You’re seeing a guy… but he just won’t emotionally commit. Ouch.
This is usually how it unfolds. You’ve been dating for a little while, the momentum is strong, things seem to really be driving along in the right direction … but then it stops. He starts to pull away and withdraw and you feel like you’re losing him.
Is he a commitment-phobe? Did he lose interest in you? Did you push him away? Why won’t he commit, and what can you do to get things back on track?
It’s a devastating feeling. You can’t help but blame yourself. You must have done something to cause this. You go through all the possibilities in your mind and come up empty and meanwhile, he’s slipping further away. What happened?
I’m going to break down exactly why a man won’t emotionally commit and what you should do about it.
Take The Quiz: Is He Losing Interest?
Why Is He Withdrawing?
Oftentimes what feels like a man withdrawing … isn’t. It feels that way because he came on so strong in the beginning. He was just so in you. He was texting all day, lining up one date after the next, when you went out he was fully present and engaged. He gobbled up everything you had to say and showed a true and genuine interest in you.
Nothing really happened … but now he’s just not doing those things anymore.
He’s still there, but something has shifted. The quick and easy excuse is to say he just can’t emotionally commit, that men are terrified of commitment. But it’s not that simple.
Yes, some men are afraid of commitment, but they are rare exceptions, not the rule. (Make sure to read this thorough guide on exactly why men withdraw emotionally for more depth on this).
In the Beginning, He Just Wants You To Like Him …
The fact is, in the beginning, he doesn’t really know you yet. You’re a new girl he’s getting to know, he’s attracted and there’s some interest, but he doesn’t know all that much about you yet. But his competitive drive is activated and he wants to win you over because he’s a man and you’re a woman who has captured his attention, so he doesn’t want to lose you to some other guy. So he brings his A- game and he comes on strong. He doesn’t want to leave a crack of space for someone else to swoop him.
His insecurities may get a hold of him and he may say things just see how you react.
He may say, “I’ve never liked a girl so much in such a short time,” and this is partially true, at this point he does like you, but really he wants to see how you’ll react. Are you ecstatic, or do you look freaked out?
Then he gets to know you … and he realizes maybe this isn’t a match. Maybe you aren’t compatible. Maybe this just wouldn’t work long term. Maybe there are things about you that just don’t jive with the way he lives this life. This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, it just means you aren’t the right girl for him.
Why doesn’t he just cut it off then and there? Because He still does have some feelings for you and he’s still exploring what they mean. At the same time, there is a hesitation on his part to go any further because he just isn’t sure.
Why doesn’t he come right out and tell you this?
Because there really is no easy way to say: “I’m not really sure how I feel about you and am just dragging my heels until I figure it out.”
Now there is another way this can unfold. It’s possible the guy still really does like you, he’s just taking a step back because he doesn’t feel like he needs to go full force anymore to win you over. You guys are in a more comfortable and established place so he doesn’t need to pull out all the stops.
From his perspective, this is a good thing. He feels more comfortable with you and it feels nice.
From your perspective, it’s devastating. It feels like the momentum has come to a screeching halt. It feels like he’s losing interest, like he’s pulling back. You don’t understand why everything stopped. But it didn’t stop, it just slowed to a more normal and healthy pace, and that’s a good thing!
If he feels too much pressure coming off of you, then he really will pull back because no man likes to feel like he’s being backed into a corner.
What to Do When a Guy Won’t Emotionally Commit
So he’s been withdrawing, you don’t quite know the reason, but it’s happening. Your relationship isn’t moving anywhere and it seems like he just doesn’t want to commit to you further. What now?
MORE: Why Guys Pull Away
Here is exactly what to do:
1. Don’t chase after him
The more you chase him the faster he’ll run. Chasing him or trying to convince him to be with you is a huge mistake. It makes you look needy and desperate and it’s a turn-off.
This is not the sexy energy that draws men in and keeps them hooked. This is what pushes them further away. Don’t beg or nag or interrogate him or send him a barrage of texts or act out in a desperate plea for his attention. I don’t need to explain to you why these are all bad ideas.
Don’t bend over backward trying to show him what an amazing girlfriend you would make. Again, this is not what inspires a man to commit. If anything, you’ll make him even more complacent with the situation exactly as it is and then he’ll never be motivated to change things.
2. Remember you are OK
Whether it works out with him or it doesn’t, you will be OK. Tell yourself this as many times as you need to until it really seeps in.
This is where the panic comes from. It comes from that feeling of “I am not OK and I need him to commit to me in order to be OK.” This is an extremely unhealthy attitude. This causes you to cling desperately onto the relationship and ignore any red flags or signs that this isn’t right.
You get so attached to one particular outcome (the outcome being you end up with him) and you can’t see beyond it. If that doesn’t come to pass you will be crushed and devastated and you don’t know how you will go on.
This mindset puts you on edge. It activates all your fears and insecurities. It causes you to give off a negative, anxious vibe and even the densest man can pick up on a vibe. And it’s off-putting. It won’t feel good for him to be around you anymore and it won’t be long before he disappears completely.
Now getting to a place where you feel totally OK Is different. You know that no matter what, it will be fine. If it doesn’t work out with this guy you’ll be disappointed, but you’ll move on and will find someone better suited for you.
3. Focus on yourself
Don’t waste your time obsessing over him and going over every detail of the relationship in your mind. Spend your time doing literally anything else!
But really you should be focusing on yourself, and focusing on ways to be your best self. Focus on finding happiness in your own life. Focus on the mindsets that lead you to obsess over your relationships. Try to uncover the fears and insecurities that are leading you down this path of anxiety and worry so you stop letting them overtake you.
Spend time with friends, spend time at the gym, spend time just being alone. Focus on getting back to yourself and getting to a strong solid place.
Don’t worry about what he’s doing. If he wants you, he knows how to find you. If he doesn’t come after you, he doesn’t want to and there’s nothing you can do about that. At least now you’re in a better and stronger place and are more equipped to find someone new.
4. If he tells you he doesn’t want to be in a relationship, believe him
This is the most devastating relationship mistake women make. A guy says he doesn’t want to be in an official relationship, and she thinks he doesn’t mean it and he’ll change his mind as soon as he discovers how amazing she is. Or she sees it as some sort of challenge and is determined to change his mind. Or she feels crushed, but she likes him so much that she can’t let him go, and it’s better to have him in some capacity than not have him at all. And maybe he’ll change his mind…
Nope, he probably won’t. I’ve seen these situations drag on for years, I even wasted one precious year of my own life in a relationship like this. The guy told me clearly and explicitly right at the beginning that he didn’t want to be in a relationship … and I stayed. I stayed because I really liked him and I couldn’t fathom leaving and it was a huge mistake with devastating consequences.
If he says he doesn’t want to be in a relationship, and if you do want to be in a relationship, then move on. This is not the situation for you. Either he’ll realize he made a huge mistake and will realize he does want to be with you, or he’ll totally let you go, in which case you know he was never really in it, to begin with.
When a guy is in it, he doesn’t let his woman just walk away.
Most men are not afraid of commitment. This is an erroneous idea that gained a lot of momentum. And it makes things easier for you because you because it absolves you of any responsibility in the relationship. There was nothing you did, he’s just a “commitment-phobe.”
This is problematic for a few reasons. For one, if you make the assumption that all men are anti-commitment, you won’t ever be able to relax in a relationship. You will be waiting for him to stay true to his nature and just disappear, because that’s what guys do, right? This is a horrible foundation for a new relationship.
Adopting this belief will just make you feel bitter and jaded. And that’s a waste because it’s not true. Men may be more cautious about who they enter into a relationship with, but that doesn’t make them anti-relationship. Most men love being in a relationship when it’s the right relationship.
If he’s not committing to you in the way you want, it’s either because he doesn’t think you’re the girl for him, or he’s just settling into a more normal routine and slowing the relationship to a more steady pace. Neither of these is such a big deal, so stop stressing over it!
Just be your best self, enjoy the journey, and don’t worry so much, no good ever comes of it.
I hope this article helped you better understand why a man won’t emotionally commit. But there is something else you need to be aware of before you proceed. There is one pivotal moment in any relationship that will determine if you last longterm, or if you end up heartbroken and alone. At some point, a man will pull away and he might start losing interest. He isn’t as responsive or as excited by you. You’re afraid that you might be losing him. Do you know how to respond? If not, you could make things even worse and wind up fully pushing him away so be sure to read this now: If He’s Pulling Away, Do This...
Leave your thoughts and questions in comments!
Take The Quiz: Is He Losing Interest?
This is What to Do When a Man Won’t Emotionally Commit:
- Don’t chase after him
- Remember you are OK
- Focus on yourself
- If he tells you he doesn’t want to be in a relationship, believe him