I have been dating a man for about 5 months and everything is pretty good. He was married for 10 years and has been divorced for about 2. His ex still gives him a hard time, but he says that he has moved on. He has custody of one child and she the other.
We spend majority of our time together. We go out often, I’ve been introduced to the family and he to mine, and he treats me like I’m his girlfriend. Last week I bought up the subject and the answer wasn’t what I expected. He told me how great I was and that he loved what we have, but at this time, he didn’t have the capacity to commit to more. I processed this and the next day told him that we probably shouldn’t talk or see each other anymore. My rationale was that I was too emotionally caught up and didn’t know when he would have the ‘capacity.’ He was in utter shock!
He said that he expected me to pull back, but not cut it off completely. Then, he back peddled and said he prays daily for god to release some of the things in his life. He also said that just because he doesn’t have the capacity today it doesn’t mean that he won’t have it in 2,4, or 6 months. Being a woman, I accepted his logic and things have been good. He continues to treat me well, but in the back of my mind I’m scared things aren’t going to change and that I’m wasting my time. I want to have kids and he knows this (and says this is fine) so this further complicates the situation because I don’t want to waste these years with someone who doesn’t have the capacity to commit at this time.
Lately I’ve also notice that when we talk about things like houses and cars he uses ‘us’ and ‘we.’ For example, I am considering purchasing a new car (sports). We were talking and he told me to purchase whatever I like, but remember that I want to have kids in a few years and that I would have to get a new car. I said that my future husband would just take my car and I would take his. He told me that if we marry that that car switching wouldn’t work (he doesn’t like small cars) and that I better buy a car that could hold the entire family (including his family). Mixed signals?
I’m really confused. Do I leave since the one thing I know for certain is that he doesn’t have the capacity or enjoy our time together?
See our guy’s response after the jump!
I can tell you right off the bat that I can’t tell you what the best move is going to be, but I can understand the guy’s reluctance to make it official… even if it basically already is in every respect.
For a guy who’s already been married and has custody for one of his two children, I can imagine why he would be very cautious in making commitments with a new woman. My bet is that the root of it is some kind of fear or bad experience. I don’t know the guy or have much information on him, so I am just making a guess. For all I know, he might have committed to his ex-wife and once he did, it was all downhill. For that reason, he might believe (on an emotional level) that if he starts defining commitments that the relationship will go downhill.
It sounds to me like he wants to have a good relationship – he talks about the future, he introduced you to his family, he treats you like a girlfriend. From what you said, it doesn’t sound like he’s trying to avoid commitment so that he can see other women. It sounds like he’s reluctant because he’s dealing with his own stuff and he wants to make sure that both of you are ready for a relationship.
Take it from me, sometimes a guy can really love a woman and not be ready or in a position to have a relationship. But I believe that things can change as time goes on. I can’t guarantee it in your situation specifically, but generally speaking things can work out as long as the guy is working through his issues.
I understand your concerns though – you don’t want to waste your time with a relationship that won’t work out, especially since you want to be a mother someday. I can’t really help you make the call on whether to stay or leave. All I can say is (from what you’ve told me) is that he sounds like he probably had a rough time with his first marriage and wants to be extra careful this time around. Or maybe he believes that the dating dynamic works a lot better for him than the committed relationship dynamic at this point in time. At the very least, if you can see it from this point of view it will probably help you decide how long you’re willing to wait to find out.
I’ll touch upon a few things that I’ve said in previous Ask a Guy posts. One thing I said was that if you’ve been seeing a guy for 3 months and he’s not calling you his girlfriend, chances are he won’t. Now, in the context of when I said it, the gist of the situation was the girl wanted more and the guy seemed comfortable where he was. I don’t get that vibe from what you’re talking about here. I get the impression that he is working out his stuff and his intention is for the relationship to develop once he’s stabilized himself. It still raises the question of how long that will take, but it’s a much different situation than an apathetic guy passively seeing a girl with little effort or interest in the future of the relationship.
Having a title sounds like it would be reassuring, but if you were forced to choose between having an amazing relationship or having the title, I am sure that you (and any other woman) would choose to have a great relationship. The good news is… it sounds to me like you do have that. At least, for the most part.
I would say that it would be a good move for you to take a look at what your thoughts are on the matter. Write them out. Get objective, get clear. Try your best to be rational and to avoid jumping to conclusions… I say this because when you mentioned that you proposed leaving the relationship after he didn’t want to call you his girlfriend, it struck me as kind of an extreme, all-or-nothing type of response. I would bet there were assumptions that you made that upset you that very well might not be the case. It is quite possible that if you talked with him calmly and rationally, it would put both of you at ease.
But it’s not for everyone… it really depends on how easily each of you can have a calm, understanding discussion to let the other one know where you stand. If either of you has a tendency toward anger, or jumping to conclusions, or assuming you know what the other person is thinking, etc., then it probably would not be a good situation to talk about it.
All in all, it’s a choice for you. How much compassion are you willing to extend to him? How long are you willing to wait for him for him to come around? If he were to come around, how would he be in everyday life? How would you be in everyday life? Can you picture it clearly and realistically?
He’s told you what he wants at this moment, so the ball is in your court to decide what you want. All I can really do is shine some light on the situation.
Hope it helps.
– eric charles