Navigating a Fear of Commitment in Post-Divorce Relationships

  • Many who go through the divorce experience come out of it with a fear of commitment.
  • Some become jaded and blame the dysfunction of their previous marriage.
  • Ending the fear is ending your ex-spouse's influence over you.

When you begin the divorce process, you can sometimes feel like the commitment that you made during the act of marriage is dissolving between your fingers. If you wished to keep the commitment, you may mourn it and become angry that you will no longer have that relationship in your life.

If you were the one interested in ending the union, you may express relief that you will no longer be brought down by the dysfunction and the unhappiness of the relationship. An action like spousal infidelity may have fueled your decision to divorce, shifting your perspective about future relationships.

The shift of perspective is an understandable consequence of the broken trust from your damaged and ending marriage. It may not have even involved infidelity, and you still may have issues in future relationships, regarding necessary components like trust and commitment.

Receiving guidance

These are important components for any relationship, and after the divorce process is finalized and years go by, you may have to readdress facets of your marriage, such as adjustments in child custody arrangements, child support, or alimony, which will require the help of your family law attorney.

They will be able to provide to you the guidance necessary during a time in your life when you may begin to distrust people and their ability to be honest and committed to your cause. When it comes to your case, they will put your mind at ease.

Understanding the fear

After going through a divorce, the level of distrust you may feel, regarding others and their intentions, is entirely understandable. When you or your ex-spouse ends a commitment that is meant to last forever, it can make you question the validity of commitments in general. If someone who promises to love you, honor you, and be committed to you for the rest of time is unable to do so, what does that say about commitment as a concept?

Part of that stems from a psychological phenomenon that was studied by the Relationship Institute at UCLA. Researchers found that commitment is more fickle of a concept for many, who are unwilling or unable to make a relationship or marriage work when challenges confront it.

“It’s easy to be committed to your relationship when it’s going well,” said senior study author Thomas Bradbury to the UCLA Newsroom. “As a relationship changes, however, shouldn’t you at some point be like, ‘I’m committed to this relationship, but it’s not going very well – I need to have some resolve, make some sacrifices and take the steps I need to take to keep this relationship moving forward. It’s not just that I like the relationship, which is true but that I’m going to step up and take active steps to maintain this relationship, even if it means I’m not going to get my way in certain areas?’”

The research indicated that couples who frequently disagree with one another need to communicate and find the source of their disagreement.

For many, however, the source of their disagreement is the commitment itself. There are many that do not take their commitments in relationships and marriages as seriously as others, and as a result, they are not as hurt by the divorce, leaving their ex-spouse emotionally wounded by the experience and in a position where they may find it difficult to put their heart on the line and commit to someone again.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Some stay willing to commit

This may not be you. Many individuals who go through the divorce experience have no problem committing again. In fact, many who find themselves single in their 30s, 40s, and 50s look to date people who have gone through a divorce.

According to The Huffington Post, there are many men and women who are willing to commit, even after they go through the divorce experience. They have failed to give up on love and actively still are seeking that special someone.

That does not mean there are not certain behaviors to watch out for. It just means that not everyone is jaded or fearful of the possibility of committing again after a divorce.

Ending the influence

The fear of commitment can be understandable after the divorce experience, but by holding onto that fear, you are giving your ex-spouse power beyond the end of your marriage. You are allowing them to influence the outcome of future relationships.

Letting go of that fear will allow you the opportunity to move forward in your life, away from the influence of your ex-spouse, giving you the chance to heal.

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