How Much Time You Should Give a Guy to Commit Before You Quit

guy looking at his girlfriend

I received this email the other day from a woman who read Why He Disappeared.

I found it 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. And her frustration is what spurred me to write today’s post.

I think your 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 relationship and yet in the book you mention 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 something serious. 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 one isn’t making much of an effort? For some people the 4 weeks turns 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 it because you’ve been the “nice”, undemanding girl the whole time.


My first inclination was to defend myself.

After all, I understand what I’m talking about!

But if Tanya is finding this grey area 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, shall we?

You don’t win this war by waiting him out and hoping he falls for you after four months or six months or one year of casual sex.

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 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 that didn’t leave her at all satisfied.

Like Tanya — and my wife – she was trying to be the cool girl, but she took it too far.

She needed me to set her straight and show her what her guy was actually thinking.

So why does a man only call or text you once a week to make plans?

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:

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 of the relationship…

That’s EXACTLY the relationship that HE wants!

Low-intensity. Low-pressure. Low commitment. Low drama.

He wins. You lose.

He’s content. You’re not.

You don’t win this war by 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.

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.

Application of this made-up “rule” is surprisingly simple.

When you start dating, Don’t Do Anything. He calls, he texts, he emails – you just “mirror” his efforts 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 other people 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 the next 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.

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.

So don’t worry about how much you like him, how strong your feelings are, or anything like that.

Just 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.

So give a guy 6-8 weeks to figure out his feelings, if necessary. And if you don’t get the sense that the relationship is growing, 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 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.

Join our conversation (126 Comments).
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  1. 1

    Simple, concise and impactful article!!!! Love the advice to mirror!!

  2. 2

    My personal take on wasting time: I was in a relationship with a guy for 14 years and he never proposed. I kept waiting and hoping and being understanding until one bright day I woke up! I realized we both needed someone different but neither of us had the courage to act on it.
    After we broke up, he moved in with a new girl  six months later, and proposed to her after 18 months. She was the right girl for him at the right time and he knew it. He locked her in.

    1. 2.1

      That’s so sad. I have been talking to this guy for 3 years and he still won’t commit and I ‘m not even asking for a ring! I have tried to break it off many times and then he will contact me a month later and we would go through the whole cycle again. This article made me realize he just doesn’t want to! I guess I knew that deep down but it’s starting to break through now.

      1. 2.1.1

        I’ve been doing the same thing for a year and a half. I went from the 6 days a week girl to the once a week to the once a month. And I finally cut it off. Said commit or cut ties. He chose silence, which i said I’ll take as cut ties. He has the nerve to contact me 3 weeks later that he’ll be in my area…. No thanks buddy.

        1. Maria

          That is always an issue for me…. How can they just contact us like nothing ever happened or changed?!


      2. 2.1.2

        wow! This is EXACTLY the same am going through.

    2. 2.2

      14 years unbelievs ble i have been with mines for 8 and he refuse to commit

    3. 2.3

      14 years? What planet are you from? Naive?

      1. 2.3.1

        Thats a nasty comment and not needed. Love often blinds us.

      2. 2.3.2

        I was with someone for 25 years and then he left me. I was from the planet “Fear”

        1. Kdg

          Wow, I’m so invested alot..hope you are happy now.

    4. 2.4

      Been with the guy for 12 years. I got pregnant on our 6th year, still he didn’t propose and spend all his free time with his friends. Just go home when he wants to sleep. After 12 years I decided to move to a different house to give us a breather. Communication is still there but I’m still the one who is reaching out. He doesn’t give financial support and doesn’t visit him. We are actually the one who are visiting him, spending time and effort to see him. Until now he hasn’t proposed yet and nothing has changed. That’s life and love. Hard to move on even though the pain cuts like a knife.

      1. 2.4.1
        Karmic Equation

        What would you have a child with a man who won’t marry you?

        I don’t understand this mentality at all.

        You’re causing your own pain by “hanging in there.”

        If a guy doesn’t want to marry you, when you want to get married, please, have the dignity and exercise your self respect and dump him.

        He doesn’t want you like that. Dump him and find someone who DOES want you like that.

        1. can't stand dumb asses

          You don’t dump someone just cause they dont want to get married at the same time as you lmao. You also dont judge someone who loves differently than you. She had a kid with him. So??! Clearly you’re single too. So let women breathe without you attacking their thoughts.

        2. Di

          You nailed it!

        3. judy

          Wow Karmic – that said it.   Incidentally, there are two Judies on here.

          I think Evan said it somewhere else on the site: act like a man and he’ll treat you like one, i.e. by not seeing you as a woman.

        4. Vintage

          You asked a very smart question. Do some women not think? Or do they think a child will lock a man in and make they be better?

      2. 2.4.2

        judy thank your lucky stars he hasn’t proposed. Run fast and  far from him!

        1. Rox

          Agree! Consider yourself lucky, Judy. I wonder, what’s in him that you stayed with him? Aside from the child you have together? Another reason? Has he made you happy at all?

    5. 2.5

      That’s along time. How did you do it ?

      I recently broke up with my boyfriend of 10 years , he wasn’t ready to commit . His 28 and still wants to have fun , go party , meet girls and just have fun . Nothing serious ! I’ve been a little sad and disappointed. He calls me casually and wants to have sex and take me out . Is hard to move on

  3. 3

    Evan has nailed it again! So true and how I operate now.

    I will say, though, that my last “steady”, and I use that term loosely, played hard to get emotionally, but I went by his actions which were wanting to see me nearly every weekend- for 7 months.

    He would occasionally mutter needing being free, “dating casually” and just based on that alone I should have walked (about month three or four). But I mistakenly went by his actions, not words.

    His actions were encouraging (wanting to see me weekly pretty much), continuing to woo me by movies/dinner out, etc., his words were  alluring (promising business trips primarily or us travelling together eventually), but in the end he kept me at arm’s length emotionally. Was really rather good at it and I think had done it a lot in the 5 years he had been divorced.

    The end came when, despite his promising actions and words, he came back from Hong Kong and posted new pics of himself on okcupid. Ouch. Goodbye time finally for me.

    The kicker was I never expected commitment given our age difference and his preference for casual dating. I was just soooo tired from online dating I decided to take a break with him. Our chemistry was fantastic, I’ve been married twice before, so it just felt right.

    But the problem is I gave half my heart to him over the 7 months despite trying to hold back as much as possible. Women just bond quicker.

    Still, I’ve decided I want to be taken seriously, respected and no matter what I secretly hope for in a relationship I want the guy to WANT to be my boyfriend. We’ll sort thru the details later. It’s just more complicated when you’re in your fifties, have been married before and already have children. BTDT.

    Kudos to you Evan for spreading the word on how to respond to men. Women have been doormats, too accommodating  for too long.  The paradigm is changing folks!!! About TIME. Just in time for our granddaughters. lol

    1. 3.1

      I am going through a similar situation. The guy I just broke up with has been single for 5 yrs. He began to pursue me but then after about 2 months into it I felt he was taking me for granted. I got am apt and he doesn’t like coming here. He would rather us stay at his place( mancave).
      i feel like I am his family and close friends GF. But his FB always has new women pooping up and I am rarely on the page. When I confronted him after 3 mtn of dating. He said he does not take ultmadiums. I told him that   he could choose me or the chatting/ dating lifestyle. He wouldn’t admit that he talks to other women but he tells me no ultimadums. I am with him every weekend and hisclose couple friends say to let it go because he is the happiest he has ever been a d that they havnt seen anyone else around since me. So I broke up with him. Was I demanding a deeper commitment too soon?  

  4. 4

    Very sweet!

  5. 5

    You can wait as long as you want, it doesn’t matter. If the answer is going to be that he realizes his good luck has ended and he lets you fly free, it will be that answer in 6 weeks or 16 years – as it has been with me. Go with your gut and do it sooner than later.

  6. 6

    @Spiral – what happened to you used to be my biggest fear. How are you faring?

    I’m hoping the relationship between us has run its course and I won’t be bothered by the eventuality of him proposing to someone else.  

  7. 7

    I love posts like this, Evan: the more specific the information, the better!  
    One danger I often encounter with the online dating is how easy it is to slip into the daily email, but only seeing each other in person once in a while.   I don’t want to be some guy’s penpal!   But it can be difficult to go from establishing that original connection over the computer – often with a guy who feels more comfortable behind a laptop screen than face to face with a woman – and then have it transition to seeing each other frequently.   But your same good advice applies to this situation, too… if he can’t/ doesn’t want to step it up (from daily emails to frequent in-person interaction), it’s time to give him The Talk and cut him loose.

  8. 8

    I keep telling myself that the “right” guy isn’t coming into the picture because I’m not ready for him yet.   However, when I meet a guy that makes me feel good…I expect more. When I don’t get it I whine.   LOL…I know this about myself, so I laugh at myself.
    It is about their effort…if they aren’t putting in, then why are you hanging on?   Why not cast yourself out again and see what you get…I think most of us women make things to easy for guys…and cry and whine to our friends that he’s not giving us enough, and yet we settle for that “once a week”.
    Be honest. With yourself…and with him.   You have nothing to lose, and everything in the end to gain.

  9. 9
    Lemon Zest

    When you start dating, Don’t Do Anything. He calls, he texts, he emails — you just “mirror” his efforts and give him enthusiasm and warmth every time.”
    First let me say that I do like Evan’s “mirroring” strategy, it’s empowering and simple, and I do plan to continue with it.   However, I would like to know at what point the woman is supposed to stop mirroring and initiate contact.   I think mirroring may have backfired for me in my last “almost” relationship.   I dated this guy for only about a month, and he was doing most of the calling and texting and I consistently responded warmly and positively.   After 4 weeks of daily calls and texts and seeing him 2 or 3 times a week and every weekend, and basically acting like a potential boyfriend, he suddenly “disappeared.” Everything had been going very well, so I was stunned to receive a break-up e-mail, where he  identified this  “red flag” that made him decide he didn’t want to continue:
    It seems that you feel everything needs to come from me. I made the comment a week or so ago that I had not heard from you… Going all the way back to high school, I have never been in a relationship where I was essentially the sole originator of all communications.”
    When he says he “had not heard” from me, I’m presuming he meant that I didn’t initiate a call to him.   We had just exchanged texts the day before, so I was confused when he made that comment, since it didn’t even occur to me that he was expecting me to call him.
    I was under the impression that the mirroring continues until you know the guy is your boyfriend.   I was expecting that to happen but instead he decided to bail on me, because I wasn’t calling him and asking him out.   What kind of man would leave a woman because she gives him space to figure out what he wants.   It is disturbing that a man would use that as a reason to break up.

    1. 9.1

      It sounds to me like he’s never had to “work for it”   before.   Did you have the talk about being exclusive?   If not, I think you did everything right, he just didn’t know what to do, or too lazy (or tired) to continue putting the effort into pursuing you.

    2. 9.2

      I’m dating a guy now… He told me I never ask to see him.. It is always him that does the initiating.. I guess maybe I felt it was the man’s place to ask. But he said it is nice to hear and feel that I want to see him, as well. I don’t think it is being lazy, or lack of effort. Just like us, we want to know he wants to see us.

    3. 9.3

      Well seeing his reply, I would count my blessings.   He took the opportunity to communicate and used it……….unwisely…….or wisely…….by closing the door.   Blowed if I would even answer to his message.

      1. 9.3.1

        Mirroring… for a bit works, initially. Nice to know how interested the party is

        I dated someone for 3 months where I initiated EVERYTHING!

        I ended it for several reasons… this included… but for God sake, don’t play this mirroring game for too long.

  10. 10

    I don’t believe in this one way effort thing. Yes, ever the contrarian I guess. In my experience, it has always been the case that the dating situations that turned into relationships involved both sides doing some initiating, putting in some effort, taking the risk of rejection. In other words, we took turns mirroring to demonstrate our interest.  
    When I have done all, or most of the work in the beginning, it’s always led nowhere. Some of you might chalk that up to just meeting women who weren’t interested, and I would agree – they weren’t interested, or only mildly interested. However, it’s also the case that plenty of daters out there these days will happily go along for the ride for awhile for some casual fun. And yet if you are a man – or woman – who is always putting in the effort, it’s easy enough to be fooled by someone who says they want a relationship, but really doesn’t. Because they never have to step up and show that they are interested. Mirroring can be a sign of interest, but these days, it’s also a commonplace mask casual folks employ to keep things going longer.

  11. 11

    I’m wondering, how do you  rationalize the disconnect between not taking your wife on a proper date for 4 weeks, with the advice you’re giving Tanya?

    1. 11.1
      Trust God And Use Your Brain

      PERFECT comment, my sentiments EXACTLY. This is the danger in being led by anyone except the Holy Spirit. I googled similar topic looking for practical commentary & your comment just helped remind me that this is not the proper road. I’m good :).

      1. 11.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        You nailed it, TGAUYB. If you’re using the Holy Spirit for dating and relationship advice, you should most definitely NOT be here.

  12. 12

    I don’t think there is a disconnect at all.   For 4 weeks they were probably talking and getting to know each other better.   She was probably talking and going out on dates as well during that time.     It’s not like that they met, said “Let’s be exclusive” and THEN didn’t go on a date for 4 weeks.   They met, spent a little time getting to know each other better and during that time, they decided they thought enough of the other to go on a date~sorta how getting to know someone/dating is supposed to work.    

  13. 13

    The thing I can never figure out with the “once a week dates” (no I don’t mean booty calls) guys, or the “frequent e-mails but hardly ever want to meet up ” guys is why they bother at all?? If I was so uninterested in someone that I only wanted to see them once a week or send e-mails, it would signify that I wans’t  interested in them AT ALL – so I wouldn’t even bother with them to that extent!

    I HATE the once- a- week- date guys   – you let it go the first couple of weeks to be accommodating and resist the urge to “tell them what to do” then it horribly morphs into “its always been like this why are you getting so upset about it?”

    I was introduced to a guy about 3 weeks ago by a mutual friend who set us up on a blind date (which went well)  – but it literally took him A WEEK to even text me after the date! (By which point I’d spent 2 days  “waiting by the phone”, 2 days feeling rubbish about myself because he hadn’t called, and the rest of the week convincing myself  of all the reasons why I didn’t like him) When he DID get in touch I agreed to see him again (our mutual friend convinced me he was actually keen but a bit clueless, having been married for 20 years and his wife died 4 years ago). Second date also went well, and I did get a brief text on my way home saying “Nice goodnight kiss!”…. then nothing. Another week has gone by. I’ve decided if he does get in touch then I’m not going to see him again anyway – I can’t live like this. Valentines day all alone, not so much as a text, let alone a card, or flowers or a date.   

    Evan, your wife may have stuck this out for 4 weeks but I have to say I don’t think that’s recommendable – she was the “exception and not the rule” as they say in the film…. most of us who meet these once a week guys are doomed, they DON’T step it up all of a sudden.  

    1. 13.1

      Hi helene,  
      I’m having the same problem. I m dating this guy for 4 weeks.N yes he only texts me once a week. So i have seen him 4 times and i slept with him on every date. I’m starting to feel like i’m jut his ‘booty call’.He’s an expat living in my country. He did introduce me to his friends, tho. But sometimes i get the feeling he’s trying to prove his friends he can get local girl. He’s 10 yeats older than me . Handsome, smart, very smart, and everyone likes him, men and women. So am i just his booty call? I don’t what i should do. I like him. I like him treating me like a baby.  

      1. 13.1.1

        Yes you are his booty call.   You are not dating him. If he only texts you once a week and then you have sex…..that’s a booty call. You deserve better.

  14. 14

    @Joe, re-read the post.   That isn’t what he said at all.   He said that he saw her “casually” for the first 4 weeks.   That is not the same as saying he saw her one time in 4 weeks.   He’s just saying he didn’t proclaim his undying love and say that they were exclusive and all of that stuff.

    So no contradiction at all.   He’s saying that you can’t take it easy for someone who hasn’t taken any steps to move forward with you after you wait patiently for a reasonable amount of time.

    So he would not condone someone just dropping in on you casually for months and months.    I think that point is that you can’t pressure someone to decide in a week but a man who decides that he wants to be with you won’t take a year to figure that out.   That’s kind of why a guy who bounces or doesn’t commit to one woman will commit to another. Okay guy with the wrong lady isn’t going to go anywhere.

  15. 15

    OMIGOD I LOVE THIS! I just  HAD the 6-8 week talk TODAY, am JUST NOW  reading this, AND THE GUY’S NAME IS ADAM TOO!!!! WOW! Timely and a half! I wasn’t  completely emotionless about it, but I was clear and brief. AND I feel  EXTREMELY good about it. And you know,  Adam IS a great guy, but just not for me. I’ve been  reading this  blog for a few months now. Excellent  work Evan! Thanks!

  16. 16

    I saw my SO on average once on  weekends for the first 2-3 months.   It was fine with me.   We did take 2  great trips together  during that time and talked daily  .   I think it depends on the couple.   We are  older, been married and are  single parents and live abot 25 miles apart.      Seeing someone initially so frequently is more than I want.   I think relationships start off backwards.   As you get to know and care for a person you want to spend more time IMO

  17. 17

    @Lemon Zest, I keep track of how often a woman initiates contact with me in every dating scenario I’m in  just to kind of judge interest level. Just like how long it takes someone to return a call, email, text etc….  I can just kind of get a “feel” as guy how much a woman may or may not be into me. I can’t say I’ve ever really held it against her unless she blatantly always returns a call the next day or I ALWAYS get voicemail.
    I can’t say that if a woman never initiates contact and everything else is going perfect that I’d be happy but there’s a lot  variables  in most situations. At mine and Ellen’s age (50 and up) we have to be a little more flexible because of our options being somewhat limited than say a 32 yr.old….LOL

  18. 18

    Maybe the only reason why the guy keeps the relationship at low density, for he just like being ‘friends with benefits‘ but its never really good to try to maintain a  relationship  like this. Someone’s bond to get hurt!

    LOVE is like fire, so it is wise not to play around with it. Maybe to avoid low  density  relationships as such, it would be wise to wait sex out until marriage that is if your relationship is that serious.  

  19. 19

    Just before Thanksgiving of 2010, I went out with a guy that I met on Match.   He was great looking, the same age as me (49), smart, funny, generous, adult, fit, healthy, playful, emotionally available, nice, sexy and fun to be with.   His divorce was a little fresh (about a year) and his kids a little young (6 &10, and mine are adults), but I thought it was worth exploring. We went out only about once every couple of weeks for about four months. He didn’t call for days after our dates, and although we always had a really great time together, seemed pretty clear to me that things weren’t going any where. (Thanks to Evan for helping me to see that.)
    I continued going out on Match dates, continued going out on my own, kept busy, and didn’t invest much emotion in the relationship. Still, I wasn’t quite ready to write him off all together, and continued to see him occasionally.   In March, I took myself on an incredible two-week vacation to Costa Rica and was only able to email him once or twice.   When my return flight landed at 1:00 am, he sent me a text telling me that he was picking me up- and he did. We started going out several times a week, he called me nearly every day, and soon I realized that he thought he was my boyfriend.   THEN I took down my Match profile and stopped dating other guys.
    Its nearly a year later, and this is the happiest, healthiest and easiest relationship either of us have every had.   I feel deeply loved, honored and respected. This guy was definitely worth waiting for, but there is no way that I would kept seeing him much longer if things hadn’t changed. I think he realized that and stepped up.
    Oh, and why did he take so long to make me his girlfriend?   According to him, when we met, he had recently broken up with someone he dated for six months, he was trying to keep his business afloat by himself, he was living with a terrible roommate and needed to move, cared for his children every weekend and was generally overwhelmed.   He did eventually make room for me in his life — it took a bit more than 6 weeks, but it wasn’t 6 months, either.

    1. 19.1


      Thank you so much for sharing this. I love stories like this and learn so much from them. The moral seems to be, keep living your life, don’t get too hung up on one guy or on circumstances and let situations reveal themselves over time (but not too much time). Also, never assume anything. Fantastic advice! Best of luck to you and your valentine 🙂


      1. 19.1.1

        I’m curious if you’re still together?

    2. 19.2

      So I am curious. At what point in the relationship did you sleep with him? This is the most confusing part of dating I your 40s and 50s.

  20. 20

    @ Lemon Zest:
    It may sound odd, but (some) guys like to feel wanted too.     If we always initiate, it can feel as though a woman is just being polite, but isn’t really that interested (I see Nathan @ #10 made a similar point).     For that sort of man (and yes, I fall into that category) there is no encouragement like the occasional unprompted email, text or phone call.     If you just mirror, then it doesn’t matter how warm or positive it is, it’s not encouraging because it had to be prompted (much like how, if you ask a partner “do you love me?” then even though they say “yes” enthusiastically, it doesn’t mean very much, and certainly not as much as if they say they love you without being asked).
    Now, I like to get frequent contact with someone I am dating or hoping to date soon, so I often initiate anyway, but if it happens all the time then however interested I was to start with, it starts to dissipate.
    I think the 6-8 week guideline is pretty good, I know it tends to take me that long to feel someone out and get my head around how I feel about her.     But a part of what I’m feeling out is how much she invests in the potential relationship, including whether she’s interested in me enough to want to say stuff to me of her own accord.

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