Submitted Date 02/15/2019

Hi, nice to meet you, I have commitment issues.

But when I say "commitment issues" I mean commitment issues with everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything.

And don't commitment issues and choosing kind of go hand-in-hand sometimes? So I have two problems morphed into one big ball of knotted messy yarn problems. If you got the same knotted messy ball of yarn in your heart, hey, hi, hello, let's talk.

I don't remember when having commitment issues became a definition in my character, but I've always had a problem with choosing and committing when I was little, which used to be cute to others: a little girl, bright-eyed and curious looking around at an array of toys, claiming she loved them all so she couldn't choose (and then silently regretting her choice on the way home). And then this seeped into my adult life, and no, it is not so cute!

Let's call it a phobia or something. I mean, I don't like to think I'm afraid of committing, I guess I like to think that I'm just bad at decisions, but I'm bad at decisions because I avoid them because I'm afraid. Voila, the circle (knot) of the...yarn.

Commitment issues for me = the inability and frozenness I feel when faced with decisions. "Decide", has always made my body turn to cold hard stone and my brain halt in its tracks. Me, decide? Pft. No. Then I throw that power of decision back to people so fast. I like to think I'm fine with whatever, when my friends try to decide on what food to eat. I like to inquire, I like to hear what other people to have a say. That's fine. But it's not fine when I actually can't contribute because I can't decide. It's also not fine when I give the power of decision to others when it involves big things such as "should I break up with him or not, you decide" (disclaimer: I wanted to add a disclaimer that I've never said this, but now that I think of it, I have actually said this, lightheartedly, but still).

Here's the funny thing, too: when people do help me decide or tell me their opinions when I ask "which one" or what "what should I do" I DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE. WHY? Even when their decision is good, even when I KNOW it's right. Even when I ask them to choose between two colors and I actually AGREE with them on their decision, my brain is like ok, cool, you like that one too, now choose the other. <-- I realize this is probably, in its wholeness, too much of an extremity, and I am nose deep in some frozenness of decision making and committing, so we won't dwell on those problems.

But commitment issues in its wholeness can have its sucky moments.

I mean, we are talking about the whole spectrum here; I can't decide between chocolate chip or strawberry shakes or dating one guy vs. the other. I think as I've observed, I simply just don't trust myself to make the right decision. I don't believe in myself. I am my own worst enemy undeserving of trust and a say in decision-making situations. But why?

When we go back to chocolate chip vs. strawberry and that whole scenario with small, miniscule things and items, it never bothered me that much. I will, however, tell you that it's always bothered my friends, small or big decisions, I hold up the line, the day, the hour and second deciding.

It's not about the waiting that annoys them, though. It's about me putting all this power on their shoulders instead. I tell them to decide, but I say it in a way that I think will make them believe I'm just looking for another opinion, not a statement that I will automatically go off (they've caught on). They've caught on because when they don't give me a definitive answer to "what do you think of these", "which one do you think is better", like the usual's I always hear:

"They're both nice"

"What do you like?"

'I don't know"

I get frustrated, and then they get frustrated, and then I must tell them my lovely catchphrases:

"Please decide"

"Which one?"

"WHICH one?"

"Which ONE?"

It's a fun cycle. It's a really good way to make your friends hate you, if you needed some advice on that sector of your life, you're welcome.

The amount of struggle I had with dating because of this…I never went off the opinions on others in relationships, but I always like to get a second voice and pair of eyes on the situation (because I suppose I also cannot trust myself to see, too). I would be constantly ping-balling between two guys, breaking up with one, going back to the other, doing it again, and so on.

A slim silver lining:

The whole dating issue made me kind of look at everything else in my life I couldn't commit to or would ping-ball back and forth with and see that if I really have that hard of a time choosing between two things…then maybe I don't really want either choice. (I mean, tell me if that's a horrible way of looking at this but it sure has saved me a lot of money in buying either option or invested emotional [wasteful] time in relationships that in the end, I didn't really want to be in anyway).

My friends always joke about it now, too, because I still ask them for an opinion when I see something I like. If I see only one thing I like, it's like my mind goes straight to saying:

"Okay, but what else is around you right now, pick it up and compare them".

I always give them two options, and then we spend a little time chit-chatting about it, they both get put down and I don't get either. They joke that they just know that's what's going to happen: that whenever I say, "which one?" they just know I'm walking out of there with nothing.

That's fine, whatever, it's not like they're wrong. And I will admit, something I really don't decide because the thought of doing so and potentially being disappointed or regretful feels kind of debilitating.

I am trying to get better with it, though. But it's always that thought: "what if", and how stupid are "what if's", really? What is the point on being stuck on the "if" of the situation when you should be learning to accept the now, or at least walk away from it, right?

In college, I changed my major six times, and I'm not counting all the times I went back and forth from THE SAME MAJOR to a different one. Yes, I had figured out the second form of ping-balling. And although I did eventually choose a major in which seemed like the most "Duh" moment in my life (humanities, writing, ya know, duh), I still had to decide on a concentration. And thank god the decision was based upon "okay, which concentration requirements allow me to graduate earlier" or else I don't know what I would've done (there were more than twenty concentrations).

Choices can feel debilitating sometimes! That's okay! I know I'm not alone. Does anyone else feel the inevitable FOMO (fear of missing out) more regarding choosing things?!

How do you approach that? I guess I'm trying to punch myself in the face more often and make myself choose things and make myself be ok with the feeling of FOMO or the feeling of "what if", and trying to stop myself with such thoughts as soon as they happen.

Not sure. Not sure.

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  • James D. 2 years, 6 months ago

    I feel your pain. Especially these days, there’s always a thousand different options. How can you make important life decisions when it takes an hour to decide where to get dinner?! Good article (I like the .gifs, too).

    • Melanie 2 years, 6 months ago

      Thanks James :) haha yes, deciding on where to eat is my major weakness!

  • Tomas Chough 2 years, 6 months ago

    I relate to so many things you write about. The way you express yourself though is the best part. You have a great way of getting your point across in an almost "funny" way. It's like the reader can feel what you think or like you're talking to them. It could also be the fact that I've struggled with decision making so much too (not doubting your writing skills). The worst is letting friends/family down because we take so so long to decide one stupid little thing. I enjoyed reading this Melanie, it's good to know people go through similar experiences. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Melanie 2 years, 6 months ago

      Hey Tomas, thanks for your kind words :) yes I agree I agree, and yes, glad to know that I'm not alone! haha