Am I Foolish For Waiting For A Non-Committal Man To Commit?

So I’ve been dating this guy for about 6 months now (I’m 26 and he’s 28). We go out about once a week. We have a lot of fun together and definitely seem to click. Sometimes I feel like he’s letting me in – like when he introduced me to his mom when she was in town. Other times he shuts me out – no contact for a day or two cause he’s busy with work, or he’ll tell me about parties he goes to but rarely invites me along. He admits to compartmentalizing his life.

Since I know how much he values his independence and tends to shy away from change, I hadn’t brought up the “state of affairs” talk in the past…hoping things would evolve naturally on their own. I also know he likes to move slowly but I guess I hit my limit this weekend and told him how I’ve been feeling. I said I would like to get closer and know where he sees this going. He told me that he’s not emotionally in a place in his life for a serious relationship (due to ex baggage, etc), but he really cares for me and would like to keep seeing me. He admitted that he didn’t know where he’d be in the future, but right now, this is all he has to give. He said he knows I deserve to have what I want and that I had a right to walk away but he doesn’t want me to.

I really do care about him and he’s the first guy in a long time I can see myself with…if he actually let me in, that is. I don’t want to lose him but I’m not sure that I can be satisfied having a superficial relationship with him. I don’t have to be his girlfriend right now but I at least want to know that we’re progressing and the possibility is there rather than just heading blindly for a dead end that will leave me even more hurt. Is it silly to hold on to this and hope that one day his feeling will be strong enough change his mind or am I just setting myself up for heartbreak?

Jill

Dear Jill,

A healthy relationship with an emotionally unavailable man is like a threesome with Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Only in your dreams.

It kills me to hear sweet women like you holding onto a prayer like this. And yet this is the most popular question I get. Click your heels three times if you’ve heard this before.

“I’ve been dating this guy for (X Months) now and I like him more than anyone I’ve met in a long time. I see him (Y times) a week and while he tells me he cares about me and ultimately wants to settle down, he also makes it very clear that he’s not in a good place right now. I believe him and really want to make this work but I’m not sure I can take it anymore because I want a future with him. The uncertainty is killing me. Can I get him to commit or should I get out now?”

You already know what I’m gonna tell you, Jill, but I’ll stretch it out to make you see my point of view yourself. Here we go – based solely on what you wrote in your email.

Dating for 6 months. Seeing each other once a week. Is this guy a boyfriend? Or just a guy you sleep with once a week. A boyfriend is committed to you. He calls you every day. He buys you things because he’s thinking of you. He wants to see you during most of his spare time. Ask yourself if this guy passes those boyfriend tests.

Shuts me out. No contact for a day. Not invited to parties. Not very boyfriend like. You know how I can tell?… I’ve BEEN that guy. I’ve dated people who I liked but didn’t want to lose, but went out to parties seeing if I could trade up. And as long as he can keep you around without committing to you, who can blame him?

Likes to move slowly. Values his independence. Shies from change. Looks like you should be doing PR for him, because you’ve bought all of his bullshit excuses, hook, line and sinker.

Told me he’s not emotionally in a place for a relationship – Um, and what was it you said you wanted? That’s right. A relationship.

Said I deserved to have what I wanted and had a right to walk away – Hey! The first thing he’s gotten right.

So listen to this man of integrity and take his sage advice.

Walk away and don’t look back.

If he follows, you’ll know you’ll have yourself a boyfriend who values you and will follow you to the end of the earth. That is what you deserve.

If he doesn’t, then he’s not all that serious about keeping you in his life, is he?

118
48

Join 7 Million Readers

And the thousands of women I've helped find true love. Sign up for weekly updates for help understanding men.

I hate spam as much as you do, therefore I will never sell, rent, or give away your email address.

Join our conversation (92 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 61
    marymary

    Chi
    Yes cut off all contact before you screw it up with your new boyfriend if you haven’t already.
    The reason these on-off “relationships” are so compelling is because we like drama, are too stubborn to admit defeat or are hooked on dysfunctional sex.  It’s not worth another hour of your time.  Four years is a long time to wait for the goose to lay the golden egg.  Geese don’t lay golden eggs. Especially not male one.

  2. 62
    JW

    Problem is you walk away & then thepursue we you. You take them back only forthem to blow cold. You walk again, they pursue. Repeat :(

  3. 63
    Tk Amman

    I have read all of your posts and there is such wisdom.  I had a similar situation with a man I dated and when he said he was not interested in marriage I walked away cold.  It was very, very hard.  I loved him but I never told him.  It has been a month and I have not heard from him.  Why are we all deluding ourselves-these guys know what they are doing-they are nice before the sex and after they are less interested.  I now refuse to become intimate with men I date unless there is a real, long term commitment-words are insignificant and I cannot handle the emotional pain of the insincere physical relationship.  A man can separate sex and love-I cannot.  It is not only me but all of my Gfs I have seen go through this pain from age 20 to 55-it is disheartening-they need to give a relationship a lot of time before getting physical-if he leaves then it is clear what he was after.  Men are so much more ambivalent about relationships now-women have to get real and protect themselves.

  4. 64
    Katarina Phang

    If I may interrupt, ladies and gents, I probably belong to the minority of women (and people in general) who think against the prevalent wisdom.  In my experience, men need to be inspired to commit to a woman.  Most women, though, are very goal oriented and it rarely works.
     
    Most guys despite age don’t think relationship in the beginning period. It’s not how they operate. Guys don’t think, talk or plan a relationship, they live it. And they go for the women who don’t “require a relationship” to relate in a meaningful and enriching way. They commit to such women because they know they can safely be themselves and they can’t afford losing such rare gems.
     
    It’s the philosophy of how pigeons flock to eat out of your hand when you just sit back and relax. Men are exactly like pigeons.
     
    Stop hunting for a man.  Stop, stop, stop all that…  It’s all in your energy.  Your expectations, fear, resentment, holding back, nagging, chasing are sending the wrong kind of energy that doesn’t inspire a man to want to come closer to you, let alone commit.  If they disappear after sex, very likely it’s because they are avoiding the repelling energy you radiate.
     
    Be soft, alluring, feminine and lean back in your open, light and inviting feminine energy, and see how guys are aiming for your commitment instead of demanding commitment from them.
     
    I’ve actually seen first hand women in my support groups transform their love lives and turn non-committal men into committing by applying these principles.  Don’t be jaded, try it and see how different guys respond to you.
     
    And please, never bring up the talk either….that’s one of sources of the repellent energy that men stay away from.

  5. 65
    Katarina Phang

    OOps..”and see how guys are aiming for your commitment instead of demanding commitment from them.”
     
    It should be: and see how guys are aiming for your commitment instead of YOU CHASING commitment from them.
     
     

  6. 66
    Dawn

    in my case the guy had a girlfriend whom he was taking to the parties that I was not invited to?? yikes. He introduced me to his sister when she was in town. I even saw him a ton of times per week, had no idea how he fit in 2 separate girls.
    Even if there is no other girl, there is no YOU and HIM either, I would cut out ASAP> You are not the one he will settle down with, once he meets her, he will totally open up to her and settle down.
    It is too bad that he will miss out on someone that can give him space he needs and still be loving but that is his sad story.

  7. 67
    Dawn

    oh, a nice break up would be what my friend used: “I understand this is how you feel, and that is fine, I don’t want to change you. I want something different though, I want ____ and _____ (fill in blank, marriage and family or intimacy and a partner to talk to/see daily or to comingle lives or whatever). I need to find someone who wants those same things otherwise neither of us will be happy. I wish you the best.”
    She was married not long after and was he–of course, to different people, a man who treasured her!
     

  8. 68
    Manny

    I’m a guy.. And I had a very similar experience.. I was dating a woman for about 5 months or so.. She also never invited me to parties, or any of the sort. Never met her family. Nothing.. I was the poor shmuck who wanted a relationship but she did not. She “liked” me and wanted to see how far it would go but she also gave me the same BS about not having any emotions enough to fall in love again and be committed. I bought it all. For a while she gave me tons of excuses about not having any time to talk to me because of her family, or friends and her job. She just never acted like she was interested.. Even though she kept telling me she was crazy about me. Well one day I finally exploded in concern and frustration about it. I had bought 2 very expensive tickets to see a show in vegas. She never even came… She ditched me and then dumped after I was angry at her for canceling plans I had made with her.. It devastated me for a little while.. But now I understand.. It’s not just men who do this. It’s women too. I treated her fairly. I liked her. I did so much to make things fun and exciting for her. But it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough. So she dumped me.. Blocked all my emails, calls and Facebook. Out of my life just like that. Now a days, I feel better about it. Even though I wasted a lot of money and time.. I’m glad it wasn’t THAT much time.. To anyone who gets with a girl or guy that makes excuses why he or she can’t be with you.. It’s time to reevaluate your time being spent.. Pay attention to you feelings. They will save you. Don’t be like me.. I wasted hundreds of dollars On a girl who only cared about my body and nothing more…

    1. 68.1
      SBLMNL

      @Manny
      I just went through the exact same thing with a girl i recently dated for a year as well, your story sounds identical to mine!  I was pretty heartbroken and still am!  But it is for the best it’s better to be lonely by yourself than lonely in a relationship!  You don’t think it’s gonna happen to you but unfortunately just like a box of chocolates you never know what you’re gonna get!  But in the end It makes you an over all better person!  And those types of people are honestly the miserable ones!  

  9. 69
    Debbie Halsey

    I agree completely!!!
    This guy is having maintenance sex with you!

    I met a great man, had a glass of wine and he called and texted me for two weeks to go out with me. We met the first time on a Wednesday and he asked me out for that Saturday. I had plans for that night and the whole weekend already. He still called me and texted me just in case those guys cancelled. I told him that they had to wait two weeks to go out with me (and they did) and that if he wanted to go out with me I would go out with him in two weeks when I was available. He did because he was going out of town on business and he wanted to go out with me.
    The morning he got back was a Wednesday and we had a date that Friday. He texted me from the airport his itinerary and called me and said ” I can’t wait until Friday, can you please come to dinner with me tonight?”
    I said yes, went to his house for dinner and never left. He told me that I was the one for him and told me that he texted the other women that he’d been seeing for over a year and told them that he couldn’t see them anymore because he found the woman that he wanted to be with for the rest of his life.
    That was one year ago! He is amazing in every way! He still can’t wait to see me every night and morning! The sex is amazing, it’s like no sex I’ve ever had before (sexstacy/ euphoric)!
    We fit in every way connect like nothing I’ve ever experienced! I feel like I’ve known him forever and came back to earth just to be with him.
    I wasn’t sure about soulmates before but, I feel like this man is definitely mine!!!
    The other thing is that when a man has decided on you as his life mate, he introduces you to all his family and friends. He started introducing me to everyone he knows within a few days.
    Declaring me as his life partner the woman he has waited his whole life to be with.
    Our families love each other too! His mother met me a month after we met and she told me in one day, ” I love you! Welcome to the family!”

    I’m living the dream and you can too! Don’t settle for less than what you deserve!!!
    If the man doesn’t see who you are and love everything you are, move on and find the man that will!!! He’s out there you just haven’t found him yet, keep looking!
    Deb

    1. 69.1
      starthrower68

      Deb, I think it’s great you found love and happiness so quickly but I think your situation might fall under the exception and not the rule.  

  10. 70
    scontati

    These girls prevail through their conventional good looks, dusky complexion, flowing tresses and hourglass bearings.
    There is a rating system in place and you can check to see who visited your page and what they rated you.
    When you are looking to learn a new skill, what is one of the most effective learning methodologies.

  11. 71
    Leah

    Wow..so many women unhappy in themselves. .so will never be happy with any man. It’s NOT up to a man to make us happy. They are not responsible for our happiness,  or unhappiness.  We are. What is wrong with putting effort into ourselves before any man? I feel sorry for a lot of guys..some women really do play the weak woman role very well. Don’t give any one person responsibility for your happiness,  unless it’s yourself . The lady widowed for 18 months then straight into going on vacations etc with a new guy…but upset because he wont marry her? Wow. Way too much..Stand on your own two feet. Every human should take a sabbatical from expecting anything from one person for at least 3 years,  preferably 5. Then you’ll have to develop yourself.  Searching for completeness with one other human being is fairy tale stuff. . I  true strength and independence for you all..it rocks.Work on those qualities…not how and when you can get some sap down the fairy tale aisle. I’m a childfree, totally independent, in all ways, woman who despairs at how needy so many are..it’s like being single is the worst thing imagineable….when freedom is rejuvenating. Leaen to embrace total freedom. ..not fear it.

    1. 71.1
      SparklingEmerald

      Leah – If you are so anti-relationship, why are you on this blog ?

      1. 71.1.1
        RustyLH

        I didn’t see it as anti-relationship. I read it as repeating the age old line of thought that you first have to make yourself happy, have to learn to be happy on your own before you can find a good healthy relationship. And, a person who is already happy, without somebody, will be less likely to fall for a scam, put up with truly bad behavior, etc… Of course there can be a bad side to that also, especially for a man. Here’s a real life example.

        I was on a Christian dating site called Adventist Singles Connection, and this women wrote in her introduction essay something like this. She stated that she was a very happy person, and didn’t need a man in her life. She was capable of getting along without a man, but had come to the point that she would like to have a man in her life. She explained that her niece questioned her getting into a relationship, saying, “You are so good on your own, and I don’t want to see a man mess that up.” She then said that she replied, “Well, I am hoping to find a man to mess that up in a good way.”

        OK, now I am sure she put a lot of thought into that and thought it was a great way to show that she was not going to drag a man down and suck the life out of him. But look at it from a man’s point of view. Her family sees her as happy and having it all together. Now enter a man. Often, women can be very emotional, and a mess with a man they really really like. Will the new man be blamed for messing her up? Also, there is bound to be some friction. She will make him mad sometimes, and he will make her mad sometimes. So every time she is mad, will her family see him as a problem? See, women do that thing very often where they vent about their man, and then after doing so, they are good and go back home and lead a happy loving life…until the next time he makes her mad, and she goes and looks for a friendly ear to vent to. But those ears they vent to eventually see a pattern. They don’t realize that it is the sick payoff Dr. Phil describes. She may very well be indulging in the nurturing of her friends by bad mouthing her man. But they become enemies of the relationship. But look, we can already see that the family is already biased against the man. They see her as happy and having it all together. Maybe she is for the most part, but maybe she would trade a lot of that in for the emotional roller coaster that a relationship with a man will give her. She may in fact be the one who makes it a roller coaster. He may be the type that hates drama. But she was bored in her dull happiness and wants excitement, and makes that excitement happen with her drama. And of course the man will be the bad guy. I’m sure she was confused when I told her that her essay would make any sane man run from her. Maybe this is also why men like to “rescue” women. If she isn’t happy, if she isn’t doing well on her own…her family and friends will welcome him. Maybe that is his thinking.

      2. 71.1.2
        SparklingEmerald

        Actually, besides the whole tone of her post led me to believe she is anti-r’ship, especially the part about taking a break for at least 3 years and up to 5 years.
        For women who desire children, telling them to boycott men for 5 years is bad advice. 
        There was a time when wanting to be married was considered a normal desire and even a typical adult milestone, much like getting that first job, graduating college, learning to drive, etc.
        Now some people ask as if it is a freakish thing to want, and that it has to be justified.
        Also, this is a blog specifically devoted to dating, relationships and trying to find the one.  So that’s what we talk about.  Criticizing someone for talking about their desire for a relationship on a blog specifically for that purpose is like going to a recipe swap blog and criticizing everyone there they are obsessed with food.
         

    2. 71.2
      RustyLh

      That is a very rare attitude, but a very healthy one. It that is combined with the ability to be very feminine, it would be the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen. Also, there is the danger of being so self reliant, so independent, that you really can’t function in a relationship. I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Not being too needy, and not being too independent. I think most mentally healthy women want the same thing in a man. Not too needy and not too independent. But I agree that you have to first come from a place where you are happy with yourself. It is OK to need another person. I think most men want to be needed. But at the same time, they don’t want to be held totally responsible for your happiness. That’s a lot of responsibility, and a man would almost always fail at this job. If a man puts that on a woman, she too would fail. You can share happiness together. You can do things that will make the other person happy, but you can’t be responsible for the other person’s happiness.

    3. 71.3
      tamara

      @Sparkling Emerald: I don’t get the sense that Leah’s anti-relationship actually.
       
      @Leah: I can sympathise so so much with your post. I know this is a dating blog and pple here are interested in dating, but one shouldn’t be sacrificing self-respect in the pursuit of a rship. On the other hand, I can see why S.E. thinks all this sounds a little ‘anti-rship’.
       
      “Every human should take a sabbatical from expecting anything from one person for at least 3 years,  preferably 5. Then you’ll have to develop yourself.” I did this for yearrrs. I still recall a conversation with a male friend when i was 15, can’t remember the context. I said “I don’t care about love, I only want to be beautiful, intelligent and successful”, (I’d just read Great Expectations, and Estella was my new role model haha) and he said “Well for a 15 year old, u’re already all 3″ and I was happy. I didn’t much care that my parents didn’t let me date, I felt confident and that’s what mattered. But then, fast forward a decade, & sometimes I feel it’s not enough. Maybe u think so too sometimes, which is why u’re reading this blog? If u’re too independent and give up on rships v fast, u may look back one day and think “If only I’d appreciated him more, he was wonderful to me” which is a v painful emotion.
       
      Like u, i get really annoyed by those pple who absolutely need a partner all the time. I had a gf whose voice turned cool when she realised I didn’t have a bf at the time, she was obviously thinking “how strange”. But I think somewhere between those pple, and u or i, lies the ideal, the golden mean that Aristotle talked about, haha. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on developing urself rather than depending on a rship to complete u, the problem is that self-devt is a neverending process. Heard of women who keep putting stuff off till they lose 20 pounds? It can take 2 yrs for some pple to lose 20 pounds, and in the meantime the rest of their life is almost suspended. I’d say women like us may be better off telling ourselves to compromise–u can work on ur self-development while dating even though u’re not ‘perfect’ yet, u can have lots of freedom but give up some of that to be with someone else. There Are great guys around who are happy to give their partners space, to give them the support they need to develop their potential; u don’t have to date a guy who wants to smother and control u.

  12. 72
    Deborah

    I recently was contacted my an old boyfriend I dated when I was in college back in 1977, who had been looking for me for over 35 years, and even came looking for me when I was stationed in the Navy in 1982, but I had already been transferred back state-side to another duty station.  I had already gotten married, and stayed married for 33 years until recently when my husband walked out in September 2013.
    Now that this guy from college and I have been talking, over the phone and emails,  I found out that he never married, but did support his daughter and her mother financially while she was growing up, My concern is : should I even consider dating a guy who has never committed to any woman at all, but probably will never since he is almost 57 years old, like me? I find this to be a red-flag, because I did commit to my husband for 33 years, and although I am not looking to marry anytime soon, or maybe never again, I might want to be in a relationship with a man one day, and feel that he isn’t “bed-hopping” or non-committal at all. 
     
     
     

  13. 73
    Darlene

    I do accept as true with all the ideas you’ve introduced on your post.
    They are very convincing and will certainly work.
    Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for novices.
    Could you please extend them a little from next time?
    Thanks for the post.

    Feel free to visit my web page: bing.com; Darlene,

  14. 74
    Jen

    Is it just me or does Evan Mark Katz’ advice always sound harsh?  In every article I read, he employs the same criticism.  I know that he does not sugarcoat his advice, but I don’t think this is always the most effective method of giving suggestions.  Every article he writes follows the same format: Woman writes to him with a broken heart, then Katz tells the woman to wake up and smell the roses because the guy is just using her.  He then goes on to remind his readers that he should know, since he was the one breaking women’s hearts, until he finally decided to commit to his now-wife.  I don’t know if this is comforting.  Why doesn’t he ever tell us about some of the times where he was the one hurt so that he can empathize with the reader, and so that the reader can empathize with him?  

    1. 74.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Thanks for your criticism, Jen. It’s valuable, because if you’re tuning me out, then I should be aware of the reasons why. However, I’m not positive that I’m going to give you what you’re looking for. Think about it. Woman is blinded by chemistry for a man. She sleeps with him, he is distant, he breaks up with her, makes up with her, tells her he loves her, but never wants to get married, etc, etc.

      Your advice to me: tell a story about how I was in that same position in order to have you empathize with me.

      a) You’re pretty much admitting that this would just be a form of manipulation, designed to garner empathy, regardless of whether it’s true. Because you know the real advice is always
      b) Wake up and smell the roses. You’re wasting your time on a dead-end man because of fear or insecurity.

      To be fair, I have been weak and insecure before – mostly in my late 20’s/early 30’s. I’ve written about my relationship mistakes extensively, as any longtime reader knows. But really, how many times do I have to tell the same story in order to garner empathy. The truth is that, for the most part, I’m a confident guy who tries to get women to approach dating from a place of confidence. Most of my dating experience was spent breaking hearts. I had my heart broken about 4-5 times – but none of them were with “non committal” women like this blog post. They were just normal breakups; women that didn’t love me as much as I loved them. I just don’t see the point of having to take the long route in every blog post, when the short route (dump him!) seems to do the trick.

      So what is your suggestion for me, Jen? Tell the same handful of stories to garner empathy? Make new ones up? Overplay my lack of confidence – as if I spent years of my life on women who treated me like crap. Unfortunately, none of that is true. Not because I’m “better,” but because, for the most part, I had a low tolerance for bullshit – and because the women who had a low tolerance for me didn’t stick around for years and years like some of these men seem to.

      Long story short: I understand your point. I’m just not sure how to ably address it.

  15. 75
    Abril

    Thanks for everything really, it helped me a lot. 

  16. 76
    nicole

    You mentioned, “You were that guy.” What made you change? Because it is one of the worse feelings in the world to think so much of someone only to come to the realization that you just do not cut it. You are not good enough for him to make a committment. This is how I feel. You are not enough.

    1. 76.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      So is it that way when you don’t like a guy enough to marry him? Is he “not enough”?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>