How do you define commitment? Being exclusive, getting married, starting a family? It's so much more than that.
Fear of commitment is one of those things we’ve all heard about, experienced, or felt at least once in our lives because it’s supposed to be the main reason why so many relationships fail. I used to believe it was the reason why a couple of my relationships didn’t work out, until I was the one accused of having this fear. I spent many nights trying to figure out why this person felt I was running away from commitment when I actually thought I was putting everything into the relationship. After much thinking and reflecting, I came to the conclusion that I had always misunderstood fear of commitment because I only associated it to moving into a more formal relationship.
In fact, it has more to do with being fully committed and emotionally involved with the person you’re with rather than taking the next step in a relationship. But more importantly, I understood that there are so many ways in which we run away from being emotionally involved with someone that we don’t even realize. With that in mind, I gathered these songs to prove how commitment actually comes in many different forms, and that at the end of the day, it’s something most of us are afraid of.
“Don’t” by Ed Sheeran
“The Feeling” by Justin Bieber
“How to Love” by Lil Wayne
This song is the perfect example of the many forms in which that fear of commitment appears. It tells the story of someone who has been in tons of meaningless relationships, and even though they’ve put their heart and soul into them, they were only brief experiences, and that they don’t really know “how to love.” Then, the singer is trying to tell that person that even if things haven’t worked out, one day there will be someone who would give the world if they actually opened themselves to love. We’re talking, then, about a fear of committing with someone as an emotional shield to protect themselves from getting hurt again.
“Heart Attack” by Demi Lovato
“Done With Love” by Zedd
“Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” by Jack Johnson
Too often, the person asking their partner to commit is the one who suffers the most. However, as you can see in this song, that pain is what makes them incapable of understanding the other’s position, and if you think about it, that’s also one form of non-commitment. In this song, the singer is begging the person he loves to love him back the the same way he does. But at the same time, he’s always threatening and manipulating them by saying that he “can’t always be waiting.” Isn't that also running away?
“If It’s Love” by Train
“Just a Kiss” by Lady Antebellum
“Loving You No More” by Diddy
Here we have a very similar situation: that feeling of being pushed away and not seeing a clear solution or an answer. That’s another issue that happens in one-sided relationships. It’s clear that you aren’t committed to that person, but at the same time, you’re still there. Or it could be the other way around, which really sucks and can be even more painful than rejection: that uncertainty and feeling like your hands are tied because you can’t really do anything.
“Reaching” by Jason Reeves
“I Don’t Want to Be a Bride” by Vanessa Carlton
“Half of my Heart” by John Mayer
Many of the songs on this list are about our fear of getting hurt, but this one by John Mayer has to do more with when we can't forget or move on from a past love. When we love someone so intensely and deeply and the relationship ends for whatever reason, it’s very hard to really move on to something else, even when you know it's the best thing to do. That’s what this song is about: that will to love and commit to another person, but not being able to do it because half of your heart still belongs to someone else.
“Fear” by Sia
“Damaged” by TLC
“All at Once” by The Fray
"All at Once" is about not wanting to commit to a relationship out of fear that we could miss the opportunity to be with someone better. It also asks the question: should you push someone away because you think you deserve better? And what if that person really is "the one," but you don't allow yourself to see it because you're scared? That’s what the song is about: that stubbornness and blindness to see what we have in our desire to have the best.
We could have made a list of dozens of songs about how selfish the people we love are for not committing to our relationship, but that’s just one side of the matter. As we’ve seen throughout this article, commitment is much more complex than that. Perhaps, the fact that our partner doesn’t commit is also a reaction to our fear to commit to a relationship that doesn’t seem to be heading anywhere. At the end of the day, we all have different perceptions of what commitment is and what we expect from a relationship.
Check these songs out:
Cover photo by @_miriamherrera