by Katherine Lee, LCSW

He’s not tall enough. His laugh is annoying. He has some annoying habits that kept ticking me off. I didn’t get any clear signals he was into me. It can be easy to pick up on when a guy is “just not that into you.” But how do you know if you’re giving off similar signals? Do you find yourself constantly feeling convinced that a first/second/third date, or even a current relationship will never really go anywhere? If so, you may have a fear about giving any man a chance to really connect with you. A woman may grow deeply tired of the dating scene when it seems to become a revolving door of disappointments, failing to realize that she’s sabotaging herself. So how do you know if you’re afraid of commitment when it comes to dating?

–You Zero in on the small things

While it’s important to know your deal breakers, frequently getting hung up on small details about the way a man looks or behaves when dating is a major red flag to me that a woman is hesitant about commitment. She’ll inevitably find something that bothers her in order to protect herself from ever really getting to know a guy–and from him ever really getting to know her.

–You go after/fantasize about men who are unavailable

Many women find themselves ensnared in a series of dates or relationships with men who do not make appropriate long term partners. Getting involved with cheaters, those with impulse control issues, and so called “bad boys” who are enticing yet dangerous, can be a common theme. When this occurs repeatedly, a woman might give all guys a bad rap, and generalize in order to protect herself from getting hurt. She also may choose to ignore red flags that are present from the beginning, because she’s so enamored with the fantasy of being with this type of guy, when in the end he’s destined to leave her feeling discouraged.

–You use work or other activities as a buffer

If you have a pattern of busying yourself with things that interfere with dating, you may likely have some avoidance issues when it comes to deepening a romantic relationship. Women who are workaholics, in particular, often have trouble in communicating and being with their partners consistently. As women climb professional ladders more in today’s society, some of us also run the risk of getting obsessive about our careers, and may lose ourselves in our work. While this makes sense, it leaves less room for our romantic lives to blossom, and may serve a protective purpose.

You might notice you tend to do one or more of these behaviors in your dating life. And you may or may not be puzzled as to why, and how to handle dating avoidance or fear of real, long lasting partnership. A skilled therapist can help you to break these patterns, if you so wish, or to work through the personal underpinnings to your dating styles. It can get better.