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

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 (119 Comments).
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  1. 61

    It’s interesting.  I have this exact kind of relationship.  The rub here is that I’m in my young sixties.  he is about 7 years younger.  We’ve both been married before.  He was stung pretty badly, so is cautious, maybe overly so.  I don’t think there are other women.  I’m pretty sure he is not that kind of a man. He’s just keeping his distance.  However, I have already made up my mind that I’m just going to go with this relationship the way it is.  He’s very sweet.  He’s a gentleman.  We cook together, we go to the beach and take walks together. He’s adorable.  He seems to like me a lot.  We have a relationship exactly like the one described by someone else on this thread. A part time relationship.  (Once in a while it will be a week night too). Before I met this man I had already decided that the man I was seeing before him (non romantic but trying to like him) was the last time I’d get involved with anyone.  I’d had my heart broken devastatingly three times in my lifetime. And I was tired of meeting men on line who ended up being complete jerks or the same age as me and acted like they were 90 years old.  So I was finished.  Well, someone asked me to meet this guy and I agreed.  I like him a lot.  I think he likes me a lot.  BUT – I’m not sure I’m his “girlfriend”.  He holds back a lot – not many verbal compliments,  etc. etc.  We have great sex and really enjoy  the time that we do see other.  Usually only weekends.  I am not going to break up with him even though I want more out of the relationship because I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time.  If/when this relationship is over, I’m not moving on to someone else anyway, so I’m in no hurry.  I hope it lasts, and I may have to have the “am I your girlfriend?” talk some day, but I’m no hurry, with nowhere to rush to.  It is sad though.  As much as I like him it feels a little unfulfilling without the emotional intimacy that we lack.  I’ve tried and I think he’s too gun shy.  So I’ll just enjoy him as much as I can and until I can’t anymore.

  2. 62

    I think perhaps at the end of my only “serious” relationship, that I was being used. When relocating became an obstacle to the relationship, he was quick to throw in the towel– even after asking me to be his girlfriend, introducing me to his family, putting effort into the relationship, etc.

    When I finally decided to end the relationship, I told him he was not committed to making it work. He denied it, of course, but he was quick to let me go and place all of the blame on my shoulders. Of course I became an emotional wreck towards the end of the relationship… but no woman can tolerate being knowingly strung along.

    Perhaps women should spend more time evaluating whether or not they should commit to a man than whether or not he wants to commit. After my most recent heartbreak, I came to realize in a way it was my fault… My fault for not asking the right questions, for not determining whether or not our values and attitudes towards the relationship were aligned, for not being true to myself. I committed to the wrong man. I gave him everything, and he gave me nothing in return. I was duped.

  3. 63

    Hi guys me and my bf relationship is complicated i argue with him alot we have been together for eight years and he refuse to. Commit so i started losing feelings for him i went on and found a man who did everythjng i needed but then turn out to be married ugh i wanted to kill him.after that my ex came running back to me telling me he will change which was total bullshit because he never changed. I jeep telling him im not happy he still wants to stay. K love a man who loves God and is romantic with a sense of humor not a cheap boring guy help n e sincerely i want to c.flirt and cheat again.

  4. 64

    I had to cut it off with yet another “I don’t want a relationship” guy. You have to give it to him for being honest. I actually started getting mad at him for making tentative plans and not following through…then I decided we’d have to talk. That was that. He called me today asking for a favor. It made my heart skip a beat and I almost dropped everything I was doing. Then I said: no I have this and this. But he really needed help so I followed up and he had it taken care of. I wondered if this was all he had to offer right now. Just using a favor as an excuse to see me. He has a ton of friends. (His phone is going off non stop!) So he could have asked them. Well I called him and said: look I have a huge crush on you and you got inside my heart…I need some space. Then we can be just friends. (We’d been acquaintances for some months I’d rather just have that). He just listened to me and said: alright, alright, and hung up. I think he does like me. I gave him warmth, friendship, and great sex. But we both want different things. Can’t mess around with that. He’s going to make a girl very happy when he does want to be with someone. He is very emotionally intelligent and sensitive…he ‘s such a sweetheart it makes me want him so bad. This is the way things go.

  5. 65

    Very simple and to the point. I agree with every point, especially mirroring his efforts with enthusiasm (and charm ;)….)

    Only saying yes in the beginning, never making plans. And respecting his need to process, but not being too cool once more than enough time has passed and your time becomes wasted.

    Thanks for this!

  6. 66

    I have been in a relationship for 9 years going on 10… I told my boyfriend I live with and have for over eight years- that there is a ten year statute of limitations with me… I am not waiting for a ring/marriageproposal after that. He thought it was funny… I have told his friends and family too, they laughed but I am VERY serious. Acutally preparing the exit strategy already- he obviously loves me but doesnt want to get married- and I am not that girl to be with someone for YEARS and not get married, I want kids. I have been sticking around too long already- I GET that!

  7. 67

    I was in traffic one day minding my own business and a guy calls out to me “you’re beautiful” we flirted a bit and then he asked for my number..I hesitated then thought “oh what the hell, he’s cute anyway”. So we’d been messaging non stop for about a week and a half and met up twice (both in a residential area in his car). We laughed and talked but then it stopped…I arranged to meet again then he gave me some excuses “sorry babe my phone was off, my battery died or the most used I fell asleep and didn’t hear the phone ring”. So I let it go on for a bit because I really liked him..I mean said all the right things….Then it was the last straw…I was literally having a relationship with his whatsapp and that was enough…I was so mature towards him but his reaction was that of a teenaged boy…he was and still is so bitter towards me…Relationships are a two way street and to make something work it needs to come from both people…I got bored and tired of sitting around for him to message…I’m kicking myself a little because he is REALLY handsome but I can’t have a relationship with his picture….you live and learn I guess….BE WISE if you’re doubting get out…no-one (man or woman) should ever make you doubt them….

  8. 68

    I understand the concept, but I find it disingenuous to calculate my actions. I try to be genuine, communicate well, and let it develop naturally. Honestly, I find that, if he doesn’t miss me, reach out to me, make time for me when I make it clear that I’d welcome it, I will eventually end up wanting more, anyway. I’m four months in, emotionally attached, but I see him settled into a pattern of ‘every other weekend’ without complaint. He texts once a day, is not interested in long conversations, and is happy with that. Losing interest here…

  9. 69

    I could relate with many of the stories above. Approx 3 years ago, I had this guy whom I met through a friend of friend and I had zero feeling with at the beginning. He asked me out and I kept finding excuses, and it wasn’t until 7 months after I finally agreed to go out. I continued to be reluctant to date him as I didn’t find chemistry to be as strong. We had sex though. Funny thing is we didn’t meet weekends so I suspected he was in another relationship.

    We slowly developed connection and chemistry and the more I learn about him, the more I fall for him (maybe sex plays a lot too?). One year after, I decided to ask but he said having a relationship is his low priority (he had a startup that wasn’t working well and had cash flow issues, though he was very successful before and is an Ivy League grad).

    I then decided to move back to my home country, which is 1.5hr flight away from where he lives (he himself is an expat). I clearly told him am looking for a relationship and not just random hook ups. Fast fwd 2.5yr later, I found out he was still dating someone else when we first started dating (a beautiful, smart Ivy league girl who was his classmate and best friend before), but he broke it off because of me. But he is not committed to me either though I met his brothers and almost got introduced to his parents(but didn’t end up happening).

    I am trying to move on so many times and date other guys, and I feel once I find another guy that will be the end of it. Problem is I just couldn’t find anyone else whom I can connect and respect as much I respect him now, and other guys  pretty much disappear after 4-5 dates.

  10. 70

    Really enjoyed this article. I had been so sure of a guy- but he turned out to be that, just a guy. Initially, I would get upset, as he would never make plans with me- stop over at the last minute- and would call at night when he would feel like it. Without saying anything he told me that he really has no room for me in his life. Initially, I was hurt. I really was. I wanted to be viewed as important by him- as I truly desire that special someone in  my life. I really had believed he would “step it up”, but he hasn’t. his excuse is that he’s always busy. Everyone is busy. The reality is that I am an option to him and not a priority. I’ve also realized that if I keep waiting around for him, I’ll miss the special man who God truly longs to be in my life. One who will be there for me- want to spend time with me- and will not continually make me second guess myself if I am worth it,

  11. 71

    I’ve listened to Evan’s book, why he disappeared and then I met this new guy. I decided to be more feminine and receptive with him. On our first date, he took me out on a great date that he planned. I had made cookies for him to take home to his kids and mother who was watching them. The feminist in me was like, I shouldn’t be doing anything for him. The sweeter feminine side of me said, this guy bought tickets to a show and treated me to at $150 date and had his mother babysit and I’m worried about $5 worth of cookies making me look like a needy doormat??? The cookies were a big hit apparently and he said I treat him well and we just had our second date. I sent him home some muffins and haven’t heard the report but he again reiterated how well I’m treating him, even though he took us out for dinner again. This has been my first time to reciprocate with some small gestures and it feels good to be told I’m treating someone well. I hope it doesn’t blow up in my face!

  12. 72

    Going on a date once a week is bad?

  13. 73

    I was given this talk not too long ago:

    “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.”

    I let go since she seemed so definitive and didn’t leave much room for discussion.  Had she approached the conversation in a more “seems that we’ve hit a plateau, what can we do about it?” I would have had the discussion with her.  Since she didn’t seem to want to talk about it, I let her go.  I thought it could have been saved.  She was looking for more chemistry.  Oh well.


  14. 74

    I used to disagree with the whole mirroring thing because I thought it was game playing and as an aggressive female it was tough for me to sit back and do nothing.  But I admit now it makes a ton of sense.   As a result of following this I’ve met and am now engaged to a great guy after years of dating players and jerks.  The reason it works is because of you do all the initiating you never get an idea who is really interested in you.  Men that are will make the effort. If you have to set plans, if you always initiate you will never know.

  15. 75

    Honestly, you all have to much time on your hands to be worrying about some one guy messaging or call time frames…I’m like seriously???. If you have a great date then fine. Stop analysing the sh** and circling your world around it and keep moving. If he wants you he will do what it takes and come get you. Stop worrying about one man or dude cuz through your life time your gonna go through several just keep living your life and if he wants in then make sure he fits what you need.

    Stop making men priorities in your mind and life. There are more enjoyable important things to do then thinking about him cuz I’m sure if he isn’t calling or texting then he isn’t thinking about you and living his life like he wants while you frustrate and slowly kill your mind, body and soul over this one dude/man out of trillions in the world.

    Oh my goodness…please wake up! Life is too short for you to waste your thoughts like that.

    1. 75.1

      oh I wish it were that easy. Truly I do. If there is a pill to make me not think of a guy first thing when I wake up and last before I sleep I’d love to take it.

  16. 76

    Mirror..mirror..thats the answer and stop the sex are not going to lose nothing and if you do..then find a nice guy.  Learn to let go of time wasters. …advice from a 6 year time waster but no more. I win.

  17. 77
    Mercedes Shane

    I have a a guy ive known 10yrs. His effort is amazing when he is here. Now hes back in Chicago and his effort is very lacking. I text first. I text second and i text at the end of the day. I swear i think he found someone he likes or has just not wanted to be with me. Just wants the benefits

  18. 78

    I casually dated someone a year ago. We were just dating never in a relationship.  Then said he fell in love with someone else.  Then a year later randomly texted me.  This was in October and we’ve been on three dates.  He says sweet things to me to make me seem like he likes me but his actions are about once or twice a week.  He doesn’t seem like he wants to lock me in.  I think I have found my answer here.

  19. 79

    Great article. I invested 6 months in a guy, who did all the work – text/call every day.  He could not do enough.  We saw each other every Thurs. and Sat.  When I mentioned that I needed more, he acknowledged my concerns, said he wanted to address them, came over and fell asleep.  I got angry and nudged him out – he disappeared – right before the holidays.  After 2 weeks – I sent an I’m sorry if I hurt you text and the replied I got was “It’s nothing you’ve done, it’s me!  I just have a lot going on in my life right now and don’t think it’s fair that I cannot devote the time and attention you deserve”.  I tried to call the following week to say it’s ok, if that is how you feel, but he won’t pick up the phone.  Very disappointing.  He could not say his to my face or answer my call.  A month later, I realized it’s for the best. Not what I want.

  20. 80

    I like the article and many of the responses. I could not read them all. My situation is: I’m a millennial single father with full custody (mother is not in the picture at all) of a wonderful 9 y/o. I’m 31 and what I’m seeing is just as many women portraying the same behaviors many of you describe above. This generation has just way too much accessibility with social media, and “too many options” in the sense that so many people these days never learned to just pick something. All this instant satisfaction and “FOMO” crap. It’seems a shame. I’ve given 5 years to a woman (not the mom) who just simply has no ability to commit to pretty much anything in her life except the decision to be non-committal. Master manipulator who turns it around when I set a boundary. Almost completely lost myself for a while there, but I managed to finally regain some sense and turn that wasted energy back to myself and my daughter. Anyway, I’ll be ending things soon and probably taking the road of just hanging out and having fun for a bit while I focus on my career, but at least I’ll be open about my intent so as to not string anyone along. I’m a pretty busy guy anyway and the one thing my daughter needs more than a mother figure from a potential mate of mine is she needs the parent she DOES have (me) to be centered and attentive to her needs. A good woman will come, with time… But yeah, men and women alike these days, sometimes you wanna shake ’em!


    I support you all who have been thwarted by your own empathetic and generous hearts. Sometimes it just is what it is, and hurts like hell. My best advice, and whats helped me regain myself, is to remember you arent responsible for someone else’s irresponsibility, indecisiveness, confusions, or fears.


    Always remember to love and respect yourself as much as you are willing to love and respect others, and dont try to make others happy at your own expense.

  21. 81

    I was seeing someone who only wanted to see me once every other week, n he only texted every 3 days, when we did see each other we would have an amazing night, laughing and talking, After 5 weeks  I finally told him I am not your every other week girl, he then saw me once a week for 3 weeks then it went back to every other week, I had that talk, This is not working for me I want more in a relationship then he was ready for, he told me he did not want to loose me, he did say I’m not ready for a full commitment but  he would make a better effort, I told him if he wanted to just be casual say so and we would continue seeing other people, he said I’m not seeing anyone else, I do not go out, I have my children and am remodeling my home and that takes up my time. I had a gut feeling for weeks that he was seeing someone else. One night he would not answer my texts so I drove by his house, he had another women there, he was mad I just showed up but I did say know I have proof you are a liar. Why is it so hard for a man to just be truthful. And how can he act like I’m so special then lie to my  face. I’m sure he thinks I’m crazy but I needed to see with my eyes that he was a liar. I also let him text me, I did not text him everyday to seem desperate, and when we went out it was always fun,

  22. 82

    Thanks Evan for the “mirroring” advice.  I have all my life been an initiater wondering why relationships were so draining. Now I understand I was with men allowing me to do all the work. A man needs to chose you and feel good about his choice. Otherwise he’s going along with you but not necessarily feeling good about it.

  23. 83
    Isrrael Castaneda

    “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.”
    What?? Really?? Lol…This is not a war nor a competition, it’s about both sides contributing and giving into the relationship (given that there is chemistry). This is pure nonsense!

  24. 84

    best article ive read simple and true!

  25. 85
    Alisha White

    Thank you…this is exactly what I needed to hear.

  26. 86
    Mikki Donaldson

    Wow… it’s funny how you run up on the right information when you’re not looking for it.  Great tips and truly helpful advice.  You’re right – when a guy likes you, you don’t have to do anything but say yes and no at the right times.  Also, you touched on the fact that changing the “type” could impact dating results next time.  So many of us miss this.

  27. 87
    pauline douglas

    I was seeing my partner for two years – there were lost of good things   – he was very loving and generous and very complimentary , he took me on holiday and away for my birthday and text me every single day – 6 months in he was telling me he was tellling me how much he loved me and would always care for me . I had had a very messy divorce so appreciated someone who seemed to care so much for me . I didnt ask him for anything and usually agreed when he asked to see me – this always involved a sleep over either at his house or mine which was great . Cracks appeared randomly and he would lose his temper very quickly and if challenged would lose sight of whatever we disagreed upon turning it into me being hurtful and unkind and that i was saying what a bad person he was- during our two years i met his adult daughter once , we met his friends three times on holiday only and when i asked him to meet my friends – he said he didnt want to be that “ sort of partner “  he just wanted to see me and not meet my friends . We only ever spent a couple of days together when we met up , he would want to take me home early the next day telling  me that he was sure i had loads to get on with , we would meet up every two or three weeks , always sleepovers – we never just met for dinner or for walk or for the cinema – i realise i should have got out quicker that i eventually did – but he was usually so loving and caring and i though he really meant it – when i did eventually say that i thought our relationship was uneven and always at a time that suited him , he reacted really badly saying how unkind i was to paint him in such a negative way . I guess i have just been foolish – i have ended the relationship but i miss him – i must be nuts ☹️

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