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Commitment phobic men - dating the man who avoids commitment

One of the most common issues that single women write my advice column about is commitment – how to get one, why won’t he give one, and how long she should wait to get one.

The commitment avoider panics at the idea of love and sees it as a trap.
Sanadesign/123 RF Stock Photo

Women feel that men drag their feet and label their hesitancy to jump into a relationship as “a fear of commitment.” Worried that she may be wasting her time in a dead-end relationship, most women in stalled relationships will press forward and ask their partner “where is this going?”

Based upon the answer she receives during “The Talk,” a woman will decide if the relationship should be abandoned, or if she should give her man a bit more time.

Yet, there are those women who throw caution to the wind and decide to move forward anyway, even if the guy tells her that commitment is not in his future. These women would rather be involved in a hurtful dalliance with a man that isn’t really there for them than to be 100% single and alone.

The Hard Cold Facts About Committed Relationships

The ability to sustain a committed relationship requires that one not only have a suitable partner, but the ability to be content with our choice and to stop looking. The commitment phobic man sets things up so that you jump through hoops and still won’t have a commitment.

In a relationship with a commitment avoider, no matter what you do, it’s never enough, it’s never right, and it’s not what he wants. When the relationship ends, the female partner is left emotionally devastated and confused, with battered self esteem.

Signs That Your Boyfriend Won't Commit

There are certain traits that the man intent on avoiding a commitment displays early in the dating process. To avoid wasting your time and energy on one of these fellas, keep an eye out for these behavior patterns:

1. He Comes on Like Gangbusters – From the moment you meet him, he’s in Full Court Press mode. In a rush to get the relationship going, he drowns you with attention, calls and texts, romantic dinners, trips, flowers, gifts and flattery. He puts and keeps you on a romantic high, never giving you the opportunity to ground yourself by allowing your feet to touch the ground. He hints around or talks openly about a future, dangling marriage like bait on a fish hook. He blows smoke up your butt and throws you further off your center by putting you on a false pedestal, proclaiming you to have attributes and talents he can’t be familiar with because he doesn’t know you well enough. Though you know such yammering is inappropriate for the level of relationship the two of you have, your girlish romantic side that hopes for Happily Ever After gets the better of you. His goal is to get you involved and attached before you find out the truth about him… things that he knows will cause you to turn tail and run. The commitment phobic guy professes love for you quickly, but falls out of love just as fast. The moment you start to believe his fanciful tales, he starts calling less, spending less time, seems unenthusiastic about seeing or spending time with you, and the sex falls off. He then disappears out of your life on a breeze just as he came in. Don’t get jealous or upset - he has no intention of committing to her either.

2. He Focuses Primarily on Sexual Interactions/Opportunities - If you find yourself in what I call a sexship (a relationship based solely on sex), you should already know what time it is. Most commonly these set-ups are referred to as “booty calls” or “friends with benefits” relationships. A guy who wants sexual intimacy without emotional ties will make having sex with you his top priority. Almost from the moment you meet, he’ll bring up sex in some form. Some will ask what you like or make some comment about his sexual prowess or proclivities. He presses to come over to your house instead of asking to take you out. Dates for him are spent in your bed having sex. Or on the couch. Or on the floor. Or in the shower. He won’t want to spend his money on wining and dining, or his time having long, meaningful get-to-know-you conversations. You’ll hear from him often until you give it up, then he’ll quickly lose interest once his curiosity about sex with you is satisfied a time or two or five.

3. He's Madly in Love with the Unattainable – You’ll recognize him because he is still in love with and pining for his ex or some other woman that remains just out of reach. Most of the men who have been previously hurt by relationships are most drawn to women that are either incapable of or unable to form a solid relationship due to their circumstances. Men tend to rebound to a new woman and use her as a salve to mend their wounded ego after a breakup instead of healing on their own. By choosing a woman he has no real long-term interest in, the commitment avoider is free to fantasize about a perfect love that they know deep down inside they will never be pressured to have with this individual. Examples are a married woman, a woman in prison, long-distance relationships maintained over the ‘net, or single mothers… when he knows he can’t stand kids. He’s most interested in you as long as you show no interest in whatever he’s talking about and he can fantasize about what a life with you would entail. However, the instant you acquiesce to his request he’ll begin to cool off and lose interest. He has no true interest in a relationship with you; he just likes the chase and the dance.

4. He Will Establish Firm Boundaries for Access and His Time - Most commitment phobic guys set up their life in strictly-defined segments – his job is so demanding, his family so needy, his friends want him, his children need him, he has to devote his free time to building his business, etc. Then there is you – all alone in your little box off to the side. You are placed in a designated box and never allowed to cross over to other segments of his life even after dating for many, many months. Should you ask about joining him at a family event, while he hangs out with his friends, or to meet his children some day you will be given 1,001 excuses why it can’t happen. At least he’s fair – he doesn’t want to meet your friends or family either. This guy has no intention of bringing you into his life because there are no plans for you to be around on that level.

5. You Feel Like a Placeholder - An advice seeker recently shared that she’d been seeing and sexing a man for close to six months and found herself in love. When she told him how she felt, she was informed that “there is no me and him.” Though he claimed he wasn’t seeing anyone else, he didn’t want her as a girlfriend and made that very clear. He was using her body and emotional sustenance for his own selfish enjoyment. Even if the commitment avoider is living with you, he isn’t willing to advance the relationship to marriage. Instead, you are just someone to meet his sexual and companionship needs, and keep him from being bored while he continues his search for Ms. Right. Wandering eyes and overt flirtation with other women is also a problem when you’re a placeholder. Many women complain about the frequency with which their man checks out other women. He may be so bold that he does his ogling right in your face. This is the type of guy that, if he cheats or leaves you, will make it the responsibility of “the Other Woman” for enticing him, or you for your “lacking” rather than his own weak character and dearth of commitment.

6. He Makes One Excuse After Another - You can’t spend the night at his house because his walls are thin and the neighbors will hear. He can’t spend the night at your house because your mattress is too hard/soft/weird and it’s too far from his job. He can’t come over or take you out because his stepfather’s cousin’s ex-wife’s youngest son is coming by to get his hair cut and play video games. After sex he has to leave after getting a mysterious text that he claims is a family emergency… the grandmother you could have sworn he said died 10 years ago. He can’t see himself ever getting married, because “more than 50% of marriages end in divorce” or “marriage just ruins everything anyway.” He can’t say he loves you because he isn’t sure what love is. When you want to have “the talk” about the possibility of a future, he gives you a song and dance about it being too soon. Another favorite excuse is that he is a poor choice for a mate because of his horrible childhood, he’s not where he wants to be in life, or you really deserve better. He can’t see that he’s not ready for a serious relationship and is just making up a series of weak excuses.

7. He’s Emotionally Unavailable - He’s very guarded about what he tells you, what he shares with you of an emotional, financial or spiritual nature. Some men are moody and take you on an emotional roller coaster as he flips from being Mr. Smiley Fun to Mr. Grumpy Jerk in 5 seconds flat. You may start to wonder if he is bipolar or needs medication. Conversations with him about personal matters are frustrating, as you find that getting his opinion or feelings on matters is like pulling teeth. He is protective, distant, off putting. A man or woman for that matter that wasn't willing to share and open up their world and hearts completely to a partner. This guy is terrified of being hurt and can’t get over the broken heart he had at 16, or the urban legends he heard of how other men he has never met were trampled in a divorce.

8. He Intentionally Sabotages Your Relationship – Whether with hurtful words or intentionally annoying behaviors, the commitment phobic man does everything he can to push you away. If he knows you have an aversion to lateness, he’ll intentionally be late to get your Irish up. He has a very casual attitude about the fact that you two have a date scheduled and is likely to stand you up at the last minute, feigning like he doesn’t understand why you can’t just go with the flow and stop being so anal about things. He presents your anger as you attempting to control his life, when all you are asking for is respect for your time. He’s most likely to strike when you two have had an enjoyable time together and you’re feeling especially loving and seeking closeness. You’d hoped the romantic afterglow would continue, but he dashed it with words that left you wishing he would dry up and blow away. He’ll often tell you about the women that came onto him, flirted with him, or that found him attractive to make you jealous and cause you pain. Since he is doing what he is doing intentionally, his “apologies” have hollow ring and mean nothing.

9. He Finds Fault With Everything - Though no one is perfect, some commitment phobic guys put you on a pedestal of Goddess-like perfection as noted above. But the flip side is the guys that complain and find fault with everything about you that isn’t perfect. This guy has totally unrealistic expectations about what his girlfriend or wife should look like, be like, think like, etc. The fault-finder is prone to nitpick and criticize you endlessly. When he looks at you, it’s with an air of disdain, as if he is communicating his disapproval. There is a strong need for these guys to find something wrong with you that can be used to justify their rejection and exit from the relationship before it gets too serious. Reasons given for rejection have included totally silly things like “when we slept together her bra and panties didn’t match,” or “she doesn’t know anything about football and I want my woman to watch football with me.” Others complain about things he knew when he first met the woman like “she had small boobs and I prefer women with larger breasts” or “she was X race/age/body type and I prefer women of Y race/age/body type.”

10. He’s a Yo-Yo Lover – This guy boings into your life, then when he can’t move forward to a commitment, drops out and runs away. Just as you’ve begun to get over him and move on, like a yo-yo on stealth mode, he quietly rolls back into you world proclaiming that he was a fool, he misses you, and can the two of you at least be friends. Of course you pick up where you left off as if nothing had ever happened only to repeat the same “fail to commit/run away” pattern again and again.

Women Need to Listen Better With Both Their Ears and Eyes

When a man tells you that he’s not ready for a relationship, it means he’s either not interested in commitment in general, or he’s not interested in commitment with YOU. Either way, he isn’t going ot offer anything that you claim you’re looking for. The appropriate response to such a revelation would be to thank him for being open and honest, and to immediately move on to other dating opportunities.

However, for some reason when women hear this type of message, they don’t listen!

At this point its important to say that men communicate by actions as well as words words. If he is SAYING he loves you and sees a future, but you notice that his BEHAVIOR is outlined in this article, you should pay more attention to what he does than the words that come out of his mouth. Most men have no problem with lying to a woman if it will get him what he wants.

Instead of accepting what he's said, women typically begin to make excuses for male behavior (“he’s just confused” or “he’s still hurt from the breakup with his ex”), or see him as a challenge. Many women convince themselves that with enough time, sex like a porn star, and love with them will be so special and unique that he’ll change his mind about commitment.

Ladies, all you’re doing is setting yourself up for heartbreak. When a man tells (or shows) you that he is not into settling down it means he has no intention of offering you a relationship of substance. Therefore, the responsibility for where you go and what you do with this guy is on your shoulders.

If you want a close, intimate, long-term committed relationship, this guy is not the one.

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