The overt commitment phobic will be honest and tell you that they are a "confirmed bachelor" or that they "never want to get married".
Overt commitment phobics are easy enough to avoid, if you take their comments at face value and dump them, if you want a long-term committed relationship.
The covert commitment phobic is much more difficult to spot. In the early stages of a relationship, the covert commitment phobic will be actually be quite the romantic and intense, your classic "Casanova" (See Dating Red Flags). Below are some tips to help you spot a covert commitment phobic in the early stages of a relationship, so that you have time to exit before your heart is broken.
1. He or she comes on strong and shows more interest in you than you do in him or her.
A covert commitment phobic loves the excitement of pursuing love and gets a high off of the chase. So as long as you are not that interested, he/she stills feels safe and will continue to pursue you. The moment you let him/her know that you are falling for him/her, the intensity of the relationship will cool down immediately with a strong possibility of the covert commitment phobic dumping you because he/she is beginning to feel trapped or smothered.
2. He or she tells you how special you are and act like they cannot live without you.
In the beginning, they may even say things like:
- "I can't believe that you are still single"
- "You are the type of woman (or man) I could spend the rest of my life with"
3. He or she has a history of many failed short- term relationships.
Beware this is a HUGE RED FLAG!!! Past behavior has long been touted as the best predictor of future behavior. Don't fall for the line "the reason my other relationships did not work was because I never met anyone like you". As flattering as this line might be, it is a classic line to get you to overlook this serious character flaw.
4. He or she hints for a more permanent or long- term relationship.
Remember, it is not what a person says, it is what their actions show. Be on the watch to see if their words and actions align. While he may say he wants to buy you a ring, wait and see if he actually does buy you the ring and follows through on his word. Remember, talk is cheap.
5. He or she calls you up often just to say "Hi" or "I love you".
In the early stages of a relationship, your commitment phobic will call you frequently to chat, that is, until you appear to be interested.
6. He or she refers to the both you in a future tense.
The commitment phobic makes gestures of future plans with you. Once again all talk. They love the illusion of an intimate relationship, they are just terrified of commitment. They may say something like "we" go on vacation "next year" I'll buy you that "diamond ring".
7. He or she tries to get you to "commit" to them exclusively or sexually.
The commitment phobic is frequently insecure. They want you to be exclusive to them, but may have difficulty in staying exclusively committed to you. They are always looking for a fight, so they can quickly run off and date someone else. That is, until they get afraid that you may actually be moving on with your life. They don't want to commit to you forever, but just don't seem to be able to commit to not being with you forever either. If you are dating a covert commitment phobic, you will frequently experience the on again, off again relationship, because they are simply too insecure.
8. He or she acts like you are their number one priority in their life.
Once again, the key in recognizing a person who is truly ready for a committed relationship and a covert commitment phobic is in their actions over the long haul. Remember, the commitment phobic is able to make you a priority in their life, just long enough to catch you, then the intrigue and the hunt is over.
9. He or she goes out of their way to earn your trust.
He or she may cancel plans with their friends and family to be with you, offer to wax your car, or paint your house, as a way of demonstrating their "commitment" or "devotion" to you, while in the pursuit stage of the relationship. Once they feel they have earned your trust, you will notice a dramatic difference in their behavior.
10. He or she may act "needy" or "vulnerable" as a way to make you feel sorry for them.
They may even resort to tears, when they state how much they need you. This is just a tactic to lure you in. Once again, it is not the tears, but the consistency and integrity of their words and actions that you should be using to gauge the depth of their commitment to you.