Almost every woman has dealt with this type of man - the one who treats her like a girlfriend when they’re together and an option when they're apart. He also conveniently ignores the fact that his commitment-phobia affects more than just him. It obviously leaves the other person feeling confused and rejected as well.
Despite the hurt, the hardest part about this situation is that these men have a lot of potential to be excellent boyfriends, and that’s why we stick around for much longer than they deserve! We wait and wait and wait. Give them chance after chance. Continue to answer their late-night calls in the vain hope that they'll eventually realize how good they've got it!
All that uncertainty has to end at some point though. Why not take control now and find out what you should do when he's dragging his feet towards a commitment?
Find out if he’s been burned in the past
There’s a chance your guy presented his heart on a silver platter to a woman from his past only to be rejected. Or maybe he was cheated on in a previous relationship and now has trouble trusting another partner.
Whatever it is - the fact that he’s stringing you along is a huge sign that, perhaps, he hasn’t completely gotten over his ex. Some guys don’t like to admit that they’ve had their hearts broken. Hell, others won’t even let on that they’re nursing real emotional pain until you step up and start an honest conversation. That time is now...
When the moment feels right, instead of asking him to commit to you, ask him why he can’t. The vent sessions will help him release the anger he's holding on to, and he'll begin to see you as a true confidante who is willing to talk about the hard stuff (aka Girlfriend Material).
Don’t always be so available
Instinctively you might think that simply acting like a girlfriend will make your man want to change but if several months have gone by then, pssst, your plan just isn't working.
Think about it - if he’s getting all the perks of a relationship and still technically has the freedom to go out and flirt with other girls, what’s really motivating him to move towards something more serious with you? Go on living your life as a single girl because you are one!
That means don't drop everything to respond to his texts, don't buy him little trinkets, or be the one who always initiates a hang out. When he asks why you've pulled back (and he'll notice, trust us), be honest. Tell him that because things aren't official between you two then you don't want to show him the kind of affection you'd show a boyfriend. If he's really missing you then he'll certainly rethink his stance on relationships.
Be honest - could there be someone else?
Unfortunately, not being in an exclusive relationship means that he doesn’t have to tell you everything. He could have taken you on really special dates, driven out of town with you on a weekend road trip, and simply made it even harder for you to let things go...but that doesn’t mean he isn’t doing the same thing for another woman.
For the sake of your sexual health, it’s necessary to know how many partners your partner has, so you've gotta suck it up and ask him. Be emotionally prepared because the answer might not be the one you were hoping for.
Are you in FWB situation without knowing it?
Take an honest look back on your relationship with this guy.
Does he call you in the early morning hours? Does he seem disinterested when you talk about your day? Does he only perk up (in more ways than one) when you start to give him flirty bedroom eyes?
There’s a strong chance this guy simply wants to do the dirty with you and isn’t man enough to admit he can't or won't shoulder the responsibilities of being a boyfriend. It’s up to you to decide if you’re OK with being friends with benefits. If you’re not, let him go. You don’t want to date someone who wasn't forthright from the beginning anyway!
Test the waters with other people
If months have passed and you’re still in limbo with this guy, go on a date. Get wined and dined and treated the way you imagined your guy would because you might be pleasantly surprised with what you find! In fact, you might see something better...
Some women want a BF so badly that they're unwilling to see that the one they're chasing after is...kind of a dud. Avoid that trap and date other people to find out if you truly want to want things to work with your commmitment-phobe or if you just want a relationship. If the latter holds true, then there are tons of men out there who'd be proud to have you on their arm and won't put you through all the guesswork!
Put an expiration date on it
Ok, admittedly if you’ve just started seeing a guy who isn't ready to get serious, demanding him to hand you a timeline of when he’ll be ready for a serious relationship is irrational. However, if six months have whizzed by in your pseudo-relationship and he’s still unwilling to give you a clear answer on the girlfriend question - force it outta him.
At that point, you totally deserve to know if there's a future between you two and don't let anyone tell you different! Yes, ultimatums are a polarizing topic but being strung along for a year isn't OK either. Just say, "I think we make a great pair but I can't continue seeing you if isn't exclusive." If he tenses up or mumbles some excuse for why he can't then, honestly, ditch him.
Are you stuck on the word girlfriend?
Some men won’t explicitly say they're fully committed but women can sense that something has shifted. Suddenly they call us every evening to say good night, assume we have weekend plans, and (the biggie!) don't mind getting grief from their single guy friends when they opt to hang out with us instead. Basically, they don't seem interested in anyone else but need a slight push from us to, well, call a spade a spade.
If he still can’t get behind the word “girlfriend,” don’t jump ship yet! Does he call you “boo?” or “the girl I’m seeing”? Does he reach for your hand at a party, indicating that you two are an item?
There are other names and ways to signify monogamy that don’t start with a “g.” Over time, if getting that official title is important to you and his actions reflect how he truly feels, he won’t mind introducing you as a girlfriend from there on out to make you happy.
Stay true to what you want
NEVER, and we mean NEVER, let a man make you feel like you’re clingy or needy for wanting a healthy, monogamous relationship. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with cherishing that form of commitment.
If you get the sense that he finds you annoying or a nag for expressing what you want, he does not deserve you. Sit him down and tell him you're moving on.
And don’t beat yourself up over it either. Yes, in some ways you’ll feel a little embarrassed for giving him the benefit of the doubt, but at least you had enough courage to dive in headfirst and put your heart out there! It’s proof that you can do it again and with someone who is worth your time.
How are you dealing with your commitment-phobe? Tweet us @wewomenCA!