Dear Dr Nekia,
I am a man who can admit that I have a fear of commitment. I could say that is because I have been hurt in the past or that I like to be free and keep my options open with different women, but none of that is the reason.
At least I donít think that it is.
I have never really had my heart broken, except for when I had a school crush, and I do want to settle down and have a family, so Iím not sure why I run away from serious relationships.
How can a man get over this and stop turning his back on good women?
Iím A Runner
Dear Iím A Runner,
This is a very good question but, unfortunately, there is no one answer for everyone.
We all process things differently and we all have had unique experiences which cause us to form patterns of belief, and fears that influence our actions and who we choose to be.
Much of who we are, and why we do or donít do things, is rooted in our environment and our genetic connection to the generations before us. This doesnít mean that we are powerless, but we can use that understanding to live in a way that is best for us.
Did your father also have this issue?
If you can, it might be a good idea to consult both of your parents on this to form a more complete picture. Consider, also, the other men in your family, the influential men in your community, your peers, and the media youíve been exposed to, as all of these work as influences and have the potential to shape our beliefs and life choices.
Lastly, take a long, hard look at your past relationships. You do not necessarily need to have had your heart broken in order to develop a fear of commitment. Minor wounds have a way of leaving permanent scars too. See if there are any unresolved or lingering issues that haunt you.
Over time, it is so easy to pick up bits and pieces of relationship negativity here and there and we forget to put them down. Before we know it, we are carrying a load that is so heavy we are unable to function in present relationships.
Often, our first experience with relationships is the one we carry throughout our entire lives. If it is traumatic and if we are not careful, it can serve as the foundation to all other relationships.
The difference between you and a lot of other men is that you can admit your fear and you can recognise that you do not want to live like that. Many rationalise their fear by saying that they simply choose not to commit while glorifying their present circumstances. I commend you.
Dear Dr Nekia,
My girl is pregnant and I donít know how to ask her for a paternity test. We have been together for two years on and off and, even if she says the baby is mine, I have my doubts.
Still, I donít want to hurt her feelings or make her feel some way by asking her to get tested.
Get The Test
Dear Get The Test,
I have always found it offensive for a man to ask for a paternity test. However, this topic is very much situation specific.
If there were no such thing as paternity testing, genetic testing, birth control, abortion and condoms, a lot of us would be far more careful and responsible regarding our sex choices.
For a woman who is loyal and has integrity, it can be very offensive to have her guy doubt his paternity. However, it is also understandable why men question their fatherhood, given the many false accusations out there.
The fact that you have been on and off with your girl doesnít mean that she had sex with another guy, but it does give some cause to your doubts. What it boils down to is that you doubt her character, which is why it could hurt her feelings.
Nevertheless, if you need to have testing done to ease your mind, ask. Have you been separated during the timeline when she could have conceived?
Point out your reasons for it and then follow up by being supportive of the pregnancy until you get the results. Many women will choose to wait until their baby is born because it is the safer choice, so be prepared to wait.
Donít let your doubt prevent you from diving into the role of being a father. Both baby and mom will need your attention and support during pregnancy.
If you choose to wait until after the test you will miss out on the beautiful process and you will never get that time and experience back.
Women bond with baby through the biological process of gestation, while men bond by mentally preparing and connecting with mummy in a supportive role.
Being present and involved in the pregnancy teaches a man to soften to his role of being loyal and proudly responsible for the wellbeing of another life. Baby needs him too, because he or she can hear your voice and experience your presence and touch through the mother.
When you touch her, baby receives signals of comfort. When you speak, baby hears; when you make mummy happy or calm, baby experiences these emotions too and this is how baby gets to know you before he or she ever takes their first breath of air.
This is why it is very important to keep as much negativity and stress away from mummy as possible. I say all this to say that it is not only the asking for a paternal test that needs to be done delicately but also the role you play while your girl is pregnant needs to be carefully thought out.
ē Want relationship advice? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org