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. 61
    Tjo

    If a guy doesn’t commit, or tells me he doesn’t want to commit, that means no sex for him. Also, until a commitment is agreed upon by both people in the relationship, then each person is free to date other people and explore their other options. If it’s right, then both people will feel it and discuss it together. If not, one or both will move on.

  2. pingback
  3. 62
    Julie Farrell

    Wow… well I guess if you need to know that badly you can do the ‘mirroring’ thing. However, I think it is already obvious… and it seems like any more time wasted on this one is showing how little self-respect you have.

  4. 63
    Zann

    SomeOldBloke — Not rude at all, just very straightforward and honest. . . especially the  part about “fun.” I used to think this restless, thrill-driven, conquest mentality was  just a sign of immaturity due to youth…something men would eventually tire or “grow out” of; and that’s probably true for many men. But sadly, I know men who were players from Day 1, as far back as high school,  and who are now in their late 50’s, 60’s, still “proud”that they never settled, and still telling themselves — despite the reality of their lives — that they’re still desirable to much younger women.  It will never cease to amaze me. Thanks for your post.       

  5. 64
    Casey

    Zann don’t you find that they have to have money or something cool going on with them for young women to date them? I know one younger woman who finds a man charming because he USED to be a rock critic for a magazine…something cool and they can’t be short and fat and bald unless they are rich enough of course.  That does not hold true for most women (or men) there are gold-diggers of both sexes Notice how men on Match like wealthy women also? It works both ways these days. 

  6. 65
    Misty Solomon

    Wow! This is the best advice ive came across yet. Thanks !

  7. 66
    tendy

    i am also in the same situation and its now a year
    ,i will have to do the mirroring thing

  8. 67
    Mr A. Teo.

    I’m a chinese man from Singapore, who had spent around 5 years studying & living in London.  I just wish to high-light a few important and factual points about people and our precious life.  Firstly, we ought to know n accept there’s not  a single human being on earth who is 100% perfect.  So, if i have a friend or a spouse who is perfect up to 8O%, I will be very delightened & contented.  Secondly, we’re all alive n living here only temporarily because our spirit  will have to return permanently  to where we came from.  So, do not be too pre-occupied and over concerned on what we should eat, what clothings we need to wear and the type of dwelling we seek to live under.  Pray n communicate with your Creator daily for revelation and follow obediently the path He wisely set for you.             

  9. 68
    True love

    We’ll thanks for the advice it is very helpful n the steps I need to take. I have know this guy since hight school I was n 9th and he was in the 11th played football he was in the n crowd. I was a shy track star that stayed to myself. As years pass I ran back in to him he when I came to visit my family. At that time I had 1 child. Remind you still shy as I was sitting in his apartment he was very sweet and respectful,but with my shy self told him I had to go and I did. I liked him then, but I lost his number so I can keep in contact with him. It didn’t made any sence to me to start something I couldn

  10. 69
    Grace

    Hi Evan,
    I am not sure how many times you have published this article. It was my first time reading this to it’s entirety.  All I can truly say with deepest sincerity is thank you for this and what you do.
    I’m glad I subscribe to your newsletters.
     

  11. 70
    whosays

    What’s so ironic here is that people make fun of the High Maintenance Woman for being shallow.

    Yet there is not a single High Maintenance Woman who needed to be taught the concept of Mirroring.  I wouldn’t dream of calling a man and making plans.  If he’s lost interest and can’t be bothered to make plans or call me, then the last thing he is is worth my time.  Keep your self-respect, ladies! 
    In the proverbial words of Beyonce,
    “I can have another You in a minute. Matter of fact, He’ll be here in a minute.” 

    1. 70.1
      tamara

      Uh, well I’m a low-maintenance woman and I also didn’t need to be taught mirroring. U don’t need to be high-maintenance/shallow to have self-respect :p

  12. 71
    tamara

    @Helen #32:
    “He was particularly harsh about a thin, nerdy, sweet guy, insinuating that there was no way this guy could satisfy any woman…kind, gentlemanly, thoughtful, and a great scientist.”
    ” They think we like certain types and rule out other types, and sometimes they have it completely backwards.”
     
    That is so true. I’m surprised so many guys think women only like beefy square-jawed alpha types. That thin nerdy sweet gentlemanly scientist sounds like an AMAZING catch to me, way sexier than a very muscular ‘hunky’ swaggering player-type…I think it’s partly cos when I was a teen, the male stars in some drama serials I watched were the “Sensitive New Age Guy” type. The guys I grew up with were also total sweethearts. <3
     
    And interestingly, quite a few studies have shown women prefer FEMININE looking men, especially for long-term rships. I generally do, I was more attracted to Jude Law types than to  Arnold Swarzinager types. I read that it was hypothesized that perhaps these softer featured men were associated with positive ‘feminine’ traits like loyalty and kindness…I brought this up cos I’ve realised many guys think the hypermasculine square-jawed guys are desired by all women. (I’m not saying square jaws are ugly–look at Brad Pitt–but not all women think those men are the hunkiest)
     

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2007/aug/08/genderissues
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1380265/Men-feminine-faces-likely-hit-women.html
     
     
     
     

  13. 72
    laura

    I like the mirroring him advice . This is something that I do .when I stop calling him ,then he started calling me this was in the beginning.he works a lot so I don’t see hum much I complain,he says we are not in a relationship I was speechless

    1. 72.1
      JennLee

      This is where I agree with Rory’s circular dating advice. When you start dating a guy, make it verbally known to him that until there is a verbal agreement of exclusivity, there is no exclusivity. Combine that with Evan’s advice to not have sex without exclusivity and you won’t have to suffer a humiliating shock like that.

  14. 73
    j

    I hate reading dating advice online but I find your articles non bias and most of the time, painfully true.

    Thanks for being the reality check in my head (ok I dont always follow you advice but it serves as a good reminder of how I should act sometimes)

  15. 74
    Lisa

    I agree Evan the man is sending her all the signals he’s not interested in a relationship.  But why can’t men just be upfront about their intentions?   Yes I just want sex, no I’m not looking to be exclusive or I’m just not into you?  I am very upfront about my intentions one way or the other I mean who wants to waste time?  And I’m certain this is why I’m single.

    1. 74.1
      JennLee

      We women are even less upfront about our intentions, and this has been proven in scientific research.  It has to do with biology and the different strategies man and women are biologically programmed to use, in order to successfully get our genes into the next generation.
       
      A man’s best strategy is to have as many sexual partners as possible, though society frowns on this.  This is the shotgun method and makes sense when populating the world is the goal.  For women, the best strategy is to be a sniper.  This is why we are in fact, far pickier about everything than most men are.  Our goal is to find the best man we can, and keep him around to help raise the children.  The problem is that it is like rolling dice.  Rarely do the dice all come up as sixes.  It is like with each roll, that is a man.  We want all 6s but that is nonexistent.  If a man has many great qualities, he is usually narcissistic.  And or, let’s face it, if we see all those qualities, so do other women, and when we see somebody like that, we are much more up front about our intentions.  We try to keep the guys at the lower end of the ladder guessing.  We try to keep them on a line while we pursue the guys we think are the best, and if that doesn’t man out, we move down the ladder, until we find a match.
       
      Well other women also see him as top shelf, so these men have many women being upfront about their attraction to him.  Many of these men take advantage of it.  How many women used to think Tiger Woods was a great catch, before he got caught?  Some still think he is?  Why, after what he did, would Lindsy want to be with him?  Because aside from his cheating, he IS top shelf, and many women think they will be the one who changes him, or will be enough for him.  Good Luck with that.
       
      In this day and age, if you want a great relationship that is monogamous, full of affection, loving, and stable, you are going to have to make compromises.  You are going to have to realize that your biological imperative is not your friend.  That the way you view men, and what you want from them is driven by biology.  Learning to control that, instead of letting it control you, will go a long way towards helping you find a great relationship.
       
      When we are no longer trying to create a “mini me” many things do not matter as much.  Biology tells us to get the very best provider we can.  This makes sense in the old world where women didn’t work.  It gave our children the best chance of survival.  The more resources you had, the better your odds at survival.  Now, we make our own money, lessening the importance of his resources, yet many women still place supreme importance on this.  The truth is, some of us make enough money that having a house husband would make better sense.  The trick to that is being able to maintain more traditional roles, because men still want to feel respected, and feel like they are a leader.  This can feel like a complete role reversal which most men aren’t going to feel comfortable with.  But what if he is an artisan, who makes woodcraft items from a shop at home, and is still able to have a hot meal on the table when we come in from our hectic day at the office?  That could work.
       
      Also, while looks are nice, often in my experience, the hottest guys make the worst boyfriends.  Just my opinion.
       
      Anyway, long story short, I feel that if a guy is not making his intentions more clear, it is likely that he is not overly impressed with you.  He may see you as a fall back girl because trust me, when a man is enthralled with you, he makes it very clear.  I suspect that the guys who make it clear to women that they are enthralled with her, are men she feels are beneath her league.  This shows that she likely overestimates her value.  She wants the men she thinks are in her league to be enthralled with her, but they aren’t because they don’t see her as being in their league.  They have more attracted women paying attention to them.  And sometimes, I have experienced the opposite with men.  Some think they are above their own league.  I learned to stop trying to correct these men, and just ignore them.  It’s a waste of time and energy.
       
      It reminds me of that movie, “He’s just not that into you.”
       
      “Gigi is a single woman who repeatedly misreads mundane actions and comments from her dates as indications that they are romantically interested in her. She then frets when the guy does not call.
      In attempting to meet Conor Barry at a bar, she befriends the bar owner Alex, who reveals the strategies men use to avoid a woman. He explains that if a man is interested in a woman, he will overcome any obstacles to ensure they date again, and that Gigi has been misinterpreting and obsessing over imagined “signs” that she receives from men. This friendship continues, and Gigi interprets his eagerness to always assist, such as taking Gigi’s call while he is on a date, as a sign that he is interested in her. She eventually makes a move but Alex claims that he is not interested in her romantically and chastises her for ignoring his advice.”

  16. 75
    Lucy

    This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something that helped me.
    Thank you!

  17. 76
    Dawn

    Isn’t it also true that if u mirror then ur teaching him too only b available when it’s convenient for him? That’s a trap in itself, didn’t work for me

  18. 77
    lydisy

    Why would you be on this website if you have no interest in being in a relationship Dawn? Is  it the pressure or the loneliness? Or are you just ambivalent about the whole thing hoping to meet someone that would change that?

  19. 78
    Roxanne

    You Seriously want Dr.Evan to tell you what too do?

    Its only been 3months!,half of that you already knew what was up! It wasn’t that long into it,it was going down hill,no ties,and you stayed!

    You have a feeling he’s not serious? You KNOW he’s not serious! We can’t be that blind…..are we??

    Its ONLY been 3months,keep on moving on!!

    This is not for you,and you know it!

  20. 79
    Louise

    I had something similar with a guy I was seeing last year. It started out great,then started acting out strange. I felt I wasn’t showing enough Interest in him. In a  bid to show more interest and out of fear he would walk away,I accepted his substandard and dismissive treatment. You know the worst part? I lost faith and love for myself cos of this. I lost my voice. Finally after having enough for 10 months, 1day was all it took for me to make my decision to let him go. I am glad I did. It’s the best r/ship decision I made in 2015. Letting go of liability. Whatsmore,I grew wise from that experience and stopped my “reformer and martyr tendencies”,believing my love is strong enough to reform a man who does not give a damn about me into one who does. Evan’s articles helped me a great deal in growing up and becoming wise. Now once a guy shows tendencies of treating me  badly…I am just repulsed by it cos I feel,now this man isn’t adding value to my life but he’s here to take value from me. Effortless,I pull away.

    My advice..this man of your would not change. Let him go. Then work on yourself,realise you are a person of value and everything about you carries value…you presence,your love,your loyalty,support. With time,these kind of menstrual will repulsed you. The best gift you can give to yourself is lose this loser. Your self esteem will thank you for it.

     

     

     

     

     

  21. 80
    Louise

    Sorry..my phone auto corrected men to menstrual. My bad. I meant ‘men’not menstrual.

  22. 81
    GL

    Men also need to reach down deep inside and realize that they won’t commit, therefore they should let the girl go, with an appropriate break up. Isn’t stringing someone along immoral? I’m trying to think when I had a real break up, that wasn’t initiated by me…Is this sexist, to pin responsibility on the woman to leave? I understand that women (and men) deserve to be treated nicely….But isn’t this a reflection on how society lets men get away with treating women like back pocket hos? I have no idea if women do this to men as much as men do this to women.

    1. 81.1
      Tom10

      @ GL #81
      “Men also need to reach down deep inside and realize that they won’t commit, therefore they should let the girl go, with an appropriate break up. Isn’t stringing someone along immoral?
       
      …But isn’t this a reflection on how society lets men get away with treating women like back pocket hos?“
       
      I’ve seen this sentiment on this blog quite a few times where various commenters, both male and female, lament the nature of today’s current dating landscape, and I always think, well then, please describe to me your vision of what a fair dating scene/society looks like.
       
      So GL, do you want the right to decide who you sleep with or do you not? If you do, then stop complaining about the guys you’re sleeping with not committing: just stop sleeping with them. How much simpler can it be?
       
      Women fought hard for the right to live their lives as they wish; to work, to study, to travel and to sleep with who they want, so own your decisions and stop sleeping with men who don’t meet fulfill your expectations. Simples.
       
      “I have no idea if women do this to men as much as men do this to women.”
       
      I think it works a bit differently the other way around. The guys who complain about today’s society normally moan about the women they want, sleeping with non-committal men whilst ignoring them. And I always think, well that’s their prerogative: women are allowed to sleep with whomever they want. Do you think they should be denied this agency so that it suits you? I don’t think so. So stop complaining and just focus on the women who do want you. Simples.

      1. 81.1.1
        Shaukat

        “I’ve seen this sentiment on this blog quite a few times where various commenters, both male and female, lament the nature of today’s current dating landscape, and I always think, well then, please describe to me your vision of what a fair dating scene/society looks like.”

        Indeed. I can offer an anecdote from my own recent dating experience to help drive this point home. I was dating a very attractive 29 year old professional for the last month and a half who just recently ended it. The reason she offered was that she was not over her ex (who she hadn’t been with for six months) and so kept comparing me to him. This is nonsense, what she really meant, and pretty much implied, was that I didn’t make her feel the same way her ex made her feel. In other words, the level of chemistry she was used to wasn’t there (and I should mention that, according to her, the ex wasn’t very nice).

        This hasn’t been an uncommon theme in my dating career, so this episode has led me to engage in some self-reflection. Perhaps there’s something wrong in my approach/mentality/attitude that causes such results, or maybe I’m just aiming too high (ie, dating out of my league). In order to remedy the situation I have four options: 1). Stop dating and don’t complain; 2). start dating women who don’t inspire the same level of chemistry on my end; 3). Keep doing what I’m doing and hope that it eventually pays off; 4). Stop dating and start demonizing the women who broke it off with me for not reciprocating.

        Options 1-3 are understandable, but option 4 is ridiculous and pathetic. Should I blame that girl for continuing to see me given that she stated at the end that she didn’t really feel it from the beginning, but enjoyed my company and was intimate with me in the hopes that stronger feelings would develop? No. I saw the red flags at the beginning and could have walked away (probably should have) and didn’t. I have to take responsibility for that.

        So I agree with Tom, GL. Either stop dating, stop having sex outside of commitment and walk away from the men who don’t commit (as EMK recommends), or have sex without expectations. But don’t demonize the men who sleep with you and don’t commit.

        1. GoWithTheFlow

          Shaukat,

          “The reason she offered was that she was not over her ex (who she hadn’t been with for six months) and so kept comparing me to him. This is nonsense, what she really meant, and pretty much implied, was that I didn’t make her feel the same way her ex made her feel. In other words, the level of chemistry she was used to wasn’t there (and I should mention that, according to her, the ex wasn’t very nice).”

          Actually, you really don’t know her “real” reason unless you can get in her head literally.  I have a very hard time not trying to analyze what I don’t know when a relationship blows up.  I think we just have to accept that sometimes we just won’t ever know.

          Keep your head up.  It doesn’t sound like you are dating out of your league.  If the women are accepting 1st, 2nd, and 3rd dates from you you’re in the right ball park.  It’s just not working out for compatability issues.  It is expected that you will break up with a great number of women on your way to a lasting marriage.  It just sucks to experience it at times.

        2. Shaukat

          @GoWithTheFlow,

          Thanks for your comment, it’s what I needed to hear:)

    2. 81.2
      Karl R

      GL said:

      “Men also need to reach down deep inside and realize that they won’t commit, therefore they should let the girl go, with an appropriate break up.”

      I can think of two times when I have dated women who had made it blatantly clear that they were not interested in a serious, committed relationship.  Was it their responsibility to break up with me so I could pursue a more serious relationship with someone else?

      In my opinion, if the relationship wasn’t working for me, then it was my responsibility to initiate the breakup.  If the relationship wasn’t working for her, then it was her responsibility to initiate the breakup.

       

      In the two relationships where the women made it clear (in one way or another) that it wasn’t going to be a long-term thing, I chose to stick with the relationship for a while.  In one case, I was enjoying the companionship.  In the other case, I was enjoying the sex.

      Even if the relationships weren’t leading to my long-term goal, they did provide a short-term benefit.

       

      The women hadn’t chained me to them.  I didn’t need to be “let go.”  I could leave whenever I chose.

      And the same applies to any woman in a similar circumstance.

       

      GL asked:

      “Is this sexist, to pin responsibility on the woman to leave?”

      No.  It’s sexist to assume that a woman can’t make the same decision that I did … to stay or go based on whatever long-term goal or short-term benefit she sees.

      If someone decides it’s in their interest to leave, it’s that person’s responsibility to leave.

       

      GL asked:

      “But isn’t this a reflection on how society lets men get away with treating women like back pocket hos?”

      Wow.

      Talk about a sexist statement.

      If a woman and I mutually choose that we’re going to have an extended sexual fling, you think the woman is a “back pocket ho.”

      I think the woman is a person, like me, who enjoys having sex.

       

      GL asked:

      “Isn’t stringing someone along immoral?”

      If one person is misleading the other, particularly through lying … that is immoral.

      If the person who doesn’t want a long-term commitment has made their position clear, then the other person can make an informed decision to stay or go.

  23. 82
    Kristina

    Its the one you want that never calls and the one you don’t is blowing up your phone.

    1. 82.1
      Noemi

      Its the one you want that never calls and the one you don’t is blowing up your phone.

      It’s because you’re putting the one you want on a pedestal, while you’re acting like yourself with the one you can care less about. Change your attitude about the one you really want, and notice how the dynamic changes.

  24. 83
    N

    It’s not society. It’s the woman in question who let herself be treated like “a back pocket ho.”

    In a period of ambivalence post major break, and in the process of fighting the last fight against my willfulness into total submission, I summoned my energy to find an emotionally stable and  available man, intelligent, successful, attractive, who can provide me with affection and physical intimacy in my current life terms.

    Here and now, I enjoy the freedom to self-discovery and get my emotional and physical needs met by this man on my terms, not as a back pocket ho. But as a woman who clearly communicated her needs today. Sans expectations, relationship labels, and worries about tomorrow.

  25. 84
    Odyssey

    Sounds like you have a feeling of superiority or are trying to convince yourself that what you do means you are okay with it but I detect some self-righteous defensiveness. I get what you are going through but it ain’t over til it’s over so things are not always what they seem a few months down that road.

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