Fear of commitment

In self-help literature, fear of commitment is the avoidance of long-term partnership or marriage.[citation needed] The concept is often much more pervasive, affecting 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 of the perceived sexist idea that 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] A hatred of marriage is called misogamy.[4]


Besides the common criticisms of self-help, Harvard psychologist Deborah DePaulo has written books such as Singleism on the stigmatization of single people.

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 by choice) 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, would speak not in terms of fear of commitment but of marriage strike to reflect their position that non-marriage is an entirely valid, logical position based on rational consideration of the economic factors involved.[5][6][7]

See alsoEdit


  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. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Wendy McElroy (2003-08-12). "The Marriage Strike". Fox News - Opinion. Retrieved 2013-07-15.