Fear of commitment

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In self-help literature, fear of commitment is the avoidance of long-term partnership and/or marriage.[citation needed] In popular culture and in psychology, the concept is often much more pervasive and can affect an individual's school, work, and home life as well.[citation needed]

The term "commitmentphobia" was coined in the popular self-help book Men Who Can't Love in 1987.[1] Following criticism that the idea was sexist, implying only men were commitmentphobic, the authors provided a more gender balanced model of commitmentphobia in a later work, He's Scared, She's Scared (1995).[2] When aversion to marriage involves fear, it's called "scottophobia".[3] Hatred of marriage is "misogamy".[4]


Besides the common criticisms of self-help, psychologist Bella M. DePaulo has written books on singlism such as Singlism: What it is, why it matters and how to stop it and Singled Out on the stigmatization of single people.[5][6]

The use of the term "fear" or "phobia" imparts an inherent linguistic bias. It recasts specific lifestyle decisions (such as bachelorhood vs. marriage, or a conscious decision to remain childfree) implicitly as generalised, irrational phobias while failing to identify, describe or address an individual's specific motives. For instance, the men's rights movement, citing high divorce rates and expensive alimony and legal costs, does speak not in terms of a "fear of commitment" but of a "marriage strike" to reflect their position that non-marriage is an entirely valid, logical position based on rational consideration of the economic factors involved.[7][8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Steven A. Carter & Julia Sokol (1987). Men Who Can't Love. M. Evans & Co. ISBN 978-0-425-11170-3.
  2. ^ Steven A. Carter & Julia Sokol (1995). He's Scared, She's Scared. M. Evans & Co. ISBN 978-0-440-50625-6.
  3. ^ Kantha, Sachi Sri, and Saori Yamamoto. "Medical Aspects in Tackling Fertility Decline among Japanese." International Medical Journal 22.6 (2015): 450-452
  4. ^ Ben-Rafael, Eliezer, and Sasha Weitman. "The reconstitution of the family in the kibbutz." European Journal of Sociology 25.01 (1984): 1-27.
  5. ^ Arnold, Lisa; Campbell, Christina (14 January 2013). "The High Price of Being Single in America". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Bella DePaulo". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  7. ^ Glenn Sacks; Dianna Thompson (2002-07-09). "Have Anti-Father Family Court Policies Led to a Men's Marriage Strike?". ifeminists.com. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
  8. ^ Helen Smith (4 June 2013). "The Marriage Strike: why men don't marry". Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream-And Why It Matters. ENCOUNTER BOOKS. pp. 1–39. ISBN 978-1-59403-675-0.
  9. ^ Wendy McElroy (2003-08-12). "The Marriage Strike". Fox News - Opinion. Retrieved 2013-07-15.