Do men really fear commitment? Yes. They fear committing to the wrong woman. Women fear never finding a man who will commit. That’s a lot of fear to deal with! Fear and love don’t easily co-exist. If you want a committed, loving relationship (isn’t that the goal?), then you have to start with yourself.
Are you sure that you’re ready for a committed relationship? Romance and excitement are only small piece of the pie. Compromise is the next 90 percent. If you really savor your autonomy, give yourself pause before putting any pressure on the guy. If you’re dating a lot of different people, are you really ready to let that go? And if you’re pushing for commitment just to ease any misgivings about the other person, stop right here! If you have reservations about his character, a relationship is not going to fix the problem.
But, if you’ve already lost interest in dating other people and you want this relationship to deepen and grow, it’s time for fidelity in body and spirit.
Rule 1: Easy Does it
Men are creatures of habit. They like their caves. They like their buddies. And they like to watch football. Okay, yes, that’s simplifying it a lot. But they build lives that make them feel secure. Commitment means change. They don’t want to be emasculated by losing their poker night, their time to veg-out in front of the TV or long hikes with the dog. If you come over and criticize his decorating, complain if he makes plans with his friends or ask a lot of pointed questions about his finances, he might have some hesitations about committing to you. Relationships are about practicing loving action. Start there. He won’t change who he is just because you have a commitment to each other. You have to accept him just the way he is right now. Potential is not a personality trait. He’s not a project.
Rule 2: Lay the Groundwork
Negotiations go best when the terms are upfront. Fantasizing that a man will read your mind is going to lead to one thing: communication breakdown. Starting one game and switching the rules doesn’t usually work well either. If you’ve just been having uncommitted casual sex, this negotiation may be over from the start. Men have singular focus. Once you are bucketed into a certain category, it’s nearly impossible to move into another one. However, if you have been taking it slow sexually and dating for a while, just say what you want.
Rule 3: Don’t Scare Him Off
Men never want to hear the words “we need to have a talk.” What would work better is something like this: “I’ve been looking for someone wonderful to be in a relationship with and you have the great qualities I’ve been seeking. What are you looking for?” And then, really listen to his answer. “I don’t know, let me think about it,” is perfectly acceptable. He should think about it. This is a big decision. Be patient. Keep all of your “relationship” talk that way. Say something complimentary about how you feel about him. Then say what you desire. Then listen. Don’t build your case by citing things he’s said to you or why he should be ready now. He will tell you.
Rule 4: Be Ready to Walk
He might tell you he’s not looking for a commitment, or that he actually has no idea what he’s looking for. But it’s clear, whether it’s fear or he’s just not into you, it’s time to walk. And you have to do it right away. Don’t hang around with the old terms. Men like to have things for free and without consequences. And access to you, especially hanging on as a friend, means he gets you and everyone else he wants. Don’t delude yourself.
Rule 5: The Direct Goodbye
Keep it short: “I have to give myself the freedom to heal and move on. It’s best we don’t contact each other, but thank you for the time we have spent together.” This kind of response asserts your boundaries, your expectations and keeps it real. You’re not going to wait around, so if he’s going to change his tune, the clock is running. If you two really have the strong connection you think you do, he will contact you in a few weeks or even months and tell you that he realizes how much you mean to him and now he is ready to commit. Or he may never call, which is going to be a gift — though a painful one. But don’t you deserve someone who wants you as much as you want them?
The reality is, some men will simply never commit. They may be very successful in their careers and love their mothers and even put the lid down, but they just don’t have “wife and kids” on their list. They may have a string of one- or two-year relationships behind them. Why did those women leave? I bet you can guess. Looking for love is a high-stakes game. If you’re trying to avoid heartbreak, better stay home. But if you know what you desire and you’re not willing to spend time settling for less, you will eventually find a worthy partner.
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