This article contains spoilers.
Think about the last time you felt like you genuinely connected with someone. Were you introduced to each other at a party or did you put technology to the works and tried online dating? Either way, both of you have to go through the talking stage before things are actually official.
That period of getting to know someone is basically like dating minus the label and responsibility, meaning that there aren’t any expectations or pressure on your level of effort. According to the Gen-Z and Millennial’s source on modern internet language a.k.a. Urban Dictionary, the talking stage is described as, ‘When two people basically flirt and start feeling each other and they are just slowly getting into a relationship.’
It can be a tricky state to be in. But whether you’re questioning, ‘Ano ba talaga tayo?’ or you’re the type who runs away when things get real between you two, there’s one thing that’s being avoided: commitment.
Let movies do the talking
Take a look at Friends with Benefits (2011), where Jamie (Mika Kunis) and Dylan (Justin Timberlake) became friends after she recruited him to be part of a magazine. Jamie started seeing another guy days after they met, but their relationship fell short five dates after. When Dylan heard about it, he urged Jamie to go with him to California where things got intimate and their relationship went downhill when feelings were involved.
Another example is the local film Unofficially Yours (2012) that follows the story of a modern-day woman named Ces (Angel Locsin) and a man who’s been through several failed relationships named Macky (John Lloyd Cruz). The two become friends and eventually engage in a sexual relationship. Macky ended up falling in love with Ces, who is afraid of the idea of commitment.
The first movie showed that the male lead wasn’t down for a serious relationship, while the second one showed it was a female. But in real life, it could be anyone. In fact, a blog from Psychology Today shows that both men and women are equally likely to commit. So stereotypes aside, anyone could write ‘commitment’ as the last thing on their list.
Let science do the talking
If you’ve been contemplating why the idea of taking someone seriously scares the hell out of you, then science can further explain the reason.
Commitment issues might stem from different factors like traumatic past relationships that involved cheating, abuse, or abandonment. It could also be a projection of childhood stress like having divorced parents. Other factors that play some part are films that portray pain caused by committed relationships, the fear of winding up in an unhappy relationship, and if the person has a hard time trusting others.
According to psychology, people who have commitment issues when it comes to intimate relationships are related to attachment insecurity. This is when people struggle to make emotional connections with others. There are three possible patterns which they manifest from:
Fearful-avoidant attachment – these are people who are conflicted between being too close or too distant from their partner. You might hear them say, ‘I want a committed relationship, but I am afraid that I may get hurt.’
Dismissive-avoidant attachment – these are individuals who tend to emotionally distance themselves and dismiss the importance of loved ones. An example of their response could be, ‘I do not need you, nor do I need you to depend on me.’
Anxious-preoccupied attachment – these are people who seek a sense of security through their partner but are also scared to be rejected and abandoned. This person would say, ‘I really want to be close to you, but I do not think you want to be close to me.’
It’s time for you to do the talking
Before making assumptions, it doesn’t automatically mean that an individual has commitment issues if they prefer to have short-lived connections. Some might really just want to have fun at the moment and have different priorities. However, it could be a problem if that person is responsible for hurting someone else by misleading them. That’s why nothing beats having a proper conversation about where you both stand in each other’s lives.
But if talking things through seemingly doesn’t solve your fear of committing to someone romantically, you can consider going to therapy to have a better understanding of your emotions. It may be an option that takes a lot of courage, but seeking a health professional will be a great step as they guide and listen to you in an empathic and non-judgemental way.
So the next time you relate and sing along to the lyrics of urs by NIKI or Sana by I Belong to the Zoo, consider confronting that person instead. It’s easier said than done, but it can keep you away from potential heartbreak. But if you think someone is going through this because of you, then it’s time to clarify your intentions to save each other from sweet nothings and messy endings.