How EXACTLY Do I Break Up With A Non-Committal Man?

How EXACTLY Do I Break Up With A Non-Committal Man?


I have read your advice on non-committal men. I have done everything wrong. Sleep with him when he wants, clear my schedule for him, revolve my life around a guy who doesn’t do that for me, but he “doesn’t want to lose me”, etc.

I know your advice is: “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?”

My question is, what is the right way to walk away? Do I have a “talk” with him? I feel like having a break-up talk is close to the same as giving him an ultimatum. Do I just go away? What exactly is “walking away?” What would be most effective with men?


Dear Eileen,

I must admit, I’m always surprised when advice that I think is straightforward ends up being confusing for a reader.

Obviously, that only means one thing: I’m not nearly as good at explaining myself as I thought I was.

So thank you for reminding me to dig deeper, to straighten out the subtle nuances of the concept of walking away.

He is going to be a great boyfriend and husband for someone. Just not for you.

Let’s paint a scenario that should look familiar to most women.

You’re seeing a guy for the past three months. And by “seeing” him, I mean that you’ve been sleeping with him approximately once a week since the night you met. (If you’re not doing this, the story STILL holds, so please, stick with me.) You like this guy. You like this guy a lot. He’s charming, cute, smart, kind and charismatic. He is going to be a great boyfriend and husband for someone. Just not for you.

And you know this already because if he wanted to be your boyfriend, he’d already be your boyfriend. The fact that he sees you once a week, doesn’t hang out with you platonically, hasn’t introduced you to his family, hasn’t talked about a future, and only communicates by text tells you everything you need to know. This is a dead end.

Now let’s bring this back to you.

I tell you to walk away. What does that mean? Well, let’s start with what it doesn’t mean.

Walking away is not saying, “Jim, so where is this relationship going?” or “Can we talk about ‘us’?” or “How come I don’t hear from you during the week?” or “Am I your girlfriend or not?”

Those are all weak attempts to negotiate with him.

This is not a negotiation. This is a declaration.

Because you already HAVE the answers.

He doesn’t call you during the week because he doesn’t WANT to.

This relationship is going NOWHERE.

There IS no ‘us’.

He doesn’t call you during the week because he doesn’t WANT to.

You are NOT his girlfriend.

This is all obvious to everyone but you (and maybe your equally dreamy and romantic girlfriends).

All you have to say to the noncommittal man — and I’m sure I’ve written this down somewhere before — is this:

“It’s been fun hanging out with you for these past few months, but I’m not looking for a once a week fuck buddy. I’m looking for a boyfriend who is open to a long-term relationship with me. And since, apparently, it’s not you, I’m going to have to say goodbye. No hard feelings. Best of luck in your search. Please don’t call me anymore.”


Why should you take such a strong stand?

Because what’s the alternative? Keep doing this weak-ass guessing game, hoping that he’s going to step up and fall in love with you? Go ahead, give it a shot.

But first, show me a bunch of happily married couples who were fuck buddies for a full three months before becoming exclusive. Fact is: people tend to become exclusive FAST — often within days, but generally not much longer than 6-8 weeks.

If you’re not settled with a guy by then, he’s ambivalent, he’s using you, and there’s no one else to blame but you.

And if, by some miniscule chance, you cut off the guy who really wanted to be your boyfriend (even though he gave NO indication of it beforehand), guess what? He will let you know. And beg you to reconsider. And you can change your mind. And live happily ever after.

Except you know and I know that this isn’t what’s gonna happen.

You’re going to give your little speech. He’s going to look at you with a half-smirk, half-frown on his face. And he’s going to say to you when you’re done:

“You’re right. You deserve more than I can give to you. I respect that. It’s been fun. And if you’re ever lonely one night and want to hook up, please let me know.”

And then he’ll hug you goodbye and you will move on your life, instead of wasting months and years on men who have no desire to commit to you.

You just need the courage to tell these players to piss off.

Find it and you’ll be all set.

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  1. 1

    Great advice, Evan!   This post needs to be bound in hardcover and given to every woman on her 16th birthday.

    1. 1.1

      I absolutely agree with you… this is very good advice.

      1. 1.1.1

        I agreed as well. Excellent advice Evan! 🙂

        1. ana

          Best advice! Please any woman in this situation DO NOT be afraid to walk away. There are so many men that want to commit why settle for less than you deserve.

      2. 1.1.2

        I did this and it’s exactly what happen….except he’s been orbiting my social media then we started talking again and sleeping together again. And off again and on again and now one year later I am back to square 1. I told him I cannot do this anymore all of this makes no sense. And guess what no he isn’t doing anything about it… very sad but I regret that I haven’t move on the first time.

    2. 1.2

      That is funny as hell, but…Oh So True!!

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you Evan!

  2. 2

    Evan, it seems like Eileen was asking about more long-term thing, not a three-month old relationship. At least, that was my feeling about her letter.
    So, the question might be: how exactly to break-up with a boyfriend of two (three, four etc) years, who is exclusive with her, introduced her to family, spending holidays and vacations with her, carrying about her, but — it is the maximum step he goes up to. He doesn’t want to marry, because he is perfectly fine and comfortable with how he has her in his life for now.

    1. 2.1
      Frank Daley

      The reply is essentially the same except you take responsibility for the delay. If his behavior has lasted this long, what took so you long to recognize it and act on that knowledge? There are mitigating circumstances in different cases but it’s basically the same response. “Good-bye.”

      1. 2.1.1
        Marcelle Maksoud

        The person that tags you along and manipulates a persons feelings and knows it is wrong. People need to be   honest in the beginning and there is no hard feelings. Dragging it on and Game playing is selfish and society unfortunately has become selfish so everyone needs to look out for their own personal intrests till one day you meet someone different that all those insercure feeling that person made you feel wash away. Thats when you realise your worthy of love because they also put the effort in as much as you. Its not a one way street. Unfortunatly some people treat others like it is.

        1. Ninah

          Some folks are afraid to cut things off because they’re afraid of reprisals or changing the status quo I’ve had several men I cut of relationships with. They wanted me back – BUT on the exact same terms we had before! What? So make sure if you decide to take back your lover, that they’re not just going to do the same thing.

      2. 2.1.2
        In Hiding

        No, the woman is not obligated to admit any fault here. It is what it is.

    2. 2.2

      Seems you’d just replace some of the phrases in Evan’s break-up-with-fuck-buddy script: “It’s been fun being with you for these past years, but I’m not looking for a permanent boyfriend. I’m looking for a man who who intends to marry me. And since, apparently, it’s not you, I’m going to have to say goodbye. No hard feelings. I’ll pick up my stuff on Tuesday. Please don’t call me anymore.”

  3. 3

    watch out. The uncommitted cant commit to being with you and can’t commit to being without you. he or indeed she may very well return after the break up. Be keen for a while, then blow hot and cold. You   break up. You get back together. Ad nauseum.
    so don’t just walk, run.
    You may feel he or she is the exception. In which case I wish you a strong heart and the very best of luck.

    1. 3.1

      this is soo true!! Take it from a 5 yes FIVE year non committal relationship.. He is a “weekend warrior ” in his own words… Only see him fri to sun.. Monday if I’m lucky.. I only live 2 miles from him but never see him during the week… We broke up twice… He felt like it was getting too   close for comfort… But from day one he missed me and wanted me back.. This time it’s my choice and I can walk away knowing yes he will miss me , but you know what…. It’s not always about him!!!!   It has been for the last 5 years!!

      1. 3.1.1

        That sound like my boyfrind i been wth fr 5 years i feel like hes weekend lover but findin it hard to walk away i duno hw to i feel weak wth out him

    2. 3.2

      Advice  head  on!  and I  hate  that  am  dating  an  emotionally  unavailable  man  whom I  dumped  and  he  begged  me  to  reunite-  with  no  promise  of  commitment. I  accepted  him  back,  been  lonely  for  six  years  plus, I  play  him  as  he  plays  me. I  know I  will  get  burnt  at  the  end-  he  will  finally  leave  when  he  finds  the  right  woman! I  don’t  mind.  no  hard  feelings.

    3. 3.3

      Omg, I’m going through that right now and I don’t wish it on any body. He won’t commit, is hiding things, says he wants to commit but doesn’t. Now his mother is sick & I will feel bad if I leave the relationship now. Heartbreaking and I wish I had the leave him right now because its making me miserable. I know the game deep.down but I want us to be the exception but I want it to.happen right now. How can this happen to me.


      1. 3.3.1

        Leave. mines used his moms death to pure he in because my moms sick. we started seeing each other but made it official in July. I found out he was cheating instead of look for a job. so I know the timing is bad but if you don’t leave your gonna be bitter and this illusion of it working is 50/50 just a matter of time

    4. 3.4

      Omg, I’m going through that right now and I don’t wish it on any body. He won’t commit, is hiding things, says he wants to commit but doesn’t. Now his mother is sick & I will feel bad if I leave the relationship now. Heartbreaking and I wish I had the leave him right now because its making me miserable. I know the game deep.down but I want us to be the exception but I want it to.happen right now. How can this happen to me.


      1. 3.4.1
        Virginia Sipp

        Same .

        Listen to Learning the Game. Remember how you feel around people you love and who truly love you back!

  4. 4

    Aaaahhhh Evan this is so good! Love it! Especially the “Tada!”

    People are not confused because they do not understand your advice or how to put it into practice. They do. It’s very, very, very clear. They simply hope for another way, some miracle method that would allow them to avoid having to develop the inner strength to follow through. And of course in many cases some miracle speech that would turn their glorified booty call status into the real deal.

    Never had to deal with this issue at the early stage since I do not do multiple/casual/whatever dating. But 15 months into my relationship with the amazing boyfriend, I’m getting dangerously close to the next sensitive stage…

    1. 4.1

      I actually disagree, there can be some confusion in the “how” of walking away.

      I like that this advice defines that walking away isn’t a negotiation, but it also isn’t a passive aggressive “stop returning calls” game.

  5. 5

    I think the problem for many women is that the situation is not as clear-cut as the one you describe. For example, the guy will spend some time hanging out platonically, or he will call during the week, won’t expect sex right away, will even be exclusive, and/or will talk about future plans. When I’ve been in this situation, invariably the men didn’t want to break up, or had very ambivalent feelings about it and I’ve never had a man agree easily, or tell me I deserved better. etc. That’s not to say that women shouldn’t be firm about what they want, but that men can be   very ambivalent about what they want, and it can be extremely confusing.

    1. 5.1
      Frank Daley

      Both men and women can be confused but his confusion doesn’t automatically make a demand on you to accept it. Move on.m   If he returns with less confusion, good, if not, even better.  

    2. 5.2

      Very true and many of these men will be the perfect partner as soon as you pull away and give you everything you want for a few weeks and as soon as they hook you disappear again.   Many are narcissists or borderline personality.   But after this happens a few times you know.   It’s understandable to fall for it a few times but beyond that you are just going to keep getting hurt.

    3. 5.3

      It is true, people get confused, they would have to make a decision within a reasonable span of time though. Same goes for men or women. Who decides what is reasonable? Both parties. So you have just as much right to leave if your needs aren’t met.

      The why buy a cow when you can have the milk is true in many instances. Calling someome gf, talk of marriage can be a temporary promise until they find someone else. It’s a risk for both parties but it’s a risk you are comfortable with. Lesson learned for me.

    4. 5.4
      Karla Payne

      I agree, Ruby. The guy I was seeing hung out with me anywhere from 3-5 days a week. Took me on nice dates, calls and texts, is affectionate etc. We hang out with his friends and I’ve met his kids. It isnt always so cut and dry. It gets even more confusing when he says ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you.’ For me, I’ve realized that while he is a lot of fun and the chemistry is great, I want more. Evan is right…This isn’t a negotiation. If he wanted to let the relationship go deeper it would have already happened.   Hard truth is I’m wasting my time and that’s on me. It comes down to a sense of settling and there’s no reason why I have to settle for anything less than what i deserve.


    5. 5.5

      yes, exactly

  6. 6

    Evan I love your no-nonsense advice and agree completely.
    I also like that you so clearly pointed out a way to say goodbye but not be a b*tch about it…there really can be no hard feelings in these situations if the woman takes a stand to genuinely & authentically value herself.

  7. 7

    I finally took this advice. Doing so allowed me to give myself the best gift: my self-respect. Evan, you feel like a friend giving me common sense reminders. Genuinely practicing consistency in my life has unleashed new energy as I remove energy zapping *anything* from my life. You rock!

    1. 7.1

      I’ve taken the advice and got kudos from my family for having some pride.   
      It’s been 7 weeks of sleeping with my self-respect and pride.   I’m just cranky & I miss the sex, companionship & going out.   Yes I’ve got an active life with hobbies, friends etc… But at night when it’s quiet and I’m alone in my empty bed I just want to cry.   Because doing the right thing is hard and lonely and the benefits don’t always come quickly…. But I really believe they will come and I will find my way to being happy and fulfilled while I am a party of one. Maybe week 8 will be great… Till then I’ll be at the gym, playing and hanging with friends and working on that promotion.   I’ve got lots of things to contribute to my family & community.

      1. 7.1.1

        I’m sorry you’re going through that, I have been there before. In fact I experienced this feeling in my 20’s when dating different guys but not after my 13 year marriage ended, lol.
        One thing that always helped me feel better about myself and being alone is doing as MUCH as you can to make yourself look gorgeous. Especially physically fit. When you are in great shape, not only do those workouts provide you with mood boosting endorphins, but when you feel stronger it resonates to your mind as well. You also stand taller with more confidence. And in addition, a total boot camp on your diet, what I call “beauty foods”. Lots of raw fruits and vegetables, especially green stuff, and plenty of water. Your skin will glow and you’ll look younger. Pretty soon you’re walking around thinking to yourself “I’m the hottest chick on the planet and any guy who can’t see that is a complete loser” and you will start to truly believe that. The real magic happens when guys start flocking in your direction because they cannot resist that confidence. 45 and divorced and have dated many guys in their 20’s and 30’s because of this.
        Let that fool who didn’t appreciate you be the motivation for a whole new you, one who is light years too good for him 🙂

        1. Hilary

          Best comment ever. 🙂

        2. sade

          I needed to read this!

        3. Mila

          Superb advice. Look ur gorgeous best and feel confident and good from within.

        4. kat063

          I also needed to hear this! Thx.

    2. 7.2

      Deannie – you are so spot about the loss of self respect when you work out that this charming man wants nothing more than a drop in fuck buddy at 3am in the morning. This had been someone I had been close friends with years ago, so it really hurt to meet up with him 10 years later and find he just wanted to put me on his fuck buddy list and   nothing more. Boy does it hurt, and boy it felt so much better when I just unfriended him and walked away.

  8. 8

    Great advice Evan!
    I am in a different but similar situation.
    I have been dating my girlfriend for 6 months. Things been going very well until two months ago. She joined a multi-level marketing company selling fashion jewelry. Since then she has submerged herself completely into “owning my home based business” and “making a 7-figure profit” endeavors. She has become unavailable most of the time and I am now just an after-thought.
    So far she is hardly making any profit and her prospects are drying up (one can only trade her social graces for money to her friends and family for so long). One part of me is saying that give her some time and she will eventually come back to reality, but then if one could commit to the lure of a pyramid scheme and toss aside a relationship, she is probably not the right person with whom to pursue a long term relationship.

    1. 8.1

      You are a guy. I am a guy. Married with kids. From my experience, such a lady is a great one to keep. She is testing the world based on what she has been told. That she can aspire and conquer the world. She will come back to you to see that you are a great guy and one that is dependable. Sher attitude stem from the the desire of men who have failed her in the past. Maybe, her father or any male who should provide for her. She is going through a test. Do more research about strong independent women and learn how to handle her.

  9. 9

    Thank you For this article, IT came at there right time. although I manage to cut IT off without hesistation but then later thought Hmmm was I wrong? was it too early ? But as I kept reading and stated if he really wanted to be your boyfriend he would byou for you to change your mind thats when I said yup I did the right thing. He didnt beg but he did ask if I was sure we couldnt stay friends, that was enough For me then later saw him chatting away on Instagram with a girl from Brazil saying the the same things he told me,so I knew then I was nothing special to him. I did The right thing I saved myself alot of heartache and wasted time.
    honestly, deep inside you already know The answer We just have too much hope.
    I learned there is so many guys out there who amazing and a better match why teta and convince someone your worth it. Thanks Evan!!!

  10. 10
    Jackie Holness

    The “slow diss” (a phrase that I’ve coined) always work…stop calling over time…he will get the message…as if he cared anyway:)

    1. 10.1

      This is the same as ghosting. Just say what Marc said and be done. Don’t do the same thing he does.

  11. 11

    @Marymary #3, I agree that happens too,   it’s like they want to have their cake and eat too. They don’t always respect your wishes either when you tell them not to call and might still contact you.  So if he tries to come back, don’t assume anything unless he asks flat out for a relationship. Don’t think anything else is a “sign”. If it’s a situation where your feelings have faded and you want to be platonic acquaintances while seeking real romance, okay,   but in other cases, continue running. lol  

    1. 11.1

      Thanks for this!

  12. 12

    @Ruby #5: “…men can be   very ambivalent about what they want, and it can be extremely confusing.”
    Yep! Most men looooove a good status quo! A bit more than booty, a bit less then wife… just the perfect balance of ongoing benefits without too much expectations and responsabilities…
    When it’s confusing or simply stops progressing, I put a deadline on it. Keeps me in touch with my goals and detached from any outcome, and prevents me to slide into a dead-end LTR where I convince myself that “he just needs time” before considering an upgrade. Most men do not “need more time”, they just like it as it is and have no desire of progressing into more commitment. The ones who really need more time say so, use it efficiently, and then move the relationship forwards without prompting when they are ready. It does not take years.
    In dead-end LTR cases, before walking away, it would be more effective to have a conversation about needs and intentions to allow further clarification. Sometimes he really needs to figure a couple of things out (about you or about other life stuff), or work through some fears, before progressing to the next step. Most of the time he does not though, and has no desire of breaking the status quo. That’s why he will not offer more, but will also refuse to let you go.
    Nothing beats clear communication involving asking curiosity-based questions about his needs and intentions, and encouraging progression towards resolution of doubts and fears within a reasonnable time frame. That’s what I’m doing with the boyfriend and it’s working well. He really needs the guidance and encouragement. We would not be where we are at if I had not taken that matter into my own hands. He is grateful I have.

    1. 12.1

      Well-said, my sentiments exactly. We get taken in by their words when their actions fall short. They are more than happy to keep to status quo, they are getting what they want. Good for women to balance it up by getting what she wants as well.

  13. 13

    I love the straight to the point talk. I have given this talk about 3x this year.
    He keeps coming back but does not step up.
    This articled has described every action going on from being used, to not meeting family members, to everyone knowing we are not going to be together but me.
    Not that that isnt embarrassing enough, I have let this go on since the beginning of the year, so we passed the three month mark.  
    It is true when they say seek and you shall find. Ask and you will receive.
    Not that I did not ALREADY know, like common sense, sometimes we just do not apply the common sense.


  14. 14

    Maybe I was too harsh; I didn’t even bother having a chat.   I just disappeared.   But I don’t think it mattered at that point.   I had already been phased out so there was no reason to have the chat.   He was ignoring me anyway.

  15. 15

    she said that he said that “he didn’t want to lose her”. so when evan said that if he does try to talk her into staying ….. , well, i’d have to say that it’s not because he wants a relationship with her. he just doesn’t want to lose his “sure thing” until someone new/better comes along. and he may sound convincing when he’s begging her not to walk away, because if  she really  likes him, some women don’t need much to stay holding onto a painful situation. this is where she has to keep her eye squarely on past actions and not present  words.

  16. 16

    Amen, EMK!

    I followed this advice this past spring and cut loose a guy who wouldn’t commit.   Low and behold, he has come back again twice, but he couldn’t give me what I needed and really wouldn’t acknowledge that he was unavailable.   I had grieved the relationship (what I had invested in it) after I let him go (and saw how he responded), so when he came back I wasn’t vulnerable to him.

    I am tremendously grateful for this straightforward advice and encourage anyone who is floundering with someone whom you know in your heart doesn’t care, to free yourself so you can be with someone who truly likes and cares about you.   It’s worked for me.

    1. 16.1
      Frank Daley

      It will work for everybody.

  17. 17

    This is such timely and amazing advice – I’ve been in a similar situation since July and finally, I took EMK’s advice and just walked away gracefully.   No talk, no nothing.   We have mutual close friends so we stay in touch but it is firmly platonic now and after few weeks of mild sadness, I’m doing just fine.     But it was HARD to take that step because I really, really, liked him.

    Now, I’ve been out three times with a guy who calls on Monday for a date on Saturday, texts and emails me throughout the week and have a few more dates lined up in between.     It’s kind of amazing – if men like you and want to hang out with you, they are very, very obvious about it.     That is the single most valuable piece of information I have ever been given in my dating life.  

    EMK, your advice rocks.

  18. 18

    FANTASTIC!   Evan, I have enjoyed your blogs so much over these past couple of years.   They have helped me, over and over again.   This one will be flagged amongst them all.   You couldn’t have hit it more dead on and been any clearer.   We have to remember, we get what we accept.   Thank you!

  19. 19

    I have read Evan religiously since my divorce a little over a year ago. I have dated constantly and followed everything EMK has said. I got very good at recognizing the signs of guys who were not ever going to commit. I walked away from several guys, and not one came back. If they are not ready, they are not ready. I have now been dating a guy for the past month, and it is like night and day. When they like you and want to be with you, they make sure you know it. Keep telling yourself what you want, and it will come to you if you are ready.

  20. 20

    I wonder though….it’s hard sometimes if its not so cut and dry. I’ve been exclusive with a man for almost a year, have daily contact with him and see him almost everyday and all weekend, yet he doesn’t call me his girlfriend, but if we dated others it would be cheating, so what happens in that situation? We spent the holidays together lat year and this year he is p,awning to visit my family back east for Christmas with me….so is he afraid to commit? Wen essentially he is committed.

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