However, it’s diagnosed the same way other phobias are. A person must:
- Experience and immediate anxiety reaction.
- Engage in avoidance or endure the fear with extreme distress.
- Experience limitations in different areas of their life including work, school, or their personal life.
How to deal with gamophobia
Here are some ways to deal with a fear of commitment and marriage.
Be honest with yourself and your significant other about your struggle. Let them know about you and your history and what steps you’re taking to deal with it if any.
Explore the reasons behind your fear of commitment and marriage. This is the first step in dealing with it.
Seek medical attention
There is evidence that phobias can impact your physical health and are associated with a higher probability of physical diseases. For this reason and also for additional help dealing with the issue, it’s important to seek professional help. If you suspect your partner may have a fear of commitment and marriage, you also stand to benefit from a professional’s guidance on how to proceed.
Claustrophobia: Causes, symptoms, and treatment
The Legal Beagle: Is Long Term Cohabitation Considered To Be A Legal Marriage? That Which We Call A Marriage By Any Other Means