Why Men Won't Commit

A gene variant may explain why some males want to maintain their single-forever status. Men with one or two copies of the "allele 334" have trouble committing to a relationship, according to a Swedish study. When the researchers looked at 500 couples, they found that men with this variant not only were commitment-phobic but also had marital troubles if they tied the knot. Guys lacking the gene variant made more devoted husbands, the study found.

"The incidence of allele 334 was statistically linked to how strong a bond a man felt he had with his partner," said lead researcher Hasse Walum. "Men with two copies of the allele had twice the risk of experiencing marital dysfunction, with the threat of divorce within the last year, compared to men carrying one or no copies."

Allele 334 could even predict whether a guy will end up proposing, says Dr. Michael Silverman, internist and certified holistic physician. "Men with this particular allele are much more likely to remain single," he says. "If they get married, they are twice as likely to have a marital problem."

Other Problem Areas

Fear of failure makes some men reluctant to commit since guys tend to worry about having a relationship wind up on the rocks, says psychologist David Eigen, author of "Men-The Gods of Love." Roughly half of all marriages end in divorce, he says, and some men can't help but wonder if they'll wind up a statistic.  

"Men begin to see marriage as an unattractive option," he says. "Men don't like to fail, so they run scared."

Men may also fear the amount of effort a relationship takes to succeed, says clinical psychologist Les Parrott, author of "Crazy Good Sex."  Afraid of the work and the responsibility that a relationship entails, he may trade it for a quick fling instead,  Parrott says. "He'd rather not be responsible for a woman's feelings of happiness and well being long term," he says.

Commitment fears can sometimes stem from childhood trauma, Parrott explains. The trauma of a parents' divorce or a disastrous previous relationship can affect a relationship going forward, he says.

Red flags to Watch For

If a man has is a history of infidelity, that's something to take into account, according to relationship coach Jane Roder in an article in The Courier Mail. If your guy tends to fall madly in love with a woman who is overseas or out of state,  if he is overly committed to work, or if he tends to date people with no long-term potential, these are other potential trouble signs.  

How to Overcome Commitment Fears

  • Admit there's a problem with commitment—that's an important first step.

  • Get help. Coaching or therapy can help you understand negative thoughts about relationships.

  • Become more self aware, and consider enrolling in a personal and spiritual development course.  A course can help you see how you may sabotage relationships, and may help prevent you from doing so in the future.

  • If you really aren't interested in changing, be upfront to a woman when you meet her. Admit from the get-go that you're only interested in a casual relationship and that you need a lot of space and freedom.