Why Do Men Date If They’re Not Ready for a Relationship?

Evan, is it a good idea to date a guy who is in the final stages of a divorce or even right after his divorce is final? A guy in the final stage of his divorce pursued me every time I ran into him and called and said he’s so into me and hasn’t been attracted to any other woman. I was apprehensive to become involved because I thought he would need time and space and to be out there on his own for a while. We haven’t slept together, but still have become emotionally involved and the chemistry is intense. I thought it was time to make the connection physical and intimate… Now, he’s saying he doesn’t know what he wants and doesn’t think he’s ready to make any kind of commitment and if we become intimate, then what? He feels I would have some expectations and I’m not into casual sex, so I’m sure I would. Why would he lead me on to begin with, even when I was hesitant to become involved when I knew his situation? –Donna

I dated a guy for 6 weeks; after a casual conversation to ensure that we were on the same page, he apologized to me for being so detached because it was never his intention. He said he wished that his life was more stable and that he felt it would be unfair to bring me in any further when he felt like he was in a world of uncertainty and physically & emotionally numb/exhausted. He also informed me that he was at a crossroads in his career and that he felt like he may be going thru a midlife crisis. I believe he is honest and sincere about these things because those things are hard for any man to admit. We have remained friends who occasionally meet up for happy hour (nothing more!!) However, I see him online ALL THE TIME. So my question is…. Why do men remain active on online dating sites when they know they are not in an emotionally available place? Is it something to boost ego and fill their alone time at home? Is online dating a hard to break habit? Are they opportunists hoping to “get some” until they are at a better place in life? Or was he blowing smoke up my ass and I believed it? Regardless, I know when to stay and when to go, but I’m curious to hear your opinion on emotionally unavailable/available men! -Stephanne

Dear Donna and Stephanne,

Perhaps this story will lend some clarity to why men seem to be emotionally available, but aren’t really ready for a serious relationship:

Shana is 46 and has been divorced for six months, following a 15-year marriage.

She and her husband fell out of love and they parted ways, but there’s no denying that there’s a tremendous void in her life after spending most of her adulthood with one man.

Furthermore, Shana hasn’t dated since her mid-20’s and feels woefully inexperienced. She’s slept with fewer than 5 men. She’s never tried online dating. She’s trying to put her life back together, trying to figure out how she’ll keep her upper middle-class lifestyle post-divorce, trying to get happy and be a good role model for her children.

She knows, intellectually, that she’d like to fall in love and get married again someday…

She knows, intellectually, that she’d like to fall in love and get married again someday, and likes to think that she would be receptive should a good man enter her life.

In fact, Shana is so serious about not making any big mistakes with this important aspect of her life that she hires a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women!

She can’t even believe that such a thing exists, and she’s definitely not breathing a word of this to her friends, but what this guy writes seems to make sense. If Shana’s going to get back out there at all, she wants to be prudent and make effective long-term decisions.

Shana and I were only working together for about four weeks when she met Allan.

Allan’s 50, cute, balding, a divorced dad, an advertising exec, and leaps and bounds more thoughtful and generous than Shana’s ex-husband ever was.

He’s been alone for 5 years and has been through all the ups and downs of online dating. He’s had some intense one-month flings. He’s had a one-year relationship. He’s ready for the real deal, and the moment he meets Shana, he’s got this gut feeling that she might be “the one”.

She followed her heart because she wanted to be ready.

Careful not to smother her, Allan does everything right.

He calls her the day after the first date to say he had fun.

He sends her the occasional flirty text.

He makes plans in advance to book her for the weekend.

He hints that he’s falling for her and talks about what they’re doing to do for the holidays.

Shana is swept up, having the time of her life, feeling a way she hasn’t felt since she was 20, and thoroughly enjoying the attentions of this kind, decent man.

After their fifth date at a nice restaurant, following a bottle of wine, Shana sleeps with Allan. It’s good. He’s good. In fact, he’s too good.

The second they’re finished, Shana starts to panic.

Out of respect for Allan, she tries not to let it show. But she can’t fall asleep, and after a half hour of snuggling, tells him that she has to get home (even though her kids are with their dad).

The next day, Allan calls her, as he always does.

She lets it go to voice mail.

Later that night, she sends Allan a text to say that she had a hard day and that she hopes he’s well. But the process has begun.

Shana is pulling away from Allan. Sweet, generous, consistent, emotionally available Allan, who didn’t do a single thing wrong in his courtship of my client Shana.

Shana genuinely cared about Allan.
She definitely didn’t mean to lead him on.
She certainly never wanted to hurt him.
She very much enjoyed the conversation, the connection, the attention, and the affection.
She followed her heart because she wanted to be ready.

But when she found herself staring down the prospect of being in another serious relationship, she just couldn’t take it.

Instead of giving Allan more of a chance, instead of stringing him along in a casual relationship for six months, Shana had to do the right thing and break up with him.

He deserved someone who was available and, despite her desires, she realized that she wasn’t even close to being available. Not for the real thing, anyway.

Online flirtation, maybe. First dates, sure. A regular booty call, possibly.

But she’ll determine that later.

Right now, Shana just needs to sort things out and make things right.

If only she knew what would make things right…

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  1. 31

    @ Kate #27, great points. But, at the end of the day, I think every one of us needs to look out for himself or herself. It’s on us to figure out what we want at this point in time, make it known to the other person, and stick to it. It is not the other person’s job to be a mind reader, guess what we really want, as opposed to what we say we want, and give it to us.
    It is also on us to say no when a “no” is called for, and move on when it’s clearly time to move on. It may come across as selfish, but in the long run, it is better for both sides.
    When I analyze every one of my failed relationships (which is, as of right now, all of them, lol), it was always lack of communication combined with one person (or both) not wanting to hurt the other one’s feelings… in the end, this leads to hurting the other person even more. My worst dating experience this year started with me agreeing to meet a guy that I actually didn’t want to meet, because I didn’t want to say no after what he’d already been through. It ended badly. Heck, my marriage started with me thinking “I see red flags all around, but we’ve been dating four years, he relocated for me, I cannot back out now”. A lot of pain and all around bad time on both sides could have totally been avoided if I hadn’t wanted to be nice and unselfish. Short-term and long-term “unselfish” aren’t always the same.
    Way I see it, someone who’s not ready for the same kind of relationship you’re ready for, will give you plenty of opportunities to say NO. Just because they’re on a different page, they will say, do, and propose things that you’ll have a hard time agreeing to. So tell them you cannot do it, move on, and stay friends. Problem solved.
    The guy who did everything right and got dumped did nothing wrong, except being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He should thank his lucky stars that things ended quickly instead of dragging out for years, and move on.

  2. 32
    Katarina Phang

    Readiness is also about not carrying the emotional baggage around as such one is able to totally focus and invest in the new relationship.  When one mental space is still occupied by mostly past failure, unresolved anger, issues of ex and past relationship, how can one really enjoy the new relationship/person.

    So I think, unreadiness is real.  It’s hard to focus on the new person, how wonderful he/she may be and how smitten you may be with him/her, when you still dwell on the past.

  3. 33
    Katarina Phang

    And often, if one is too still depressed about one’s situations, it hinders with the process of bonding and falling in love with the new person.  There is only so much mental space one can fill up at one time.  The predominant emotions will overrule the other less pressing ones.

    1. 33.1


      You have said this beautifully, and perfectly. All of these answers are great, but I find that yours sums it up so clearly. This happens to be my situation. He is still not ready and I can see/feel him struggling with his past daily. We met too soon and didn’t expect to feel the way we did. However, his past relationship (first love and married many years) needed to be mourned and wasn’t. It is too much and it is preventing us from moving on.

      I know he loves me, and I love him. It’s not about love. The fact is that he is unable to move forward, and by being here I am not only enabling him to stay stuck, but also hurting myself.

      Thank you all for your comments. I know what I need to do. It’s not going to be easy, but I’ll get through it. As Deepak Chopra said, “In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.”

    2. 33.2

      I concur Katarina, you’ve articulated why I do believe the whole “I’m not ready” thing is completely valid in some cases.

      I’ve been divorced for 7 years and 2 years ago I met someone I thought was amazing, and we became great friends because he was attached (10 year live-in relationship). Truly friendship… a little flirty for sure, but nothing untoward ever happened.

      Well, they broke up! And I’ve been so frustrated wondering if he feels the same about me, or if I’m just kidding myself. I’ve been single a long time and I am not ready for something full-on, but I’d definitely llke to casually (and exclusively) date him. I always feel a genuine connection and that he really likes me, and that we could fall for one another in a heartbeat, but also that he’s pushing me away. Which is tough and confusing. 

      I’ve resolved to leave him alone. I feel he certainly needs to resolve things and I know he still sees his ex as “friends”… they don’t hate each other, they just fell out of love. If he feels the connection was there, he can reach out to me at a later date. 

      Thanks. Your comment was really helpful.  

  4. 34

    I’ve had 3 relationships, two relatively short and one that went on in various permutations for years, with men who were not yet able to take responsibility for their ended marriages and then acted out in ours. And, after a lot of soul-searching, I realize I held onto them – and ultimately wasn’t coming from my best self, either – because part of me – wanting to fill some voids from childhood, etc. – felt that if they would commit to me in the face of these impossible odds, it would be a testament to my worthiness as a person. In the end, I think were all seeking approval in each other for things we weren’t remotely qualified to weigh in on. I’m still sorting it all, and this post and thread are a wonderful part of that. There’s a gentleness and searching in the discourse that I really appreciate 🙂

  5. 35

    Hi all.  Just my two cents, I’m new to this site and somewhat new to online dating.  One thing I have concluded from the handful of people I’ve dated from online is that most people are not going to state on their online dating profiles that they are not ready for a relationship or not looking for something long term.  This is because most people are looking for something ‘serious’ and therefore won’t consider pursuing something with someone who says they aren’t.  This surely goes both ways but I think a man would get far less or no response if this was stated explicitly on his profile compared to a woman stating this; perhaps women are more up-front with a desire for something long-term?  For lots of folks, it’s better to get ‘something’ for a while, even if it’s not serious, because it feels good…particularly in the aftermath of failed/bad relationship when they are probably not sure of what they want or are not ready so they don’t lie and say they are looking for something long-term.  It’s all case by case, though. 

  6. 36

    Most people say they want to get married– and they can say that for years before they actually get into a relationship or married. No one really likes to think of themselves as not ready for a LTR. Most people don’t lie when they start dating. They are looking for love and probably hope it will work out.
    I think the trick is to evaluate someone’s situation objectively. Is this person free of the past drama? Are they making the right moves to commit? There are no hard-and-fast rules. My father married a woman six months after his 29-year marriage to my mother. And that was 17 years ago!
    On the other hand, my husband was divorced for four years (and seriously dating) before we met and he was ready for a serious relationship.

  7. 37

    If I may weigh in as someone who is not quite divorced (about a month away) but already into the dating pool… I guess maybe my situation is a bit different. I was with my soon to be ex for 15 years, but the last 8 years there was NO intimacy. Not just sex, but no REAL intimacy. Hell, he couldn’t even take 5 minutes to ask me about my day.  Not sure if it was depression or what, but after that long, I just really had enough.

    I met a few people on various sites, but really clicked with one guy in particular. Divorced a year, no kids, younger than me. We have been dating for about 4 months, but he won’t tell his friends about me because technically I am still “married.”  I guess I’m okay with that, but he also still surfs the dating sites even though he says he isn’t looking.  I’m not okay with that, but I’m going along with it because I truly do like him.

    A few months ago, I met someone else, who was in more of a similar position as me – divorced under a year, two kids, older… and things just sort of feel “right” with this person.  Is he the one I’ll wind up with? Who knows, all I know is that if I don’t take a chance, I may never know.  And I know for myself that I was ready for a relationship even BEFORE I was separated. I have been craving that personal intimacy for so long.  

    I truly believe everyone goes at their own speed. What works for you or your friend may not work for the next person.  The real issue is trying to find someone on the same page as YOU.   

    1. 37.1

      I don’t understand that. You say that you are not OK with his checking out his online dating profile but you believe that you’re entitled to date another person while still dating him? It’s double standard.

  8. 38

    What I’ve learned is that most men do not have a solid emotional support network… and tend to turn to women for that kind of support.  After a divorce, they will suck any willing woman around them dry.  Some will be appreciative and grateful.  Most aren’t. 

    My advice is steer cleer for at least a year after the divorce is final… longer if they have kids… unless you are the kind of woman who likes a ‘project’ or is ok with something more casual. 

  9. 39

    I can totally relate to this article. 
    I was in a 14 year relationship, split was fairly amicable and we had simply become different people.  I did not date for a year, happy to be on my own and really was not interested in the emotional give and take of a relationship.  When I did start dating I was almost horrified at how many men simply wanted a girlfriend or wanted to get serious.  I had no idea what the rules were, had no idea 3 dates makes things fairly serious.  I bolted on a few guys, literally picked up my purse and would run outta there as soon as they mentioned kids or marriage or simply wanting to talk about what I might want from a relationship.  I DID have panic attacks, anxiety attacks.  I got involved about a year and a half after the split with an amazing guy and was on the verge of tears through most of the relationship because I actually really wanted to be with him but the idea of a serious relationship made me want to throw up with anxiety and I knew that I was not ready at all.  I tried not to string him along but he told me he loved me and I really loved him too, I just couldn’t be in something so serious so fast again.  And I never would have thought this could happen to me or that I would have ever felt that way.  It has been about 4 years since the long relationship ended and I am honestly just now feeling ready to take someone on in a possible long term way. 

  10. 40

    I thank you Evan for putting up this post it has been the answer I knew all long but needed clarity as i needed proper closure. Recently I got told by the guy I was more than friends with/ going out with the similar lines in your article even after he asked are we going out?  At first when I received his text message I couldn’t understand what it meant and was consently pestering people for answers. At first I thought maybe he was putting me down gently but after reading your blog I knew it was this and was no longer angry. The reason why I knew was because a couple of weekends ago I saw him and he looked sad and miserable (he didn’t see me as i was in car with tinted windows but i saw him). In the back of my mind I thought why would someone who didn’t want to be with me or in a relationship be like this and then I knew because he didn’t want to string me along until he was ready and he was scared of all the things that came with a relationship so I knew he was genuine. So thankyou I finally have the closure i need as i have my answer and i feel enlightened an above all ready to move on.  P.s. I totally agree with Zann about diving in head first but some people are worried about hurting people

  11. 41

    I recently found out from a friend additional evidence to my situation I’m now aware that this guys behaviour is not aimed at me that he was honest about not being himself. I had two choices not to reach out because there was more to it or actually reach out. I decided to reach out but in way that showed him I’m here as friend not anything else whenever his ready but saying this I’m not going to wait around I’m going live my life, if he comes back I’ll be here for him as friend and I won’t make it easy for him as his not my priority he is just an option.

  12. 42

    The problem isn’t about a few dates, it is when a man says he is ready to go the whole way, tells you he loves you, shows it, but as soon as you agree with him, he realizes he is not really ready.
    I had broken up with my first BF and I was in no way ready for a long term thing when this guy started pursuing me. I knew him from before the dating and I really liked him, he was an alpha and soon attracted me. But kept complaining that I wasn’t opening up to him, he loved me and showed it, and I loved him but I wasn’t sure about a lot of things regarding commitment and he knew. We kept dating like this for 3 years, until I agreed that we were meant for each other and wanted everything, to meet his family, that he met mine, that we moved in together like he said… Long story short, he dumped me saying he didn’t love me anymore, and here I am, reading this blog with all my questions and broken heart…
    The question would be why some men date, insist, fall in love and talk about commitment when they are not ready for a relationship? The answer I’m imagining is because they are j*rks, peter pans, phobics, they were lairs not really in love, or some other sort of specimen?
    I know these are the men we should be running away from, but sometimes it’s hard to recognize them.

  13. 43

    I recently reached out to him as I knew it was more I received no response in being the bigger person but after bumping into him after 3 weeks and seeing him stare at me and look away suddenly I knew he still had feelings for me and missed me on some level. Instead of going to talk to him i kept on walking on as if he wasn’t there as I was done.That made me feel better instead of a fool and gave me real closure that his intentions where good. But that doesn’t matter cause I have walked away and it’s his loss not mine which I’m sure he knows

  14. 44

    @ Goldie #28, If you are now feeling ready for something more, why haven’t you contacted the serious man who you really liked and clicked with right away? Does anyone who initally says that they are not ready for a serious relationship yet, ever seek out that person that they were into but not ready for once they are in fact ready?

    1. 44.1

      I’m sure sometimes it happens, but if it does, it probably happens within months. If it doesn’t happen within that time, it probably never will.
      I recently had to break up with a guy I’d been seeing, due to some family problems. We had really really clicked, it was hard to do and it felt so painful when I listened to him try convincing me to stay, but I knew I couldn’t. I will try to make it work with him in a few months, after these problems are resolved…But for those men/women who break up with someone cuz of bigger more long-term problems, I wouldn’t be surprised if they never seek out that person again, because feelings and circumstances change over time.

  15. 45
    lady t

    So… if you’re dating someone new and he’s not communicating in between weekly dates, you should just walk away instead of giving him 6-8 weeks to adjust?  Evan’s “Disappearing” ebook and articles (this one and 2 others about indecisive men) spin me in different directions and I’m completely confused at this point (be patient/keep dating other people/see if he comes around vs. openly dismiss the guy).
    2013 will definitely be a no-dating year, for me. Men are too complicated and there’s too much conflicting “advice” to follow.

  16. 46

    Wow, it’s such a fine line. 
    When there’s been a marriage and when there’s also been children, the stakes become even higher. 
    I think it’s about reading each situation.  Look for what isn’t happening as it will tell you more than what is.  
    Pace yourself very carefully and combine warm acceptance with honesty and caution. This way you’re more likely to tease out the real emotional (and practical) situation, so you can determine whether to step forward (and at what pace). 
    Online dating is very tricky as there’s no context, the feeling of anonymity and instant attention is attractive for the needy.  However, if conversation progresses at a good pace and there’s no reluctance to transfer it to the real world, then these are healthy signs. In the real world, if there’s no unnatural rush for intimacy or complimentary phrases that sound a little odd and raise your alarm bells (e.g. ‘You’re my own and only’, ‘I haven’t felt like this for years’, ‘You make me forget everything’…), then, chances are, this person is truly single in their heart and their mind.
    I agree, as soon as you show a more real side – a complication, a misunderstanding, a difference of opinion, a goal or expectation – you’ll also soon see if this man is a keeper.  If he was only basking in the sunshine of your happy attention, anything more serious will have him take a back step.

  17. 47

    Peoples lives aren’t games… wrong again… don’t date if you aren’t serious! wth are you doing dating someone and wasting their god damn time if you aren’t looking for a serious relationship? You think you can just screw with people as you see fit??? then just run out when you ‘don’t like where it’s headed’??? are you JOKING ME?????!!! that’s called immaturity!… losers again…

    grow the hell up..

  18. 48
    Karl R

    Anna asked: (#47)
    “You think you can just screw with people as you see fit??? then just run out when you ‘don’t like where it’s headed’???”
    Let me turn this around. Assume you’ve been dating a man, enjoying his company, enjoying the sex … and then you learn something about him that’s an absolute deal-breaker. There’s no way you could ever be happily married to him.
    Do you feel obligated to continue this dead-end relationship when you don’t like where it’s headed? Why do you feel like you can screw with this man and then run out?
    Anna asked: (#47)
    “wth are you doing dating someone and wasting their god damn time if you aren’t looking for a serious relationship?”
    Other people don’t exist to make your life better. They’re primarily concerned with making their own lives better.
    If you expect acquaintances to put your interests above their own, you are going to be in for a life filled with frustration and disappointment.
    Your date isn’t worried about whether he’s wasting your time by dating you. He’s just trying to decide whether he’s wasting his own time dating you. Most of the time, he’s trying to decide whether he wants a serious relationship with you.
    And even if a man does not want a serious relationship, he may still find dating fun or enjoy the company. Both are valid reasons to date.
    You don’t get to be the final arbiter of the right and wrong way to date. Each person decides that for themselves. Therefore, you need to make sure that your relationships work for you. That’s your responsibility. The men you date aren’t your parents. They’re not going to take care of your responsibilities for you.
    Part of being a mature adult is taking responsibility for your own well being.

  19. 49

    On the one one hand you are correct, we should all behave with better integrity and purpose.  But we don’t; we act in our own best interest, which is better than staying in a relationship we don’t want, because then we end up in relationships we don’t want.  Even Christian counselors John Townsend and Henry Cloud say in Boundaries in Dating that getting married is not really the purpose of dating.  Unfortunately, dating can be brutal because either person can leave at any time.  The alternative – and it is a legitimate life choice – is just to opt out and remain single.  I still haven’t figured out which I like better.  One is not better than the other; each just has it’s own set of advantages and issues.

  20. 50
    Peter 61

    @Karl R 48.
    If you expect acquaintances to put your interests above their own, you are going to be in for a life filled with frustration and disappointment.
    If you have no intention of seeking serious long term relationships this may be true.  If you are looking for a life long partner then you are seeking to offer mutual support, if only to test whether the support you can offer has any value.  Not everyone shares the atomized liberal aetheist perspective that you often put forward.  A conservative view sees the world as a community of mutual obligations and most religions include the obligation of direct concern for others. Survivalism is not the only model of behaviour, even for red blooded males.

    1. 50.1

      Peter61 the comment that you made with a labe, ” atomized liberal aetheist perspective ” is offensive. Not all Liberals are atheist. Some are people of faith period not all atheists are liberals. Some are quite conservative. Black and white thinking doesn’t help in this discussion. Thank you.

  21. 51

    @ Peter61,
    I think very good dating advice is “to be as wise as a serpent but as harmless as a dove”.  

  22. 52

    I can relate to this post and it makes me understand separated people more, thank you so much. I had been dating, until recently, a separated man and having never dated one before I didn’t know what to expect at all. I was very attracted to him, however my gut instinct was, he was not ready and I should not be doing this and it turns out I was right, he was emotionally unavailable for most of the time and unable to pursue me in the way that I wanted. Turns out he didn’t know what he wanted as we got to know each other, that he was still heart broken from his ex and then he wanted to move on and heal and is now, going a bit wild and exploring sex, however I’m in a frame of mind now where I want a more progressive and deeper relationship than just casual sex, so I will not be there while he does this. We have not slept with each other and I think he respects my needs however as Evan mentioned earlier about a ma’ns needs to move on (have casual sex) have superseded the woman’s needs of having a relationship and this has nearly happened with him on several occasions. Luckily he is quite emotionally intuitive and respects that it is not what I want. He has told me he is secretly having casual sex with a separated woman now and having one night stands. I am glad to not be there while he is moving on from his ex as I’m ready for an exclusive committed relationship and I don’t want to accidentally fall for someone like him. If it was someone I was nto really attracted to and then I might be able to do hook up sex but I know that my feelings might develop with this particular guy as I see him so often through work. Reading this post Evan has helped me heal and is helping me move on too 🙂 

  23. 53

    ‘an exclusive committed relationship and I don’t want to accidentally fall for someone like him. If it was someone I was nto really attracted to and then I might be able to do hook up sex but I know that my feelings might develop with this particular guy as I see him so often through work. ‘
    I meant if it was someone I was not really attracted to enough to have a relationship with and he was a good guy then I would be able to have casual sex with him. 
    Hope that makes sense but that’s probably a comment for another blog post!

  24. 54

    Fenix – I don’t get it either. Wish I could make sense of that. 
    In same situation:(

  25. 55

    Thank you for the article. It confirms what I already knew all along. The thing is, exactly what I keep saying over and over and over again. People grow old, but that doesn’t mean they grow up. most people just assume that being married for how ever long is some sort of rite of passage into maturity. It is not. This is why most marriages fail in the first place. After a failed marriage (that I was not mature enough nor ready for) I was single AND celibate for 5 years. Why? Because I realized that not only was I accountable for my own safety, but that reeling a person into my world on an emotional level meant that I was also accountable for taking care of their emotions too. The reality of it made me steer clear of the dating and intimate world altogether. When I finally purposefully got back into the dating world, I made it VERY clear that I was seeing multiple people and that I didn’t know what I was looking for in partnership. Some people liked it, some people didn’t. Also, out of maturity, I established some behavior rules for MYSELF. Yes….myself…not the other person. That if I gave my phone number to someone, always return texts and phone calls, regardless of how I “feel”. Now, this didn’t mean that these were rules that others had to abide by, because honestly – dating habits are more about what you do than what you deal with. Because the reality of it is this: If you really have integrity and not just in word, in action only – you will not tolerate a standard below your par, you won’t feel bad about it, you will feel negatively towards people who lie or don’t live up to their word, and you won’t feel one once of guilt about any of those things. Also, I came to realize only after purposefully beginning to date more seriously that dating isn’t a race and a huge part of that success is getting closer to finding AND BECOMING the partner you desire. Yes, you also need to accept going onto the dating scene that nothing is guaranteed, but you don’t show up for work and just quietly walk away if you don’t get paid, right? You’re going to feel some type of way about that, especially if payment was agreed upon. The same thing with dating, if someone leads you on or lies to you, you have every right and SHOULD be angry. All of this passiveness towards immaturity is an epidemic. I swear. lol Another thing…baggage, truth is, everyone has some amount of it and no amount of baggage makes anyone undeserving of love or partnership. it’s really about discovering the other who you have a matching set and embracing yourself with all of your faults and flaws. Too many people desire to appear flawless for whatever reason and I’m literally baffled. When you’re comfortable with your flaws and someone walks away from you (could be them, could be you), the reason really doesn’t matter. You let them go and you continue on your journey.

    The reason why I have become comfortable with these harsh realities is because I have experienced a 95% rate of “boomerangers”. Men who aren’t ready/available/schmucks/childish when it comes to relationships, but as individuals are GREAT people. Really good guys so to speak. Great on paper, lousy in relationship performance. I was that way when I was younger, so I totally GET IT. However, there is such a thing as growing up, but most people are satisfied with simply growing older. If you’re one of those people…ouch….the truth hurts. Either grow up or don’t. Meh. If you know you’ve grown up…and not because you have a job, bought a house, pay your own bills, etc….those who have grown up are going to get what I’m saying…and you’re tired of dealing with big kids, then mentally mark the red flags and just like you would with an under aged child, set boundaries and don’t feel guilty about it. Eventually, you’ll find another grown up to have awesome fun with. Don’t give up if it’s what you really want – again…another grown up trait is knowing what you want. I see too many people on this thread talking about they didn’t know what they wanted until they found out and by that time they’d hurt someone’s feelings. That’s just childish. No disrespect, but it is. Honestly. The sooner you are able to accept that you have childish ways, the sooner you’ll prepare yourself for real maturity. Take it from someone who knows…lol

  26. 56

    I’m not sure how old this thread is or whether anyone is still responding to comments, but just wanted to add my two cents.
    I recently dated a man who had been married to a BPD woman for 7 years, separated for 2 yrs. A year before he met me, he had been in another relationship that lasted for a couple of months.
    We met online. Our chemistry and attraction was pretty intense and we started seeing a lot of each other very quickly. He was always the one pushing the relationship forward, asking where we stood, asking if we were exclusive etc, I never pushed for anything. Then about a month into dating, his mood changed dramatically and he became stressed about life and work. He said he was getting bad anxiety and panic attacks, and he wasn’t in a place where he could date anyone. Around this time his BPD ex also got back in touch and he got wrapped up again in her drama and suicide threats. I gave him space but offered him friendship, even though he said I was better off without him. He accepted my friendship and thanked me for my support.
    Since then he would seek out my company only in situations where we would never be alone and I could not really speak to him. Otherwise he avoids me and making plans with me like his life depended on it. Then I found out he was back on online dating. I got really mad at him and sent him a very abusive email, which I later regretted and apologised for. He replied to my msg, reiterating that he couldn’t date anyone but not explaining why he was back online. We agreed to not speak for  a while, and he said  he does like me and that I still have his friendship and respect.
    I’m still hurting immensely but each day gets better. I guess it was easier for him to just start again with someone who didn’t know his baggage ad he could pretend to be bright, happy and charming with. On my good days I like to think that he does have feelings for me and that his attempts to avoid seeing me and pushing me away was his way of protecting me from himself because he knows he can’t give me what I want. On my bad days I think he’s just a jerk who is out to validate his worth by making women fall for him. But whatever the true reason one thing is for certain – it’s not about me and it is completely his loss.

    1. 56.1

      Bobo-thank you for sharing your story. I’ve been there too. It hurts so much. You’re wise for realizing that it’s about him and not something you did. I allowed a man to destroy my self-esteem because I didn’t realize how dating worked at the time and thought I had done something to provoke that reaction.  I don’t date anymore and have made peace with not having relationships with men. In hindsight, I realize I didn’t, but the damage to my psyche was done -it wasn’t the only bad experience; just the final straw. You seem pretty strong, however. I hope you do find a man who matches your emotional strength. 

    2. 56.2

      Just came across this thread but your experience sounds identical to mine. Except he dragged it out for a very long time and i was too kind and patient. I’m still dealing with the trauma and trying to heal. And although I know he has some real issues it took a toll on me, my self esteem, and trust. Hoping to heal.

  27. 57

    My ex boyfriend was similar to this. We were together for almost 3 months. I treated him well, was very honest and open with him. Yet this was not good enough. I could tell he was starting to distance himself from me 2 weeks after we became official. 2 weeks after we had slept together funnily enough. I did not do that till we were actually together. It was like it all of a sudden got to real for him and he backed off and shut down on me. We talked about it. Mostly me. After the talk he said he was fine. Then a week after that he dumped me! Saying something was missing. It felt like he never knew me at all, with all the excuses he was coming up with. 2 weeks later I get this text apologising to me about how things went with us. How he hoped I was well. That he was not ready himself with his vices he is not happy with. Hoped it would not be weird if we bumped into each other again.  2 months later when I decide to start dating again. Went back online and see that he is already there. Seriously? Felt like what he mentioned above was all BS. Just to make himself feel better for what happened. It hurt like hell seeing that especially after that text he sent me. Left feeling confused. I know I was not that bad. His ex girlfriend of 7 years cheated on him. I had never even done anything like that! He had a few ex issues as well.  Why lie about not being ready? Surprised he is back online with all the issues, including ex ones, he has and unrealistic expectations he has for a girl which he never even mentions, just assumes you will know. Good luck to him.

  28. 58
    Mia F

    So if you know you are not fully ready, WHY are you puting yourself out there, risking hurting someone and messing with their emotions. That’s being selfish and not honest with yourself. This happens fair to much.

    1. 58.1

      I agree!

  29. 59

    Well you can say you ready and go for dating to have a relationship with 120% only to realize after 6 mouths that you don’t feel like it will work. You can also be sure you are not ready for a relationship and then bump into someone who you initially though you won’t click but then you suddenly all in love for years. The point is, you really don’t know how ready you are. It has many factors such as the women you date, your place in life, her place in life and 101 million other things. The point is if you don’t know you try and date and if you afraid that you are not ready then you won’t date. Maybe you won’t hurt anyone but you also probably miss some opportunities. It is like be ready for a test in school – you are never ready for it. Imagine you go for University and you don’t know what you want to learn. Is that means you shouldn’t go to University? nope, you have to try it out. The point is that you have to be honest with your self and to the one you date and that doesn’t mean that you say to her “hey i don’t know if I am ready”. Say what you really think like “I just broke of my ex and I want to have time to invest in myself. Marriage or serious relationship is not my top priority right now, I want to travel etc etc, I still want to have a relationship if you are ok with that lets see how it will go” – Girl will take you on your words will realize that chances for something serious aren’t very big and if she is ok with that so why not. If she is not thats ok too, you had nice date, say thank you and move on. You also have to be more light and flirtatious in the beginning. Dating is already stressful so why not be relaxed a bit? You shouldn’t be all heavy on dating and first few months. If deep feeling will develop good if not well… not big deal you had fun- move on! I don’t think that if you feel not ready that means you have sit and jerk of for years and run away from every woman who is interested in you because you never know how it will turn out. Dare to do stuff people! 

  30. 60

    I feel bad for Allan and all the other Allan’s out there who have been strung along for 6 months or more.  This happened to me (5 months) and it REALLY stings.  A year later, I’m trying to implement your recommendations in “how do I finally let go of an ex.”  This mid-life dating crap is f’ing brutal.

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