The Inability to Commit
By Yuan Cheng
Gamophobia means the fear of commitment
It is a serious disorder and can be treated via therapy
Around 12.5% of Americans have a phobia (a serious anxiety disorder) in their life about some specific and generally harmless topic, such as flying or the ocean. Gamophobia is the inability or the extreme fear in regards to commitment concerning relationships including but not limited to marriage.
There are a variety of causes for Gamophobia. One of the most common causes is trauma, whether that be the observation of unhealthy or unsuccessful relationships in the life of a family member or traumatic previous relationships. Another potential cause is genetic. Cultural traditions or pressures can also cause a fear of marriage.
Some symptoms of Gamophobia include physical reactions to the idea of commitment. Uncontrollable sweating, nausea, chest pain, heart palpitations, flushing, hyperventilation, dyspnea, etc, are all symptoms of Gamophobia. Also, if you frequently find yourself thinking about escaping healthy relationships for no obvious reasons or tend to feel strong, negative emotions/stress towards commitment or committed relationships, you might have Gamophobia. The severity of Gamophobia can depend on one’s attachment style as well.
Behavioral therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and psychodynamic therapy can all work to ameliorate symptoms of Gamaphobia or even solve the problem at its root. Medication, such as antidepressants and Benzodiazepines (ex. Xanax and Valium), can also be used to treat the disorder if prescribed by a medical professional.
While Gamophobia nowadays applies to commitment in all kinds of relationships (not necessarily romantic ones), the word itself is derived from the Greek root “Gamos,” meaning marriage.