What To Do When the Guy You’re Seeing Will Not Commit

What To Do When the Guy You’re Seeing Will Not CommitDear Evan,

I have been dating a man for nearly three months now and in the beginning everything was fine between us. He used to do things with me, but I was wondering why he never introduced me to his friends or why he never wanted to come over my house. After 1 1/2 months I realized that he started to change. He didn’t call meanymore and he started to see me less. I once broke up with him for a week, but we got back together again and now he has even less time for me. He doesn’t answer his phone automatically anymore when I call or he keeps it turned off. I’ve become real frustrated and mad with him. Now I haven’t talked to him for a couple of days to see if he would call me, but he doesn’t and I still see that he is online at a dating site. When I met him he was overweight, but started to lose so much weight. Now I have the feeling that he is not serious with our relationship and still wants to see and meet other women. Please tell me what to do.

Thanks,

Ingrid

Thank you, Ingrid, for the cringe-worthy email of the week.

Let’s quickly recap:

  • 3 month relationship. Half of it, he’s been acting different.
  • You broke up with him because he wasn’t seeing you enough.
  • Now that you’re together again, he’s seeing you less.
  • He doesn’t return calls. He doesn’t initiate calls.
  • Has lost weight and is dating other women online.

And you need me to tell you what to do?

If you’re not sure how to act with a guy you’re seeing, just do whatever he does.

How about I refer you here?

And here.

And here.

And here.

See, Ingrid, you’re not wrong for being confused or feeling frustrated at this guy. But from where I sit, your issue is not that unique. In fact, it’s the most popular question I get from readers.

“I really like him, but he doesn’t commit to me/call me/treat me well. What do I do?”

So instead of saying “He’s just not that into you” for the 400th time, I want to use your letter to illustrate a favorite concept that I discuss with clients.

It’s called “mirroring”.

Basically, if you’re not sure how to act with a guy you’re seeing, just do whatever he does.

If he calls you, call him back….

If he texts you, text him back.

If he tries to make plans with you, make plans with him.

If he tells you he loves you, tell him you love him back. (presuming, of course, that you do).

On the flip side, it also means that:

Men reveal themselves in their efforts. Their words don’t mean a thing.

If he doesn’t call you, don’t call him.

If he doesn’t text you, don’t text him.

If he doesn’t make plans with you, don’t make plans with him.

If he doesn’t tell you he loves you, don’t tell him you love him.

This isn’t my version of “The Rules.” I’m not suggesting that you play games or refuse to return his calls or any of that crap. I’m saying that you should continue to be as real and authentic as you can be.

Just let him take the lead.

Because as I’ve said a number of times…

Men reveal themselves in their efforts. Their words don’t mean a thing.

If he calls, if he makes plans, if he commits, he’s interested.

If he doesn’t – if you feel you have to remind him that you’re alive and interested – let him go. He doesn’t deserve you.

It hurts to hear hundreds of women asking me the same exact question and genuinely struggling for the answer that’s obvious to everyone but them.

So once and for all, to all the women reading this: You deserve a man who WANTS to be with you, not one who acts like he’s doing you a favor by returning your call.

Please, send this article to all of your friends and let them know as well.

There’s no reason I should have to write this again.

But we both know I will.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    yyy

    i hate these men are not willing to commit to you threads. mostly because it assumes that women want to commit to everyone they date.
    i am a woman. i have not wanted to commit to everyone i’ve dated. the assumption by most men that i do is offensive to me. Sometimes i’ll be on a first date with a guy and he’ll immediately warn me that he’s not into a serious relationship. This is offensive to me. Why? Who said that i want a long term relationship with you? You’re on trial buddy. And you just failed anyway.
    Frankly, warning women you don’t want them permanently is just a turn off. It just makes you look like you have a big ego.
    Now, maybe men and women are different. Maybe men know ” right away” or something. I’m not sure. But I do know for sure I don’t know right away if someone is for me. Therefore, having some d*ckface tell me he’s not all that serious when i barely know him is kind of offensive. It means he not only considers me a sports fish, but also he must think I’m an idiot. He also must have a very high opinion of himself, thinking I want to bag him for life. Who the hell does he think he is? Antonio Banderas?
    When I find a sucker like him I either avoid it completely or, if he’s attractive enough, just have a good time. Because a lot of guys will come up with non committal bullshit and think they’re real game players, but guys are human too and they don’t have as much control as they think they do. Acting like a prick at first meeting is just asking to get screwed with.
     

    1. 31.1
      bkath

      Love it! Exactly right 

  2. 32
    Helen

    A story, to which yyy’s post is a great jumpoff:

    2 years ago a male colleague invited me to sit beside him at a conference dinner. He knew I’m happily married with kids. Yet after a few drinks, he had the audacity to tell me, “Helen, I think you’re beautiful, but I’m just not interested in starting a relationship with you.” I was so flabbergasted, I could only sit there with my mouth open. The thought of starting a relationship, ANY relationship, least of all with HIM, was the last thing on my mind.

    To make matters worse, he was judging every other guy at the meeting. He was particularly harsh about a thin, nerdy, sweet guy, insinuating that there was no way this guy could satisfy any woman. I wanted to tell him (but didn’t), “If I were single, I’d rather be with him than with you. Yes he’s nerdy and not at all handsome, but he’s kind, gentlemanly, thoughtful, and a great scientist.”

    The point is, yyy, you’re not alone, so don’t take these guys personally. It’s not about you. It’s about a few guys who are full of it; you won’t escape them even after you’re married. It’s also about the fact that men aren’t very good at predicting what women want in them. They think we like certain types and rule out other types, and sometimes they have it completely backwards.

  3. 33
    Isa

    Right on point. When I read this blog entry I had to laugh aloud at Evan’s creative way of telling it like it is. I appreciate this blog…albeit rough at times I feel that I have some sense smacked into me by a big brother.

    Thanks Bro! I have definitely been “that girl” before but thankfully, I can look back and laugh now.

  4. 34
    m

    I wanted to tell him (but didn’t), “If I were single, I’d rather be with him than with you. Yes he’s nerdy and not at all handsome, but he’s kind, gentlemanly, thoughtful, and a great scientist.”
    @Helen – I wish you had told him that, and I’m not sure why you didn’t.
    I think sometimes we ladies have to take some of the blame for men thinking they’re just perfect, when we don’t take the initiative to inform them unambiguously (and notice I did not say impolitely) when their behavior falls far short of that standard.
    I don’t see how the passiveness serves anyone.

  5. 35
    Mike

    A relationship cannot work, and cannot move forward unless both partners want it. One person cannot make the relationship work all by themselves. It could be that the guys a bit slow in working out his feelings for you, he might have seen too many breakups and not want to lose what he has with you, or he could be a complete waste of space. If he is unwilling to put anything into the relationship and treat you with the love and respect that you deserve then where’s the point? Why would you want to share your life with someone who doesn’t care about you, or who is only after one thing?

  6. 36
    V

    Geez Ingrid, move on!  Have some self respect and find someone else with manners, and who is actually into to you.  If the guy was a porker to start with, then he wasn’t really thinking he could do any better.  Now, this is not saying you are a hose beast or anything like that, it’s just trying to highlight his crappy way of thinking.  Now he’s lost weight, he thinks he’s worthy enough to play the field, that there will always be something better just around the corner.
    This is a guy with little consideration for anyone but himself, so he should be dumped as soon as possible.  There’s no need to contaminate your self esteem with a butt hole like this.
    Move on, you deserve better!

  7. 37
    NonExist

    @yyy 31,

    I thinksome of those guys are less pricks more than just putting all the cards on the table.  Some men feel that they do not want to get married or have committment with anyone at this point in their lives.  And it has less to do with the quality of woman than the situation SomOldBloke covered about “honeymoon periods” and fun. 

    Yes some of these proclaimed bachelors may just happen to fall in love with someone and want more. But for the near future they know it and just want to be direct instead of vague.  Basically it is a warning that even if you two do have some chemistry more than likely he will not be staying around for the long haul.

    In a general sense though EMK gave great advice. 

  8. 38
    Feral Cherry

    How about it the man is doing all the right actions, calling, texting, and arranging nice dates but then says he doesn’t want a relationship yet but does want to settle down eventually.  He says his divorce hurt him badly.  I said I liked the pace that we were going at with our nice dates.  Does he now have guilt free sex, as he has told me the score but still taking me out? I’m confused. And scared.  Also I don’t want to get in deeper and get hurt.  It’s only been a month so it;s early days yet but I just don’t want to invest anymore time on him if he is not interested in a commitment further down the line 

  9. 39
    Dagaz

    ummm… ok, mirroring is certainly a good idea for women during 1, 3 or 6 month of relationship, i.e. no initiating anything.
    but how about 2+ years of relationship?.. should i still tie my hands and zip my lips so i won’t reach phone or ask for weekend plans?..  it makes me confused, frankly speaking: to be at man’s mercy regarding when i will hear from him or when i will see him.
    after all, i would feel caged.

  10. 40
    franko says

    i am a STRAIGHT MAN that just had to make a serious comment here. it is most of the women today that do not want a COMMITMENT. many of the women like going out with so many different men at one time, instead of just being COMMITTED to just ONLY ONE. why in the world is that? i can without a doubt would love VERY MUCH to just COMMIT to just only ONE WOMAN, to make me happy. the VERY HARD PART is finding a GOOD WOMAN TODAY.

  11. 41
    blueberrie

    I lol at Julz comment re the guy who thought it was rude for the woman not to call him lmao!!  omg I had one of those guys, he almost leapt across the table at me to tell me off for not persuing him more!! that he likes a woman who goes after what she wants!  I was deer in headlights!  I wasn’t expecting that!! 

    I just went through this whole thing with a guy who totally persued me, said all the right stuff, non stop contact, really had me going that things were going to go somewhere but so stupidly I kinda asked the question about being exclusive and he tells me that really he just wants to be friends (friends!!!) and that he’s not committing here and so i said so u don’t mind if I go out with other guys??? longggg pause and he said well I guess I can’t say you can’t do that if I’m not committing…   so I’m thinking ummmm so what was all the last few weeks of crazy persuing me been????  I just left it alone… didn’t say anything after that.  
    I thought man u are a doorknob and a waste of time!

    I like the one analysis in here about men and their toys… holy is that EVER accurate!  That’s EXACTLY what it is!!  we are their little toys, and the only time they really committ is after quite a long time if you try to take the toy away!  but some just don’t mind looking for new toys.  wow!  basically you better make yourself damn fun to play with!!  sigh. 

    As for mirroring a guy’s behaviour… ok here’s a scenerio for you… say he calls you and sets up a date every week or something, he does the date thing, some emails or texts in between but always wants to get down and dirty as well… do you mirror the down and dirty part?  I don’t think so… that’s just giving him what he wants… without the committment… maybe you want it too and in that case go right ahead but not sure I totally agree with the mirroring thing.       

    And I’ve got to tell you A LOT of men do NOT know how to lead! seriously! it’s very bad!  the one’s who know how to lead are the players, in my opinion.  the one’s who don’t know how sort of want you to decide everything (yuck!)….  so sometimes the woman HAS to lead!  or get stuck with a player, or never go out….   I had one guy who texted me for MONTHS talking about going out but always had this busy schedule that he didn’t seem to know how to handle… turn off!  told him I didn’t think he had time to date and he said yes I do!!! and suddenly made one night a week available… but didn’t ask me out!  I’m like seriously do i need to ask myself out? omg!        

  12. 42
    Ala

    I just want to share something with you men! If you are online you need to contact a girl first..  Do not waste time saying you are interested unless you give her a reason to respond back to you.  Read what she says online.  Send her a note with something you read in her profile that sparks your interest.  Tell her why.  Ask her about what she writes about.  Show her. Take the lead.  She will appreciate this and will feel more inclined to write you back.

  13. 43
    starthrower68

    I still maintain that if a guy is really interested and he really wants to be with you, he will make sure you know it and he will lead.  If not, I don’t chase.

  14. 44
    hespeler

    With respect to leading; if a guy has sufficient interest in you he will unequivocally lead.  If his leading is wishy washy at times it’s either because he’s not sure how he feels about you or HJNTIY and is keeping you around until he can find another option.
     
    If I were a woman and I was into a guy I would give him some leeway in the very beginning as you still don’t know him and what his other commitments may be.  But after maybe 2 months if he really seems bent on keeping the status quo then you have to ask yourself whether or not he’s really into you.
     
    These situations come up a lot because often men go with what’s available at the time, even if the first date didn’t produce magic sparks.  We give it a chance to see if we can get into the girl.   Unfortunately, more often than not, we can’t.  I know it sounds very cruel I’m just trying to be real.  I think for most men we don’t do it to play or waste anyone’s time.  We genuinely want to find a big enough spark and have the best intentions but we weren’t that thrilled in the first place.
     
    I’m sure women do this too depending on how many options they have at any given time.

  15. 45
    StartingOverAgain

    it really takes two people to make a relationship work today. and if one doesn’t want that commitment, then it is very hard on the person that really wanted it. finding the right person has become as difficult as winning the lottery today, since the times today are so much different than years ago which was much easier. many family and friends would introduce you to the person that you really wanted to meet, and meeting each other today on your own is certainly much more difficult now.

  16. 46
    12 yrs on off 58

    Startingoveragain..I don’t know if it was easier in the “good old days’ or not. Sometimes people had one choice of the person they loved, he got someone pregant, had to marry her then the girl was too old OMG 25 and then married the “family friend” but was not really into him. Maybe she didn’t work, he didn’t want her to and she was bored and didn’t really like being his wife in this closed world. There is no perfect time in history. With options you can take the wrong path and meet the wrong guy and say oh why oh why isn’t like in the movies? Then you haard about women saying that they were stuck in a place with no choices. Most of us are stuck with whatever circumstances we are in at that time like wars or famine or prosperity or whatever and that’s the way ti goes. Some uf are beautiful and intellgent or not, that’s the way it goes. I like Evan’s mirroring, it’s a hard thing to do sometimes I agree but looking back whe I was too shy to call, I actualy had the guys fighting over me although it’s easier when it’s not so contrived, I can see where this calling can make a guy crazy too. On the other hand, as we get older, we have fewer people around our “circle” as people move, kids grow up, parents and friends have passed away, people have issues so we don’t see them whether it be drugs or alcohol, food or OCD we may just have a small circle and the male female relatioshiip becomes more important or more central so it harder to not want to control it. Anyuway, my point is don’t idealize the past, people always figure out away to have problems! We ar never satisfied or few of us are. 

  17. 47
    Emma

    Damn it! Such a simple message. Why is it so hard for us to accept it? Even just sitting here, reading this, I completely agreed with everything you’ve said Evan, but it’s almost as if I don’t WANT to believe it.
    My boyfriend is getting pissed off at me texting him all the time and says I’m doing it for attention and it’s excessive. I beg to differ and say I’m just keeping up communication, being friendly, making conversation, yada yada…when really, if I’m being brutally honest with myself?
    I’m checking to see that he’s still there and still interested. NOT healthy!
    I should leave it and see if he contacts me. Which he always does, EVENTUALLY, it just takes him a lot longer than it takes me. Then again I text everyone all day…I text my friends pretty much as much as I text him. I don’t think he generally sends out texts unless it’s important.
    I guess I’m scared that if he doesn’t bother with me…then that shows me he’s not that into me and that’s REALLY scary because that means that I should probably leave him. Inconveniently, I love this man more than anything and we’ve broken up before, 6 months ago and I missed him so much. I even got a new boyfriend but it didn’t feel right and I was still dreaming about him and talking to him all the time.
    Anyway I’m getting off track. I know people will say ‘if he really doesn’t care then you’re better off without him’ and I suppose that’s true but for me, right now, it’s not an option I even want to consider. He’s an amazing boyfriend when we’re together he’s just lazy with the communication otherwise and LOVE LOVE LOVES his space.

  18. 48
    michelle

    Emma, great job in looking inward to see what your actions are really ‘saying’.
     
    This the thing, there are some things that are universal for men and universal for women (and any perceived or actual exception does not disprove the universals): 
    -Men are not great communicators, PERIOD. 
    -Men LOVE their space and ‘freedom’
    -Men move at a slower pace than women do, so we need lots of patience (maybe this is to prepare us to be  mothers because mothers need a lot of patience too :)

    If you can absorb these, accept them, and chuckle about them when they irritate you, you will be much better off.  Why get mad at someone for something they can’t control.  If he’s proactive contacting you, including you in his life, moving things forward and doing his best to make you happy with his actions, then that is a GREAT guy, a keeper (and of course, you’re crazy about him).

    Finally, Men are NOT, NOT, NOT women just with more hair, hahahaha.
     

  19. 49
    Emma

    Hey Michelle,
    Thank you for your great comments!
    You’re totally right. I’m not going to say that these things apply to ALL men, especially since I’ve been with some of the ‘stage 5 clingers’ myself, but my man is a ‘stereotypical man’ in every single way. He is tall and quite hairy and very driven by testosterone! He is not soppy, he’s useless at communicating his feelings (especially over the phone) and he views our time apart completely different from the way I do. As for freedom, if I complain about his plans to go somewhere or do something, we’ll argue for a little while and then let it go and I’ll forget about it- but he seems to remember every time I’ve made a fuss about this kind of thing and recently exploded about it! He feels anxious about telling me his plans/invitations he’s received and is always annoyed about my reaction when he does. He definitely comes across as a man that loves the complete freedom of a single life, but is most happy when he’s in a monogamous relationship. I am trying to give him as much space and freedom as he needs right now. If either of us are unhappy after that, I will try to be okay with letting him go.

  20. 50
    michelle

    It’s about communication, and HOW to communicate, that really makes all the difference.  As I understand it, complaining to man about what he’s doing makes him feel like he’s not making us happy,  and in this context, his SENSE of freedom is being taken away.  A better approach is to focus on the way we feel, “I feel X when you Y, how can resolve that”.  I would also say to look really hard at what it is you’re not happy about.  That doesn’t mean he gets to lead a life where he doesn’t have the responsibility of a relationship, but I get the feeling he’s not that way.  It sounds to me like he’s upset because he wants to be honest , but he knows you get upset, so he’s caught between a rock and a hard place. 

    I think you have a good strategy, use this time to learn more about yourself, you can never go wrong there!  It will either show you how to better to navigate this relationship or to move on with no regrets.

  21. 51
    marymary

    Men are perfectly capable of communicating. 
    If he’s not keen to see you, calling you, taking your calls, returning your calls, making plans for the future (even if it’s just the holidays), helping you out, being consistently kind and respectful he is telling you he is not good boyfriend or husband material. The actual words do not have to come out of his mouth for him to be communicating “I do not want a committed relationship with you.” 
    My boyfriend does communicate very well, incuding, gasp with words.  I never feel that I’m encroaching on him and, if anything, he moved a little bit faster emotionally than me as I am more reserved than him.  Sure,  not all men are like this.  I dated more than my fair share who weren’t. I learned that the time spent trying to turn around the half-hearted/incapable would be better spent looking for a better man.  Or rearranging your CD collection.

  22. 52
    Getting Him To Commit

    There are reasons why a man would not want to commit. some of them are controllable and the situation can be changed. However, no matter what a woman does to get her man to commit, it may not work for some guys. Example of these are guys that either don’t know what love means, or they are just not ready for a serious relationship. They are often called cheaters and players. In my opinion, I think the best thing a woman can do if she finds herself with this kind of guy is to give up and look for the next available man.

  23. 53
    Madam X

    I started this mirroring technique and it works like a charm. I don’t like to complicate things, I don’t like the grey area of not knowing what we are and where I stand. 
    Right now I’ve been dating a man for almost 90 days and he just told me he’s not looking for a relationship and he’s not looking for commitment. While I’m still trying to figure out if I want him as a boyfriend or not, whether I want to commit or not, I’m also concerned and freaked out by the idea of an open relationship where he might be sleeping around. That’s a major red flag for me because that poses a serious health-risk and the thought of exchanging bodily fluids w a total stranger is just plain gross. I would like for me and the guy I’m dating to have an exclusivity in terms of being intimate. And I would like for him to be upfront if there’s another person he is sleeping with because doing so gives me the upper hand to decide if I want to stay and be agreeable to such an arrangement. What gets me really mad is when a man doesn’t even consider my participation (or being meniable) to this sort of thing. I can date around, sure. But I don’t and can’t do the multiple sex partners thing. 
    I prefer blunt honesty from a man at the onset instead of putting his best foot forward and deluding me into believing that he wants a relationship when all he wants, really, is a fuck buddy. If you’re old enough to date, you’re old enough to be honest and upfront. After all life is short to waste people’s time and be misleading. 

  24. 54
    Terese

    I agree with Evan’s comments.  I too was dating a guy for the past 3 months.  He pursued me. It was intense in the beginning. But recently I got comments from him about not wanting a comiitted relationship, etc. Then he started making dates and cancelling last minute, stringing me along for the past few weeks. I asked if he still wanted to date and he said yes. But his actions said otherwise.  Luckily, I finally came to my senses last night and ended things with him. Then today I read Evan’s comments and all the responses.  I have to say, I feel so much better, and wiser. Actions are everything.  Women (and men too if it applies to you), if he doesn’t act like he is in a committed relationship with you, but you think you are, you need to take the steps to break it off. You will feel much better about yourself once you do.  Treat yourself the way you treat the people you most love and cherish in your life.  Then you will have the emotional strength to do what is best for you.   And for good measure/karma, wish him well in your heart when you move on.  Just move on.

  25. 55
    Rachel

    I agree with all these comments I would like some opinions.I’ve been with this person for 13 years,I’m used to being able to depend on myself but now I’m working part time for money to spend on me.We have a 9year old son,no were not married (I wanted to get married) he never did.He doesn’t take me anywhere he doesn’t spend time with me he doesn’t feel we need to communicate he feels all he needs to do is pay rent and utilities WOW I’m stopping now I just answered my own questions

  26. 56
    tee c

    Evan, I love your blogs! Your answers/advice are always right on. They always help me.
    This one especially. And you are so sweet. I need to move on I am the girl above. Why are so many of us women so hopeful of men that treat us this way and why can’t these men appreciate us women that are so loyal, dedicated and in love with them?

  27. 57
    deb

    We all know the right thing to do in situations like this but it’s the Love and Hope that makes us hang on and keep trying! Ive got a situation. ..Been with this guy for a year and a half, he still says we are not in a relationship! He stays with me every weekend we go places n hang out with friends together, I introduce him as “My Man” he calls me his old lady . We have so so much fun together it feels like the Best Relationship ever, but he refuses to call it anything! Is this his way of having a way out or if another opportunity arrose he wouldn’t feel guilty to take it? He swears I am the only One, and I believe him, but it hurts my heart when he says we r not in a relationship. I Love him so much i can’t bring myself to walk away because I have hope he will come around~ ur probably asking how much of my life will I waste to find out? I don’t know but I keep telling myself Be Happy Today, Live for today and Im happy as heck with him in my life even if it means not calling us a relationship. Some days it bothers me more than others today is One of them, im reading all comments with tears in my eyes. I just don’t know what I should do.

  28. 58
    Rose

    I’ve been seeing a guy for a month. I asked him upfront if he’s ever been in love. He said he didn’t know. He said he can’t imagine caring so much for someone and then they leave him, that it is easier to just go along and not put that much into the relationship. I think that life is about having experiences, and deeply falling in love is one of them, because it feels so good and makes life richer. I told him he would know it if he fell in love, and that I am more open than most people. He said that night he feels like he can open up to me… And he stared into my eyes and smiled while there was just silence between us. I totally gushed and looked away, almost afraid of what I just created. He is beautiful but afraid of long term commitment. Tonight he told me he isn’t looking for a serious girlfriend at the moment, no serious relationship. I expressed that I wanted one, but then emphasized that I really just want a man to be there for me. He knows I am recently divorced too. I think sometimes its good to just roll with it, keep your self respect, let your emotions pass, and love anyway.

  29. 59
    Mary

    All I’m gonna say is he’s with someone else.. Been there sounds exactly the same.. My opinion is you should move on because even if you don’t text or call back he might just to keep you around and than it will keep happening so you might as well move on to someone who will give you their time. Good luck

  30. 60
    Claudia

    Until a man fully commits and you know it in your gut…date other men too!  Just keep your mouth shut.  YOU be busy, not calling, not texting and respond only if he contacts you.  How many of us (a lot) have made the mistake of putting all our eggs in one lame basket only to keep feeling worse and worse about ourselves.  Hey, me too! Being single and dating isn’t the worst thing in the world.  Thinking the wrong man is right is way worse. 

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