Enlightening Answers: Commitment and a Depressed Partner

Why is it that some men can’t make a commitment? I’ve been talking with a man for a year and a half. We met twice and have been having an affair. But he works late evening hours and says he has no time between his work and kids to be able to stay with anyone. He said that he likes me only as a good friend. Go figure. So I guess we are only good friends with benefits. But tell me how could you turn a man’s mind around to like you? He’s also on all other dating sites as well. My problem is that I really like this guy. What should I do?

Signed: Friend With Benefits

Dear Friend,

Oh, my dear – the world is full of all kinds of men, with all kinds of problems. Just like there are all kinds of women (some women can’t commit, either!). The question isn’t “Why can’t some men commit?” The question is: “Why are you wasting time on one that won’t?” Here’s the deal: 1) He has no time. 2) He doesn’t want to give his time to you. Period. And he’s told you why – he only cares about you as a friend. If he has time enough to be looking for love all over the Internet, he’d have the time to give you more – if he felt more. Giving him your “benefits” isn’t changing that. You can’t turn a man’s mind around to like you. It’s your job to find the man that does without you needing to do anything – no strategizing, no conniving, no games, no convincing, no cajoling, no crying, no begging, no endlessly waiting… no nothing. Just you being you. So, let this puppy go and find that guy. He’s wondering where you are right now. In fact, he’s been writing to me endlessly asking about you. He’s waiting at your nearby Whole Foods, and Home Depot, and Starbucks. You’ll find him by saying hello and smiling at every nice man you see. He’ll smile and say hello back. And then you’ll be committed in no time. Try it and be amazed.

Good luck,

I’m involved with a man who’s depressed. Prior to this he said he loved me but now he’s become withdrawn, says he feels numb and unsure if he loves me anymore. For the last month we’ve had virtually no communication. I love him but wonder if there’s hope here or if I should give up on him?

Signed: Hoping There’s Hope

Dear Hoping,

Depression is a very real, widespread problem and one that often kills relationships. One of my favorite sayings is “Depression causes divorce as much as divorce causes depression.” Why? Because when a person becomes depressed, he does just what you’ve described – he stops being able to feel pleasure, his libido goes right out the window, and he no longer can enjoy anything – even you. So he may mistakenly come to believe that he doesn’t love you because he can no longer feel positive feelings. But the problem isn’t one of love – it’s the depression ruining the party. I don’t know how involved you are, but all you can do is be his friend and encourage him to seek professional help. If he wants to get well there are many avenues to try. If he doesn’t, there’s nothing you can do but leave him to his misery and know it isn’t about you. I hope – for both of your sakes – he finds the answers he needs.

All The Best!

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