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Commitment Issues
A character that is terrified of being in a committed, monogamous relationship. (Hats, please?)
Needs Examples Tropeworthy? Up For Grabs

(permanent link) added: 2013-07-09 18:40:34 sponsor: paycheckgurl (last reply: 2013-07-18 18:13:06)

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Index: Character Flaw Index, Love Tropes, Unrequited Love Tropes, This Index Is Not My Girlfriend, Characterization Tropes
"You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear."
--Sammy Davis, Jr.
Oh Crap!

Also known as Commitmentphobia, a character with commitment issues is just that, someone that for whatever reason, does not want to settle down with a Love Interest. Perhaps they think that being Happily Married is inherently boring and unadventurous, they believe they're still not old enough to be serious yet, their issues stem from observing the dysfunctional relationship their parents had, being a swinger is just too much fun, or maybe they're Really 700 Years Old and are afraid that by committing they'll out live the person they love. Whatever the reason, don't expect these types to jump into a Relationship Upgrade anytime soon. A possible justification for a Will They or Won't They? series dragging out is if part (or both) of the main couple have this vice as it WILL take characters with commitment issues forever to get to They Do.

The "I Love You" Stigma is a Sub-Trope and common symptom of this problem.

Compare Insecure Love Interest, where the love interest's damage is specifically they don't think themselves worthy, Runaway Bride (which may or may not be the end result of this trope) and The Ditherer who cannot be complied with any kind of commitment, showing immaturity.

Truth in Television for a lot of people.

Has nothing to with Commitment Anxiety which is about the fear of starting a Long Runner.

Examples:

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
  • Haruka in Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu, despite being ostensibly in a relationship with Akiho, keeps applying Skinship Grope on other girls, much to Akiho's anguish. Eventually, Akiho makes it abundantly clear that she doesn't like it, and Haruka stops. While not necessarily afraid of commitment, until then Haruka didn't see a need for it.
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[[folder:Comics]]
  • Mary Jane Watson of Spider-Man fame had this vice because of the bad relationships both her parents and her sister and brother-in-law had. Peter proposed to her about three times before she said yes. And then...
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[[folder:Film]]
  • A central focus of the film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The main characters cheat, lie, and even enter a polygamous relationship that's doomed to fail instead of finding and settling down with a single person in a healthy relationship. In the end the film is a Shoot The Shaggy Dog Story in that the main characters remain the same people and their experience in no way helps them with their issues in the future.
  • Uncle Buck has this in regards to his relationship with his girlfriend, the car repair business owing Chanice. It's just one of several ways he's presented as being unreliable at the beginning of the film.
  • Runaway Bride is about a woman with commitment issues that has almost been married three times, but has runaway from the wedding each time because of her fear (in addition to leaving a long list of boyfriends that never even made it to the engagement stage). Considering the film's genre it's not a spoiler to reveal by the end of film she finds someone to finally settle down with.
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[[folder:Literature]]
  • shows up in Dave Barry's works, notably Dave Barry's Complete Guide To Guys, where men are afraid that they'll get in a relationship and get married and have kids and get old and one day they'll be walking down the beach and see a single guy relaxing in a hot tub with several supermodels and invite him and he won't be able to join them AAAIIIEEEEE!! He notes that to get the same amount of love and devotion with more reliability than a man, you might as well get a dog.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Penny has this problem in regards to her relationship with Leonard. The couple eventually works through it by Leonard putting the power to propose marriage in Penny's hands, so she won't have the weight of it on her shoulders until she decides she's ready.
    • From the same show, Sheldon struggles with committing to Amy and then from there moving forward in their relationship. In his case, the issue stems from having previously thought of himself as a Celibate Eccentric Genius who is above time wasting romantic notions, and having an aversion to change. In one episode both Leonard and Amy decide to move too fast for their partners and put moving in on the table. Sheldon and Penny are forced to confide their hesitations about it to each other.
  • Torch Wood's Captain Jack Harkness has this, primarily of the afraid-of-outliving-love-interest variety.
  • Men Of A Certain Age has this as Terry's main problem to overcome. He's a middle aged man that still goes through multiple girls like he's a young twenty something.
  • Friends: It's one of Chandler Bing's defining traits. His parents had a messy divorce, and he's unable to trust, commit and be happy. He had many dates and girlfriends, but he always broke up with them over minor issues. He was also stuck in unhappy relationships with girls like Janice who was caring and in love with him, but a fairly insufferable woman, and he thought he couldn't do better and that she's his only chance for a long-term relationship. He freaked out several times that he's destined to die alone. He later got together with one of his best friends Monica and they had a stable, loving relationship, but he still had several crises when he either got cold feet or thought that a minor argument means they are breaking up for good.
  • Drake from Drake & Josh goes through a different Girl of the Week every episode (sometimes he'll go through multiple girls in the same episode). He's been shown to be afraid of being steady for too long and will often get bored with his current girlfriend very quickly (possibly the only exception is Carly, the record store worker, and even she disappears eventually). When his brother is struggling with The "I Love You" Stigma and asks him for advice, Drake's immediate response is that saying I love you is a trap.
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[[folder:Theatre]]
  • In Bell Book and Candle, after Shep and Gillian have been close for two weeks, he asks her when they are going to get married, and she recoils at the suggestion. They point out that they're reversing the usual male and female roles in this kind of argument. Her problem is that she would have to give up being a witch, but that's a secret she doesn't want to divulge to him yet.
  • Nathan in Guys and Dolls has been engaged to Adelaide for over a decade.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
  • In the The Sims 3 this a trait you can give one of your Sims. Sims that have it will often get the wish to break up with whomever they're romantic with, and for other Sims to get a Relationship Upgrade with them the relationship meter must be particularly high. There is also a book entitled "Commitment Issues" Sims can read.
  • Some people cite Sonic the Hedgehog's aversion to romance as being scared of settling down and giving up his free and adventurous lifestyle.
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[[folder:Webcomics]]
  • Rayne in Least I Could Do. At first he is presented as an unapologetic Jerk Ass womanizer, with little to no desire to ever be in a serious relationship. As the strip goes it delves into some Hidden Depths revealing his issues with commitment actually aren't as straight forward and shallow as they are initially presented.
  • It's implied Riff might have this hang up in Sluggy Freelance, although it could also be a combination of attracting crazies (even the ones he remains friends with) and not being the best at expressing himself.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • Ginger Foutley in As Told by Ginger expresses this doubt in the finale. Ginger's mother is getting remarried, and Ginger's new boyfriend Orion is pressuring her to go steady, but Ginger doesn't want to because she doesn't feel comfortable. She wonders if this is wrong, but her friends suggest that she has commitment anxiety due to her parents being Amicably Divorced and because she once dated her best friend Darren. She and Darren had since broken up after he showed interest in Simone and felt guilty about two-timing Ginger. She also wonders how her mother could take getting remarried after being divorced once, but her mother reassures her that while nothing is certain, she's happy to remarry anyway.
  • One of the plot threads of Despicable Me 2; Gru is shown several times having problems romantically relating to women, though at one point he goes on a date with a Paris Hilton Expy (a date which goes disastrously wrong, to his evident relief). At the end of the movie, he marries his colleague Lucy.
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