How Long Should You Casually Date Someone and Give a Guy Time to Commit Before You Quit?
It’s no secret that people take longer to settle down these days. Gone are the days when people married their high school sweethearts. Now, the average age for marriage for women is 28, and for men, it’s 30. Similarly, the time it takes before people get engaged (as well as the amount of casual dating) has increased in recent years.
So, what is the appropriate amount of time to wait before giving your guy an ultimatum? How many years should you give a man a chance to commit before you quit?
Every romantic relationship and committed relationship is different, but there are some useful guidelines. If you’re looking for marriage and he’s not, it’s probably not going to work out, no matter how much chemistry and love you share. On the other hand, if you’re just casually dating the guy and you both have no long-term intentions with each other, then you can both have fun with a minimal amount of pain.
There’s no one right answer, as any casual relationship can potentially lead to either heartbreak or commitment. But if you’re seeing a guy and want to know not only when to figure out if you have a future but how to have the conversation, dating coach Evan Marc Katz outlines a few things to help you navigate your next steps.
I received this email the other day from a woman who read Why He Disappeared.
I found her question frustrating — but really, I was feeling frustration on HER behalf. This woman is tearing her hair out because she doesn’t know how to apply my advice on casual relationships. And her frustration is what spurred me to write today’s post.
I think your casual dating advice is contradictory. You imply that you should get rid of the guys that don’t call regularly and make it obvious that they want to date and pursue a committed relationship, and yet in your story, you mentioned that you didn’t take your wife on a proper date for the first 4 weeks and how great she was that when you did call she was nice and said yes to whatever you proposed doing…and you ended up married….which is why women put up with flaky guys and “bad behavior,” holding out hope that it will change and turn into a serious commitment. Like your relationship.
So which is it? Are you always nice when they call and say “yes” to the date? Or do you move on to the next guy because this person you’re casually dating isn’t making much of an effort and isn’t ready to commit?
For many people, the 4 weeks of friends with benefits turn into 4 months without them noticing, and by then, they’re in that pattern…, and the behavior becomes acceptable yet unfulfilling, and it’s too late to change because you’ve been the “nice,” undemanding girl the whole time.
The first time I read this, my first inclination was to defend myself.
After all, I understand what I’m talking about!
But if Tanya is finding this grey area in casual relationships to be a bit too grey, then I have to acknowledge that perhaps I can do a better job of explaining it.
So let’s take a real-life example of how to tell if he wants to commit, shall we?
Meet Janie and Her “Casual Relationship”
Janie is a client who signed up for Love U.
I like Janie a lot. She’s the type of client I’d be friends with in real life. Positive attitude. Good sense of humor. Understands men and their expectations and lets them be themselves.
Which is why I wasn’t at all surprised when she met a man only two weeks into our coaching sessions.
What DID surprise me is that, after the initial chemistry rush, Janie settled into a low-intensity pseudo-relationship even though it didn’t leave her at all satisfied.
Like Tanya — and my wife – she was trying to be the cool girl, but she took her decision too far.
She needed me to set her straight and show her what her partner was actually thinking and what a healthy, serious relationship should be.
So why does a man only call or text you once a week and not make future plans to see you?
Why is a man perfectly content only seeing you once every two weeks?
Why is a man not clamoring to reserve his weekends for you, or take you on a short vacation, or meet your friends and family?
The answer is simple:
1. He doesn’t want to!
If a man texts you once a week…
If he doesn’t make time to see you regularly…
If he expresses no interest in escalating the intensity and bringing the serious relationship forward…
That’s EXACTLY the casual relationship that HE wants!
Low-intensity. Low-pressure. Low commitment. Low drama.
He wins. You lose.
2. He’s content. You’re not.
You don’t win this war by spending time and waiting him out and hoping he falls for you after four months or six months or one year of casual sex.
You win this one by assessing his efforts and concluding that you’re wasting your time looking for something that probably isn’t there.
There’s a huge difference between giving a guy six weeks to choose you over the other women he’s dating… and being a sucker for hanging around when he isn’t ready to commit, and you’re merely (and clearly) his “once a week” girl.
So what do you do in those first few weeks when you don’t know where you stand?
There’s a huge difference between giving a guy six weeks to choose you over the other women he’s dating… and to be a sucker for hanging around when you’re merely (and clearly) his “once a week” girl.
I call it “mirroring.”
The application of this made-up “rule” is surprisingly simple.
When you start casually dating someone, Don’t Do Anything. He calls, he texts, he emails – you just “mirror” his efforts during the dating phase and give him enthusiasm and warmth every time.
If he doesn’t follow through fast enough or often enough, make a mental note: “Hmm… this probably means that he’s a) dating someone else and isn’t sure whether I’m “the one” OR b) he’s just not that into me and using me for now.”
This doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy. This means he’s a regular guy.
This is how we work.
I may have casually seen my wife for the first 4 weeks of our relationship, but I would always email at the end of the day to say I had fun. I was the one who was making the effort to see her more. She didn’t have to do anything except say yes and not judge me while I worked it all out in my head if I want something more committed or a serious relationship with someone.
So don’t worry about how much you like him, how strong your feelings are, or things like that.
Just spend time and evaluate your man on the effort he’s making for you..
You’ve had boyfriends before, right?
How did they act? Did they “see you” once a week for six months and suddenly declare their love?
Potential boyfriends act like potential boyfriends.
When You Realize It’s Not Going to Turn Into a Serious Relationship…
So give a guy 6-8 weeks to figure out if he wants to commit, if necessary. And if you don’t feel like the casual relationship is growing into a long-term, serious relationship, the talk is brief and emotionless:
“Hey Adam, it’s been fun getting to know you, but I get the sense that we’re not on the same page. I need a man who is looking for a serious relationship, and you don’t seem to be that guy. No hard feelings, but I’m going to go find that guy. Best of luck in your search. Take care of yourself.”
You’re free. And, yes, it’s that simple.
If he values you, he’ll fight for you.
But chances are he’ll know that you’re right. He’ll know he was using you. He’ll know that his string of good luck has come to an end. And he’ll let you go quite easily.
When the relationship is growing — like it was for me in 2007 — you may just have a moment like this:
One night, when we were eating Chinese food and watching TV, I turned to my future bride-to-be and said, “I think you’re my girlfriend.”
She said, with a coy smile, “I think I am.”
It was that simple.
I wanted to lock her in. I let her know.
The right guy always does.