What To Do When the Guy You’re Seeing Will Not Commit

What To Do When the Guy You’re Seeing Will Not Commit
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Dear Evan,

I have been dating a man for nearly three months now and in the beginning everything was fine between us. He used to do things with me, but I was wondering why he never introduced me to his friends or why he never wanted to come over my house. After 1 1/2 months I realized that he started to change. He didn’t call meanymore and he started to see me less. I once broke up with him for a week, but we got back together again and now he has even less time for me. He doesn’t answer his phone automatically anymore when I call or he keeps it turned off. I’ve become real frustrated and mad with him. Now I haven’t talked to him for a couple of days to see if he would call me, but he doesn’t and I still see that he is online at a dating site. When I met him he was overweight, but started to lose so much weight. Now I have the feeling that he is not serious with our relationship and still wants to see and meet other women. Please tell me what to do.

Thanks,

Ingrid

Thank you, Ingrid, for the cringe-worthy email of the week.

Let’s quickly recap:

  • 3 month relationship. Half of it, he’s been acting different.
  • You broke up with him because he wasn’t seeing you enough.
  • Now that you’re together again, he’s seeing you less.
  • He doesn’t return calls. He doesn’t initiate calls.
  • Has lost weight and is dating other women online.

And you need me to tell you what to do?

If you’re not sure how to act with a guy you’re seeing, just do whatever he does.

How about I refer you here?

And here.

And here.

And here.

See, Ingrid, you’re not wrong for being confused or feeling frustrated at this guy. But from where I sit, your issue is not that unique. In fact, it’s the most popular question I get from readers.

“I really like him, but he doesn’t commit to me/call me/treat me well. What do I do?”

So instead of saying “He’s just not that into you” for the 400th time, I want to use your letter to illustrate a favorite concept that I discuss with clients.

It’s called “mirroring”.

Basically, if you’re not sure how to act with a guy you’re seeing, just do whatever he does.

If he calls you, call him back….

If he texts you, text him back.

If he tries to make plans with you, make plans with him.

If he tells you he loves you, tell him you love him back. (presuming, of course, that you do).

On the flip side, it also means that:

Men reveal themselves in their efforts. Their words don’t mean a thing.

If he doesn’t call you, don’t call him.

If he doesn’t text you, don’t text him.

If he doesn’t make plans with you, don’t make plans with him.

If he doesn’t tell you he loves you, don’t tell him you love him.

This isn’t my version of “The Rules.” I’m not suggesting that you play games or refuse to return his calls or any of that crap. I’m saying that you should continue to be as real and authentic as you can be.

Just let him take the lead.

Because as I’ve said a number of times…

Men reveal themselves in their efforts. Their words don’t mean a thing.

If he calls, if he makes plans, if he commits, he’s interested.

If he doesn’t — if you feel you have to remind him that you’re alive and interested – let him go. He doesn’t deserve you.

It hurts to hear hundreds of women asking me the same exact question and genuinely struggling for the answer that’s obvious to everyone but them.

So once and for all, to all the women reading this: You deserve a man who WANTS to be with you, not one who acts like he’s doing you a favor by returning your call.

Please, send this article to all of your friends and let them know as well.

There’s no reason I should have to write this again.

But we both know I will.

Join our conversation (151 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 21
    Julz

    He really is different. Isn’t he? I think he expected me to call him first but I didn’t. I never met his friends or family but he called me recently from a mates house. They are asking him about me while we are on the phone together. I asked him what his friends were going to say about me and he said he’ll tell them to mind their own business. I don’t think so! Why did he call me when he was with them? Was it to boost his ego?

  2. 22
    BK

    Hi Xtremely, on a positive note, he might be really busy or something really cropped up and he does not know how to tell you. He might be preparing something since he planned with your friends for your birthday and talked about wedding fund.

    On the negative note, as what downtowngal said, “cut losses.”

  3. 23
    verbosity

    I read Ingrid’s letter and thought there was no ‘relationship’ to start. Since ‘relationship’ means different things to different people, I define a relationship as beginning when BOTH parties agree they are to see each other exclusively, not simply when you first date someone several times before agreeing to a relationship.

    Analytically, according to Ingrid, the relationship can be broken into 2 six week segments. After a six weeks, he bailed, stating by action what perhaps he could/should have said by word.

    While Ingrid’s story omits many hard facts, this situation looks like one where Ingrid and boyfriend, met and dated for several (6) weeks. I suspect, but cannot prove, that Ingrid felt they were ‘together’ exclusively during this time. However, the pattern of behavior described by Ingrid (keeping in mind this is only Ingrid’s version) doesn’t paint a picture of a guy enthralled with a new girlfriend.

    I suspect that boyfriend did not view the ‘relationship’ as exclusive or with nearly the same importance as did Ingrid. Based upon the time frames and his behavior I suspect boyfriend simply viewed this as a potential exclusive relationship for the first six weeks. It appears that, based upon Ingrid’s story, he decided not to pursue the relationship any further.

    Whether his manner of parting ways (make no mistake, not calling backs and turning off his phone is definitely communication) is the best, that is another topic. I offer that Ingrid should have bailed after the 1st unreturned call.

    BTW, what I’ve said above applies to both genders equally.

    After this six week evaluation period, he basically bailed.

  4. 24
    BK

    I agree with verbosity to a large extent. In relationship, whether it is between family members, between friends or between partners, a different point of view or perspective in a subject can cause argument. Maybe one party could view it as in a relationship while the other party feel it as trying out to see if things work out.

    I read a story once about a boy and his father. The boy was planting an acorn seed with his father and after he planted the seed, he watered the seed. On seeing the worried look on his son’s face, the father told the son not to worry as by summer, the acorn seedling would have grown to his knee length height. The boy turned his face and asked his father, “Your knee or my knee?”

  5. 25
    Selena

    I wonder-since we know infatuation can blind us to red flags, or cause us to ignore them–might it also not persuade us there is ‘more’ of a relationship than there actually is? When someone backs off after a month or so we wonder what happened? How did we misread their interest? Could it be that some of the ‘signs’ we interpret as a growing relationship are often the exaggeration of our own attraction? The other person isn’t feeling it the same way, but we just can’t see that?

  6. 26
    hunter

    to Zann,

    …according to research and studies, we don’t see the red flags for the first ninety days….due to infatuation, chemistry, etc…

    1. 26.1
      lydisy

      For survival purposes of the species, all people have flaws… Blinded by love then we wake up and say ” how could i think that” Sometimes…

  7. 27
    Paanchajanyadha

    How long have you been blogging…your good at it.

  8. 28
    SomeOldBloke

    I am sorry to break this down, but mebbe it’ll help.  This is probably cold-blooded insight into the male mind. Please don’t  get angry; I will only be explaining what happens. I would also like for it to be another different way but this is what it is…

    Many guys I know view most women as targets, not relationship possibilities. They do not want to commit because it is not fun. It doesn’t give them that smile when they get home. They have seen Dad go gray and they’ve heard his youth stories, noticing his eyes sparkle again then go gray again when he comes to the marriage part.

    The great majority would rather have varied simultaneous, quick, intense, physical affairs than going the long route. There are many reasons for this. We all belive we are perfect and deserve only the best. While the latter might be correct, the former is seldom true for ourselves, much less to an external discerning mind. Remember that there is only one “The ONE”, so what is the poor chap to do meanwhile? No, most won’t quietly sit down at home while “the one” strolls by their driveway. 

    There is a hard saying that applies in this case; “Enjoy the incorrect one while you wait for the correct one”.

    I haven’t even gotten into the “Men just wanna have bed fun” concept, but belive me it is true in most cases. Some even view it as a sport and keep detailed records -pictures, souvenirs- of “prizes” they’ve won over. Obviously, the moment they have it, the moment the want to pull their little ninja bombs and smoke out of the equation, lest they lose another fresh conqest. This makes them feel alive, smart, cunning. Boosts their egos (we could delve deep into this…) and keeps them occupied. It’s not that they’re evil or anything, it’s just the way many of them are. They don’t consciously mean to hurt you, but at the same time a case can be made women are temporary toys for them. And remember that men LOVE toys, no matter how old they get to be.

    This has a rather devastating side-effect: Men break hearts. Men do not think it is neccesary to marry you if they like you. “Like” might be your legs and not your heart, by the way. Most will avoid marriage like the plague, specially if the feel their counterpart is needy or emotionally demanding. Many have discovered that “honeymoon period” and keep jumping from relationship to relationship to always live that strong, perfect romance. They are not looking for Claire or Anne; You could very well be Marie and it won’t matter if it’s new and perfect. The moment the woman starts needing them in a way they can’t or won’t fulfill (remember, it’s fun over everything else) they start going “non-commital”.

    Men know about this. Many are ashamed and would like for things to be better for both parts. Some eventually marry. But an ever-larger number avoids women as life partners for many reasons, be it masculine immaturity, our pleasure-oriented culture as well as some aspects of the female psyche that admittedly can make life challenging indeed.

    We must come to grips with the fact that men who are willing to commit are scarce, have their -valid or not- reasons for doing so and most will be playing. If you find one that’s really into you for life, analyze if you really want him and if you are OK on him give it all you’ve got. If  you like him, but you feel he won’t walk faster, enjoy the ride if you want, DO NOT get in love and always keep walking. Remain inattached. Nothing’s for granted in this life. I apologize If I was rude and I hope this clears some doubts.

    Best of lucks.

    1. 28.1
      M

      to someoldbloke, yeah you guys say all this thinking that you will be young and handsome all your lives. We’ll, get a clue idiot! Most guys are delusional and think when they want to settle down and get married , the girl of their dreams will just poof into existence. Well that is not reality. I can’t tell you how many men I know that are past the age of 40, their balding, overweight and not as good looking as they were in their younger years and they can’t find a girl to save their life. Who’s fault is that ? Theirs. When they were young they thought they were all that, they could get any girl they wanted so why settle down? We’ll, now the young girls don’t want them and treat them badly. That’s what they get for thinking they can screw around and God will not make them pay for all their sinning. I don’t pity those old guys, they should having been trying to find a girl   and get married in their 20’s when they had hair!!!!

      1. 28.1.1
        Lynkee

        This is very true! Great words there! I’m disgusted by these old male idiots!

        1. Sarah

          Well a man treated me with such disrespect probably because he wanted a younger one and he is fat and has white hair… I loved this man very much but honestly he didn’t know what he had.. till poof I was outta there.. I don’t get the mans holier then thou attitude, i’m sure there are good ones out there somewhere.. where though.. no idea.

  9. 29
    daniela

    thanks, I get it!

  10. 30
    yyy

    i hate these men are not willing to commit to you threads. mostly because it assumes that women want to commit to everyone they date.
    i am a woman. i have not wanted to commit to everyone i’ve dated. the assumption by most men that i do is offensive to me. Sometimes i’ll be on a first date with a guy and he’ll immediately warn me that he’s not into a serious relationship. This is offensive to me. Why? Who said that i want a long term relationship with you? You’re on trial buddy. And you just failed anyway.
    Frankly, warning women you don’t want them permanently is just a turn off. It just makes you look like you have a big ego.
    Now, maybe men and women are different. Maybe men know ” right away” or something. I’m not sure. But I do know for sure I don’t know right away if someone is for me. Therefore, having some d*ckface tell me he’s not all that serious when i barely know him is kind of offensive. It means he not only considers me a sports fish, but also he must think I’m an idiot. He also must have a very high opinion of himself, thinking I want to bag him for life. Who the hell does he think he is? Antonio Banderas?
    When I find a sucker like him I either avoid it completely or, if he’s attractive enough, just have a good time. Because a lot of guys will come up with non committal bullshit and think they’re real game players, but guys are human too and they don’t have as much control as they think they do. Acting like a prick at first meeting is just asking to get screwed with.
      

    1. 30.1
      bkath

      Love it! Exactly right  

  11. 31
    Helen

    A story, to which yyy’s post is a great jumpoff:

    2  years ago a male colleague invited me to sit beside him at a conference dinner. He knew I’m happily married with kids. Yet after a few drinks, he had the audacity to tell me, “Helen, I think you’re beautiful, but I’m just not interested in starting a relationship with you.” I was so flabbergasted, I could only sit there with my mouth open. The thought of starting a relationship, ANY relationship, least of all with HIM, was the last thing on my mind.

    To make matters worse, he was  judging every other guy at the meeting. He was particularly harsh  about a thin, nerdy, sweet  guy, insinuating that there was no way this guy could satisfy any woman. I wanted to tell him (but didn’t), “If I were single, I’d rather be with him than with you. Yes he’s nerdy and not at all handsome, but he’s kind, gentlemanly, thoughtful, and a great scientist.”

    The point is, yyy, you’re not alone, so don’t take these guys personally. It’s not about you. It’s about a few guys who are full of it; you won’t escape them even after you’re married. It’s also about the fact that men aren’t very good at predicting what women want in them. They think we like certain types and rule out  other types, and sometimes they have it completely backwards.

  12. 32
    Isa

    Right on point. When I read this blog entry I had to laugh aloud at Evan’s creative way of telling it like it is. I appreciate this blog…albeit rough at times I feel that I have some sense smacked into me by a big brother.

    Thanks Bro! I have definitely been “that girl” before but thankfully, I can look back and laugh now.

  13. 33
    m

    I wanted to tell him (but didn’t), “If I were single, I’d rather be with him than with you. Yes he’s nerdy and not at all handsome, but he’s kind, gentlemanly, thoughtful, and a great scientist.”
    @Helen – I wish you had told him that, and I’m not sure why you didn’t.
    I think sometimes we ladies have to take some of the blame for men thinking they’re just perfect, when we don’t take the initiative to inform them unambiguously (and notice I did not say impolitely) when their behavior falls far short of that standard.
    I don’t see how the passiveness serves anyone.

  14. 34
    Mike

    A relationship cannot work, and cannot move forward unless both partners want it. One person cannot make the relationship work all by themselves. It could be that the guys a bit slow in working out his feelings for you, he might have seen too many breakups and not want to lose what he has with you, or he could be a complete waste of space. If he is unwilling to put anything into the relationship and treat you with the love and respect that you deserve then where’s the point? Why would you want to share your life with someone who doesn’t care about you, or who is only after one thing?

  15. 35
    V

    Geez Ingrid, move on!   Have some self respect and find someone else with manners, and who is actually into to you.   If the guy was a porker to start with, then he wasn’t really thinking he could do any better.   Now, this is not saying you are a hose beast or anything like that, it’s just trying to highlight his crappy way of thinking.   Now he’s lost weight, he thinks he’s worthy enough to play the field, that there will always be something better just around the corner.
    This is a guy with little consideration for anyone but himself, so he should be dumped as soon as possible.   There’s no need to contaminate your self esteem with a butt hole like this.
    Move on, you deserve better!

  16. 36
    NonExist

    @yyy 31,

    I thinksome of  those guys are less pricks more than just putting all the cards on the table.   Some men feel that they  do not want to get married or have committment with anyone at this point in their lives.   And it has less to do with the quality of woman than the situation SomOldBloke covered about “honeymoon periods” and fun.  

    Yes some of these proclaimed bachelors may just happen to fall in love with someone and want more. But for the near future they know it and just want to be direct instead of vague.   Basically it is a warning that even if you two do have some  chemistry more than likely he will not be staying around for the long haul.

    In a general sense though EMK gave great advice.  

  17. 37
    Feral Cherry

    How about it the man is doing all the right actions, calling, texting, and arranging nice dates but then says he doesn’t want a relationship yet but does want to settle down eventually.   He says  his divorce hurt him badly.   I said I liked the pace that we were going at with our nice dates.    Does he  now have guilt free sex, as he has told me the score but still taking me out? I’m confused. And scared.   Also I don’t want to get in deeper and get hurt.   It’s only been a month so it;s early days yet but  I just don’t want to invest anymore time on him if he is not interested in a commitment further down the line  

  18. 38
    Dagaz

    ummm… ok, mirroring is certainly a good idea for women during 1, 3 or 6 month of relationship, i.e. no initiating anything.
    but how about 2+ years of relationship?.. should i still tie my hands and zip my lips so i won’t reach phone or ask for weekend plans?..   it makes me confused, frankly speaking: to be at man’s mercy regarding when i will hear from him or when i will see him.
    after all, i would feel caged.

  19. 39
    franko says

    i am a STRAIGHT MAN that just had to make a serious comment here. it is most of the women today that do not want a COMMITMENT. many of the women like going out with so many different men at one time, instead of just being COMMITTED to just ONLY ONE. why in the world is that? i can without a doubt would love VERY MUCH to just COMMIT to just only ONE WOMAN, to make me happy. the VERY HARD PART is finding a GOOD WOMAN TODAY.

    1. 39.1
      Petra

      Ohhh I have the same idea like you.. Hard to find so I’ve given up 👍

  20. 40
    blueberrie

    I lol at Julz comment re the guy who thought it was rude for the woman not to call him lmao!!   omg I had one of those guys, he almost leapt across the table at me to tell me off for not persuing him more!! that he likes a woman who goes after what she wants!   I was deer in headlights!   I wasn’t expecting that!!  

    I just went through this whole thing with a guy who totally persued me, said all the right stuff, non stop contact, really had me going that things were going to go somewhere  but so stupidly I kinda asked the question about being exclusive and he tells me that really he just wants to be friends  (friends!!!) and that he’s not committing here and so i said so u don’t mind if I go  out with other guys??? longggg pause and he  said well I guess I can’t say you can’t do that if I’m not committing…     so I’m thinking ummmm so what was all the last few weeks of crazy persuing me been????   I just left it alone… didn’t say anything after that.    
    I thought man u are a doorknob and a waste of time!

    I like the one analysis in here about men and their toys… holy is that EVER accurate!   That’s  EXACTLY what it is!!   we are their little toys, and the only time they really committ is after quite a long time if you try to take the toy away!   but some just don’t mind looking for new toys.   wow!   basically you better make yourself damn fun to play with!!   sigh.  

    As for mirroring a guy’s behaviour… ok here’s a scenerio for you… say he calls you and sets up  a date every week or something, he does the date thing, some emails or texts  in between but always wants to get down and dirty as well… do you mirror the down and dirty part?    I don’t think so… that’s just giving him what he wants… without the committment… maybe you want it too and in that case go right ahead but not sure I totally agree with the mirroring thing.              

    And I’ve got to tell you  A LOT of men do NOT know how to lead!  seriously! it’s very bad!   the one’s who  know how to lead are the players, in my opinion.   the one’s who don’t know how  sort of want you to decide  everything (yuck!)….   so sometimes the woman HAS to lead!   or get stuck with a player, or never go out….     I had one guy who texted me for MONTHS talking about going out  but always had this busy schedule that he didn’t  seem to know how to handle… turn off!   told him I didn’t think he had time to  date and he said yes I do!!! and suddenly made one night a week available… but didn’t ask me out!   I’m like seriously do i need to ask myself out? omg!               

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