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

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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.

Tanya

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?

NO!!!

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.

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Comments:

  1. 41
    Susan61

    ^^^Sorry, I did not mean to say ALL men, I meant to say MANY men. 😉

  2. 42
    JB

    You guys all make great points but in the world of online dating of course I know that if I like a woman so do 500 other guys. I know the barrage she’s getting on a daily if not hourly basis. It’s nearly impossible to “lock someone in” after 3 dates who has so many choices unless I’m fricken Superman.

    Even  when the miracle happens I make it to a first or second “proper date” I always assume she’s dating at least 1 or 2 other guys that are in various timelines of their progression as well as fielding her daily barrage of “new guys” etc…. so this is when I really count on the woman to give me signals.

    The last woman I went out with for a few months didn’t take her profile down but also wasn’t logging into Match everyday. She initiated emails occasionally at least and we had a kind of unspoken understanding that at least for the time being we were going to concentrate on getting to know each other. I told her truthfully “I don’t date more than one woman at a time” but that doesn’t mean she can’t. I’m a very busy man I don’t have the time nor the money to juggle women  but a woman can schedule 5 “meet & greets” in a week and it won’t cost her a cent.

    In the online world if someone isn’t making a consistent effort to see you and they’re on Match everyday. There’s your answer. For people that meet offline in real life it’s as simple as actions speak louder than words, emails, texts, and yes…..even phone calls.

  3. 43
    Still-Looking

    JB@42 – well said.

  4. 44
    Viktoriya

    Some women prefer this kind of relationship, they may be too busy with career and have a man for cocktails. Others want marriage and kids. Nobody should put up with something that doesnt work for them.

  5. 45
    Joe

    @ helene #36:

    I don’t know how long you’ve been taking tango, but  the lady isn’t entirely in the control of the man.   For one, some ladies are a bit headstrong (most men do not  care for this).   Then there are certain actions that are the lady’s option (e.g. adornos) during periods where the man isn’t actively leading.   And finally, if the lady does something the man didn’t intend–no matter whose fault–the man has to cover for the error…so the man has to be able to “follow” what the woman does too.

  6. 46
    Alex

    Oh gosh, it’s been a really interesting read, mine is a very busy divorced man with a daughter which he sees most weekends. I’ve been doing the “mirroring” and trying to keep myself busy. One thing is I’m confused is that he was so keen at the beginning, then doesn’t suggest dates as he has flaked out three times due to work and last minute arrangement to care for his daughter. I’m deaf, and can’t use the phone (makes it a little more difficult for me to know what he’s feeling) and he mainly initiate texting whenever he gets the chance then I respond exactly what you have mentioned. Sometimes I initiate but not very often. I sometimes speak to him via Skype but not very often.
    Sometimes I ask him some personal things so I wanted to get to know him but hes not really revealing anything to me. Right now it feels like I’m dancing the tango, and I’ve sent him an email several times to ask him clear that he’s interested, and in the last one I told him that it was obvious we weren’t on the same page etc and wished him luck, but if it’s not what he wanted, say so. He is still texting me but not in an affectionate way (again texts can be impersonal). I’ve totally backed off and doing my own things and looking on dating sites to keep my options open.
    Unfortunately I live with my mother, and she says he is treating me appalling and unfair, and she thinks he’s a bit of player…. I’ve stopped wearing my heart on my sleeve, having learnt my lesson from my 1st relationship. I’m being realistic to the fact he’s a father and of course his daughter comes first and he works all hours.
    It is the first time I have had a bloke who’s a bit enigmatic unlike the
    previous ones who have been very clear about what they wanted.
    I’m keeping an open mind but find it difficult to think especially when others are saying negative things.

  7. 47
    Kirt

    I think that women often are so passive that the man can’t determine how much a woman likes him.   Women really do need to learn how to give a man encouragement.   Men will give up on certain women if they think that the women aren’t putting forth enough effort.

  8. 48
    Karmic Equation

    @Lemon Zest 9
    Did you ever text or email him a “Thank you. Had a great time last night”? after going out after he initiated? I’m assuming you didn’t?
    That might really have been the crux…not only was he doing all the initiating, there was no acknowledgment of his efforts or compliments afterwards.
    Guys love compliments and acknowledgment of their efforts, whether it’s their choice of restaurant, wine, meal, or if they were particularly awesome in bed 🙂 — After which “Last night was awesome. U r spoiling me” texts keeps the romance, compliments, and “potential” on the right track.
    The “no initiating contact” communications are actually very easy to avoid. You know how sometimes you are JUST DYING to hear from him? And you really really want to text him “Hi. What’s shaking?” — That’s when you DON’T DO IT. That’s when you are initiating contact in a needy way. When you are saying thank you (just once, btw, not multiple times for one effort) — you are just being polite and acknowledging his efforts, which doesn’t constitute initiating. But if you keep thanking him over and over because he hasn’t replied (at all) — THEN you are initiating contact, because you want to hear from him.
    IMHO, another way to think about initiating contact is that you ARE NOT initiating contact if the communication is ONE-WAY without requiring a response (like “Thanx for spoiling me”) then you are ok to send the text. But if you send something like “Thanx for spoiling me last nite. Can’t wait to do it again.” Then THAT IS initiating contact. See the difference?

  9. 49
    Karmic Equation

    @Lemon Zest 29 — oops didn’t read far enough.
    Telling a guy you want to be his girlfriend is a big no-no. That’s not mirroring that’s chasing, and often, an unrecoverable mistake. Sorry to say. The guy has to ask you to be his GF. You cannot offer or ask. They hear N-E-E-D-Y and can’t run away fast, especially if their head/heart is nowhere near that level of commitment.

  10. 50
    Ellen

    JB, I don’t know where you live, but in SC, even with the “Yankees” I dated, if they even picked up the merest molecule of scent I might be dating others, they weren’t interested and took umbrage.

    Personally, I was raised to date sequentially though was tempted about twice to juggle, but only twice. I was a nervous wreck the entire time- just felt false.

    Once you kiss someone or start saying words of endearment, sorry, but to continue to date others is just rude, unfair, and false. Not good values imo.       

  11. 51
    David T

    @Karmic
    They hear N-E-E-D-Y and can’t run away fast, especially if their head/heart is nowhere near that level of commitment.


    Yeah?   And what happens when the man asks this when her head/heart is nowhere near that level of commitment? Same thing. Someone has to be first and whoever is first takes that risk.
      
    Fact is, there are no hard and fast rules that work every time.   All Evan offers (mirroring, for instance) is what is most likely to work with most men. Use your head.   Know the other person, and behave accordingly.  
      
    If people would   talk about what is on their mind about a new (or already existing) relationship and also listen to the other person without judging or freaking out, knowing that what they are hearing is the other person’s ‘stuff’ and nothing they are responsible for, there would be a lot less guessing. This means having the ‘relationship talk’ whenever you are uncertain. “Hey, I am really into you and hope we get serious” “Well, I like you, but am not sure yet.” Done. Let it go.   Now lets have a fun date. No posing.   Wouldn’t that be nice and relaxing?
      
    People wouldn’t ‘disappear’ because you would KNOW when and why they decided it was not going to work, etc. Probably there would be a lot less angst  and wasted time. Well, maybe I can move to a planet where people actually communicate someday.
      
    Meanwhile, if I ever want to date seriously again   I guess I will just have to play the little game of reading between the lines. thhpppbbbt. :-p

  12. 52
    Ben

    it is more of the women that can’t commit to us men anymore, especially if he really loves her. women are the ones that are very picky today, and yet they will go with the loser men anyway. women are certainly not like the women that we had years ago, when they much more better educated. more and more women are playing games, and many of them are so very nasty to talk too. now with many of the women that think they are all that, they are are certainly not.

  13. 53
    Jennbot

    @Ben #52
    Oh my goodness…I was happily reading the blog posts and happily willing to remain silent  until I got to the very last precious post by you.   Ben, you sound like you’ve been hurt lately, possibly repeatedly and I think you need some down time to lick your wounds and possibly consider turning up your filter because your bad attitude is coming off of you in waves!   It isn’t attractive and will do nothing to help you find a partner.   I also find your statement that, ‘women are certainly not like the women that we had years ago, when they much more better educated.’ extremely offensive and hypocritical, please go educate yourself before you deign to criticise women.

  14. 54
    Kari

    Hi Evan,
    Thanks so much for this! I noticed some of these signs in the guy I was dating. So, I had a conversation with him about it and, sure enough, we were on totally different pages about the relationship. Now I can move on and find the one who’s right for me! This is great news because I was driving myself nuts trying to figure out what he and I were doing! Thanks again!

  15. 55
    Jacqueline

    I love this article! This is pretty much how I nabbed my LT boyfriend after a string of BIG TIME LOSERS. Guys who didn’t want commitment or guys who were cheap and wanted a sleepover buddy.
    I didn’t date in HS and dating in college was daunting. Luckily two years into college I met a great guy.
    I think the one-way thing (mirroring) technique works initially, but after about a few weeks of constant contact I think it’s okay for the woman to initiate contact. Probably something non-committal? Like a joke or a funny picture.

  16. 56
    Ben

    to Jennbot #52, sorry for my comment. but i have been hurt very much by women, and it has nothing to do with me. if i try to start a conversation with a woman that i would like to meet, and why would they curse at me for that? i am certainly not making this up, and i know other men that had this happen to them too. maybe so many men mistreated them very badly at one time, but why take it out on us innocent men that are very seriously looking to find love?

    1. 56.1
      Caroline

      Ben,

      what a repulsive experience you had with that feral human being. I’m sorry that it happened to you. I don’t know any women that behave that way, and I certainly wouldn’t be friends with any like that. Actually, yes, my sister is a covert/victim narcissist, and she spoke to me that way when I was trying to comfort my sobbing nephew (her son) at my mother’s funeral. My sister has treated my brother with just as much disrespect and contempt.

      The point of me saying this is that SHE (my sister and the feral woman you encountered) have MASSIVE issues and character deficits that make any interaction with them abusive in nature. There is nothing you can do. It is NOT about you. You didn’t cause it, or deserve it. My brother and I came to the same conclusion independently that we must go ‘no contact’ with our sister, even before we knew that that was a thing.

      I hope this brings a bit of clarity and comfort to your situation, and please believe me when I say that I think you really dodged a bullet. Had you caught her in a charming moment, then she may have sucked you in and left you like so much squashed roadkill emotionally some time later. Even if she wasn’t a narcissist, this woman showed some destructive interpersonal traits that killed any chance of love between you, so I feel relieved that you found it out earlier rather than later.

      Don’t be put off. Take your delicious testosterone-fueled self to the next beauty that catches your eye, and make a move on her. There are lots of beautiful women who will know how to treat you with respect and look at you adoringly from the first meeting. Lots of them. You’ll have one of them in your arms in no time.

  17. 57
    judy

    Men and women are complicated and life is simple.   He wants to see you, he calls you.   After a while, you could at least, as a woman, say hi, how are you?
    And I agree with one of the women on here, she continued to date other men because the man she really wanted couldn’t be bothered……until she was no longer available…….and then he wanted her.
    Ben 56 – any woman who curses at a man just isn’t worth it full stop. I’m taking time out from dating for a while – because I just don’t understand the games and messing about and quite frankly, would rather be peaceful, reading a book, watching the television and looking after myself and my kid and grandkid for a while until I feel able to join in the “boxing ring” of love.   But no-one will curse at me.   When you feel good about yourself, others will respond to it.
      

  18. 58
    shelly

    Well thats good and all ive been in relationship for a year he does it all right but he doesnt want to getmarried i do but idk i just feel like he’s just with me cause he can still get on single sights with other women and still live like hes single and be with me to.i think im thru i can’t deal with guys that are scared to commit when i am tottally committed and hes not.

  19. 59
    annika

    Thank you for this blog. I just ended a relationship because I was in the above scenario. It was hard to let him go, because just as you said I though waiting him out may have worked. When I finally walked away it had been 4 and a half months plus a two month break, and when I did I second guessed myself the entire time. I even called and asked him if I made a mistake. I bet you can guess what he said. Yep, that it was probably for the best. He knew. I knew. It was done. What a waste of time and heartache for me. But let me get back to the point…your blog helps reassure me that I did the right thing. Sadly, it also makes me hate him a little. But I might need to do that for awhile. Thanks again.

  20. 60
    Dee

    Thank you.   I recently started talking to a guy I dated a year ago.   I broke it off with him after 8 weeks because he was rushing to move in together right away.   Although he had many great qualities, the rushing started at the end of the first week of dating and I didn’t feel I had my “footing” in the relationship.   I continuously told him I was in love with him, and that I wanted to spend time with him, but I didn’t want to plan moving in together or a wedding until we got to know each other better.   I gave him numerous chances and finally had to break up with him.
    Fast forward a year, we started talking again 2 weeks ago.   This time, he’s saying he still cares for me and wants a future with me, but doesn’t want to scare me off again.   However, he hasn’t emailed or anything for 4 days.    The  first day that I didn’t hear from him, I sent him a good morning email like he’s been doing to me.   No response.   So I haven’t reached out again.   And I won’t reach out again.   I feel like Evan’s advice to me would be for me to wait it out for  a few weeks.   If I don’t hear from him in that time, or see him making an effort to move forward, I won’t respond to any further communications from him ever again.   Not because I’m mad, but because it simply isn’t meant to be at that point.  

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