You know that feeling you get after a particularly vulnerable moment? Perhaps it’s during an intimate moment, when you suddenly see the red flag of fear pop up, and you will do anything to create space and distance between you and your partner? That desire for space and distance is your need to restore a sense of control.

Remember the boy you liked in high school who finally asked you out? Or the fellow who chased you until he caught you, and then discarded you like driftwood? These feelings of the fear of commitment, so common to us all, become heightened when we feel vulnerable.

Once in a relationship, where control is mutual and shared, so is your feeling of vulnerability. In fact, your anxiety can mount to such a high pitch, that you find yourself fighting with your mate in order to restore a level playing field… that feeling of balance. This push-pull behavior represents your fear of intimacy.

So what can you do about it?

  1. The first thing you have to do is recognize that this is going on. Call a thing by its name and you gain a certain amount of power over it.
  2. Acknowledge it. When you acknowledge your feelings, your inner voice hears your fear.
  3. Take back your projected emotions. When you bring back your fear of commitment, by recognizing that it is YOUR fear that’s driving your behavior, and not the fault of your partner, you are taking your behavior back into yourself, where it belongs. By deliberately taking back your own projected material, you begin the process of healing your fear of commitment.
  4. It’s never about the other person. In fact, it’s never about what it’s about; it’s always about you. Your behavior patterns originate in your childhood, and compel your interactions with others… so to integrate them back into your unconscious consistently with awareness is to overcome it.
  5. Redeem your pattern of fear of commitment, instead of acting it out. When you follow this process, you can clearly and consciously override your fear of commitment when it rears its ugly little head. And, the more you deliberately do this, the less power that fear has over you.

This approach is not too different than the one used at Alcoholics Anonymous. The more actively you overpower your need for control, the more likely you are to diffuse your need for space and distance. The more often you do this, the more you lower the decibels that compel your behavior.

Ultimately, you put the genie back into the bottle, and that bottle can be found in your unconscious, where you can retrieve it whenever you wish. Thus, your fear of commitment is not suppressed, but rather under your discretion. Finally, by creating a new pattern, you have the opportunity to experience the fulfillment of a relationship through the intimacy of commitment.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.