Why Won't He Commit? 7 Things You Can Do to Move Things Along

There’s a very common scenario that seems to happen to all of us at one time or another, and sometimes over and over again.  We end up in a relationship with a guy that has tons of potential, IF he would just commit!  And the dilemma is always - how long to wait it out to see if he truly IS going to come around?  Or are we just wasting our time?  Or, what if you've finally had enough, and decide to move on right before he was about to come around?  This is one of the most commonly asked questions because we are such a hopeful group.  The bottom line is that what we’re really asking is how do we know if he’ll ever commit?

When I was doing some soul searching on this subject, I realized that this was my own number one reason for being single as long as I was.  I wasted so much time and energy - especially time – waiting.  Waiting for a guy to come around. Waiting and waiting for him to commit. And then another one.  And another.  And so on.  It seems so obvious to me now, but while I was in the thick of it, with each new relationship that showed so much potential if he would only commit, my greatest fear was always that he would have come around if I had only hung on a little longer.  And that fear ensured that I repeated the same pattern over and over again, never getting that if I had just walked away earlier, I would have saved myself so much pain and heartbreak.  And, as I’m realizing from hearing from so many women today just like I was then, things have not changed much.  We’re still waiting, holding out hope he’ll come around.  Still bound by the fear that he’s about to come around any time now, and if we leave we’ll miss out on our one and only chance at true love.

Because here’s the thing; by waiting around, by staying even though we’re not getting what we really want from him, he’s learning what he can get away with, the bare minimum he has to do to keep us around.  After all, he is attracted to us.  He does like having us around, at least when he wants to remember what it’s like to have a girlfriend and to collect on the benefits of having one.  But the rest of the time, he wants to continue to be able to live his life in his comfort zone.  Read: he’s just not ready for a real relationship right now.  To put it another way, what he’s really saying is he’s just not ready to commit to what it means to be in a real relationship with you right now.  He’s not ready for the give and take thing, the equal thing, the sharing your life with another person thing.  The him being with you and you being with him thing.  The open communication thing.  He’s not ready, but he’s not quite ready to give it up either.  He’s thinking that someday he’s going to be ready for a real relationship and he wants you to be there, too.  Just not right now.  He wants to have it both ways – enjoy having you as his girlfriend, but also hanging onto his single life, and still being able to keep his options open.

The irony is that he actually knows you’re all that – he knows what a great catch you are, maybe even more than you know what a great catch you are.  And he also knows what you want from him, but the reality is he also knows he can’t give it to you right now.   But someday he thinks he might be able to.  Someday, when he’s ready to make some changes, ready to give up his current extra-curricular single man activities and settle down, then he’ll be ready for what you want.  Complete with the white picket fence, a loving wife and beautiful children.  He’d like that too, really, someday.   Just not right now.  Did you get that distinction?  That’s an important point I want to make here.  He’s not a bad guy, he’s got some great qualities and yes, I can totally see why you’re head over heels for him and why you really, really, really want him to be the one.  But he’s not the one right now.  And that’s the thing.  We really don’t know when he will be, if ever.  And you’re ready now.  Which means he’s not the one for you.

I know; you’d like to think it will happen soon but there’s just no way of knowing.  It may not be for a really, really, really long time.  And it might not happen at all.  And that’s what you have to realistically come to terms with.  Are you willing to waste any more of your life waiting for him to come around?

So how can you avoid wasting a big chunk of your life on a guy that’s never going to commit?  These took me a long time to learn, but hopefully I can save you a lot of time – and heartbreak.  Here are seven things that you can do right now to move down the path to commitment:

1.  Listen to what he says – and believe him!

Chances are he’s already told you one way or another that’s he’s not interested in a long term commitment, at least not right now.  This is where you have to take him at his word.  We all too often want to believe that he’ll change, that after being with you for a while he’ll come around and be ready to commit.  Or, even worse, we play along and tell him it’s fine, we’re not looking for a major commitment either – how crazy is that?  Ladies, we need to be up front about it – let him know that you’re in this for the long term, and you’re looking for a guy who wants the same thing.  And know that if a guy is telling you he’s not ready for a commitment it’s very unlikely that he’ll change his tune, particularly if he’s telling you this after you've let him know that you want a commitment.  If this is the case, your best move is to let him go and find yourself a guy that’s looking for the same thing you are.

2.  Watch what he does – and remember that actions speak louder than words!

The same thing applies for what he’s telling you by his actions.  If he’s mostly living life like a single guy, often going out with his friends when you’re not invited or included, look at those actions as very strong indicators that this guy is not into a relationship right now, and may not be for a very long time, if ever.  He may be a great guy, but his maturity level is showing here, and it’s indicating he’s not on the same page as you are.  If he’s ready for a real commitment, he’ll show you that he is by being there for you and making plans for your future together.  If there’s no sign of any long term plans, then he’s stuck in single-guy mode.  It’s time to clearly let him know what you expect in a relationship, which brings us to the next point.

3.  Talk to him about what you’re looking for.

While I’m sure you've given him enough hints, either subtle or not so subtle, about what you’re looking for, it’s time to be absolutely clear and make sure that he understands that you’re looking for a long term relationship.  Define it for him, to make sure he understands – after all, his definition of a long term relationship might be quite different from yours.  If you want to be married (at some point), let him know; if you want children (again, at some point), let him know this as well.  It’s very important to make sure that you’re both wanting to go down the same path, otherwise you’ll both be unhappy later.  I can’t say this enough – don’t beat around the bush here – make sure he completely understands that you’re looking for someone to build a future with. If he still can’t give you what you want, find someone who will.

4.  Set a reasonable time limit.

Do this primarily for yourself, but it's also a good idea to let your guy know what you’re thinking.  I’m not talking about giving him an ultimatum; I’m just talking about clearly communicating what you’re looking for in a relationship, and generally how long you’re willing to wait for it.  This will be different for each of you, of course, depending on where you are in your life.  You may not even know yourself.  And if this is the case, it’s time for some soul searching, because if you don’t know how long you’re willing to wait, you certainly won’t be able to communicate this to your guy.

5.  Keep living your own life!

Ironically, you may find in living your own life, your very best life, focusing on YOU and what you enjoy, that commitment issues naturally work themselves out.  You’ll find that through living your own life and following your own passions that you become stronger, healthier, and happier.  You’ll begin to clearly see that you’re worth much more than what you've been getting from him, and suddenly it becomes all too clear what you need to do for you.  You may meet a guy that’s a much better match for you while you’re out doing what you love.  Alternatively, you may find that your current relationship improves drastically because you’re filling your life with so many things that you’re passionate about that your partner picks up on the energy and is able to fully engage in the relationship.  The bottom line is that only good can come of making time for yourself and pursuing your own interests.

6.  Know when to draw the line.

Once you've decided on your own personal time limit, stick to it.  Know when enough is enough.  When it’s time to let go and move on.  It’s different for everyone, but at some point trust your gut instincts.  If you've passed your time limit and he’s clearly showing you he’s not coming around, then respect yourself and gracefully move on.

7.  Trust that if he really IS the One, it WILL happen… even if you choose to let him go.

I know.  You’re just thinking he’s got to be close.  And the worst fear in your mind right now is that you might just decide to get out now, before you waste any more of your life away, but, you’re saying to me, what if he’s ready the next day?  What then?  I’ll have missed my chance!  OK, I get what you’re saying, because I've been there too, but just so you’re clear, and so we can take the fear factor out of the equation here, let’s reiterate.  If he’s really that great and he decides he’s ready to be what he knows he needs to be for this relationship to work (and lest there be any confusion here, he knows it’s his move, he knows it’s up to him to make this work if it’s going to work), you’ll know!  He knows how to use a telephone, a cell phone, a computer, and a car – he knows how to get in touch with you if he wants to.  And then you can decide for yourself if it’s for real and begin your happily ever after life, or if it’s just more drama and you’re smart enough to see it for what it is this time and opt not to get pulled back in.  But it will be your choice, and on your terms.

The bottom line is that you only deserve the best, and that means you won’t settle for anything less than what you deserve.

About Jane

Comments

  1. hi jane, i cried a lot when i read this topic of yours. I'm with a situation that a guy cannot commit. I'm confused but your article helps me a lot. thank you more power

    • This article is amazing! it really just made me feel a bit better about the decision i made....Ive know this guy for 4yrs now. we recently got reconnected last year in late june. we dated for about a month and saw each other 3x a week. until then we both started school and went back to our work,school, gym routine. Then i felt as if there was no connection from his part towards me so i left him go late December. I thought hey why not start the year fresh....and then right in the middle of class in early March i get a text from him :( boohoo right when i had no thoughts of him he came back into my life. We then talked and we didnt date at all. we just went to the gym together a few times and where involved sexually. I then decided i was too sensitive for this and let him go. Then fr the next 2 months I just kept starring at my phone wondering when he would text me and he never did. I then texted him late July. he then confessed that he missed me and wanted to talk to me but didnt text me because of the way acted with him the last time we spoke ( i would have my moments where i would get upset of the situation with him and act all mean towards him)..he then said that this would be the last time we did this whol working things out thing which btw to this day idk what we were working out since we didnt date this whold 2013 year....i finally gave up and texted him letting him know that i didnt want to do this whole guessing thing anymore because i was too sensitive for this. he never texted back..its about to be a month and im hanging in strong not to text him and this just made me feel a bit better....like i tell myself daily. "if its meant to be hell come back to me"...although i doubt he will...id like to hear back from you :)

      • I'm glad this helped you, Jessica; it's always so easy to second guess ourselves and our decisions when we're not completely sure what we want in the first place! It sounds like this is what's happening here; that you're not sure what you're looking for from him, so he's confused as well. On the one hand you're giving him the message that you're ok with having a physical relationship with him, but then you decide you're not - which is completely understandable since you deserve so much more than that! - but it can be confusing to both of you when you're the one taking the initiative in a relationship. Since you don't seem to have a problem being direct with him, try to remember that you are completely in control of how you want this to go, because it sounds like he's looking for some clarity from you before he decides he's willing to go through all this again.

        There's usually a reason we let someone go, Jessica, so I would really look at your reasons for wanting to be with him - and what that even looks like in terms of what kind of a relationship you want - and then once you're clear, you'll know whether or not you want to pursue anything further with him. While it's true that if it's meant to be, he will come back to you, in this case, once again he may be waiting to hear from you since the last word he had from you was that you were done with all this. But ultimately, trust your gut instinct here; you know!

      • Too much tooing and froing; eventually your self esteem will diminish and you won't know boundaries ... You'll lose your values and idea of the type of healthy relationship you deserve.

        Finish with him permanently. Get involved with charity work, domestic chores, anything to keep yourself busy until you're over this unhealthy desire...and pattern.

        Go Cold turkey!

    • Jackie Kendra says:

      Thank you Jane for this article and advice. I have been dating my boyfriend for 8 years now. We started dating in college at 18. We had this conversation about commitment and all he could say is he is not yet ready. He is a wonderful guy, very respectful and I know he loves me. We have had our issues and always managed to overcome them. Two years back, we started living in different states and our LDR has been going great until I went to visit him for 3 months. During the 3 months, we used to fight, it became stressful and he began to withdraw. Despite this, we still managed to enjoy each other's company. Once of the reasons we disagreed was because he told me he was not ready for marriage though he says loves me. He says he still has a lot of things to complete before he can think of getting married. He has no time frame of when he thinks he will be ready. I do not understand this. I told him I was not ready to continue with a relationship that was headed no where so I was gonna call it quits. In summary, the 3 months was both great and stressful at the same time. Anyhow, am back to my state and he has not called me in a week coming to 2 weeks now neither have I called him. I am frustrated and feel I need to end the relationship because we are on different pages right now regarding commitment but he is such an amazing guy and I know we truly love each other. Jane, am confused and not sure how to handle this.

      • You have to decide what you can live with and what you can't, Jackie. Some of us can stay with someone like this and keep living our own lives and getting our emotional needs met elsewhere by creating a life full of loving and supportive people and activities, hobbies and passions that fill our cup so that someone like this is only one small part of our lives and not the full thing. But others of us need to know we're progressing with someone, and we can't do the let's wait and see while I live my own life, type of living. Listen to your gut instinct here, Jackie, and your answer should become clearer. If someone is truly right for you, know that you'll both be on the same page, you'll both want the same thing and be willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. But it has to come from both of you. Only yo

    • Thank you for this article , I have felt pretty confused due to my current situation. I met a guy online dating four months ago. After the first date I did not hear for two weeks, so I carried on with my life and assumed that he wasn't interested. Then he text out of the blue and we ended up meeting again, on the third date he started opening up and a pattern has since evolved, whenever we get really close he then dissapears. He doesn't ever ring , but this behaviour doesn't seem to be limited to me I noticed he didn't answer his mum's calls either. The last time we met I made it crystal clear that I was not going to be a friend with benefits. He opened up and admitted that he thought relationships were trouble, votalile and he didn't people that people should live together. He then started to cry, he admitted that his childhood was awful and that his parents were violent towards each other. His ex girlfriend also hit him and would physically hurt him if another attractive woman entered the room. I gave him a hug and tried to reassure him that it was not normal behaviour. He seemed to cling on quite tightly. For two weeks I heard nothing and was very ill. I text and offered support, he was thankful and said it was sweet. Then I heard nothing, then I got the usual random text: Hey, how are you? So I told him I had been ill and was having a scan. He replied: Scan?x So
      I replied explaining the situation and heard nothing for five days. So I thought enough was enough and blocked him on the online website, within a few hours he text. Hey honey, just in Italy how are you doing? I left it a day and just replied back good. That was a few days ago. I cannot carry on like this, so I am going with option 2 for now. I'd appreciate any insights on this x

  2. I hear your pain, Rose; and I'm honored to be able to help you in some way. it can be so heartwrenching when someone we care so deeply about cannot commit to us like we want them to. Keep taking care of yourself in the process and you will find your way through this to the other side; whatever that may look like.

    Wishing you much love and peace within your heart :-)

  3. Hi I read your article and I cried like a baby especially the last part about letting him go. He's a wonderful, wonderful man. He respects me and he's honest. We spend time together, we go out, all of that. He tells me he loves me and he wants me to be his wife one day. But right now he can't commit to me. I feel that i'm wasting my time. Should I continue seeing him or let him go and pray that he will come back to me when he's ready.

    • My heart goes out to you, Terri - this is truly one of the most difficult situations to be in and one of hardest decisions to make. It sounds like he is everything you are looking for in a life partner, with the one huge exception that he is not ready to commit to you right now. And that is a huge exception. I have both been there myself, waiting and holding onto hope that eventually he would see the light, and I have heard countless stories of other friends and women I've counseled who have hung in there, waiting, wasting so much time and energy and their lives, holding onto hope that one day, these otherwise wonderful men would commit.

      The reality is, none of us can know for sure when, or even if, someone will ever commit to us. And that becomes the point. How long are you willing to wait for someone to be ready? In your heart of hearts, you already know what the answer is, but when you're in the midst of it, this can be the hardest decision to make. Ask yourself what you would say to a friend who was in a similar situation, asking you the same question. Step back from your own circumstances and ask yourself if you will be ok waiting any longer for someone who may never commit to you. And then have that honest conversation with him where you let him know where you stand. And what you are and are not willing to accept from him. Not an ultimatum, but an honest talk about you and what you're looking for and not willing to settle for. And then from there, you will know more. If you've already had that conversation before, then make a plan to give him a specific amount of time in your own mind, and then stick to your plan. Choose you, and all that you are, and all that you have to offer, before him.

      You deserve nothing less than someone who is wonderful and honest and treats you with respect AND is on the same page as you when it comes to marriage and commitment. Only you know whether or not he truly is that someone.

      • Dear Jane,
        I read your wonderful article and I really appreciate many of the advices you presented. However, I find that I need to share my experience with you, on behalf of Terri as well, to shed some more light on this very sensitive and difficult dilemma we go through with the wonderful men that enter our lives.

        I was in the same situation of meeting the right man. He was wonderful in all aspects, successful, handsome, kind, respectful and respectable, but he was not ready to commit!!! We met at a social event and we were instantly attracted to each other. He called me and showed interest and we dated for several months. But he was detached or rather reluctant to pursue a committed relationship. He courted me respectfully and said that he was falling for me, but again no relationship!!! I got frustrated and broke it off! I was devastated by my own doing. That's when I realized I was my own enemy! I, then, decided that this has to change! I made some soul searching and managed to detect what was it that I keep doing whenever I attract a man that I want to keep. Here is what I found out about myself:
        1. My character changes once he expressed interest ((expectant/dependent)
        2. I was coming along as the one waiting for his decision to commit (subordinate/victim)
        3. I was unconsciously assuming the role of a girlfriend (demanding/clingy)
        4. I was getting frustrated and impatient which affected my actions, words and mood (needy)
        5. My happiness depended on him (clingy)
        6. I was giving myself the blues though he was honest and straightforward from the beginning (insecure)
        7. I was doing everything to myself because "my" expectations "according to me" were not met (stupid)

        So you see the pattern? Although he liked me a lot, he must have seen me as pushy, clingy and desperate! He must have felt pressured into having a relationship just because he is attracted to me and expressed his interest! He must also have felt like I am too available to present a challenge!

        So, I chose to reverse the roles and be a challenge and an intrigue and started regarding myself as a prize! Men respond better to actions more than words. I liked him too much to let him go so I made a subtle, deliberate and slow paced plan to bring him closer. We girls are always in a hurry and in need of immediate results which in most cases don't work or backfire! Ladies, relax and take a deep breath. Time is your ally, don't rush things.
        Now what did I do?
        1. I stopped initiating contact and only returned calls/texts/emails at leisure (I have a life)
        2. When we talked on the phone or met, I was always polite, cheerful and happy (independent)
        3. When I return the contact I was cleverly concise yet very pleasant (confident)
        4. I stopped mentioning relationships altogether and assumed a positive attitude towards what we had (fun)
        5. I didn't panic when he didn't call or text - no matter how long it took (comfortable in my own skin)
        6. When he called after a long time I never blamed or reacted and chatted like he called yesterday (trusting)
        7. I never said NO or broke any date with him and made sure that I looked and behaved my best (secure)
        8. I was always well groomed, well dressed and radiating ladylike confidence (fake it if you don't feel it)

        Gradually he started to see me in a new light and began to relax and share with me things that he never did share before. I took the worry element out of the equation and he was becoming more open. I was consistent and maintained the course for 3 months only.

        Now he is my boyfriend and wants to shout it out to the world. I am still maintaining my slow paced plan and he finds it frustrating that I now want to take things slow. Now I am the one curbing his enthusiasm and will continue on this course as it is paying off with every passing day. Not only in my relationship with him, but more importantly in my relationship with myself. It made me put myself in the higher position of control and realize my self worth. Actions speak louder than words, so ladies the key factor is keeping the plan entirely to yourselves and execute it with dignity, patience and precision. Do not tell him or tell a friend! This is your life and only you is the one who should see it through. Go get that wonderful man and be happy!

        • Thanks for sharing your story, Gemma; you described this process so eloquently!

          This is what it's really all about; getting in touch with yourself, seeing your blind spots, recognizing your triggers and then living your life to its fullest so that what any "he" does or doesn't do isn't as important as you and your own beautiful life - the one that you create for yourself that gives you that natural sense of confidence, security, independence and trust in yourself that radiates through authentically when you're truly comfortable in your own skin!

        • But did you date other men or let him know you were open to? I love your approach and have used some of the same tactics myself, however, i get caught up in the authenticity and motive-checking thing.

          • Im kind of in the same situation my guy after 7 months told me dont expect a future from him because of our cultural differences. I was really heart broken were still talking to each other he treats me like his girlfriend but in the back of my mind its hurting to know that there isn't going to be a future with him and I. I never told him I love him. I know I love him and it makes it so hard for me to express myself knowing there isn't going to be a future for him and I. What do I do in a situation like this , this is the first time im going through something like this. Ive fallen so much for him and he tells me he lives me but dont expect for him to make me his wife.

            • Of course you're heartbroken, Anne; it's so hard to hear that you're not on the same page from someone you've given 7 months of your time and energy and love to. But if you can see his honesty as a gift, that you now know exactly where he stands and can make your own decision based on what he's telling you, this will be so much easier on you. Because now you can decide what you want to do here. And that's empowering, my beautiful friend! You can choose what you want your life to look like; with this guy because you decide he's worth it to you to settle for a relationship on his terms without the future as his wife, or without him, because you choose your dream and your future as someone's future wife who will want what you want - with you! - and will be on the same page as you!

              We get so caught up in trying to make someone love us, that we forget all too often that this isn't about that; that we really can't make anyone choose us.

              But what this journey is about, is finding out whether you're compatible with someone, whether you're both on the same page, whether you're both open to the same future together, with the same level of commitment before you give your heart and soul to someone who is only going to break your heart when you find this all out later, when you've invested so much of yourself in this one person. The reality of what is, although hard to accept, is always what matters most, regardless of what we'd like it to be; regardless of how much we want to be different.

        • This is a reply to what Gemma wrote.

          Your story has truly inspired me. I feel that too many times we females get "girly" for lack of a better word. By girly, we begin to expect from a man who we are only dating and is not yet committed to us.
          I am currently in a situation where I have been dating a guy for about 10 months now. I lost myself and basically became everything Gemma listed (clingy, expectant, etc) all because he expressed his interest. I want commitment and he does too but not until he gets his masters and finishes with school. However I consider that an excuse because when love is in your face, you'll make it work in that moment because you fear never having the chance again.
          Well, I have created my own plan to getting this man to commit. I plan on following Gemma's advice and believe it will work. Do me and live my own life. Give him a chance to be a man and want me because he wants me and not because I want him. I plan on focusing on me and living my life out. I notice in the past that those are the moments he draws closer. I've just never been consistent lol.
          The article describes my situation perfectly. Having a great man who knows your a catch but just wants to hold you around until he's ready to commit because at this point he has other priorities. Ladies, show him that you too have other priorities. Remain cool headed, be nice, smile, laugh, do YOU! and stop worrying about him or "ya'll"....I promise, something favorable will come from that. My only problem is consistency but now I am more determined and dedicated. Let the "new me" begin!
          If you want him, get him! "smartly"

        • Thank you so much Gemma, I really agree with you and your story is very inspirational!

        • Jocelyn Sullivan says:

          Gemma ur story is so inspiring, I keep reading it to gain self worth within myself. I just recently told my friend with benefits tht this is no longer going to work for me. At some point u become tired of waiting and wanting to be tht girlfriend. I realized I have a life tht I need to focus on and I hve dreams. I had to stop and say I deserve way better, thts his loss not mine :-) reading ur story gave me tht leap of faith to keep it moving so thnk u for ur inspiring story. My journey of no where with him came out to still b a good out come because I hve wrote amazing songs from my experience lol!!!! and I will soon show the world.

        • Being Real Davis says:

          Thank you Gemma!!!! GREAT ADVICE!!!

        • But what about... says:

          While I love Gemma's response and it is certainly something I need to do in my current situation, I was curious where intimacy came into play. Basically, I am unsure of whether I want to have sex with him during this process. I know I personally do because I care about him and he makes me happy, but I also know that by giving him this, maybe he feels like he doesn't have to put the effort in. But I also don't want him to think that I am purposely trying to anger him, or that I am no longer fulfilling that part of his life, making him seek elsewhere which I know he already has. I know he cares for me in a way that is more than a friendship, but he doesn't seem able to commit faithfully. He says he wants to try his hardest to ready himself for a relationship with me, that he doesn't want anyone else, and wants me to support him in his own self reflecting process. I have set a time span in my own head, a time span for me to work on me and for him to work on him. But will that work if we continue to be intimate or should I with-stain?

          - Very Confused

          • You have to ultimately do what feels right for you, BWA, and what you can live with and feel comfortable with. You want to make sure you're not using this as a punishment or a manipulative tool or game, but instead that you're coming from a place of love and respect for yourself and what you need here. This isn't meant to be a game you play to get someone to come around, but rather as an attitude where you focus so much on yourself on your own life, that what someone does or doesn't do doesn't affect you so much. It's the concept of genuinely being hard to get, and not just playing hard to get.

            It will "work" if it's meant to be, if he's there on the same page as you, and that's how you'll know if he's right for you. Not because of a game you're playing, but because you're letting him know by your actions that you know your own worth and you're setting your own boundaries around what behaviors are, and are not, acceptable to you. That's what this is all about, BWA, giving yourself enough time to get to know someone to discover if you're on the same page or not, without losing yourself in the process. This isn't about him, this is about you doing what you need to do for you so that you can know where he's truly at and whether you're both on the same page, looking for the same level of commitment. Only you know what he's worth to you.

        • Hi Gemma,

          I'm in the same situation as you prior to the big change you made with yourself. I've been dating this guy for 2 months. He came off very strong, said I love you, thought about the future, CONSIDERED marriage and kids (he didn't like either one of the ideas) and made future plans to travel and so forth. However, due to our similarities and differences, we argued a lot. He stopped trying, barely replied to text or texted all, hated calling or talking on the phone and would cancel/see me less. Not only that, he keeps close contact with his exes, specifically one that he broke off with cause she wanted to get married and he didn't. He won't add me on his social media sites and won't tell me what he's doing most of the time. I confronted him and told him he was not being fair and he has stopped trying. I asked why he can't just try and be with me. He said that he could but not to the standards I would like to. I was crying every night for a week which he knew and said that we should just break up since he's clearly not making me happy and doesn't have the means to do so since he's busy with work and his life. After saying this he would then go to say that "he loves me" and what am I to do after we break up? Is there a chance to get back together if we do? We are still together. I'm trying to give him more space and think about how I truly feel about this situation but I'm just confused.

          • Are you confused about the fact that he keeps close contact with his exes, that he won't add you on his social media sites and that he won't tell you what he's doing most of the time? He's clearly showing you his terms, Monique, it's up to you to decide for yourself what you want to do with them. Two people get back together if both of them want to get back together, but both people have to want to, they have to be on the same page, and want the same thing with each other and be willing to do what it takes to make that happen.

            You can't do this alone, it has to come from him, too. The reason why you give someone space is to see what they do with it - do they make an effort to fill in that space with themselves, or do they make more space by not coming closer or being in contact with you. Just giving someone space doesn't change things; it's when you live your own life in that space and fill it with the people and activities and hobbies that make you happy that you discover that what someone else does or doesn't do isn't as important as what you do. Do what makes you happy, Monique, and you'll know soon enough about him.

        • Anastasia says:

          Gemma,
          I read what you wrote and it totally hit the spot. I recently had to back up and take a look at myself, realize how my self esteem was being affected and what I could do to overcome some of the negative feelings I was experiencing. My boyfriend is a captain of a major airlines and alternates his monthly schedule between a reserve (where he's on call) and a block schedule. We have a ball together. He's a GREAT guy, very affectionate toward me both privately and publicly, super sense of humor, is committed to being my boyfriend and suggested we move in together. (We live about an hour and a half apart from each other currently and typically spend several days together at a time with each other, alternating between both of our homes.) He (very carefully) brought up the idea of us moving in together. We started looking at properties, figuring out how I could move my business up to where he lives, etc.. We worked out the logistics and came up with a solid plan to make it all happen. Then, one day I make a little loving, playful joke and ask him if he's sure he's ready for this. Completely out of the blue, he says he's not sure.

          Based on what he had been communicating to me for so long, I never, ever expected this answer. So, I talked to him about it, and the more we attempted to talk, the more I began to realize that he has serious communication issues when it comes to his innermost emotions. One day we were relaxing on the sofa, and I even asked him what was most important to him in a relationship. He told me he was not going to tell me. I laughed because I thought he was joking, and then I asked him again and he said the same thing. When I asked him why, he said, "I'm not going to tell you because you might hold it against me one day." I was baffled. We've never had any major disagreements and as a surrealist artist, it's part of my job to be in touch with and understand my feelings, so I'm able to utilize them in my work. I comment on things all the time from the way the sky makes me feel to the touch of his hair. He's very clear and succinct when he communicates about other matters, but when it comes to his innermost feelings, he admitted that he thinks he needs a little time to figure things out. So we tabled things for a while so he could have his space (although inside I was pretty devastated because I'm crazy about him and I was seeing a big red flag for him to change his mind). Time passed and he acted like nothing had happened. After a long walk one day, (during which he commented on some potential properties that might be a good place for us to move into together), we get back to his condo, I look at him and tell him, "I'm so confused. One minute you tell me you have cold feet and the next minute you're talking about moving in together again." No response from him. He just looks at me, virtually expressionless. I looked at him and said, "I love you, but this is too hard on me emotionally," and begin to pack my things. After I got everything lined up to leave, he had a huge emotional break down, complete with tears and tells me that he loves me, doesn't know why he feels the way he does and doesn't want to imagine his life without me in it. He is clearly shaken about the thought of losing me and tells me he will get in touch with a counselor. He doesn't want' me to leave.

          He told me he called about a counselor, but has yet to schedule an appointment.

          So It's a month later, he's acting like everything is okay, but our conversations are no longer about he future, unless one of his friends asks him about our plans. Then, he repeats to them what he had planned with me when we were first making plans to move in together. But, again, there is NO talk of him directly with me about our future (before it was a big topic of discussion with him between the two of us). All the while, I'm thinking to myself, I'm going to give him a couple of more weeks and have the big talk. I think he may be emotionally immature. He's 55 and has only been married once and it was for two years. Last week, my girlfriend called me up and invited me to her beach house for the following weekend. Normally I would take a look at his schedule before I commit to anything because it fluctuates so much (codependent, I know), but this time I felt so weary of coordinating my life around his schedule all the time when I have a life filled with friends and events that I have been missing. I also felt like he was underserving and may even be taking this for granted, plus, I missed my independent self. Without even looking at his schedule, I said, "Yes!" to my girlfriend.

          After I got off the phone with her, I took a look at his schedule and realized the dates i committed to going away were the only days off he would have for a couple of weeks. And surprise. Earlier today he asked me if we could fly up to Chicago to visit his family on those dates. I told him I had made plans with my friend and I think he may have been a little surprised, but understood at the same time. He said we could figure out another time to go. I must admit, I felt rather pleased with myself (and also like my feeling are going to change about him if he drags this out much longer). I don't want to be an accessory to someone when it's convenient. I am a person with feelings. Not some small talk Sally who is going to smile when I don't feel like smiling or not discuss things that are emotionally important to me. If he really feels the way about me that he says he does, then I should be a priority and he will figure out a way to make that happen, like he does with his business deals (he's very passionate about them). If he doesn't, then that's okay, too. I have made myself my own priority. Reading and relating to your comments only reinforces this to me. Thanks, Gemma!

          • Hi Anastasia,
            I've also been in a relationship with an airline pilot for 7 months now. I think dating a pilot has unique challenges that make it harder to tell where your relationship is. I am experiencing much of the same confusion and bewilderment that you are. During the first few months, it was wonderful as he was so expressive, caring and attentive and would not let a day go by - no matter where he was in the world- without sending me an email or even a video to say he was thinking about me and how much I meant to him. Now, he'll do an entire 5 day long haul trip without sending me even a short message. But when we're together, he's affectionate and romantic again. He goes from one day talking about our future to the next, telling me he's not sure we're compatible. I don't know how much longer I can take this roller coaster. My stomach is in knots all the time. Anyway, that's my story. I wish you good luck with your guy.

        • Esuterure says:

          You've really have a great plan here I was thinking the same thing.

          I did this last year but then slipped up so now it's time for me to try again and it should work out even better for me as my friend has gotten closer to me.

  4. Catherine says:

    Hi Jane!

    This article really helped me face the reality of my situation and allowed me to make some sense out of it. I recently broke up with a boyfriend of 1 year (who had trouble calling me 'girlfriend' and said it was a process), yet collected the benefits of having a girlfriend. What became the final straw was him choosing to spend a weekend with his guy friends after he already told me he would come with me on a family weekend trip. I felt like less of a priority than I ever had before, and we had a very honest conversation about it, resulting in him telling me he wasn't ready for that deeper level, wants to still be selfish, not feel guilty if he wants to have a guys weekend, etc. And if he WAS ready, I would be the girl he'd settle down with permanently. It took a lot for me to understand how two people can be so great together, no issues other than this, and he can just let me walk away. I always thought if you love being with somebody, how can you still choose freedom? Ultimately, he left it up to me to stay or leave, and I left. I'm having a difficult time getting over it, but I'm glad I have a little more insight now. Thanks :)

    • You're so welcome, Catherine. I'm glad I could provide some perspective on such a difficult situation. You should be so proud of yourself that you were able to walk away from someone who wasn't ready for you, because that is one of the most difficult scenarios to leave. It never makes sense when there's everything there and he tells you YOU would be the one IF he was ready to commit like that, but yet, he's still willing to let you go.

      All too often it's a scenario where we wait around far too long believing that eventually he really will come around, come to his senses and see that we're worth changing for, but in the end, it usually just ends up ending with so much more wasted time and energy on our part. So that is huge that you were able to recognize the reality of the situation, even when it's painful to do so, and choose yourself over someone who isn't on the same page as you. Never an easy thing to do.

      Go easy on yourself and take your time getting over him. Some time and distance from him and some special attention on yourself right now and you'll soon see it all even more clearly. This is exactly the time when your only answer can be to believe what he says, and be grateful he was honest enough to save you any further heartbreak.

    • I was wondering after all this time... How are you doing?

  5. I've been dating someone for about 8 months now. He let me know that he wasn't sure if he was looking for anything long term, because "he can't see into the future", but he was "serious" about me. I almost broke up with him over that because he wasn't giving me straight answers, he started crying and said that he didn't want me to leave. I told him that I started dating him because I saw great qualities in him, and thought no one in this world can see into the future, I told him that I can see myself being with him in the future, and that if he wants something short term then I'm leaving. I told him to understand how I felt about my future. He thought about it and said that he feels the same about me. We've had some talks after that weird "future comittment talk/almost break up" moment and he's actually throwing a party and introducing me to all his friends and family this week. He's been very receptive and understanding to what I've been saying, and that 'talk' we had seemed to have shaken him into reality. I think talks like that with your significant other are so important. At this point in time, he seems to be transitioning between bachelor life and committing. I think this article is good advice if he continues insisting on his no strings attached bachelor life, because I know that if my boyfriend did, I would have been gone by now.

  6. I started a relationship (if thats what you can call it) three and a half months ago, where by he had broken up with his fiance 6 months prior. As a result he didnt want to jump straight into something else, but knew that if we kept seeing each other thats what i wanted otherwise i wasnt going to stick around. After one too many drinks and another blast of drunken texts and calls to him on Saturday night, ive decide enough is enough. I am in the situation at the moment where I am trying to make the move out of it. Ive told him its over and that we cant keep going like this. If he doesnt know how he feels about me by now its not fair on me. He just seems to be ignoring what i say not taking it seriously blaming in on my hormones as i assume he thinks its like the other times ive threatened to move on. I'm hoping once he realises im serious he will re-evaluate the situation properly, however i know im holding onto that hope rather than probably seeing things for what they are. I cant wait until i have moved through this faze, its ever so devastating.
    Thank you for your article is has helped a great deal to make me see im doing the right thing.

    • I'm glad it helped give you some perspective, Emma, because you are so right that this is one of the most difficult times to go through. Seeing the signs, holding onto hope, trying to stay grounded in reality, but feeling your heart breaking knowing that you don't want to do this, but feeling like you must if you are to stay truly loving and respectful of yourself and your own needs. It takes such courage to do what you're doing, to stay true to yourself even though your heart wants nothing more than this guy.

      Hang in there, keep loving yourself and staying true to that beautiful person of you. You're letting him know clearly how much you truly are worth. And you are. And comfort yourself by knowing that if it is meant to be, it will. Trust that. And if it's not, there really is someone out there who will be the one for you and you for him. The irony is that it's only when we refuse to settle for anything less than we deserve that we ultimately find someone who gives us more than we could ever have imagined.

  7. Jane, I have been with a guy off and on for 6 years. In 2011 we got very close, and he moved away. We talked everyday and I had planned to come out to stay with him a few weeks after he moved. I felt sick two weeks before my trip, and found out I was pregnant. I let him know and he said if I kept the baby I was on my own and I cancelled my trip. Flash forward to three days after our son was born. Sent him some pics letting him know he was here in the world, we started talking and planning trips, I have paid to go out with our with our son twice. Once there he paid for everything, sexual relationship back on, my feelings deepen, and he said he is not ready for a commitment and you can't get mad for a wolf being a wolf. Breaking point for me, and I am done. I have told him to leave me alone for a few weeks and let me heal. He won't stop texting at least once a day or more, sometimes sexual things, sometimes, that he misses me and just needs some time. This is a mess, any advice??

    • My heart goes out to you, Emily; what a difficult situation, especially when there is a precious innocent little one involved. But commend yourself for standing so strong and putting yourself and your precious little boy first, above this man. You've let him know what you're looking for from him. And you are asking for nothing more than what every woman deserves; to have someone committed to them and their children. He knows this. He has answered you by both his words and his actions or lack of action, in this case. Of course you're done. You deserve far more than this. Of course he wants you back when you're gone, when it feels safe to him to express his feelings without you actually being there and feeling the pressure to commit. Accept his honesty as a gift, and believe what he's saying. He can't commit right now, and you don't know if or when he ever will be able to. But the reality is, you deserve nothing less than someone who will commit to you fully in every way. That is the bare minimum requirement for a relationship to work. Use this time to truly heal, to focus on you and your sweet little one. Raising a child is a huge job. Raising a child by yourself is even bigger. Get the support you need from people who love and care for you. And then hold onto these two truths:

      If it's meant to be with him, if the two of you are truly meant for each other, it will be. He knows what he needs to do and he knows how to find you. He knows how to get some help for his issues if that's what it takes.

      And if it isn't; if he's not going to come around and give you the commitment that a relationship requires, then know that there truly is someone out there for you who will be ready and waiting to commit to you and love this little boy of yours as his own. Never doubt that because it is true.

  8. I have been agonising for weeks over the decision to stick with the relationship or not. Interestingly I had decided to communicate what I want very clearly to him a couple of weeks back (which is one of the things you happen to have suggested here) which included commitment with a capital C... Marriage, kids the lot. After a weeks thinking time I was told he wanted that too but couldn't straight away, that it might take him up to 12 months to adjust to the idea before he could. I have been trying to decide what to do for four days with no idea.. when I stumbled across your article and on reflection after reading this what's to say he will ever commit?. I am as you pointed out just fearful that he will be ready and I will lose the love of my life because I didn't wait long enough. Thank you.. You have helped me to see clearly as painful as it is.

    • The love of your life will never allow you to lose him, Tiff. If he does come around, you will be the first to know. That exact fear of not waiting long enough is exactly what keeps us staying far longer than we would if we could see through our emotions into the more likely reality. Your situation is one of the most difficult to go through, because if he were only able and willing to commit now, it would complete everything. That capital C is always the missing piece, and yet without it, it makes everything else questionable.

      Be so proud of yourself for being so clear with him about what you require to be in a relationship with you, because marriage, the kids, the whole lot is not asking for anything more than any relationship deserves to have the potential for. In the end, you are what matters because as you say, and what so many of us find out the hard way, there is really no way of knowing if someone like this will ever commit. But trust and believe that there is someone who will be more than ready to commit to you when you are ready to commit to him, because it is true. The love of your life really will absolutely know how and where to find you.

    • ally smith says:

      same hear.

      • Hi Jane.
        This article was so very helpful and made me tear up just reading through it because it is all so true and you inspire me to go out and get the treatment I deserve. My situation is very complicated. I am young still, just entering college, and the guy I was involved with was five years older than me. The age difference always bothered him, which is respectable, but he and I had a great connection so we carried on and formed a "relationship" over the summer where we spent a lot of time together. He showed me off to his friends in the beginning, took me out, and spent a lot of time with me until it was time for me to start heading off to college. He distanced himself slowly it seemed and I began to notice, so I asked him what was going on. He told me he wanted me he cared about me very much and liked me so much but he couldn't hold me back in college from having fun like he did when he was my age and the age difference was too much for him right now and he isn't in the place to commit to me, even though he said I am everything he could want in a girl. It has been very very hard to continue on and move on from him. I have a hard time socializing with other guys in college because the thought of him is in my mind, but that is not what he wants me to feel. He says he wants no strings attached and that now we need to stop having any sexual relations and just be friends for a while because he knows it is hurting me and it hurts him too. He wants to be able to go out and if he happens to hook up with someone else, he wants to know he is not hurting anyone, aka me. so he let me go. It hurts me more than anything, but I respect him for honoring my feelings and doing what is best for him and I because he knows he is not ready to commit, but he says he hopes one day we can see what happens and we will end up together, but for now, he wants me in his life, but just without the sex and attachments. Can you tell me what you think of this? does he really like and care about me as much as he claims or is he trying to find an easy way out?

        • I couldn't live with his terms, MK; but only you know if you can. You deserve to be a priority in someone's life and if he's looking for something with no strings attached and your heart is already attached, then this won't get any easier. Of course he's on your mind, but it's hard not to have someone on your mind when you're still involved with them. All too often, we believe we can settle for someone's terms if it keeps them in our lives, but the reality is that when we're the loving, giving, hoping, understanding kind of soft-hearted women we are, this only keeps us hanging on to false hope to the detriment of our beautiful selves that deserve so much more! Don't settle for crumbs just because that's all that's being offered right now, MK. There is so much more to come for you when you're not hanging onto someone who isn't there, who can't give you what you want - and no, you're not asking for too much! - and who is wreaking havoc on your self-esteem because you are living with the reality that someone doesn't want you every time you're with them!

          Don't take any of this personally, my beautiful friend. This is about him and not you, and this isn't in any way a rejection of you!

  9. Trish the dish says:

    I need advice bad...This guy is amazing and i feel complety myself around him and he always says im the girl version of him cuz we have so much in common. I know we'd be perfect for each other its sooo scary. So Ive known my boss for 5 months now, and it was an instant connection. he asked me out 2 weeks after meeting me. Then the day we were suppose to hangout he gets back with his ex...so i just forgot about him until he started to flirt again a month later then three months in we started to get REAL touchy privately at work, but never sex. I found out he was miserable by this girl(of 3yrs) that he lived with and she had kids, which he didn't want to leave cuz he felt bad. He was looking for a way out because it got worse between them. So they broke up but were living together still so they could finish the lease and we instantly had sex(which i applaud him for waiting till he was single). She found out and he finally was free from her. So he just moved out. His bday was coming up in a month and i wanted to do something special for him cuz he told me he had feelings for me and always had shitty b days. So i did something super sentimental for him and went all out and he loved it. Well, my problem is I really like him but he told me he doesn't want anything at the moment which is understandable, but not ruling out something in the future. I think the reasoning is he always gets used by his girlfriends and he just got out of a crazy relationship and needs time. Hes taken me out and we have sex regularly but I'm getting attached more then he is and don't know what to do. I swear on our 1st i thought he fell in love with me cuz of the way he couldn't stop staring at me. when i told him about how i felt he told me he didn't want me to go away and he'll step up to make me feel better, and he did but then stopped. Basically I'm not feeling the love back. Ive given him sooo much reassurance i wont hurt him and all the communication he'd want. I don't want to come off clingy, but dont want to wait forever. Should i leave or stay? work somewhere else? stop sex?...b4 i hurt myself in the end

    • Oh Trish, I see several red flags here, but it can be so hard to see them when you have such strong feelings for someone - and when you so want them to feel the same about you! Sometimes it really helps to have an outside perspective, so here's what I see. First of all, he's your boss; dating someone you work with is tricky enough to maneuver, but dating someone you work for, and for him, someone who works for him, can be extra complicated and rarely results in a positive outcome. Second, he's fresh out of a relationship that he needed an excuse to get out of, rather than being direct with her about his feelings. Thirdly, he's told you that he doesn't want any kind of relationship right now, and doesn't know about the future. You're doing all these things for him to make him happy and that he loves, but what about you? What are you getting from him?

      I know just how hard it is to get caught up in all the chemistry and connection of someone who you seem to have so much in common with, but anytime you start making excuses for someone for why they won't be in a relationship with you is the ultimate red flag that something isn't right here. Love takes time to grow. It doesn't happen right away and it doesn't happen overnight, no matter how amazing a connection you might have with him. It sounds to me like he has some maturing to do before he's capable of a relationship with anyone, but this isn't about him, it's about you. And what you deserve and what you're willing to settle for. Feelings come and go. Being with someone who's ready and available emotionally and physically to have a relationship with you and wants to be with you are what being in a relationship is all about. You're not feeling the love back because he's not giving you any love back. And you're not being clingy at all; you're just looking for a mutual relationship of give and take which is the very least you deserve!

      Shift the focus to you, Trish, on what you deserve and how you deserve to be treated by someone. You don't have to do things for him to prove you're worth being with. You deserve someone who wants to be with you just because you're you! You have so much to offer someone, so much love to give, but you deserve to have every bit of that kind of love given back to you in return - beautiful, confident, radiant you! :-)

  10. Hi Jane I've been in a on and off relationship with my boyfriend for about a year and a half.
    Through out the year and a half we have gone through so many problems and break ups and makeups.
    Most of our problems have come from his lack of commitment towards me. His family isn't to fond of me I have a little girl and they are religious people while I have never really cared for religion. During the first year he broke up with me several times because he said he felt confused as to what he should do because of his family and there lack of acceptance. I also broke up with him mostly when he (in my opinion I felt he )chose his friends over me.So basically its been up and down extremely exhausting. I believe that the reason we kept getting back together is because we genuinely have fun and love each other as stupid as that sounds. I also have to mention that about 8 months ago I accidentally got pregnant and when he found out he told me I was basically on my own. As much as I wanted to keep that child I knew that I couldn't raise that baby properly as a single mother already with another childless child. So i aborted my baby and by the time he came around asking for forgiveness it was to late. We spent about two months apart and now we together again but I think I have definitely reached the point of no return. Last week a friend of his sent him a flirtatious text message and I happened to see it anyways long story short I blew up with anger and he threatened to break up me telling me he couldn't be in a relationship with someone who didn't trust him. I agree with him who does. Anyways we have reconciled yet I cant get over this pain in my stomach and my chest this thing that tells me I cant do this anymore. I have waited so long put up with so much from this man because I love him. Now I ask myself should I give it more time. The most upsetting thing is that I don't think he has really changed although our relationship feels better. He spends a lot of time with me basically gives me anything I want and is respectful towards my daughter and me. He still goes out and parties with his friends. Am I waiting for nothing I don't want to let another year and half go by and of wasted so much of my life.

    • You have been through so much with this guy, Nindira, and my heart goes out to you as you try to make sense of this relationship and balance your heart and head on what to do about it all. I'm so sorry to hear about your aborted pregnancy and all of the heartache you've been though. As a single mother, this road can be especially hard and painful. The highs and lows you've describe with him and all the drama are clear signs that something isn't right here, for you, for him, for the relationship, for your sweet little girl. But then there is the love. And we will do almost anything in the name of love - or what we believe love to be. If you haven't read it yet, please check out my post on why love should never be complicated, I think that might help. :-)

      Right now, I would give yourself some real healing time. Not just a break like you've done before with him. But a love break - for you. A time to focus on you and your little girl and your life apart from him. Living your life, doing things that you enjoy and spending some special time together with your family and friends and doing things and going places that bring you joy and laughter. You can't see clearly while you are still so enmeshed with your boyfriend, even when you have been apart. He is very much still with you.

      Remember that the biggest indicator of how someone will be for the next year and a half is how he has behaved for the last year and a half. So many of us have learned this the hard way. It takes a lot to change, and someone has to be significantly motivated to change for themselves. We cannot change anyone with our love, no matter how much we love them. You deserve someone who is truly worthy of your love. If he wants to change, if he is the one for you, remember that he knows how to get in touch with you and at that point, you can decide what you want to do. You have so much to offer someone, Nindira, so much love to give, but you deserve to have every bit of that kind of love given back to you in return - beautiful, confident, radiant you!

  11. Thank you Jane. You are inspirational ,truly :)

  12. I'm so confused, I've dated a guy for 1 1/2 years. He didn't want to date me at first because I'm 10 years younger and I'm not retired like he is. We get along great, he's called me his girlfriend since shortly after we met. We've had some issues, he's had some very rough times in his life, we worked thru them and he was finally able to express his feelings and say I Love You. He frirts, but I don't think he's cheated on me. We've talked about living together...and I thought we were together. But he said something yesterday like if he met someone who was retired and he had the same feelings for them then he'd break up with me. What am I supposed to think of that? He's not committed to me? He may leave me if some retired lady comes along that he might like better? Is he just using me until he meets this "ideal" retired lady?? I don't know what to do or think.

    • It's no wonder you're confused, Carol; you have a guy you're supposedly with, he expresses his feelings, tells you he loves you, calls you his girlfriend, but then flirts, you don't think he's cheated on you (you deserve to be confident of this!), and then makes a totally inappropriate comment to you about replacing you with a more ideal retired version of yourself!

      I'd have an honest conversation with him about all of this and then if you don't get the response you're looking for from him, I'd take a much closer look at what exactly you're getting out of this relationship. You shouldn't be settling for anything less than a full relationship deal here, and if he's not able or willing to give you what you're looking for and giving him, then it may be time to look elsewhere for someone who won't give you any reason to be confused. You should never need to be something you're not in order for someone to want to be with you!

  13. Thank you, Jane. I am leaving Sunday to stay with him for a few months. A trial period, so to speak...I am a scared, but if I don't do this I know I will regret it for the rest of my life.

    • All his doing, he came up with this on his own. Should I just let it fall in place if it's meant to and enjoy the now?

      • Listen to your heart, Emily, but keep your eyes and ears open and make sure this is what you want, not just what he wants or came up with. People come up with all kinds of plans for all kinds of reasons that serve themselves, and not others. Without knowing him, and you personally and the entire situation, it isn't possible for me to tell you what you should do here, but do check in with yourself with what you are scared of - our fears offer us so much insight into what is really going on beneath the surface.

        Make sure you have a plan B, a backup plan so you can leave if this is not working for you or turns out not be be what you expected. In the end, if in your heart of hearts you know that you will only have regrets if you don't go and see what may be possible with him, then it sounds like you need to at least check this out, but don't commit yourself to this situation until you see what's waiting there for you. And if you have any doubt along the way that this is not the place for you to be, with him, right now, then know that you gave it a try, and don't doubt any decision you make to leave. I sincerely hope it is everything and more than you are hoping for, Emily. :-)

  14. Hi Jane
    i must confess this article really got me to me.. Its like you were talking to me.. Am sorry this is so lenghty..i just needed to pour it all out to someone.. I met my bf sometime last year and after 3 months of dating i found out he goes online, flirt with girls and go further to ask for their number even ask to hook up. Plus he has alot of female friends that he treat like his gf ..Then they fall in love with him and he allows them believe he is in a relationship with them. Most of these girls were there when i came into his life and we had to quarrel alot before he could even tell them am his gf.. Then he will go later, behind my back and encourage them to stick around. I caught him in so many lies and when i got fed up with his excuses i broke up with himhe kept pleading, promising he will change.. 8months after being separated i accepted him back..we ve being together for a month, only to find same situation on ground.. Same flirting, same undefined relationships, same lies, same treating girls like his gf.. Now m confused.. We can be so happy together, and he is sweet and caring... he says he love me, says hes fortunate to ve me, gets upset when other guys call me or ask to see me..when he talk about his future he talk about two of us....am jealous, possessive, hot tempered and emotional.... Somtimes i even get violent with him, injuring him and destroying his property.. I break up with him everyday..when he dont pick my calls..when he dont call back..when he dont talk to me politely etc..and nomatter how annoyed it made him he wont leave...he will call, beg and pamper me till i change my mind. (i have been in stable relationships before and i know i can control my temper..its just so hard with him) he says i give him headache alot, that there are other girls who dont mind him being with other girls as long as they are also in his life, and he could be with them but its me he want to be with.. That its because he love me thats why despite my intense emotions he doesnt want to let me go.. if its me he want to be with then why does he keep doing these things that destroyed our relationship before?.. He knows i want commitment..if he cant give it why does he come begging, crying when i want to leave? Am so confused.. He says he is scared what if he commit totally to me and i leave him? Do i move on or keep waiting for him to come around? Will he ever come around?I know i deserve better but m scared.. What if he will change? If only he can, we will be so happy.. Please advice

    • The hardest part about being with someone like this, Ivy, is that it doesn't make sense. If only he would change. If only he could see just how happy you would be together if he would change. If only .... But that's the problem. He has to be motivated to change and the reasons for his behavior often run so deep, that he has to be willing and motivated to do the work on himself to make those changes. And right now, it doesn't sound like he has any reason to do this type of work. He has both you and all the attention he wants from these other girls. He is clearly getting exactly what he wants and has no reason to change. And you, Ivy, on the other hand, are on an emotional rollercoaster with him. You are both triggered by each other and the attraction you have to each other is not healthy. And it is a cycle that the two of you perpetuate that won't change unless one of you refuses to engage the other anymore. The types of behaviors you're talking about aren't healthy for either of you.

      You don't know if he will ever change, but you can know that this is what you have right now, and current behavior is a great predictor of future behavior unless someone is motivated to change. There's a reason you're so attracted to him, and some soul searching to figure this out will help you see why so you can see clearly what is going on. You are so right that you deserve better than this. You do! And of course it's scary to think of being without him or finding someone else. The attraction you feel for him runs so deep because this is more about you than it is about him. There is so much I can say about this; here's a post I wrote about why you keep attracting these types of guys.

      Begin by setting some boundaries with him, Ivy, let him know what you will and won't put up with and then stick to that. I talk more about boundaries here. He will know what he needs to do to have you in his life because you won't tolerate anything less than that. If he can't respect that, then this is no relationship for you. You truly are a beautiful, special woman with so much to offer someone who loves and respects you in return and shows you this by the way he consistently treats you! Don't settle for anything less than this - you deserve so much more.

  15. Thanks so much Jane for writing back! I'm in such need of advice. I truly don't think he's cheated on me but will double check again. I'm so torn ( a mess at the moment) - I love him, but I want him to be happy, if he wants a retired lady (he's 65) and I have to work 10 more years until I retire (I'm 55) - then I guess it's better to know now if I'm not what he really wants... I really do love him, but it's hard to commit more, like he's mentioned living together, and feel secure if I think he'll drop me someday like a hot potato for some retired lady... Oh my! This is so hard. I don't want to get married (neither does he), I just want a long term committed relationship. Carol (I couldn't get it to work to reply)

    • "...then I guess it's better to know now if I'm not what he really wants" - so true, Carol, but don't look at it that way. Instead, look at the gift you're being given instead; if he's really looking for something or someone else, you know this now. Now, when you have so much of your life still ahead of you. Ask yourself what you are attracted to about him. Why are you so confused about being with someone who isn't on the same page as you, if he truly isn't? Is it really him? Is he really all that? Or is it more about you wanting to feel secure, and loved and cherished by someone and right now, and he's better than no one? Of course you want that, and of course you deserve a long-term committed relationship from someone who wants that, too. But sometimes, no matter how much we want that with someone, they just can't give us that. See what happens if you give him a little time and space, focus on you and doing the things that you enjoy and are passionate about without so much attention on what he's doing. And trust. Honestly, Carol, love is never complicated. If the two of you truly are meant to be together, you will know. But living with the fear that he's going to drop you for someone else, is no way to live. You deserve much, much more than this.

  16. I think this is an awesome article. I have been through many heartbreaks and learned the recipe to avoiding them. The steps you listed are on point. I have followed these but now I'm in limbo. I have been dating my guy for 3 months and have gotten to know it each other. We haven't met each others parents or our friends. He always makes time for me, we speak everyday and I have no complaints besides the fact that he hasn't committed. Before we went out on our very first date, I clearly told him I wasn't interested in aimless dating and that I was looking for a stable relationship. He was also on the same boat which is why I even dated him, I made a mental note of a 3 month time limit.(I never told him) nonetheless we came to the stage where I was having confusion about our status and I felt like our relationship was borderline ambiguous, so I had the D.T.R talk w him. I didn't have the guts to confront the situation personally so stupidly I did via text. I think the tone of the convo seemed dramatic and I feel like he thinks I'm pressuring him. I asked him if he was ready and he said he was not sure and only because he didn't want to be something serious with me. so I told him it was disrespectful for him to have violated my conditions of not wanting to date aimlessly and wasting my time if he knew he wasn't interested/ready to commit to me. He kept telling me he was interested and that he was into me but wasn't sure about taking the next step. I kind of gave him an earful about not communicating this to me a.s.a.p since I clearly warned him. Thankfully I've done enough soul searching and know when its time for me to leave before I fall. I told him i didn't mind being friends but that I was going to start dating other guys. He got a bit defensive when I confronted him with all the examples of how he was leading me on. ( we made very boyfriendy plans like the day before) he keeps saying he didn't play games and that he contactwas still interested but didn't want to take the next step and to go ahead and date. ( it was kind of backwards, while we dated each other we still didn't date other people although we weren't "official")So I am, unfortunately I do wish things would work out. He ultimately apologized but idk if I should have another talk w him since this was all via text and things are never as clear
    I don't want to contact him but in all honesty we haven't spoken about how our relationship would even be. Sure we want kids and marriage eventually but that's looking way into the future for both of us (we are in our early 20s) we haven't laid out our current do's and don'ts. We are different in that he is very conservative and I'm not as much. I'm willing to make some compromises ( we haven't spoken about which ones) maybe he feels like we are too opposite but I think we compliment each other. Anyways I want to clear more things out but I don't want to contact him. Should I just let it be?

    • I would let it be for now, Marcy; you've clearly let him know what is required of him to be in a relationship with you, and now it's up to him to show you whether or not he is on the same page as you. Go easy on yourself here; don't have any regrets about being direct with him. You will simply find out faster whether he is ready for a committed relationship with you. These types of conversations can be awkward (whether they're in person or via text!), but in the end, they help sort out who is truly compatible with you and who is not, and save you so much wasted time and energy hanging around waiting for someone who you're not sure is looking for the same thing you are.

      Ultimately, you will know whether this is someone you want to have a committed relationship with by how he responds, so give him some time and space by focusing on you, and how much you've learned already on this journey, and how much stronger you've become through it all, and in that living of your own life to its fullest, what he does and doesn't do will fall into place where it is meant to be. If every one of us could be as clear as you are on what we will and won't put up with, we would save ourselves so much future heartbreak down the road when we find out the end result is ultimately the same!

  17. Hi Jane

    Thank you so much for replying.. You are amazing. I also went to the posts u referred me to and learnt alot there.The beginning of my relationships are always tough and challenging. The other guys i have dated are almost like this one i have now (although he is the worst so far).. And i focus on getting them to change..i will be the worst i could be..controlling, possessive, hottempered, jealous etc the ones that couldnt take it, will move on when i break up with them.. The ones that really want to keep me will come back begging and change.. Once i succeeded in getting them to commit to only me, the table will turn..they start acting like me and i become the one who want to roam free.. With time, i get tired of their intense behavior and leave.. The ones that posed no challenge at the beginning dont last long at all.. I get irritated with their emotions and leave. I dont know why i do this
    i luv my current bf like i did the others..and i just realised that still being with him, despite his refusal to change is becoming more of a challenge than love. It will help if only he will move on when i break up with him.. But blc he kept coming back, i keep thinking he wll change that i just need to be patient a little more. Maybe he sees me as a challenge too.. Hence he is still sticking around. I dont want these challenges anymore, i just want a stable relationship. I know i have to say goodbye to him but its just so hard..gives me the feeling that i failed. You said the cycle will continue except one of us stop engaging the other anymore...how do u mean?

    • It takes some of us a long time to figure out the difference between being being attracted to someone for all the drama and the sexual tension we have with them, and being attracted to someone who is truly relationship material. It sounds like you're really figuring this out, Ivy! Be so proud of yourself! Know that it takes such courage to be open and honest enough with ourselves to recognize our relationship patterns and start making the changes necessary to bring about something different in our lives. Just recognizing the need to do something different is huge and you certainly have pinpointed your own recurring patterns here. You will find such a richer, much more beautiful gift awaits you in the form of a relationship based on pure love and trust and stability when you exchange what you've been settling for with what will you will attract and be attracted to!

      The unhealthy cycle of engaging each other that I mentioned is about how two people repeatedly bring out the worst in each other by behaving in unhealthy ways when the other triggers them by doing something that is familiar to them, albeit subconsciously. Unlike a healthy relationship where each person looks at the reality of the relationship and how they are being treated and how the relationship benefits them and decides whether they want to continue the relationship, in unhealthy relationships, the attraction is about a familiar pattern of behavior that someone subconsciously keeps recreating in their grown-up love relationships in the hopes of producing a different, more favorable outcome. The irony is that the outcome cannot be different because the pattern of attraction is the same. It is only when we recognize what we are doing on a conscious level that we can change this pattern and move on to healthy relationships based on the reality of the present and not on this subconscious past. That's why we often find ourselves so attracted to someone even though it makes no practical sense why we would be attracted to them to anyone but us. And that's also why it takes looking honestly at ourselves and that attraction so we can begin to change who we are attracting.

      It's a journey, Ivy, and it certainly doesn't change overnight, but as you're realizing what it is you're really looking for, and as you're able to refuse to accept anything less than being treated in the loving, respectful ways that you deserve, you will begin to find yourself less attracted to the types of men who push your buttons. The irony always is that it's only in refusing to accept the crumbs someone leaves for us, that we find our way to a whole, healthy, loving relationship.

      • Hi Jane

        Thank you so much..before now i felt no one understand but now i know am wrong, cos you do. Your advise will last a lifetime for me. Thank you

        • Thank you so much for your kind words, Ivy; I know just how much finally finding someone who understands what you're going through means, and I'm honored to be that person for you. :-)

  18. plus i ve already set clear boundaries for him..i do it at the very beginning with every guy i meet.. I keep reminding this one of the boundaries all the time..yet he keep breaking them and when i break up with him he somehow manage to convince to give him another chance and things will be different

  19. This article has really helped me see the light about a recent breakup I had. I am going to print it out and carry it everywhere as a constant reminder to stay strong! I met this boy 4 months ago and I knew the moment I met him that he was the one (I know this sounds crazy). After 4 months of being together and living together, I broke up with him. I found on his phone that he was texting other girls; one of them he was talking dirty to and she asked him to have 'phone sex' but his response was that he worked too much (and he doesn't ever work) and the other he was telling her that we were only "kind of" together and that we don't really see each other. After catching him, he felt really bad and cried and ended up cutting himself, which I figured he only did for attention, but I still forgave him anyway. A few weeks later, I found that he was watching porn on my new computer while I was away at work and school (he doesn't have a job and doesn't go to school, hes 19 years old. I, on the other hand, am 22 years old and have done many productive things with my life). He blew up on me (he has anger issues and gets very defensive) and told me that it was no big deal and that he has always looked at porn. I reminded him that it wasnt THAT big of an issue but the fact that he was trying to hide it from me and doing it on my new laptop while I was gone; that was what really bothered me. But then, when he saw how much it hurt me, he changed his mind and admitted his faults. I told him to stop doing it and forgave him for it. Everytime we get into a fight, he gets so angry and it seems like he trys to manipulate me and turn everything around on me like its my fault and says I blame him for all our fights, even though its usually because of something he did. A few days ago, I checked his phone again, seeing that he was texting a girl that he had met on the internet at meetme.com and he told her that she was cute and she told him to call her so I'm not sure if they had talked on the phone, but I was gone at a friend's house when he did this. I was almost ready to forgive him again, but I found more porn on my computer. I warned him if he talked to other girls like that, I would break up with him, so I stuck to my word because I know I deserve the best. What confuses me the most was that he didn't leave our home often; he would do laundry, cook for me and do clean as well; anything that I asked. Our relationship seemed perfect (except for the few fights we had); everything thought so too. Our sex life was amazing and we connected on different levels that I've never connected with anyone else on. He treated me like a princess and told me he wanted to have children with me and wanted to marry me someday. He really melted my heart. I know he loves me, and claims he is willing to do anything, but has admitted that he has committment issues and has cheated on all his girlfriends. I want to be with him and I want to try and make it work, but at this point, I see no possible way because what he did is unforgivable to me. And if I marry him, theres a possibility that he might do it again and I cant put myself through that. Any feedback you can give me would be amazing. I put myself through this with another guy for four years on and off. I dont want to waste my time here!

    • You are worth so much more than you're settling for in these types of guys, Chelsea. My heart goes out to you as I feel the pain of what you are going through. It is so hard to stay so strong when your heart is breaking over the potential loss of what could be so different if only he would change! But that is the deal-breaker. The things that you mention that seem so amazing in this relationship pale in comparison to the behaviors this guy is exhibiting. He needs professional help for his issues and you are not the one to fix him or make it work. This is work he must do, and be willing to do in the first place. While you may have the best intentions in trying to help him, this is something that needs to be turned over to a professional with experience with these types of behaviors.

      You have put up with so many inexcusable behaviors from him, and while I understand all too well just how charasmatic and magnetic an attraction we can have to these type of guys, this is not what a healthy relationship looks like and men like this are not going to suddenly change just because we are in their lives. I say so much more about this in a post I wrote about being a rescuer, and also in one about just how understanding we can be of his behavior that we make such excuses for him. This is not about him as much as it is about you, and until you understand why it is you are attracting this type of guy, it will be difficult for you not to repeat this pattern again.

      You deserve so much more than this, Chelsea; you are young, and beautiful and talented and have your whole life ahead of you. You have so much to offer someone who proves himself to be truly worthy of your love. It's time to refuse to accept any kind of behavior from any man who doesn't treat you like the gift you truly are! What he is offering you is not what real love truly is and you deserve nothing less than the real thing!

      • Thank you so much. Ive been reading your articles and although I havent had any real role models in my life, I'm going to start from the beginning with dating, and try to understand myself and put myself before anyone before I can truly love someone. Thanks again!

        • Just think baby steps, Chelsea; it takes time to learn to really love ourselves and focus on us for a change when we've been so used to focusing on everyone else and their needs for so long. Just feel the love here for you and focus on nurturing your sweet, beautiful soul. You don't need to be anything but yourself.

          And know that you're so not alone; we've all been there, many of us are still there at various places of our own journeys, and we know what it feels like, most of us all too well. There is never any judgment in love. :-)

  20. Hi Jane,

    I am yet another girl that has dealt with a guy who won't commit. Your article helped me so much in seeing the reality of it all and that he's not going to commit to me. My situation is a bit complicated. I met this guy 5 months ago and we get along amazingly. We had this perfect first date, one I will never forget because it was everything I ever wanted... Well he told me he may be joining the army but wasn't sure yet, but we continued to talk, we were texting everyday, not real often but a few a day. We were on the same page. We had another amazing date and things seem to actually be looking up for me in my dating life. It didn't last long though...he went to meps which would determine where he would be in the army and he's going to be of high rank--its an opportunity of a lifetime so he took it. Well ever since then, he created more and more distance with us. He's doing pretraining before he leaves in November so his time is very limited. But it takes him days to text me back, he doesn't make definite plans with me until the day of... he keeps me at a distance always. But when we're together its everything I've ever wanted. We goof around and laugh all the time, I'm more myself with him than I ever have been with any guy, he's listened to the crap I've gone through particularly with guys...and the way he looks at me-I honestly have never been looked at like that..I would swear that he loved me by that look alone. Not to mention last time we were together it took me two hours to leave because we couldn't stop hugging and kissing each other and he kept saying "this is real life Dear John." Well oddly enough I ran into him with a guy friend of his at the bar a week later-i tapped him and he was shocked to see me. I was a little put off because he lives an hour and a half away and didn't tell me he was going to be in my city... so I turned around and as I did that, he bolted. Never saw a guy leave so quickly. We got into this huge fight via text because I was very hurt obviously. That was a month ago..Well last week I broke down and text him saying I knew it was stupid for me to contact him, but that I hate how we left things and asked to talk. Days later he said Yes absolutely. So we're supposed to possibly get together tomorrow to talk, but again didn't make definite plans and I asked if we were getting together or not yesterday just so I could make plans if we weren't...nothing back yet. I'm honestly lost now what to do. I don't know if he's afraid to commit, if the distance thing made him back off because in Dear John she cheated on him and he was broken completely, or if I'm just fooling myself into thinking he cares about me more than he actually does. I am a very faithful, loving girlfriend when I'm with someone so I know that's not an issue on my end because I know myself. I honestly would go through just seeing him a few times a year (holidays) while he's away at training and wait for him after when he's deployed just to be with him. I never understood how girls could wait for a guy in the army--it was stupid to me-- until I felt the way I do about him and it changed my thoughts completely. What do I do? Does he not care about me at all? Is he not ready to commit? Do I just give up? I've tried to do that and I still think about him all the time. I can't let him go and I don't know why. Please help.

    • It is truly the most difficult thing when we meet someone like this, someone who could be all that, someone who gives us every reason to believe we are different and they are different with us and that this actually has so much potential ... if only he were thinking the same way as us. Oh Katie, I can just hear your pain. Your sadness. You so want it to be with him, to just have this feeling you have when you're with him that you are willing to accept such a small piece of him if only you can know you can have some of this at least every so often with him. It is such a downward spiral from here. And of course you are such a loyal, committed woman when you're with someone. You are exactly the type this happens to. Someone so loving and giving, putting every one else's needs ahead of your own. And willing to accept so little in return.

      Sweet Katie, you've done all you can do. You've waited. You've initiated contact with him when you could wait no longer to understand what is going on. And yet he treats you like it is nothing. Like you are nothing to him. He agrees to talk, but can't even confirm this and leaves you hanging. Let him go. Let it be. You deserve so much more than this. Than him. Yes, he looked at you like that; yes, he gave you all those signs that seemed to say he was in it, too. But for whatever reason, he's not there. Maybe it's the army, maybe it's his past, maybe it's a million other things that you could drive yourself crazy over trying to figure him out. Don't do this to yourself. You are such a gift to someone who will not treat you like this. There truly will be someone who actually pursues you; someone who will look at you like that and back it up with his actions and behavior so that you will never have to question yourself like this. Let yourself feel the loss of what you're sure could have been. Feel it all. Allow yourself to think about him until enough time and space go by to bring you back to yourself. Back to that beautiful woman that deserves more from love than this. If he really is for you, if this is truly meant to be, you will know. He knows how to contact you. But for now, live your own life. Do those things that make you happy and bring that smile to your face and joy to your life. Be gentle with your precious heart. Unless he sees you and treats you like the gift of love you are, he's not worth what you're putting yourself through.

      • Thank you so much... literally sobbing just with that response because you are so right. I just didn't want to see it. I didn't want to accept that he just wasn't in it with me for whatever reason and that all these feelings that I felt for him that he so reciprocated when we were together, still isn't enough. I have gone above and beyond because I would do anything for a man I love and he gives me nothing. I don't know why and I guess I never really will know. I need to move on though. He's not putting in the effort and I've been just fooling myself by thinking he cared. Thank you so much. I really did need to be told just that. It's just so hard because I never feel good enough to any guy and I honestly don't know why. I have so much going for me yet with dating all I get are these guys that give me nothing.. I truly question whether any guy will ever care about me the way I care about them. I've been so hurt by guys that I don't even know what to do, how to find dates...anything really when it comes to love. I'm just lost and hurt and terrified of dating at this point. Thank you again though, for allowing me to see what I couldn't accept for myself with this guy.

        • Start way back at the beginning, Katie. Step back from all these men and your history with them and all the hurts you've experienced and start way back when you were a little girl with so much confidence, so much to live for, so much to believe in, and so much love and respect for the beautiful person you were inside. Focus on that little girl inside you, full of big dreams, and full of wonder at all the possibilities within yourself. That is the place where we find the roots of our patterns; the sub-conscious reasons we keep attracting the same types of men and keep repeating the same relationship patterns over and over again. It is impossible to change these patterns that hurt us until we have recognized where they came from and why.

          There are so many reasons we are attracted to guys who do not honor us or respect us or treat us in ways that we deserve. This is more about you than it is about them. The key is to figure out why you are attracting these types, why you are attracted to them in the first place, so that you can begin to attract a different kind of guy into your life; someone who will treat you the way you have always deserved to be treated.

          There is nothing wrong with you, Katie; what you have to offer is truly beautiful and a precious gift but only to the right kind of guy who proves himself to be worthy of you. You've just been with guys who aren't able or willing to see this in you, but that is due to their own issues, and is not about you at all. It is only when we can finally see this that we can begin to hold each and every guy we would consider dating to this high standard and finally experience what real love is all about. This is your birthright, Katie, and when you begin to really see the real you and realize all the beauty within you, you will be able to accept nothing less than this, too.

  21. Okay, so this guy I met a couple months ago have been dating for a month now. We have a great time when we hang out, although we haven't really done anything spectacular--just some dinners, a movie, watch TV, etc; nonetheless, he's the first guy I feel comfortable in doing nothing with, and I really really like him. The problem is, I want to have a relationship with him, and he doesn't.
    The guy I'm seeing will be graduating college in the upcoming spring, but I still have a couple more yeArs left until I graduate. Because of this and knowing a little bit of my past relationships, he says that he truly doesn't want to hurt me and he really likes me and cares for me, but doesn't think we should be in a relationship. He doesn't want to do a long distance relationship when he goes to grad school after graduation either. But, he wants to be more than friends, and continue to date for the yeAr we have together until he graduates. I feel like he wants a friend with benefits kind of relationship with me, and when I called him out on it, he got so angry and offended that I would even think he was the kind of guy who would do that. But that's what it feels like to me! Also, he is not the romantic type, so he doesn't hold hands or is really expressive in how he feels. He will give occasional hugs or shoulder hugs, but they always feel forced to me (which he totally denies). He also gets a little jealous if I talk to other guys, and gets upset when I don't text him as much as I used to (I'm trying to give him space). He also thinks I should know that he really cares for me and likes me, but when he doesn't mind not seeing each other everyday or take the initiative to make plans to see each other, what else am I to assume? I grew up with the theory that if a guy really liked you, he would do anything to Try to be with you. I do really like him, but I'm tired of trying to analyze him and his actions. What should I do? Please, I'm desperate to be happy with him!

    • I should say that its not like he doesn't want to be in a relationship, its just that it would take him a long time. But, we have this roller coaster dating relationship--some really good days and some bad days.

      • If you re-read everything you just said here, Katy, you will see that you have already answered your own question. You say that he has told you that he doesn't think you should be in a relationship. You say that he says he conveniently wants to date you until he is done with you, when he graduates, but denies that this isn't about a friend with benefits kind of relationship. But that is exactly the kinds of arrangement you have described! So it's no wonder that's what it feels like to you, Katy.

        As for him not initiating, not being affectionate, not needing to see you that often - you are so right that if a guy really likes you, he will do anything to be with you! And more importantly, Katy, you deserve nothing less than to be with someone who is showing you by his words and his actions that he does like you and wants to pursue you. You are settling for some small crumbs here that are not worth what being with him is doing to your self-esteem and confidence. If you could step away from the situation and see it objectively for what it really is, you would see what you already know in your heart about him and this relationship. He's on a different page than you are right now. And as hard as it is to accept this, as much as you love being with him and feel so comfortable with him, you want more than this. And rightly so. You deserve more than this.

        It is so hard to accept the reality of situations like this and believe that there is nothing we can do to make him come around, but the reality is, he is being very clear with you about his own boundaries and what he is and isn't willing to give of himself. His plans for the future don't include you and he is comfortable making sure you know this. This is not someone who deserves your loving heart, your sweet essence. Love is never complicated like this, and accepting a relationship that feels more like a roller coaster ride just isn't the way a healthy relationship that honors you is supposed to feel like. You have so much more to offer someone, Katy, and settling for someone like this, no matter how attractive and attracted to him you may be, doesn't do anything for you. If down the road things change, he will know how to contact you, and at that point you can decide what you want to do, but for now, this is your time; you have so much to offer someone who will offer you so much more in return. Listen to your heart, trust your gut instincts and you will know exactly what to do.

  22. Hi Jane,
    This is a great article, it's really refreshing to hear endorsements of many things I have experienced in the past year and more recently for a second time in the past weeks; same man. My story: After three+ years of being together in a fantastic relationship, I had to end things with him (again) just about a week ago. Despite the fact that we have an amazing relationship as both best friends and lovers, he has been holding a part of himself back and he doesn't know why. We've both known he's had this problem for about a year, he brought it up himself and we talked about it and what it meant for us, he said he thought he just needed a little time to sort things out. And around 9 months ago I broke up with him the first time, telling him I couldn't be a part of his life while he was figuring this out. Our paths crossed once a week amongst mutual friends due to an extracurricular activity we shared but other than that I had basically severed all ties, returned his things from my condo, retrieved mine from his house. It only took him about 3 weeks before he showed up at my door telling me how much he missed me, and that it was a good sign for our future just how much he missed me, he said he still had some things to work on but he knew he wanted me in my life. (Yay! I did it, the inconceivable getting back of the ex, right?) No. As exciting as it was to know that his life was better with me in it, he still hadn't actually dealt with the problem. He did give me 110% of what he had to give for about a week to ten days, but then just sort of fell back into "the way things were before", which, don't get me wrong are actually pretty great but I had to address it again. I gave myself a one year deadline from the time of our original conversation which was Oct 2011, and said if he hadn't stepped up to the plate to start giving me 100% all the time, we needed to do a status check. And as expected, I was left no self respecting option but to end it, again. He says there is nothing wrong with our relationship, he's happy, that he loves me, and would absolutely anything for me but there is just something missing that is holding him back from giving all of himself to me. He still doesn't know what it is, he speculates that he could just not be ready to commit to someone, that when we met he was in his partying days and was in no place to start a serious relationship and then we just happened, maybe he's torn between his youth and growing up (which is a bit of a pill for me swallow considering he's now 29 years old) ... but he seemingly has no idea what it is. I know he is a good person, he never had ill intentions, he would never be unfaithful, and he was completely devastated to see how hurt I was after having to cut him loose again. It is one of the hardest things I have had to do, and it really isn't any easier the second time around. I can completely relate to the notion of "if I just give him a LITTLE more time, maybe he'll get it together, if I am just a little more patient" .... It's not easy, and I have to give myself many daily pep talks about how it's him not me, and if it is meant to be it will be and nothing I say or do in the situation now will change the outcome. Just try to move on, and maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised by him, or someone else! in the future.
    Stay strong ladies, and if nothing else, respect yourself first!
    Thanks again for the article Jane :) :)

    • I'm so glad you found this article helpful, Lee; thanks for sharing your own inspirational story here. I hear what you've been through with this guy and so identify with the hard decisions that you've had to make. Although it's not easy to make these type of decisions you've made when you care so much for someone, your strength and unwavering commitment to yourself and your own self-respect and confidence shine through here so beautifully.

      It really does take reminding yourself every day of these simple truths. They are true. This is the only way to keep yourself intact, your beautiful you, even if you still have such strong feelings for him and wish it could be different. For most of us, it is so hard not to confuse his behavior as a reflection of something we are or are not, and not buy into the thinking that says if I could only be different, or at least more of what he is looking for, I could make him come around. Such a hard lesson to learn the hard way for so many of us.

      It takes such courage to recognize that this truly is about him, and not you, and the fact that you can see this clearly, Lee, is such a huge thing. Keep that kind of gentle strength, that kind of commitment to yourself, and somewhere along the way, you will find that true love worth holding out for, whether or not, as you say, it's with him or someone else. :-)

  23. Whew! Reading this article has hit home. I'm in the same situation as many other women. Well here's my story please help I'm so confused and I don't know what to do. I met the guy I'm dating 10 months ago. We immediatley hit it off. I can't think of any one I've been so comfortable around, he completes me we laugh we joke everything seemed so perfect. So here's the but part he wants to take it slow, to be sure before getting into another relationship that it's right. UGHHHH really 10 months. We don't spend much time together anymore because of our hours so we rarley see each other but we talk every day. It seems that since I've been bringing up commitment we don't talk as much and he's bagging away. I cook fo him, I clean his place we spend time with our kids together. What is the problem. Here's the thing that confuses me the most we both want marriage one day, we both want kids and he actually said we can have a baby in 5 years so I said ok but when I ask him does he see or want to be with me in the future he straight up ignores the question I've brought it up numerous times and I still don't get an anwser. When we're together I don't bring these things up cause I'm enjoying him for the moment. Well I'm really frustrated and I want anwsers which I never seem to get I'm at my last straw i'm thinking if I don't get an anwser it's time for me to move on. Any advice please help thank you!!!!

    • It sounds like you've done everything you can to try to move things along with him, Ebony. You're giving him everything he needs so he sounds quite comfortable with the way things currently are, and doesn't want to discuss commitment. You do everything for him, acting like you're already married with the cooking and the cleaning and spending time together, but what does he do for you? What are you getting from him? Are you ok with all the things you enjoy about the relationship if he isn't willing or able to make a commitment to you? That's the question you need to ask yourself here, and then decide what you are willing to settle for with him in terms of commitment. It doesn't sound like he wants to make any changes; he's quite happy the way thing are. So it's up to you, Ebony, to decide what you're ok with. You deserve nothing less than someone who wants to be with you as much as you want to be with him, not just for today, but for the future as well.

  24. Wow this article was amazing .!! And it's said to say I'm going through a similar situation right now I been talking to this guy I like since February or march and I have really strong feelings for him and he knows that but he also told me that he's not ready for a relationship right now bec he wants to get himself together and just focus on him../ besides that we talk on the phone everyday he comes to see me we hang out he was there for me during a tough time in my life and he's there whenever I need and whenever I'm with him or talk to him I just always have to remind myself that we are not together... Idk I just have really strong feelings for him I don't wanna stop talking to him but sometimes it seem like that's the best thing to do... But I can never do it lol... We always talk about this and he tells me I should find somebody who wants a relationship but I can't let go of him smh...I asked him how would he feel if I was to find somebody I like and he told me don't know how he would feel.... I wanna find somebody just so he can realize that I can't wait on him forever an that one day it's gonna be too late... And the crazy thing is he always tells that I'm going to be his girlfriend when he's ready.!! Idk what to do..?

    • I also want to add that we use to be really intimate now we rarely have sex at all I feel like we are not as closed as we used to be

      • Again,Tesha, listen to what his actions, his behavior, and most importantly his words are telling you. Your heart knows it is clear, if you can release the fear that makes it so hard to let someone like this go.

    • Tesha, first and foremost, believe him, listen to what he is saying and really believe him, as much as you want to wait and see and keep maintaining some kind of contact. You need to resist that, knowing that you deserve so much more than this, than settling for what little he's able to give you. It's never easy to let someone like this go, but You will save yourself so much heartbreak in the end by not wasting any more time and energy on someone who may have the best of intentions, but if he is not able to give you what you are looking for from him right now, (and you have clearly communicated all of this to him and tried my suggestions in this post) than you have your answer. It's never easy to give up the small special things we get from someone, but sometimes it is the only way to honor yourself and take care of your heart before you can see someone who truly is available and truly wants to be with you. Know without a doubt that when he is ready as he says, you will know, he will contact you and then you can decide what to do then. But it is only by respecting yourself enough to put yourself first and refusing to settle that you will be in a place to choose for you. If it is meant to be, know in your heart it will be. Until then, do what you need to do for you.

  25. Hi Jane,
    My story is so unreal and even I am being involving in it think its out of reality. We met in Sweden, where you both were studying he was doing exchange semester and I my 2 years master program. We hooked up in the end of semester, then he left to Canada. We both realized that we had feeling while we were communicating online all the time. We stayed in touch for 1 year and 3 months, I was still studing and he started to work. We talked to meet sometimes for travel, but I was tight on money and could not travel. Then he asked me to come to Canada and live with him for a bit, but in 2 days from it he lost his job. So he decided to travel and visit me in Europe. When he came It was a disaster we both changed but still had feelings. I was in a difficult situation and he criticised me all the time and left earlier . Before he did he mentioned that he still want to bring me to Canada. I dont have a European passport and It means I need visa even to come and visit him in Canada, with which he should help me. After he left I cut all communication with him for couple months, but could not resist and we talked again. He told that he was missing me and asked to visit him and months later I decided to do it. Now before trip planned he is telling me that he would love to see me and want to meet up, but these are the reasons why I shouldnot come in particular December and one of them is that he cannot commit to any kind of relationship with me, and do not want to upset me. I wanted to spend time with him! Now I am confused and dont know what to do in this situation, I got a heart broken after he left but till now I still care about him.

    • Hi Lisa - I hear your story and I'm so moved, because I know exactly the place you're coming from. But here's what I have to tell you - you have to listen to him, hear what he is saying, his actual words, even though you don't want to hear it, and don't want to believe it. Live and respect and honor yourself enough to only go where you are truly welcome, where you will truly be greeted with the invitation and excitement that you deserve. With someone who is looking for the same things in a relationship that you are looking for, namely a committed, real relationship. You deserve nothing less than someone who wants to see you and have your company as much as you want it too, regardless of all the other feelings you may have. Your heart knows, if you can listen to it and put yourself first, as hard as that can be to accept.

  26. I have been seeing the same guy on and off for 3 years. One minute we are on fire ..full of passion ...i'm getting morning/night texts/calls everything....then he gets cold and I get nothing....everytime he pulls back I ask no questions I just pull back myself. When i first met him he told me that he doesn't do relationships yet on one of our breaks I was shocked to hear from him that he was in a relationship with someone which was short lived anyway. He explained to me that sometimes he gets lonely so he'll attach himself to what he calls a B- LISTER woman which means this is someone he has fun with but knows that its not going to last..he says he considers me an A-LISTER i guess that meant someone he could fall in love with and potentially break his heart since he once told me that if he feels himself liking someone he backs away because he's not good at relationships. He's told me that his last SERIOUS relationship she was a mans dream girl and he couldn't believe when he found out she was cheating on him he said he couldn't believe that he had no clue..anyway ffw to me ...Everytime we come back together we get closer and then he runs back to his corner...this particular time he actually told me that he really loves me ..he appreciates me and is thankful for me. He said I was special to him all of these wonderful things that i've waited 3 years to hear and then he gets cold again ..this time he throws himself into playing tennis...so finally I say to him do you notice this hot and cold pattern that we have and he replies "yes, ...i wish i were different" he totally took the blame ..I went on to tell him that I love him and that pull back when i feel that this may just be a thing and that it would hurt me if it was because its not what I want or how I want to come across. I then ask him if that makes sense to him..and he says "crystal clear...maybe too clear"(what the heck does that mean) i ask well what do you think ..he replies "i think it makes sense" this was all through text and it ended right there...the next day he text "thinking of your kiss" i say "as much as it feels good to know this ..I can't go there with you ..if you decide that you want to remain platonic or want something more steady feel free to let me know i'm open to both" he replies "sounds like you've been doing some soul searching"(WHATTTTT?!?!?!..WHAT KIND OF ANSWER IS THAT)..I say i just know that I don't do well with hot/cold situations so why prolong the inevitable right? he rights back "hmmmmmm" i haven't made any contact or heard from him since and its been 3 days....i'm losing it over here because this may have been the end ...i don't know if i've hurt him by shutting him down the way that i did but i couldn't take it anymore...whats driving me crazy is he didn't even say lets remain platonic..so am i to assume that he wants NOTHING instead??? I'm so hurt right now and neeeeeeed advice PLEASE HELP!

    • Be so proud of yourself, Rachele, for finally allowing your heart to say what you've been trying to say for so long now. It takes such courage to finally allow yourself to stand up and call everything what it really is. And once you realize what you've said, what you've done, and you hear the reaction and response (or lack of it) from him that tells you oh so clearly,where he really stands, of course you feel like you are dying ins inside. How could it not be? You have traveled such s tumultuous path, with this guy, full of such heartache and then celebration and then all over again, that of course you are left devastated at his lack of response. It's time to Make this about you, Rachele, you needed to be just this strong to move forward, and you have done just that. The rest is up to him. If he is truly meant for you , you will know. It will get easier, trust in your heart and stay strong and remember all that you are and all you have to offer someone who is truly deserving of you and you will get through this.

  27. Hi Jane,

    I met this guy at a festival in June. We exchanged numbers and talked about everything for 4 hours that night on the phone. For a week straight we were communicating all day and all night until we fell asleep. He came to visit me and we hung out. It wasn't planned, but we ended up sleeping together. Everything was good. We still communicated and he visited me twice a week for a month and a half. We weren't always intimate, we spent a lot of quality time together. Then he started to pull away. After about three weeks of trying to reach out to him, he came to visit me. He told me that he has feelings for me , but couldn't continue to spend time with me and sleep with me because it felt like we were headed into a relationship and he's not ready for that right now. He still wants to be my friend though. Fast forward to this past week. He called me out of the blue asking my opinion about an out of state job and me helping him get his resume together. He expressed how it was so good to talk to me. This weekend he invited me to have lunch with him and he offered to travel with me on business trips so I won't be alone. I know he has a lot going on (just found out his father has a younger outside child and he couldn't graduate this semester) and he's trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life. I need some insight because I'm so confused by his actions.

    • Of course you're confused, Raven, you've been getting such mixed signals from this guy. It certainly sounds like he is torn between what he feels for you and what he is capable of giving to you by way of a relationship. He is being very honest with you, albeit not telling you what you really wanted to hear, but telling you honestly that he is not comfortable with leading you on when he isn't ready for a committed relationship right now. That's huge, because so often guys like this are not that honest and do end up leading you on. And now this change where he seems to be seeking you out again with some future plans together. It sounds like he is truly confused himself.

      Without knowing him, and without knowing you, it is hard to say how to respond to all of this. I would take things very slowly with him right now. The last he said was that he isn't ready for a commitment, and even though some of his recent actions would seem to indicate he is still interested in spending time with you and may be changing his mind about being with you, it does sound like he isn't really sure what he wants or where he wants to be with his life in many areas. And he hasn't revised his stand on being in a relationship. So this becomes about you. What are you ok with? Are you ok with spending time with him without knowing where he really stands? Can you just enjoy his company, or will this be too hard on you to just spend time with him without getting caught up in being with someone who may not be on the same page as you where relationships and commitment are concerned? What do you get from being with him? What does he give to you? If he still isn't ready for anything more than a casual encounter or two with you, are you ok with that? Be honest with him and let him know where you stand with all of these things he is talking about. Only time will tell what's really going on with him, but what is more important is how you feel and what you need and what you are and are not willing to put up with.

  28. Hi Jane,
     
    I would like to think that my situation is a little different. My guy pressed me to be in a relationship. Talked about married and wanting to have kids, etc. i took my time to make sure that he was serious. After being off and off again (my call), we reconnected and he still talked about wanting to be in a relationship with me. I finally took a chance at love. I was strong and played hard to get for a year but once I agreed to a relationship I've made my world all about him, how can I please him, how can I make him happy, how can I supply all of his needs.  Two weeks ago wrote him a letter outlining my expectation, detailing a few of my concerns, and basically reiterating the need for time since he would much rather spend his free time with his coworkers after working a 12 hour shift. Then in turn noted to him in the letter how I felt that this relationship was all about him. When he wasn't with his coworkers he was just too tired and wanted to sleep, whether it be with me or alone at his home. A day after giving him the letter I was told "I want the be able to do all the things I did when I was single". Then two days later after what I assumed was the beginning of the end, I was asked if we didn't work out could we be friends. I told him no, that if we were over than that would be the end. He in turn told me that he would call me later to let me know what he wanted. I never did. I was driving myself nuts for 4 days trying to figure out on my own what was going on in my relationship with my boyfriend.  I called any friend who will listen to get advise. Depended on the trustworthy Internet to pin point exactly with was going on.  Instead of going to the source, my man.  I googled and read several astrology compatibility readings that matched our signs.  I worked myself up for four days only to find this morning that he hasn't called me because he has been frustrated by some financial items that he has to take care of.  He stated that he was going through something didn't want to involve me or take out his frustration on me, knowing how sensitive I can be if his tone is too harsh.  He went into detail about the issue and detailed his resolution plan.
     
    I felt like an idiot.  I've opened my relationship up to numerous girlfriends to get their take on what they think I should do or what they thought his aim was.  Being told not to call him and to wait until he call me when I have an I NEED TO KNOW attitude.  Read that based on your signs, Cancer and Aries, that we're doomed from the time we decided to become on item.  That's always nice to hear when you're falling in love someone.  After reading your post I decided that I would call since I wanted to call.  When I got no answer I left it alone.  I waited several hours and followed up with a text saying 'Hi, enjoy your day'.  I was content with that instead of pouring out the fact that I missed him dearly and that I wanted an explanation as to why he hasn't called or sent me his usually 'Good morning Baby' text messages in the past few day. 
     
    I wanted my relationship to work.  If that means that I have to look within to improve my attitude and approach then so be it.  I want he to want me more than I want him.  I now know that it's okay to re focus my attention.  I have a three year old like and know a) how difficult it is to get a babysitter and with I do have a sitter I want to use that time to spend with him, b) how anxious a single mom can be to want that complete family.  I've never pawned my son to my boyfriend but after a year of making him court me he has grown to dub my son as his stepson, although I correct him each time he says it.
     
    After 3 1/2 weeks of being on an emotional roller coaster, I decided to do something nice for my man to calm the tension. I decided to bake a lasagna. Stay up until 3am. Ended breaking up 4 hours after that. He told me that he didn't want a relationship right now. Wth! After I become emotionally invested now you no longer what to be in a relationship. I asked him several times if he really wanted a commitment and let him know how serious it was for me to bring a guy into my world since I have a son. I've had numerous conversations with my kid to introduce him into the fact that mom has a significant other.

    It's been a week since the breakup and I'm still missing him. Should I continue going to the necessary process of moving on or let him know what I'm feeling. He told me in the beginning that he's bad with communication and thought that I could help him in that area. I don't know if I'm using that as an excuse, because I do feel like he has a cell phone, he knows how to call me. I guess I'm in the land of what if I'm missing a good opportunity because I'm not stepping up.

    Wow, just typing that made me feel pathetic. But I'm still interested in what you .

    Help!

    Tameka

    • Dang Tameka your guy is an aries? so is mine...I almost thought we were talking about the same person.

    • Oh Tameka, first rest assured that you are not missing a good opportunity because you're not stepping up. This isn't about what you need to do to make this relationship work. This is not resting solely on you. When I read your words, what I read between the lines was the story of someone who is used to having to do all the work to prove you are worthy of being loved for you. You don't have to do anything for anyone else to be loved except to be yourself - that beautiful giving, loving self that loves to please her man and treat him like a king. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, if he is treating you in the same manner. If he loves to please you and treats you like a queen. But all too often, those of us who are so giving, so pleasing, so all about meeting everyone else's needs - we forget to wait to do all that until we meet someone who first proves he is truly worthy of that beautiful gift of you and all that you have to offer someone you choose to be in a relationship with.

      It is a heartbreaking time when you meet a guy who is so much about the chase, that once he has you completely committed to him, he pulls back and you are left to wonder what happened and what to do next. Whatever the stars say, whatever your friends say, whatever advice you find in so many different places, none of that really matters as much as the simple truth that if it is meant to be, it will be - and it won't be all up to you to decide that. He knows where you stand, what you're looking for from him, and he responded by letting you know where he stands - he doesn't want a relationship right now. As hard as that is to hear, Tameka, listen to his words. I'm so sorry that it is not just you who feels let down, but your son as well. Being a single mother is the most admirable feat in the world, and there is nothing more courageous and inspiring than a mother who is as sensitive to her little boy's feelings as you are here.

      You are not pathetic or stupid, Tameka; you are a beautiful, giving, caring woman with so much to offer someone and so much of a gift to give to a man who is truly deserving of all that you are and all that you can offer him. Let this one go for now, knowing that you deserve nothing less than someone who loves you as much as you love him. There will be someone like that out there for both you and your sweet little boy, Tameka; if it's him, you'll know, but if not, trust and believe that there will be someone else down the road; someone who will show you that true love doesn't require the type of hoops you're been going through, the emotional rollercoaster you've been through. It simply requires two open and available individuals who've been looking for each other all along.

  29. This page has really helped me. I broke up with my partner or 2 years. We both have had a few horrible relationships in the past and we both are single parents. We get on so well and have the same interets and even had a family holiday together. We did split around 3 months ago because he said at the moment he can't see us ever living together as a family. Although he was crying saying he loved me so much he but was willing to let me go and find someone else to make me happy, that if he couldn't make it work with me he couldn't never make it work with anyone. I felt I should try and stay but after a few weeks the doubts about him being able to commit came back. I kept quiet and then decided to end it. He seemed upset but let me go, I was hoping that this might make him want me back. Also on Sat there is a big firework display and a girl is openly flirting with him asking if hes going, when he has never had before without me. I feel he is moving on with his life and I can't. When we split he said as did I that we could remain friends not he had cut all contact with me and when I text he doesn't reply much. When I texted saying I thought we could still be freinds he said he has friends he doesn't talk to for years. The lack of conatct is really hurting and I miss him so much. I feel that hes over me and what he told me was lies. Its been nearly 3 weeks. I texted him to say would he like to meet for lunch and for us to clear the air, to which he replied he was too busy. I feel 100 times worse than when I first ended it three weeks ago the lack of contact is killing me

    • My heart goes out to you, Clair; it is hard enough to go through this type of ending of a relationship when you don't really want it to end, only to be left as the only one grieving it while he has moved on so easily it must seem to you. Not being able to connect with him, to have any kind of contact can hurt so much, but it is really the longing for that connection that makes it so much worse. As hard as it is to accept, the only way through this is to hear him. To believe what he is saying when he says he's too busy. To believe his actions when he doesn't respond to you, even though, as you say, it is killing you. It is because you are hanging on with still such hope that you are missing him so much and it is hurting this bad. There is nothing wrong with holding out hope, and hanging on to the possibility of some kind of reconnection down the road, but it doesn't serve you and your broken heart very well.

      You deserve so much more than this, Clair; you truly deserve someone who wants you and wants to be only with you more than anyone else in the world. This isn't your place to chase after him now, but to release him so that you can move on to what is truly waiting out there for you. This is no way for someone as beautiful and loving and giving as you to live. Grieve your loss, feel everything you feel. This is no time to deny yourself any and all of your feelings about this heart wrenching loss you're experiencing. But it is a time to celebrate you, with everything you are and have to offer someone who loves you and pursues you like this. Comfort yourself by truly believing and trusting that if this is meant to be, if he is the one for you, you will know and it will be. But in the meantime, this is your time to take care of your heart and soul, of the beautiful woman known as you, Clair. Take your time, take it slow, and know and trust in yourself that this will get easier, you will get through this, and one day very soon, it will all make sense. It's ok if you can't see any of this right now. It will come.

  30. Hi there, I can’t believe that I am doing this but I don’t know what to do. I am currently in a similar situation with a man. We have been dating for about two months. He is great, we have so much fun together and we are intimate. I have met his daughter and he has met my kids. I recently told him that I didn’t want to "share" him with other women anymore and that I was willing to stop dating the other men I was seeing. He told me that he was not ready for a relationship. I left it at that, the other night he told me that he really, really cares about me and that I am "changing" him. I noticed though that his dating profile is still online and that he is checking it daily. He told me that he was not seeing anyone else but to be honest I really don’t know. He texts me good morning every morning, good night every night, and thru the day I normally hear from him. My brain tells me that maybe I should move on but my heart tells me that I don’t want to, in hopes that he'll come around soon. I want to talk to him about it but I'm afraid that it will push him away. I don’t know what to do.......... I could just cry. Any insight would be wonderful!

    • It sounds like you have two options here, Melissa before you choose to move on. You are so right that you really don't know anything about where he stands and where his head and his heart are at. And that definitely is a concern, since you obviously care about him and want to see where this might go. So this becomes about what you can do here to take care of yourself while finding out where he stands. You can either keep him at an arms length, keep dating the other men since clearly he isn't showing you by his actions that he has solely committed to you, and wait and see what happens, if you really are "changing him. Or you can be direct with him and let him know what you are and are not ok with if you are going to be involved with him.

      If a conversation like that seems inappropriate, and you are sensing that it will push him away, your gut instinct probably is already picking up on what is really going on here and you already know the answer for yourself. But in my experience, being direct only brings out the truth of what is already there and doesn't change a situation by asking for some honesty. It only saves you from wasting any more time and energy and your precious you on someone who isn't ready for you and all that you have to offer him. Either way, you will know, and then you can choose what to do with that information. You deserve someone who wants to be with you as much as you want to be with him, Melissa, and finding this out either by holding back before you commit further to him or having a conversation is the only way to truly honor and respect and take care of yourself.

      • Thank you so much Jane... I did just what you suggested and told him how I was feeling. He understood and I think that we are going to be okay. He didn't seem to be scared by it. The discussion has not gone any further but I think that it’s a good start and I am going to continue to date other men until we figure out where we are going.

        • Thanks for the update, Melissa - it sounds encouraging. And hold onto that strength - your beautiful confidence in yourself is shining through! :-)

  31. Hi Jane,

    I am with a man I have dated for 2 1/2 years off and on. In October of 2011 HE moved us to girlfriend/boyfriend status. We lived 2 hours apart up until 3 months ago. I took a job in the same town he lives. We have grown somewhat closer, but he keeps telling me I am wanting to move things faster than him. He is very busy with his business and his new passion/hobby. He uses these as a reason not to see me at times. He encourages me to go out and meet new friends so that I have things to do when he is not available. He tells me he loves me only in text or verbally if I say it first. We are both divorced after long marriages, both around 20 years. We enjoy our time together, are very relaxed around each other, but he seems to keep an emotional distance. He does have several female friends that he sees maybe once every 2-3 months He does not talk much about our future, but I have shared with him what I want, which is long term. So what gives? He is a complicated man.

    Thank yo for your time

    Michelle

    • He does sound complicated, Michelle, but very similar to so many men who have issues that are theirs and theirs alone and not yours to take on. There are so many possible reasons why a man keeps a certain amount of distance around him; instead of trying to analyze him, try to focus instead on what you are really looking for from him and why. What are you willing to put up with? What is your timeline for the two of you and what specifically do you mean by the long term commitment you are looking for? It often helps to be very clear about your own specifics so that you can see very clearly whether he is truly what you are looking for in a partner/lover/husband/etc.

      The emotional distance you speak of can be a huge issue, so you really have to be clear about what you expect from him if he wants to be in a relationship with you. It sounds like he is setting some clear boundaries with you, and when one person is doing almost all the boundary setting, it can often be a sign that the relationship is not balanced. Only you know if what you're getting out of this relationship is enough to make him and the relationship worth some of the things you feel are lacking in it, but if you focus first on you and keep living your own life, not because he suggests it but because you truly have a life of your own outside of him, you can keep your own emotional distance until you find out for sure that he is as committed to you as you are to him. I know just how frustrating someone like this can be, but remember that you are just as in control of this relationship as he is - something we all too often forget!

      • Thank you for your reply Jane! I plan on speaking with him tonight to set a few ground rules, expectations. I'm not trying to rush things with him, I just want to know where I stand. I also don't want to push him away. I know we can have a great thing., we have very similar backgrounds and interest. I care for and love him deeply. I do struggle with his female friendships, mostly because I don't know for sure where we stand. He tells me that no one is going to take him away from me and that his friends are only that. Some of his female friends he has dated in the past. One he was very much in love with. Recently, i walked up behind him when he had open a long message to her. He did not close it, but out of respect, I turned my head. I have recently told him how this makes me feel, but he has not responded. I'm not sure he is ready to completely let go of some of these past relationships and maybe that is why the emotional distance. thoughts?

        Thank you again!

        • It sounds like he's not sure what he wants, Michelle, and he definitely isn't ready to let go of his need to still be in contact with these other women - even though you've told him how you feel about that. That's a big red flag for me, so I would focus first and foremost on yourself and keep living your life with you as the priority. Keep dating other men; he's given you no reason to be exclusive with him, and by keeping your options open, if he comes along and starts treating you with the respect and consideration that you more than deserve, then it will be a nice surprise, rather than something you're counting your whole life on. Make sure he's giving you the same respect that you're showing him before you decide he's worth it. You deserve nothing less than that!

          • We have been exclusive for several months now, but he doesn't seem want to let go of his friendships. I'm jut hoping that's all they are. He says it is, all I can do is trust. Right now I am not interested in dating other men, it gets to complicated for me. One at the time. I just don't know how much longer to hang on. I'm new to where I am living now and only know people through him and the people I work for. I have joined a couple of interest groups but they always seem to meet when I can't make it.

            • You're in a tough spot, Michelle; it's hard to do this without much support or other outlets of interest. You're going to know when enough is enough, though. Where he's really at will eventually come out. It always does at some point. It will either become more obvious to you on some level, and you will know what to do, or he will see what isn't working for you and it will come from him. Everyone is different and the question of how long is such a personal one. Just keep remembering all that you are, all that you deserve, and all that you bring to a relationship, and you will eventually know when it's time.

  32. I broke up with my boyfriend of 2.5 years 5 days ago. He wants all of the benefits of a relationship but won't take any responsibility. We have a wonderful time together but it was KILLING ME how he was ignoring everything I wanted (even talking about the future) while be threw a fit if I didn't call him to say goodnight to him one night (we lived 1.5 hours away from each other the entire time). I told him I couldn't do this any more 5 days ago and we haven't had any contact since. I'm sad but I know this was the right decision for me.

    • I'm so sorry, Kate; but be so proud of the strength it took to make that kind of decision, especially when you so want it to work out. Comfort yourself by remembering that if something truly is meant to be, it always finds a way. Your confidence in yourself comes through beautifully here; hold onto that and know that decisions like this are never easy, but are sometimes the only way to honor and respect the beautiful gift of you.

      • Thank you so much for responding to me. I have this page bookmarked and every time I get the urge to text him I read this

        He knows how to use a telephone, a cell phone, a computer, and a car – he knows how to get in touch with you if he wants to

        So true! Thank you again for helping me stay strong. I feel this is the only win/win option for me. Either I find out he's NOT that into me and thus saved myself months/years of time and effort or if it's meant to be it will happen and on MY terms.

        • You've got it, Kate. That beautiful strength and confidence that's really you is shining through - it's all true! :-)

          • He called me today and talked about getting a large piece of furniture to me. When I told him my piece about how my needs weren't met but I was expected to jump to his he seems to be shrugging off any responsibility. He keeps saying stuff like "I tried to make you happy" and I text him how he made me feel but I feel like it's useless! Is this a bad sign? He's so defeatist and unable to see things from my perspective

            • If he's not there where you are in the relationship, if he's not open and willing to seeing what's going on, he's not going to be receptive or responsive to anything you're saying to him. He has to care enough to see your side, your perspective. He has to be in that space, and nothing you can say or do will make him see it, or see you and what you need and what you're feeling if he's not there himself.

              You can't change him or make him see it. You can only see yourself, and make your own choices and choose to do what you need to do for you. It's not a bad sign or a good sign, it just is. It is the reality of what is. It's where he's at, and it's where you're at and it will get easier when you can accept him the way he is right now, and then deal with what is, not what you'd like it to be. This is never easy to do, Kate; I understand what you're going through all too well, but it's the only way to get to the other side of all of this.

          • It's so funny reading this now 6 months later. Yeah, I was stupid and we got back together. We had a great 6 months but things still aren't where I need them to be. I think he does care about me a lot- last week he drove over an hour each way to have coffee with me for an hour- but he is still afraid to give me the commitment I want. He says he is "not ready" to get engaged and wants me to move in with him after he gets his transfer to my city (which might happen this summer or in the fall) and live with him for a year and then he'll think about it.

            I've told him that his plan is unacceptable to me and if he isn't sure about me after 3 years I'm leaving. We went to a premarital counseling session which was good and have started talking seriously about the future but he still has never told me that he wants to be with me- he stays he loves me, but he's never said that I'm the one he wants

            I told him yesterday that I wasn't dating him any more. I told him I've tried reasoning with him, I've cried so many tears, I've tried to help him, but he reacted negatively to me "pressuring" him. I told him I love him and I think we would be great together but I value my happiness too much to keep sacrificing for a man who "isn't sure" about me. I told him he has all the time in the world to figure it out but I will not be there with him while he does. He was really upset and said he would work on it with his counselor. He said he would keep texting me and today he has but I have not responded and I won't respond. My lease is up in 2.5 months and I'm thinking about traveling and relocating to another city if he doesn't come around (who knows if he will or won't?)

            Anyways you give great advice... just took me a while to get my head around it ;] I don't regret the 6 months, we've had some great times and made some progress but I also would have saved myself lots of heartache

            • Thanks for the update and sharing your story, Kate - and how far you've come! It always takes awhile to get our head around what we really don't want to hear or believe even though a part of us knows it's true. It's all part of our own individual journey, and never a reason to be hard on ourselves!

              You sound so much stronger and confident about who you really are and what you deserve. So much more clearer. And it sounds like he knows this now, too. Whatever he decides, you're so right - it doesn't matter. This is about you. I have found one of the best antidotes to heartbreak is a fresh start in a new place with a new energy and a new outlook on life that comes from just being somewhere physically different. I personally met my husband when I moved to a new state, actually a whole new country, so I'm all for relocating and taking a new, fresh perspective with you. There's something about being in a new place that can give you a whole new energy and confidence that shines through, so if that's what you decide to do, I highly recommend it. :-)

  33. Really moving article, your responses and advice to everyone have been so kind. My story is a little different, I've been with my partner 4 years, living together for 2. We have always talked about marriage and children, and I had thought we would be engaged in the next year or two. Earlier this year we nearly broke up because he wasn't so sure of his feelings for me as he used to be, I moved out for a few months, we went through counselling, separately and together, and he had a life shock which put his life in perspective. I came back, we worked on it and we had healed- or so i thought. Tonight (6 months on) he admitted there's always this feeling in the back of his head with us that something isn't right, and that he can't commit because he feels like he's lying to me, that he can't give himself to me 100%, enough to get married. He loves me, he cares about me deeply and wants to be in my life regardless (he was nearly in tears the whole conversation), but this niggling feeling has been there for so long (before our last separation) and he keeps thinking it'll go away or he can fix it and it just doesn't and so far, he can't fix it.He desperately wants to be able to commit and make this feeling go away but, apparently, he's been trying so long and it won't. I feel that now that he's been honest with me, there's a possibility at least of trying to fix it, head back to counselling, talk to some of his married friends because I know this is such a common issue- but I am so terrified. My life feels a little like it is falling apart, again, and I'm embarrassed to talk about it with any of my happily married friends. Any words of advice would really help.

    • His honesty with you and willingness to go for counselling is encouraging, Claire; so many men are not that open or in touch with themselves. So that is a very positive sign for both you and him and the relationship to have that kind of authentic transparency. But he definitely does have his own issues to work on, and while you can be a wonderful support to him, my thoughts are with you and the fact that you have given him four years of your life with the expectation of a real commitment in the very near future. You have every right to want this, to expect that level of commitment from him if that is what you are offering him as well. But it sounds like he is just not there on that same page as you for whatever reason that has nothing to do with you.

      So the bigger question becomes are you ok with giving him another two or four years together if nothing changes and he still has these nagging doubts that he can't explain, but are enough to negate everything else he feels for you knowing what it is you are looking for from him? That becomes your issue then and the question only you can answer. This obviously works well for him just the way things are without the commitment and full package you're looking for. If you can accept him and the relationship on these terms and step back to see if this could be enough for you if this is as committed to you as he is able or willing to be, then simply accept it and him and choose to enjoy what you have together. But if your heart needs more than this, and it becomes that you want someone who can commit to you in the way you want, someone who shares the same ability to commit fully to each other with the full reality of marriage and kids now, not years down the road or the possibility of never, then you know where your heart really is.

      The hardest thing is understanding this phenomenon of "it would be so awesome if he could just commit!", but that is exactly the point here. Accept reality as it is right now, not as you know it could be, and you will know where to go from here. I know the stakes are high when you care so much about someone and have already invested so much of you life and time in him. Just make sure he's worth it, my beautiful friend. :-)

      • Two days ago, two weeks after last talking about it, he walked through the door after being away for 6 days and broke up with me. It came as such a shock, I had thought we were going to work on it, he had said it was my call, and then he just ended it. I am shattered and broken and I have never experienced this before. This was the man I thought I would be spending the rest of my life with. I feel like I have lost my best friend, my boyfriend, my family (that was his family, which i was very much a part of), my cat and my home, as I have begun packing up and staying with my parents. I told him i wanted our relationship to end the way it had always been, with love, so we spent one final night lying together in the dark and he held me tight and kept saying he was confused and sorry. I feel that he has chosen this party, free lifestyle over me, that he doesn't want to be tied down anymore. He does not want any relationship i think, i do not think other women are involved whatsoever. He said that he couldn't be 100% of himself with me. I guess my question is that I don't know what to do about hope- whether to keep hoping that this breakup will be the only possible thing to make him really see what we had, or that this partying lifestyle will eventually flicker out (he is older than most of his party friends). I feel like i didn't get the chance to try everything I wanted to, he didn't go to counselling, we didn't try me moving back home indefinitely, we didn't get to try a break or something. I feel so lost and unsure and empty, and I really don't know what to do or how to get up in the morning anymore.

        • I'm so sorry, Claire. How devastating this is, especially when you weren't expecting this at all, when you had every reason to believe you were both still planning on making this relationship work. I feel your pain and how this must hurt. Of course you feel so lost and empty; nothing can possibly describe what you're going through when this is so fresh and you're left reeling from the reality of your new reality. It is so hard when you have so much more to say, so much more you want to try to make it work, but suddenly it isn't up to you.

          Whether or not this breakup, his decision, provides the impetus for some change in him, or some reality check that will cause him to see what the two of you had together, is always hard to say. Depending on how long he has prepared himself for this decision, it is hard to say what he is feeling or thinking at this point or what effect this is having on him. The partying lifestyle can grow old fast, or depending on what unresolved issues he has yet to deal with, it can be a way of numbing the pain of facing his own demons head on. Everyone reacts differently to working on themselves and confronting what it is that holds them back and keeps them from moving forward with their specific issues.

          Only you know what you need here to get through this, Claire. For some of us, we need to keep talking about it all to supportive friends and family and anyone else who understands or can provide unconditional support for us as we process this without judgement. Others of us take some time off and get away to remove ourselves from the painful reminders as we get some perspective on it all. Still others try to keep the lines of communication open to try to keep the conversations going if he is at all willing. Music that touches our souls and books that understand what we're going through are other rich sources of therapy as we go through this.

          The most important part is to be gentle with yourself and your heart right now. Try not to dwell on what you might have said or done differently or what scenarios might have resulted. Instead, trust that right now, you are exactly where you need to be. Everything is going to be ok. You will get through this. You will find a strength within you to go on that you never even knew you had. But the only way to do this, is by living one moment at a time. One hour at a time. Don't look at tomorrow or the next day or the next week. Look only at the next minute for now and live through that. Then work your way up to an hour, and live through that. It's all about tiny, baby steps right now until you feel ready to move on. Take your time. Don't rush. Don't get impatient with yourself. Set a realistic time limit for how long you want to feel each painful feeling, and then feel it to its fullest before releasing it and moving to the next moment in time. That's how we find the strength to do this. And then, whatever comes up, whatever you feel like doing, wherever you feel like going, if it is something that will help you get through this, choose what to do next. There is a wonderful book I read when I experienced a similar devastating and unexpected break up called "How to Survive the Loss of a Love" that really helped me, as well as "The Journey from Lost to Found". Know that if the two of you truly are meant for each other, you will be together in the end. But for now, this is about you taking gentle care of yourself and loving and honoring the beautiful woman you are. This is the time to nurture yourself and that little girl inside you who is feeling this loss. Give her what she needs and take care of her breaking heart and you will eventually find yourself ready to embrace this next phase of your life whatever the future holds.

      • Someone, anyone, I need help and advice. I have read all of these posts and have even tried the one where I stepped back was wonderfully nice, still his girlfriend, but acted aloof. It helped a lot, but for how long would I need to act that way? I have dated a 50 year old man for over 6 years. We have been exclusive for the past 1.5 years. Currently, he is finalizing the community property settlement from his x wife. He is by no means wealthy, and we make about the same salary. She has gone back and asked for permanent spousal support due to a health issue, and is now asking for half of his retirement. It should be finalized by the end of the year. Initially, I thought he didn't want to become engaged until this property settlement was completed, but I don't think that is completely the reason.
        First let me say that we are extremely compatible, and I know he loves me and only me. We are very happy together; however, I grow increasingly disappointed that he wont ask me to get engaged. I had a discussion with him Friday night. What I told him were the same things I have told him before, but I was more direct this time. I asked him about getting engaged and told him I was becomming increasing disappointed in not being engaged. He told me he didn't want to be enagaed right now, and he couldn't tell me when he would want to become engaged. I asked him was it just the community property settlement, and he said no. When I asked for a timeline, he said he couldn't give me one. Although he said, he didn't want to date anyone else, and he wanted us to be married as husband and wife one day. I really do believe him. He asked me why couldn't I just enjoy being happy with him without the engagement. I explained myself again. I asked him did he think I was asking for something that wasn't reasonable, and he said no. He said he understood what I wanted but he just couldn't give it to me at this time.
        I feel I have made many compromises throughout the passed 6 years, and I don't want to compromise any longer. I told him I was going to begin seeing other people and that I was going to begin moving forward with my life. He doesn't want to see other people and has asked me not to see other people, but that is selfish on his part. I broke up with him Friday, and I haven't talked with him since then. I am putting the ball in his court to contact me when he is ready to give me a timeline or express his love in such a way that him gives me the committment I need, want, and desire.
        Part of me wants to contact him to tell him I will still date him too, but that I feel it is necessary for me to date other men too because after all, if he isn't ready to committ after this length of time, why should I see just one person. However, I believe I should give him time to think about this situation, time to be without me, and time to evaluate his feelings. If I go back just with him, then I feel that I would be showing him that I accept what he wants and am once again being the one to make compromises. I believe that if he truely loves me, he will come back to me with a ring regardless if I date other people or not. Because, we have been down this road before and I took him back. I think time is always on my side with regard to him reflecting, but time makes me distantance myself and have increasingly more anxiety. On the other hand, time is good for him. It helps him realize what he is throwing away.
        I believe he thinks I will fall back into the same pattern and call him next weekend and say that I can live with this again, but I really can't. I have an 11 year old daughter and a 15 year old daughter. Both of them like him a lot, but they hate to see what I go through emotionally. They know he is my boyfriend and know I want more from him. He has told them both that he loves me and intends to marry their mommy one day. I am confused. Any advice at this point would be helpful. I think I just need to begin working out again, enjoy my new job, and continue working on my new house, which I had hoped he would move in to after we were engaged. Maybe he is waiting for the community property issue to be resolved, but he doesn't want to tell me that in case things are prolonged which is strange being that they don't have a lot to really divide. I believe his anxiety about the permanent spousal support and losing half of his retirement has him very concerned. Please someone anyone, give me guidance, hope, and confidence in myself and my past and present decisions. I am very direct and regardless of any advice, I want it to be direct too. I have never gotten on a website like this nor have I asked for advice. However, everyone on hear sounds just like me in some small way. Thanks for reading!

        • You understand this more than you give yourself credit for, Marissa! When you say "I think I just need to begin working out again, enjoy my new job, and continue working on my new house..." that is exactly what you know in your heart is the best thing for you to focus on! The living of your own life. It's not in the waiting that we find true love and all that we desire, it's in the living of your own beautiful life that you create for yourself regardless of what someone else does or doesn't do, and often in spite of them.

          It sounds so clear from what you've written here from an outside perspective, and yet I can understand that it feels anything but clear when you're in the midst of it. No, you are not asking for too much or being unreasonable. No, you do not deserve less than what you desire with him. Yes, he probably does love you and care about you and he wants to be with you and only you and probably even believes you'll be married to each other one day.

          But he also knows that he's not there, and he doesn't know when he will be, and he's honest enough to let you know both of these things so that you can decide for yourself what you are and are not willing to do here. He's defined his terms and set his boundaries; now it's up to you to do the same.

          You can't play hard to get, my beautiful friend; you can't play games with someone and try to be something you're not when the only reason you're trying to be something different from your true self is to try and bring about a different outcome. It's not sustainable. Because the reality is that you know who you are and what you want, and you can't pretend to yourself that you don't. You can't try to play games to make him come around because games never change the fact that two people are on two different pages if that's the reality that is. It's by being yourself that you find out if you're truly compatible with someone in all the ways that matter. And it's never a rejection to be taken personally if you're not. Differences, that's all.

          Of course it brings on the anxiety when you're not sure if you're doing the right thing or if this space that you're giving him to come to you will be filled by him reaching out or stretched out into more space. And that's a place where so many of our hearts feel like breaking and we forget the beautiful strong women we truly are.

          What you can do, Marissa, is let your actions say so much more than your words are saying. You can be hard to get instead of playing hard to get. You can choose to love yourself and create a beautiful life for yourself and your daughters that is about you, and not him. Your daughters will learn from you how to set their own boundaries and terms for their relationships and they will learn how to love and honor themselves above all else from seeing how you do this yourself.

          We all have our very personal reasons for making the decisions we do; make the one that gives you the greatest amount of peace and calm - the one you can live with- and leaves you with the least amount of regrets. Know that if he's right for you, if the two of you are truly compatible, that you will know because you will both be on the same page, looking for the same thing with each other, and willing to do whatever it takes to get there. Only you know what terms are acceptable to you in the meantime. Only you know what having him in your life on his terms versus not having him in your life at all is worth to you.

  34. Jane-
    Please help. I met a guy (let's call him John), and we dated for 4 1/2 months. Everything was perfect...we completely connected, fell in love fast and hard (both of us)...basically felt he was the one for me forever. He felt this way too, in that he even made comments about the future and wanting to be sure I'm a part of it, he said he loved me, so happy when with me, etc etc. More background--he was married for about 13 yrs but been divorced for the past 3 and has 3 kids that keep him busy. I inquired about the situation with his ex, and he said she 'decided she didn't want to be married anymore,' and that although he was miserable, he would not have ended the marriage (as he believes it's for life). I should also mention John is known to avoid conflict. When asked what he contributed to the downfall of the marriage, he said, "I didn't want to argue about anything, so I just always gave into her, which I regret." He swore he no longer loves her and is 'over it.' However, in the past month or so, I noticed he was pulling back from me and not returning calls, texts, etc. When i confronted him, he would say he's just has a lot of fears about relationships now but, through tears, would ask me not to leave him. He even said Iv'e given him more chances than he deserves, and said i was such a blessing. But he pulled back even more, and when I last confronted him about 1 1/2 weeks ago, he sobbed and said, "I am so confused....I know I love you and am happy to be with you, but I feel I'm not ready for a commitment...I so wish I could give you more." I just comforted him and suggested he consider therapy, which he admitted he 'may need.' He asked if he could call me, and I said yes. that was almost 2 weeks ago, and I've heard nothing. I only texted him once and asked if he was sure he wanted to end it, being that he's so emotional now and perhaps should not make a decision....he just replied and said, "you know how much I care for you...I so wish I could give you more." This is killing me inside. I know I can't take on his issues, and I know he's allowing his fears from his divorce rule him now. I just wish I could reach out, but I feel I can't and need to give him his space. What should I do? I love him and haven't loved anyone like this before (I, too, am divorced and have been for the past 5 yrs). Please help. Thanks.

    • You've already said and done everything you can, Debbie; this isn't yours to carry. It's not about you or anything more that you can do or do differently - it's about him and his issues. As hard as it is to accept this, he just isn't able to give you what you are looking for from him and that is just the reality of what is. I know how difficult it is to hear this, to accept that you cannot do or say anything to undo this, but this is what it is. This isn't a reflection on you, so resist the natural tendency we have to take this personally and make it about anything lacking in you.

      This is the time to simply hear what he has said to you and what his actions have told you and realize on some level this just wasn't meant to be right now at this time and place in your life. If things change with him in the future, he will contact you, he will reach out to you because he knows this is all about him and not you. He knows that. He knows it but just isn't there on the same page as you to work on himself and what's really going on with him and his own issues that are not yours to take on.

      I know you love him and don't believe there could be anyone else out there like him that you could love like this right now. I understand. For right now, just be with all this and know that true love is about two people both being open and willing to commit to each other and that you deserve nothing less than a relationship where someone is willing and open and able to commit to you as much as you are open and willing to commit to him. I know this hurts. I know you want things to be different. But for right now, let it be. Let him be. Spend time with people who are supportive and loving to you right now and focus simply on the baby steps of taking care of yourself and being gentle and kind to that little girl inside of you who only wanted to be loved. Your time is still to come, Debbie - if not with him, with someone else who will be truly deserving of all that you are and everything you have to offer him. That hasn't changed!

  35. Dear Jane,
    I have a boyfriend, we're together for 1 year. I'm 33, he's 26. We're great together. When we met neither of us was looking for a relationship, but we naturally entered into a loving relationship. I am his first girlfriend. Before me he had dated a few girls but never serious enough to have a serious relationship. After a month together, he introduced me to his friends and family as his girlfriend. I feel like he is the one. And from the start I told him that I am ready to settle down. He's told me he thinks he's too young to settle down but one day he wants to get married and have children. But his main focus now is his career.
    With that in mind, I decided to stay with him to see what happens because I believe that our relationship is
    deep, loving and worth of trying.
    After a while together he started having doubts about his feelings, he was torn between his old single life and being in a relationship. He said we were becoming too serious too quickly and that it scared him and that he was afraid about not being able to honour my expectations with regards to the future, and that he was too young and was probably missing out on his single lifestyle.
    My response was: if you want to break up now, just do it, you can't have both lives, please be honest and
    do not waste my time. I know what I want, I want to be with you. I am happy weith you. But I cannot help you
    make a decision. He said he wished he knew I was the one. I said, even if you were 100% sure I was the one,
    would you not feel like you were missing out on your old single lifestyle? He was speechless, and I left him
    alone to think. On the next day he contacted me saying that he was devastated, couldnt eat, etc, basically asking
    me to not end our relationship. I kept strong, patient and tried to bear with the turbulence.

    Things got better. We went on holiday together. And after a couple of months I suggested to live together,
    he said no, too early. I accepted that as I thought ok, things might change in the future. Just be patient.
    We're great together.

    The odd thing is that although he states that he is not ready to be in a serious relationship,
    what we have right now is a serious/committed relationship. On top of that,
    just a couple of months ago, he asked me if he could temporariarly live in my apartment (for a few days),
    until he found a place to live (the flat he was living was being sold), anyway, I said yes,
    hoping that he would change his mind and decide to stay. So he overstayed, instead of few days, he ended up living with me for 3 months.

    Now that he finally found a place to go, I feel devastated that he is leaving. I feel like he is abandoning me,
    i know it sounds odd, but thibngs got so mixed up inside of my head that I am no longer able to look at this
    situatiuon with discernment. He says that he is sad to go, but he needs his space and that we had never agreed
    to live together (which is true) . Anyway, I feel so lost and sad that I just want to ask for some advice, it is so sad and I dont really know how to see things anymore. please help, thanks

    • Oh Andy, it sounds like you have found someone who enjoys all the benefits of having someone as wonderful and caring and loving as you in his life, but without having to make any kind of commitment to you. Of course you can't see things objectively anymore. It is like you are living life together under the same roof, but with both of you seeing the situation differently. You, hoping that he will come around if he just has a chance to experience what a committed relationship to you would be like, and him, looking at in in practical terms of getting so much from you for doing so little in return. It works so well for him until he feels guilty about how he is treating you, then he pulls back with whatever excuse works for him.

      I can understand your wanting nothing more than for him to be able to give you what you're looking for from him, but the reality is that his actions and words are clearly telling you that he is just not there. The back and forth and push and pull you're getting from him shows he is clearly torn, but you deserve so much more than being put through the emotional rollercoaster you're experiencing with him. This is no way to live, Andy, and once you regain your sense of objectiveness, you will be able to see clearly that you deserve so much more than this. He has his own issues to deal with that make him confused and unsure of what he is looking for, but these are not yours to take on. Of course you feel sad - it's heartbreaking to love someone like this. But you deserve so much more than this!

      You've talked to him, he clearly knows what is you are looking for from him, the fact that you can communicate so openly with him shows just how strong you really are, but there comes a time after you've waited and tried and talked and gone through all this when it is time to let go and move on. It sounds like this might be the time. Only you know where you are at and what you are willing to put up with and for how long, but if I can say one thing to you, it is that you never need to settle for someone who doesn't see in you everything he's been looking for. If he isn't there, that just means there's someone else who will see that in you and won't let anything keep him from committing fully to you. That's what you deserve, Andy, and nothing less. You have so much to offer someone, you don't ever need to settle for anything less than this, my beautiful, sweet, strong friend!

      • Thank you, Jane, for your response. I really appreciate that!
        Yes, you completely got it right: Indeed I was hoping that he, after living with me, would have a feel of what is like to be in a committed relationship, and would eventually change his mind.

        The difficult part is that he gives me hopes, lots of it: when he announced he was moving out, he said: don't worry, if I change my mind or if I need to, I can leave at anytime from my new place, it only requires a short notice, and maybe we could find a place together in the future, will see.

        After spending a weekend with his family, he came back talking about how happy his (married and with children )cousins were, that he felt a bit jealous of them, and he wondered what it would be like if he was in their cousins shoes - that gave me hope. I thought: there is some potential there.

        Right now, I don't really know what to do. I want to make things clear and straight. But I am afraid of losing him. At the same time I want to tell him: look, this is what I want as you already know, if you cannot comply with it, just go and leave the way clear for another READY man.
        I think if I do that, he will be devastated, he might come back and say: look I was an idiot, but
        he might just be devastated and let me go. I will take some time and think, thank you, Jane!

  36. Hi Jane,
    I've I guess seeing this guy for a little over a year for it started of with friends with benefits then he got a girlfriend. We didnt talk for 5 months after that. One night he sent me a message telling me to call him bc he wanted to talk so i did and ended up going over there and he said that he knew that i would love him for who he is and not try to change him and to try this out between us. Well that didnt last long and he ended up getting back with the girlfriend. Well 6 weeks later he called and said he was done with her he wanted to try to work it out bc his kids adored her but there was no hope with them. So we started back talking not dating finally i grew feelings for him and i told him about them and he said he didnt want to hurt me but wasnt ready for anything right now. So about a month later I couldnt do it anymore and it was hurting me and he seen it so he stopped coming around and calling. 2 months later he sends me a text asking how i was and all that. Said if i didnt want to talk to him he understood so I did and we've been talking for about 3 weeks and he's opening up a lot more to be about his personal life and kids(I havent met yet). He told me one night after I asked where this was going and he said he couldnt tell me bc he didnt even know but he does care about me alot and I stay over a lot. He told me to just work with him. I dont know what to do . Help? He's really an awesome sweet guy.

    • Believe him, Ashton, listen to what he is saying by his words and his actions when he is telling you he isn't ready for anything right now. He's back and forth between girlfriends, and then falling back on you, then back again distant, telling you he doesn't know. Sometimes we think we deserve someone like this; we think we can eventually change them or help them to see the light of all that we are and all that we have to offer them. But the biggest predictor of future behavior, is current behavior, and this guy doesn't seem in any way motivated to change when he can just keep falling back on you when things don't work out with a new girlfriend.

      You deserve so much more than this, Ashton, but you have to see this for yourself and not just because someone tells you what to do. You deserve so much more than someone who tells you to "just work with him"! You deserve nothing less than someone who sees all the beauty in you, the gift of you, the loving, caring, giving woman you are who has so much to offer someone who has proven himself worthy of being with you. He may be the most awesome, sweetest guy, but unless he is treating you with care and respect, like the beautiful woman you truly are, nothing else matters.

  37. Hi Jane...

    A few weeks ago I confronted my on and off again boyfriend for 12 years about another woman. He admitted to me that he has been "talking" to someone for several weeks..I was shattered. Granted we have not been at the best of terms for a while but I never lost faith that we would be together forever. I was willing to by pass the whole "talking" to someone else...especially when he told me that it was nothing. Several days passed and we talked...he admitted to me the he was not not ready for commitment and that he wanted to see what he's options were out there. I was broken! I could not eat, sleep and I text him every day with pleads of heartache....he thought i was losing it! and I was. I was lost with thoughts of him with someone else...it made me sick! After a few days of endless crying I realized his words ego in my head...it came to me that I will be alright! I spend 12 years with this man on and off...good times and bad and he did not know if he was in love with me...I know i was deeply in love with him but that I needed to be stronger...and I have been. Im stuck...do i wait ...do i have on...? i DONT KNOW ANYMORE...:(

    • Of course you were shattered, broken, whatever else you would say to describe it. It hurts that bad to be awakened with such clarity. There's a post I wrote that captures the irony of this type of shattered, broken feeling that describes just the detail you speak of. It truly affects every part of you; it is no wonder revelations such as this can make a sensitive soul like yours physically sick. Of course you lost it. How can you not when you so deeply love and care for someone for this long only to feel the betrayal of his conversing with someone else. It's never that innocent.

      You will be all right, Diann; more than all right. If he isn't there, if he isn't with you like you thought he was, you deserve better than that. You know in your heart what to do here. You said the words here yourself; painful words that of course hurt you to even say them, but the truth; if he doesn't know if he truly loves you after over a decade of being together, it doesn't matter if it's been on and off, he's not there. He's not on your same page. I don't know why, or how or any specifics, but none of that matters. What matters is you. You, my sweet, beautiful, giving, caring, loving friend who have given so much of yourself to this man. Yes, he may be wonderful, and amazing, and everything you've ever wanted in a man, but if he isn't feeling that way about you, and treating you the way you deserve to be treated, nothing else matters.

      Begin by listening to him and believing what he says and what his actions say about him. It's ok to not want this. It's ok to feel whatever you're feeling. But don't settle for someone who doesn't know if he loves you. You can wait, if you choose to, you can always wait and see. But 12 years is a long time to put your heart and soul into a relationship with someone and still be waiting for them to come around. I know this isn't easy and you just wish it were different. And it might be. But right now, this is about you, and taking care of yourself and respecting and nurturing that little girl inside you who is feeling so lost and hurt. Take care of her. It's hard to be strong where you're feeling so wounded. It's ok. You can do this. You will be more than ok once you realize there is life after loss. If he is the one, you will eventually know. You'll be the first to know. And if he's not, there will be someone else who will love you the way you love him. No matter where you've been, no matter what you've been through, you deserve nothing less than this.

  38. Hello Jane,

    Your article is very inspiring! Thank you ever so much, I know you may be very busy, but I really hope that I can hear from you.. Because I really need some advice at the moment..

    Me and my boyfriend are together for 4 years now, however in which 3 years are long distance, in the first year we r together, he told me that he fell in love with me and want to give the long distance a shot, so I agreed, and it went really well, we both trust each other, and we make sure visit each other every 6 months, we Skype daily, and email other often, we went through a lot of difficulties together, we talked about marriage, both of our families met n have a really good relationship,He sent me emails like: 1) today I went to zoo with a friend n her kid, how I wish that was you by my side, and how I wish that was our child in the pram. 2) don't worry, we stay together no matter what. 3) not long ago I have decided to spend my life with you.. It all seems so perfect, once I was going through some very difficult time, he even knel down on my kitchen floor with my hair bubble in one hand, said will u marry me!

    Last year, (a year before I came back) a lot of my friends got married, for some reason I felt a bit pressure, I don't understand how come he loves me and want to be with me, but he can't marry me now, after a few chat, he said he is not sure, as you may imagine, I was very upset..I don't understand what's happening, we still keep the daily contact, but once in a while the idea just pop into my head, n i would just presure him, that summer he paid a visit we had a chat, he said he is still not sure, n i was upset so i said either ur sure about me now or lets just be friends. he said no, he doesnt want to be friends, he said to give him time till xmas, he said he wants to know how its like when we live together, then i thought maybe it was the distance, so I have made a huge decision, which is to give up my job in that country n come back to be with him. He is glad I'm back, but he didn't sound as excited.

    After I came back, i pushed him a few time again, trying to figure out why isnt he sure, he kept saying he doesnt know. I even suggested to move in together, but he refused..then feeling he was a bit distant..so we had another talk, I asked him if he still have faith in me n this relationship, if he still love me? He said yes to both answers. So I said ok then how about let's take it slow, n try to work it again?! He said yes, we even shake hands on that. Honesty, after that I did feel a bit change, he txt me n call me to ask how was I doing, when we met we had great time, good laugh, just like in the old days.

    Just last Friday, my morning work got cancelled, (he was busy on Thursday, he was in this meeting till late he said), so I decided to buy some breakfast n surprise him at his place, so I went, instead I got the big surprise, he cheated on me, there was this woman on his bed. I was in shock, I couldn't believe my eyes. However I was very calm, n I said would you please make her leave so we can talk, I asked him whether he likes her or not, he said no, it was only a physical thing, n she knew me exit, and this has last since this summer. But only meet up once in a while. I feel so horrible, don't know how to react. He was crying a bit n said sorry ash, I don't know what's wrong with me, some times I think wow such a nice girl, what r u waiting for, be with her, the next second I think gosh marriage oh no! (FYI he is from a loving family, not a broken family) he said he never been in a serious relationship before, but when he met me he decided that he is going to give it a try, but he said:"I tried, but I don't think it's working, I'm scared of commitment, I don't know what's happening to me, my job is not getting better, feel like haven't even start my adult life, (he is 32 in this jan, I'm 26)." He said he still loves me and cares for me, he doesn't want to lose me in his life, he asked me what do I want to do now, I said maybe a break, since I can't trust u now, at least not now, he said if that's what u want, but that's not what I want I said! I was so upset.I asked him, u rather losing me than keep trying? He said he tried he tried, he felt like wasting my time, he lost hope, he can't see me being happy with him. I said I can't believe we r just friends now, he said we can still txt n call each other, n hangout.

    On the same day, in the afternoon, he dropped me at work, in the taxi, he held my hand, he gave me a kiss on the check before I went out the car, he txt me once when he off work, said off work, traffic is bad. Subway is crowded. I replied an hour later "I can imagine, just off work too". But I felt so sad, cuz I don't think he realise how much he hurt me!! Then after that He txt me twice, one to ask my grandma, one is about its cold outside, keep warm, but I didn't reply any of the messages, since I feel need to clear my mind, then he didn't txt or call again..

    But now I'm so confused, I dont know what to do, I clearly love him and care about him, so I can't just see him as a friend, I still want to be with him, I know I can forgive him. But the question is that I feel he doesn't want to continue for now..I'm struggling so much, I want to txt him, but I feel I should give both of us space n time, also I fear I may say something stupid. Maybe I will wait for a week or two? I don't know I'm so confused, I don't understand how can a man was so sure then not sure again..maybe i was too pushy? (but i appologized for that before.) Also we have booked our tickets together to uk for Xmas for two weeks with his family...I do still want to go, I was hoping that may help? Or change his mind? I don't know, I'm too confused!

    Sorry for this long long long story, but I really wish I can get some advices please!

    Cheers,
    Ash

    • Oh Ash, my heart goes out to you. I feel your pain, your confusion, your hurt, your longing, your desire for everything to be back the way you thought it was. How utterly devastating. I know you just want to wake up like it was a bad dream, and everything is all ok. But it can't be. This is real. What he has told you and the fact that he is ok with letting you go, that he is ok with hurting you like this, that he is ok with cheating on you is what is real. As hard as this is to go through, the reality is this is where he is at. And nothing you can say or do, including spending more time with him or his family or keeping your plans to be together, nothing is going to change what has happened or where his head and heart are truly at. For whatever reasons, he is unable to commit to you. And they are his reasons alone. They are not yours to take on. He knows this is about him; that the ball is truly in his court.

      My loving thoughts are for you, Ash. Let's leave him for a minute, and focus on YOU. That beautiful, caring, loving woman you are. With so much to offer. Let's focus on what you deserve. For you deserve to be nothing less than someone's one and only. You deserve to have the kind of mutual trust with someone where there is never a doubt EVER that he isn't being true to you. You deserve nothing less than someone who is ready and able and willing to commit to you, or do the work to figure out why they aren't. You don't ever have to make anyone love you. You don't ever have to show anyone all that you are and all that you have to offer them. You don't ever have to settle for someone who would cheat on you.

      My beautiful friend, give yourself some time so you can get enough space from this relationship, from this guy, to truly see the reality of what has gone on here. This is one of those times that I wish I could reach across cyberspace and talk directly to you so you would get just how strongly I want to tell you about you. The beautiful things you're not seeing for yourself when you see yourself. With the right guy, you could never say something stupid, Ash; with the right guy, you could never be too pushy, or too anything. With the right guy for you, you just be yourself, your true self, and the love that is there for you comes through because you are loved wholly for you! Know beyond a doubt, that if he really is the one for you, you will know. If two people are truly meant to be together, love always somehow sees to it that, in the end, it will be. But in the meantime, this is about you, knowing what you truly deserve and what you absolutely do not.

      • Thank you Jane, so so much for your kind reply.. I guess I do need some time, I meant it when I say I don't hate him, I think he is a nice person, even after what he has done, I still believe he is a good person, I don't know what confuseing/bothering him now, but I really wish he can figure it out some day. To be honest with you, I would be lying if I say I'm over it, deep down, I still have this tiny hope that he would come back to me and say he realise what a mistake that was, n he is willing to spend the rest of life with me... I pray every day that he can see and feel how happy we were together, I pray him to have a strong heart that with no hesitation or doubt!
        I know only time can heal, but I am so scared now myself, I know how phethetic it may sounds, but I'm so scared to start a new relationship n then get the same disappointment...I felt so deeply that he was the one..

        thank you again for your reply, I really appreciate it!
        Ash

  39. This article is just what i needed to read. And all the other comments, seeing that there are other women with the same problem , the same hopes and pains, heartaches and heartbreaks, it gives you the bitter feeling of relieve that you are not the only one.
    I don't even know how it happened, but i fell in love with this guy. I was so happy and grateful for meeting him. But I knew straight from the start that we both had commitment issues and the relationship was doomed.
    We broke up after 8 months of seeing each other when i went out with my friends instead of having dinner with him like i said i would. He did the same to me a week before...IT wasn't revenge on my side...i just wanted to feel free, like i have the option to do whatever i want.
    He said he can't keep up with my instability,wanting him now and wanting to break up with him the next day. I said i can't keep up with him being confused all the time.
    I love him so much.....i've learned so many things from him, i grew emotionally and sexually and i couldn't have met a better person. He told me he loves me but he is not ready to settle down. We hugged and he left.
    The trouble is....I know it wasn't my fault or his fault. I had to let him go. And he let me go. It's the hardest thing i've done in my life. It makes me feel literally sick, but I am trying every morning to pull myself together, and be grateful for the happy experience. I am trying not to be angry, or hate him, or blame it on anybody. It is possible that two wonderful people not to be right for each other. Just like that.
    And it's hard, but I love my job and I pursue my career. I;ve started re-connecting with friends, spending more time shopping, reading, films and....doing anything that would take my mind away from him and the tears away from my pillow. Now and then I wake up to the occasional text in which he says he misses me and he is sad we're not talking anymore. I tell him i miss him back but we both know that's the right way. I don't even care what the 'no contact' policy says- i have never played mind games and I would never ignore him.
    After all, i am left with my lovely fairy tale, thinking that i once had a prince who used to wake me up at 3 in the morning, just to give me a good night kiss at the door.
    But that's true....the hardest thing to do it is to accept the other person's decision and let them free. I would never beg and plead with anybody to stay with me. I don't want them to stay because of mercy, i don't want them to be committed because i have convinced them, i want them to feel that is the right thing for them to do.

    • "...I want them to feel that is the right thing for them to do" - hold onto that, Simo - that is beautiful. If you hold true to that, you will find yourself with nothing less than someone who commits to you for exactly that reason when both of you are ready for each other. Situations like this are never easy but the way you have handled it and your confidence in yourself and who you really are and what you deserve come shining through. It's exactly that kind of inner strength that will see you through this; knowing you've done the right thing because you deserve someone who both loves you and is ready and able to settle down with you. But it doesn't make it hurt any less, I know. It will get easier. And in the end, if this is someone that is meant to be, comfort yourself that it will be. True love is always about the kind of free will that you are talking about here.

  40. hey iv been with this guy for a month and half almost. we r more or less friends with benefits. he said he really likes and i really like him. but he is goin away for basic trainin really soon so he doesnt want to get into a relationship. he is jst recently starting to sumtimes hold my hand in public. we r really good friends and we r in the same friend group in college. everyone in our group thinks we r datin but i have to them we aint. what should i do????

    • Sometimes as much as you like someone and they like you, it's just not enough to make it a real relationship. It sounds like he's concerned about "officially" getting into a relationship with you only to leave for basic training and leave you hanging. At least he isn't leading you on. I would try to accept what he is saying and respect the fact that he is being honest with you, Amber, even if it's not what you want. You can be honest with him, and let him know where you are at, and try the suggestions I recommend in this post, but ultimately only you know how long you are willing to wait for him and be friends with benefits without a commitment from him.

      Just remember that you deserve nothing less than the real thing from someone who is ready to commit to you regardless of any reasons or extenuating circumstances. You are worth so much more than just being a friend with some benefits if what you really want is a fully, committed relationship with someone who feels the same way!

  41. The article is good and I have read through a lot of the comments. My story is that I was with a guy for 9 years, my daughter was 10 years old when the relationship started. I had two older children in relationships of their own living in their own homes. We kept our own homes, lives and so on but visited each others houses once or twice a week, but mainly my home as I had a young daughter who needed her friends and school. We had great holiday together. My little girl has grown and started University last year. I have been waiting and waiting to spend more time with my man as I am now living alone. It just never happened. I forced the issue on holiday a few months ago, the bottom line is that he said 'he would be very unhappy if we lived together'. I'm afraid that his week consisted of golf, going out with friends, having a meal with his sister, one night at home ironing and then coming to me. After 9 years I am devastated, angry and hurt. I am totally embarrassed, I feel like I have wasted time and energy on a cheat, a user! I am 53 - how do i find an eligible man? I hate to say this but from the comments left I think that to expect commitment after 5 months to 2 years is unrealistic , look at my tour of duty.

    • Oh, Bennie, I feel your pain. Of course you're feeling devastated and betrayed and embarrassed and probably all kinds of other emotions. Your wound is so deep right now and how could it not be? You had such expectations, such high hopes for things to work out so differently when you were finally on your own. Know that this isn't about you. It really isn't. It's ultimately about what he needs and what he wants and his own issues that have him making the choices he's making. But you deserve so much more than this, Bennie.

      As hard as it is to believe right now, this isn't a life that you would have wanted with him. If it was, it would be. And if someone feels they would be unhappy living with you, you don't want any part of a relationship like that. You deserve so much more. Start with baby steps. Feel your pain, don't fight it. Get to know yourself on your own. Find out what you're really like and all the things you enjoy doing and rediscover that little girl within who has so much to say and knows just how much she is worth and how much she really deserves. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who bring you up, not down. Volunteer for a cause you believe in or do something that makes a difference in the world to remind you of what a difference just you can make. Find out what you're really capable of doing. Do those things they told you that you couldn't do. Discover that wonder and beauty inside you that comes from really knowing and loving yourself and believing you really are just that wonderful a person you are with so much to offer every one you come into contact with.

      And eventually, when you can start to let go of this person who has hurt you so and stop blaming yourself or him or anything else that went wrong, and simply accept what is, you will slowly find a new strength begin to rise within you; a new light within that sees yourself and all that you have to offer someone in terms of the gift you truly are, instead of an age and anything else that you think you're not. I know how hard it is to see that right now but there will soon come a time when you're ready to move on and embrace the beautiful you inside you that finds love everywhere around you, that sees all the beauty in the world where before there was only darkness, and knows that there is enough love to go around for everyone, regardless of how old we are, where we've come from, what we've gone through, or what anyone thinks of us.

  42. Hi Jane
    Sigh..your article is so right. I've been with the person for 2 months and had to end it yesterday because after a month and a half I noticed that he was acting like in step no. 2. "living the single life leaving me out and not even inviting me" I believe 2 months is enough time for a guy to be "feeling it" and make be a part of his life. I turned 26 in August and he will only turn 25 in December. I guess men are never ready at that age, it's always better to mess around. I feel like if I had only met him later in life, things would have been different and maybe he'd be the one.
    Do you really believe there is a man who wants the same thing I do? (Judging by the so many disappointing comments here) I dont mean I want an engagement ring after 2 months, but date like normal people do, and be boyfriend/girlfriend. I turn to you because I have no one in my life who has a strong loving relationship with a man where things just work out.

    • It is never easy to end something that isn't happening, with someone who you're realizing isn't on the same page as you are, Elisya; but be so proud of yourself for seeing what was going on early before you got yourself any more involved with someone who isn't there where you are. A couple of months is definitely enough time to know if this is something both of you are interested in pursuing further. And if he isn't, while age sometimes plays a role, most of the time it's so much more about him and where he's at in his life and how in touch he is with himself and what he's really looking for. It takes many men a long time to travel their own journey and some never are ready for us, no matter how amazing, how beautiful, how full of everything they've ever wanted in a woman that we are!

      Having been there firsthand myself, Elisya, I really do know that there are men who do want the same thing you and so many women like you do. A very few number of women are fortunate enough to find them right away, but most of us have quite the journey before we finally find this type of man. The hardest part is believing this and trusting enough in ourselves and in them and love itself to avoid settling for less than what we deserve along the way.

      I know what you're saying; you're not looking for the whole package after only a couple months; you just want someone where you know you can just date, enjoy getting to know each other and then if you're both enjoying each other's company and are finding yourselves both attracted to and compatible with each other, then allowing things naturally to progress to the next stages. That is not too much to ask! And it is exactly the way things naturally progress when you are with the right person and you know yourself well enough to know how to attract that type of person and be attracted to the type of person who is looking for this, too.

      • Thank you!!! I am copying and printing this out. If you don't mind I'm going to save this website and sign up for possible future advice.
        Have a nice day!!

  43. Hello Jane,

    I just wanted to say (along with all the other girls here) that I think you are completely right in all you say. I am 25 years old, and my boyfriend just turned 26. We have been dating for 2 years, and have been through a lot. For the past year however, I have been ready for marriage. Of course he says he wants to marry me, and I'm his future wife, but he says he's not ready. When I asked him why, he says he doesn't know. Automatic warning bells. So.. finally- 13 days ago- we broke up. I initiated it- and he agreed. At first he didn't want to break up, but after talking, he agreed. He was very emotional (not an emotional guy). He said he needed time to figure things out. After the first week of breaking up- he went out of the country for work. He comes back next week. I am not stopping my life for him, but I do have a lot of hope he will come around. I am however, open to the fact that that might not happen. I know it was time to do this however, and I will never regret what we did. I think, that even if it doesn't work out, my friends, family, and probably even my ex, all have a lot of respect for what I did, and like you said, that's really what it's all about. You have to be true to yourself, and, even if your life is going to change dramatically. We haven't spoken since we broke up (although it was a very loving breakup), and don't think we will until he figures things out. I wish this has a happy ending, to give everyone hope- but that's not really what it's about. I wrote just to show that breaking up with someone who says he's not ready (when you are) is the right thing, and it's the only thing you can do to keep your self-respect. If he comes around- you'll know.

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Jenny. You capture the essence of exactly what it's all about. Your strength and commitment to yourself and all that you deserve come shining through here and is a wonderful testament to the power of honoring yourself and remembering the most important thing of all - refusing to settle for anything less than you truly deserve. As you say, in the end, if someone is meant for you and you for him, you'll always know.

  44. Hi Jane
    Just a quick question. The guy I wrote to you about after 5 days of not talking (sorry texting is not talking) he texted how are u? Even after all that was said how I just wanted to date and said that it's ok if he doesn't feel it I'll find someone else. He finished replying "maybe there will be someone better for you" and now this.. Should I be answering his text? he might want to see how I react. I just don't understand his behavior, starting a game now would be really stupid. Is there an article here about these guys who "circle back, like vultures" so to speak. Have you ever had this kind of situation?
    Thanks Jane, I really appreciate the time you put in answering this!

    • It sounds like that old familiar push and pulL scenario, Elisya, that happens so many times when we finally stand up for ourselves and call it like it is, and let him know that we really are that strong, that we really won't tolerate someone who doesn't treat us the way we deserve to be treated, and we are't willing to accept anything less than we know we deserve.

      For the man who isn't able to commit, who isn't in touch enough with himself to know what his own issues are that trigger him when we set these kinds of boundaries with him, when we pull back like this, many of these men man suddenly feels like the chase is back on, and he puts a whole new energy into getting back in touch with us only to repeat the whole scenario all over again. My recent post on how your actions really do say so much more than your words when it comes to changing the way he's treating you, addressed this phenomenon, as well as the one I wrote on how we get hooked with this particular type of guy.

      This was one of my own most personally frustrating scenarios in my single days, because a renewed response like this can bring such false hope that there still is a chance for thing to be different, yet from both own experience, as well as those of most other women I've heard from or couselled who experienced this, nothing had changed. He was still the same guy, with the same MO, just now he was feeling safer to step back into the "game" since we had pulled back and it now felt safer for him to re-engage. Only it isn't a game to us; it's our very own hearts and souls.

      So whether or not you text him back or not, would depend on how you feel about him, about the relationship, and about possibly going through more of the same with him, or whether you are comfortable with a simple hello or other detached contact that doesn't get your heart back hoping, or you forgetting how far you have come and setting yourself up for some more heartbreak all over again. That's really the question to ask yourself here; what does if benefit you to respond to him, and is he worth it to you to allow him to still be a part of your life, even in this small way? That is ultimately what it comes down to and a question that really only you can answer. :-)

      • You are so right! These type of men don't change. I kept ignoring, 3 days later he tried again I still didn't respond. I'm tired of games I don't deserve it. I was always the one who used to be dumped , but now I feel relieved and happy that I don't have to deal with him anymore and for once I did the breaking up, he wasn't worth it. I'll stay positive in the mean time, and hope there is someone for me, but will continue enjoying my hobbies/interests.
        I think I've read all your posts, they're great :D

        • When we're finally ready to trade the excitement of those games that can be so addictive for the peace that comes with refusing to engage on our own terms, the relief we feel is almost audible. It sounds like you're experiencing this, Elisya. :-) And thank you.

  45. Hello Jane,

    I'm so happy to have come across your website. Your article offered me some thoughtful new perspectives to consider. I feel like I am the type of person that always learns the hard way, ugh.

    I think my current situation is pretty unique and I would love to hear your expert advice...
    Alex and I met through a blind date seven months ago and really hit it off. He asked me to be his girlfriend after three weeks and we have been almost inseparable since. I was single for a long time before meeting Alex because I haven't been able to find someone I truly connected with. Things with him are just so different... we traveled, explored the city, supported each other and always have a fun, flirty time together. I really love him and I sense he feels the same. However, about a month ago, I noticed that he was starting to be closed off with communication. We would still spend lots of time together, but his behavior was different. Finally he disclosed to me that things at work weren't going well and he would have to move back to his country, Italy, in a month. It was so emotional for both of us, we were both crying and my heart was broken because all my dreams of being together for the long haul were crushed. Alex's career is so important to him and he isn't an American citizen. I knew he couldn't stay. So we decided that it would be best for us to break up instead of continue to date until his leaving date. We were broken up for about a week, which was torture for both of us. That weekend I went to get my things from his apartment, and it was an emotional episode all over again; we were being torn apart. Alex suggested that perhaps we didn't have to end our relationship- maybe we could make it work long distance. America to Italy is some serious long distance, and I was scared to accept the offer, but being in love, I did. We continued to date and I helped him pack his things to leave. It was so hard :-( He suggested and made plans to visit me at home during the holidays, which means he would also be meeting allll of my family and friends! I am so excited to see him again! But in terms of our relationship, I feel like I am just waiting on him now. If he would have asked me to join him, I probably would. But I don't think he is ready for that- he is very logical and I am more of a romantic. I have never met any of his friends or family yet and my job doesn't allow for much vacation time. I don't know how to handle this... I try to be hopeful that we will be together again someday, but it feels so indefinite. I wish we had a goal or some sort of time frame. We have only been together for 8 months, I don't expect him to ask me to marry him, but I would have a hard time even joining him in Europe without a commitment from him. Also, I would need a visa of sorts to even do so. I think I need to have a talk with him when he is here for the holidays, but I don't really know what to say? Such a tough situation to be in...

    • Your situation certainly is unique in many ways, Korinne, but as I'm reading your words, what struck me most is how after 8 months he should not be ok with just letting you go without having a definite plan in place to be together IF that is what he really wants, too. It just strikes me that it doesn't have to be this way. That true love, when both people believe they have found the love of their lives, is more than a matter of logistics. That you shouldn't be the only one trying to make this work, that of course you can make this work long distance with a plan for the future IF both people really want the same thing.

      You say you really love him and sense that he feels the same way, but I'm taking this to mean he hasn't communicated this to you. So it sounds like he wants to take things slow, see what happens, and not be too vocal about his feelings until he knows for sure. The fact that he hasn't suggested any further commitment to bring the two of you together sounds like he just isn't ready for the type of commitment that a long distance move to another country necessitates if the two of you are going to physically be together. You say his career is so important to him. What about you? Where do you rate? I hear you being hopeful about so many things, but it certainly isn't asking too much on your part to expect that he would have a concrete plan (especially since he is logical!) for how this is going to work for both of you and the relationship. No matter how logical someone is, if a man is truly interested in someone and pursuing the love of his life, he doesn't let anything stop him and willfind a way to make it work, especially using his practical logic! You are not being too romantic, this is normally the next step that happens when two people are on the same page.

      So where do you go from here? How do you handle this with the realities of the situation? It sounds like the two of you do need to communicate about this for your own peace of mind, and this is only fair, but I also know full well that talking about matters like this isn't always easy when it comes from you and you really want it to come from him to show he's on the same page as you in the first place. Does he know how you really feel already? If he does, then you have some thinking to do about continuing to be involved with someone who doesn't share the same level of commitment as you, and what this relationship, what he, is worth to you and your beautiful heart. If he doesn't, then it would seem like you have enough of a relationship history to communicate where you're at and what you really need to know from him about the future - 8 months really is enough time to get to know someone well enough if you have that kind of open communication.

      But ultimately, as I wrote in my recent post on how it's really your actions that say so much more to him that just talking to him, you may need to do more than just talk. If you haven't already, I would begin my communicating directly your feelings and what you are looking for in this relationship with this move, and then based on his response, if he isn't there, if it's not what you need to hear, what you need to bring you peace and settle in your mind where you both are truly at, then detach just enough so that you can protect your heart. If he isn't on the same page, if he isn't looking for the same thing you are right now, then you need to take care of you right now, and do the best thing for you, not for him. What you are looking for from him is not too much! The question is, what is he really looking for here from you? And if you are not on the same page, you need to know this now so that you can decide what is best for you before your heart is any more attached, before you set yourself up for even more heartbreak and wasted time and tears on someone who isn't able to give you what you're looking for. I know just how hard this must be, but it isn't that complicated if you both want the same thing, no matter how many logistics need to be in place to make this work. If he wants it to, he will be the one finding the way no matter the time, the space, the distance, or any other factor! You deserve nothing less than having someone pursue you and find a way to make this work, my beautiful friend!

  46. Bharti Sharma says:

    hi Jane.....i have a long story....we met almost 7 years back...and fell in love then after two years our family got know and there was confusion between me and him and we got married hideously....but then our family got involved in it and we both separated........but not divorced....his family asked for divorce but i cudnt let him go away so easily so refused to give divorce ..i thought he will come back after some time....but he never came back..i waited four years if he comes back to me but he dint....and his family was forcing me to give him divorce...so finally i gave up and gave him divorce....but then on the day we got divorced he called me back in night and said he still loves me and wants to marry me back....i was shocked....but actually i loved him always....so i started talking to him again....we started meeting again....and whenever we used to talk about marriage..he used to say we will in some time...now its been more than an year he is delaying marriage....i dont understand what he wants...though i know he loves me...i feel it....he always come when i call him and before i reach there..........he is shy in nature...not with me but with others....so he generally dont talk to everyone.........i feel so....now he promised me that we will get married in this last September but when september came he denied....he said in december.....now he is not telling anything exactly...if we talk abt marriage he gets furious...rest he is all in love with me.... i know he thinks he doesnt earn such well right now to give me a good life but that doesnt matters to me...i have told him this...and another thing is i was previously divorced before i married him and he knew it and accepted me with all my past and am 5 years older than him but he doesnt care.........but i just dont understand why he doesnt want to marry me...why he needs time always....

    • Bharti Sharma says:

      pls reply Jane...i wud be grateful....cos am so much under stress.....n we keep on fighting cos of it and i feel i am loosing him....now i have given him time and ultimatum that if he want me in his life and if he loves me than he has to marry me before this December ends....or not to call me....am i doing right...we dont live in together..........am Indian....so its not comfortable in here..in this society....but we are totally physically involved.....now i am just so insecure....i feel if he doesnt marry me in dec then i wont talk to him....cos he has to understand my situation too......what do u say jane...pls pls amswer...

      • Oh Bharti, Your situation sounds so hard. To love someone as much as you do, and have him tell you he loves you too and still wants to be together, to be married again, but then to have him backtrack and give you nothing concrete, nothing definite to go on. Of course you're feeling so insecure, so lost. It is heartbreaking to go through something like this. And yes, the culture is different where you are, too, so there are different nuances and customs that complicate matters too, I'm sure.

        Yet in the midst of all of this, Bharti, the reality is the same. You cannot change anyone but yourself, you cannot make anyone commit to you, or marry you, or give you what you are looking for no matter what they say, unless they are willing. He has his reasons even if they make no sense to you. He is his own person and is showing you this by how he responds to your requests. And no matter how much you love him, or he loves you, the reality is, this is where he is at right now. You have stood up to him and given him an ultimatum, so he clearly knows where you stand.

        So now you have a choice. And only you can make that choice. Do you keep waiting, keep being involved with him, hanging on, or do you decide it's time to move on? What are you looking for from him? Are you willing to wait for him if he can't give you what you need from him? Only you know, Bharti, but it sounds like the way you are living now is not the life you want, the life you deserve. If he doesn't come around, if he doesn't give you what you are looking for, know that it is not a rejection of you, it is only about him and what's going on for him. You are not going to change him, and even an ultimatum may not change him. The most loving thing you can do here for yourself, whatever the outcome, is to accept him where he is at, and make peace with reality and what is. You can at least know that you have done all you can and anything more than that, is not yours to carry.

  47. I have been looking pretty hopelessly for advice about this kind of situation but I have struggled to find a situation that is exactly like mine. I have been married for three years and live abroad. My husband moved away to study this year and I am alone in the country we lived in together last year. I broke up with him about a month ago because the time alone had made me realise that he's not the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. I started working with a guy this year who I started developing feelings for very quickly. My feelings threw me into confusion about my husband and so I told my colleague how I felt. That was about 2 months ago now. At that point he had no idea I was feeling something and he told me I was just feeling that because my husband was away. Our friendship has quickly developed and we get on so well my other work colleagues have started gossiping about whether something is going on between us. I have shared a lot of my feelings and problems with him and he has been there for me through some difficult times recently. When I'm feeling weak, I have pushed him into a corner to find out whether he has feelings for me. He's never direct about the answer and often says something like, "I don't know", "I'm confused" and "It's so soon. I would normally know someone longer before I would do anything". Most recently he told me that he can't say 'Let's give it a go" because he's just not ready and his life is a complete mess. I know that he's not sure what he wants to do with his life at the moment and he's probably not in the position to start a relationship but I really just want to know if he feels anything for me. Even though I can see he feels pressured by these conversations, he always seems to be more attentive to me after we talk (he never withdraws or gets scared). He is divorced and is a mature guy so I don't believe he's a game player at all. Do you think he is attracted to me but it's simply a case of bad timing and that I should just continue enjoying our friendship and see what happens?

    • I would look within yourself first, Aya, to see what it is you're really looking for. The bigger question to ask yourself here, is do you want to be involved with someone who answers your question about whether he has feelings for you with a "I don't know", "I'm confused" or "It's too soon". Is that really what you want? Whenever you're not sure if someone has feelings for you, whenever you're questioning if they're interested in you, is a sign that you already know the answer in your heart. We just have such a hard time hearing it because we so want to believe in the love story of our fantasies.

      He may be attracted to you, he may enjoy your company, and he may enjoy talking to you, but if he isn't available emotionally or physically and if he doesn't believe you're completely available having just been married to someone else a short month ago, he may for good reasons, want to take his time here. It sounds like you could also use some time to figure out what it is that you're attracted to about him as well, and why you're ready to jump into something with someone else after just ending your marriage with your husband only a month ago. Sometimes, we can confuse someone's platonic attention as something more simply because we long for something and hold onto anything that looks like it might be a romantic interest in us. But what you're really looking for may have nothing to do with him.

      • Thank you for your sensitive response Jane. I am totally struggling to identify what I want right now and I am emotionally needy, which is why my friendship to my colleague means so much to me. I don't have any friends besides him where I live (I've just never quite clicked with anyone since I moved here a year ago). I have struggled a lot with the lack of freedom I have had in my relationship with my husband since we got married because my job has dictated where we have lived and he doesn't have his own career so I have been supporting him financially. He left me this year to try to fix that, but in his absence I stared to feel constrained by our relationship. I thought about how much financially better off I would be without him and how I would have the freedom to travel and meet new people again. When I met my husband 5 years ago, I had ended a 6 year relationship the year before and moved abroad to start a new life. Early on I explained that I couldn't afford to sacrifice more of my life to a relationship that may hold me back from what I want to do. Since then he has followed me and my career around the world. but I have continually struggled with the imbalance of the relationship and find it hard to look up to him or see him as a suitable match for me.

        So then there's my colleague...mature, experienced at life, funny and, like my husband a total good guy. What's really tough is the fact I have my husband trying desperately to get me back, while my colleague is giving me 'maybe'. I have told him that I don't want to be the sad, desperate friend who mulls along in the hope that something might happen and that if he doesn't have feelings for me it should be easy to say no...but he still doesn't so it makes me think that he's genuinely in a place where he can't commit to something right now. He was cheated on by his ex wife and says he has trust issues, so taking on a barely broken up married woman who he works with is probably it bit too much for him right now. But I think that he and you are right in the fact that I need some time to deal with my break up and work out what's going on.

        • It is so easy to just fall into someone's arms when we are feeling emotionally needy, whether or not they are healthy for us. But if you can resist this natural tendency to look outside of yourself to find a temporary fix, and instead use this vulnerable time to your benefit by doing that soul searching within yourself to find out what is really going on behind the scenes, you will benefit so much from this inner work. A previous post I wrote on how this really is about you, and not about any him, may be helpful to get you started.

          Take that time for yourself, Aya; you will come through much stronger and confident of what you are looking for and who you are when you have had a chance to dig deeper into who you are, what you are really looking for, and why you are attracting and are attracted to the men in your life. You deserve nothing less than a committed relationship where you can respect and look up to your partner, and see him as a match for you, just as you are for him!

  48. Hello, i loved your article.
    I want to tell you about my situation and i would appreciate if you give me your advice.
    I am in a relationship with my boyfriend for 4.5 years now. After the first 5 months of our relationship we got in a long distance relationship because of his work. I always tried to find a way to be together. I never felt like i was his priority but i always excused him because of his difficult life. He was struggling alone to survive with no help from anyone. I believe thst this situation made him strong, but thats not only a good thing. I know he loves me but he is not ready to take the relationship any furthur. We discussed a lot times what to do to be together. I was always the one which wanted to make the conversation. I told him that i cannot live without him any longer but then every time things remained the same. I knew he waa afraid of commitment. He was always so imdependent. For one year we were discussing about me going to live with him. I knew he didnt actually wanted it but i instisted because i wanted to live together after all these years and see if we can continue. He didint want to break up so he said ok althouh he was scared. So i left everything. My job, my family, my car, my friends and i change country to live with him. After 1.5 month we had a conversation about our relationship. I wanted to talk to him. He said that living together is not as scary as he thought and he was very positive about us as a couple. But he is still not ready for the next step and he doesnt know when he will be. He asked me what will change? We are living together. And i told him that practically nothing but i would feel better. He toldthat we shouldnt talk about things like that, it should come naturally and be something mutual to propose and generally he got upset. He saw that his react made me sad and he was trying to makw me feel better with hugs and jokes etc. But when he saw that i was frustrated and didnt laugh and continue to talk he ended the conversation and told mw that we will never discuss about marriages etc again. It will happen when he thinks he is ready without anyone pressuring him. He hates that.
    I feel awful. Wewould leave next week again to gofor holidays in our country but i thought about packing my things and leaving earlier alone without noticing him. But i dont know. I can stand loosing him. Only the idea of not seeing him again panics me. Its the first time i feel this way for a man. He is wonderful. But i think that he may never feel ready... I am still here, not good, he knows that i am suffering but he thinks it will pass, so he doesnt give me attention or initiates a conversation. I did so many things and he took me for granted.
    I feel traped. I dont know how to react... I know that i would not coninue so easily with my life, i will compare everyone with him and i will never find the whole package. Feelings and logic are completely opposite..
    Please help me...

    Thanksa lot

    • Oh AV, I have so many things to say as I read your email. My heart goes out to you because I know what that can feel like to have such a need for a fully committed relationship with someone who just isn't there and you can't really even talk to him about it because he doesn't get it, can't get it, or just isn't on that page. And that's the reality. The problem is, when you've given so much of yourself, your life to be with this person, who really hasn't done the same for you, that everything is so unbalanced. And that's why any conversation about marriage and commitment initiated by you really doesn't help because he already knows that this is what you are looking for from him and that it's up to him to make this work for you to be happy. So it comes down to you, can you accept that this may be all he's capable of and be ok with things the way they are without the marriage commitment? Of is it worth losing him if you really do need that marriage commitment? That's the question that you really must ask yourself for this is what is at the heart of your dilemma.

      I know full well of the panic you speak of when you imagine life without him. I know how hard that feels to even think of that right now. But, AV, know this, if you do decide that you do want that committed relationship with someone who is giving to you as much as you are giving to him, because, really, that's the other thing that is underlying everything here, if you do decide that he is not worth all this, you will find the strength within you to move on and make a new life for yourself without him, even if you can't believe it could be possible right now. When we find ourselves living for ourselves again, and not for someone else who isn't deserving of all that we are and all that we offer them, we find we have someone within ourselves who is worth living for, who is worth getting up each day for and doing whatever we need to do to treat her the way she deserves to be treated that so often we forget about when we have spent so much of our time and energy and our very lives focused on someone else.

      I wrote a post about making a decision to leave someone that you may find helpful, but I know that this is a very heartwrenching decision to make, and you are so right that feelings and logic really are opposite and make it so difficult to know what to do. Look deep within yourself, AV, and ask yourself if you are in exactly this same place in another 4.5 years, what will you say to yourself then? Ultimately, you deserve nothing less than someone who is on the same page as you, who is willing and able and in touch with himself and his issues enough to want to commit to you as much as you want to commit to him if this is someone who is right for you. It doesn't matter how much time you've invested, how far you've moved, or what you will say to everyone, choose you, choose a life that you deserve, and whatever that looks like, if you are looking deep within your heart and making that decision with the honoring of your beautiful heart and soul as the priority, you will know what to do here. You really are that strong, AV, both in this relationship and on your own; you just need to figure out where you most want to be. :)

      • Finally, i left. I packed my things when he was at work and left. I just left him a note. We had tjat talk and i stayed there even though once again i didnt like his answer. All excuses! Afterall i did he couldnt give something more. For 3 days i waited that maybe sething would change. I just needed a word from him! He only said that he didnt like the situation between us but that was all! He saw me sad but wouldnt change his opinion. So i realized that nothing would ever change. The pain is too much but i believe i didnt have another choice...

        • I'm so sorry it ended so coldly, Av; I feel your pain. Trust yourself that if this is the decision you made, you made it for good reason, and not on a whim. Don't look any further ahead than right now, go so easy on yourself and take baby steps here. There's a grieving process to go through that cannot and should not be rushed. Just know that you will get through this, you will find the strength within to move forward, even if it doesn't seem like it right now, and know that in the end, it is only in making these difficult decisions that we find our way to a different place with a different outcome and a different hope that we can never see when we're in so deep in something that isn't honoring our heart and souls the way they deserve to be honored. You are so not alone, my beautiful friend!

          • He tried to find me and he told me that he couldnt understand where i found tha strength to leave him. He never thought that his life was going to be without me etc and he was crying. But told me nothing new once again. I told him that i cannot risk again.
            He doesnt change his mind even though he lost me because he feels that if he does what i want now because i left him thats what i am going to do every time i want something(marriage, children etc) and he doesnt want. Thats what he said to a common friend not to me. I find his attitude extremely selfish! He prefers loosing me and he wont change his mind.. I felt sorry when i saw him crying but maybe that was mixed feelings and hurt pride together. His pride is above his love.
            I know he loves me alot. But in his own way. And i didnt care. But i do care when his ego is above all. Even though it hurts alot.

            • Of course this hurts, AV; and of course this is hard for both of you because he wants to be with you, but on his terms. At some point, the only way to the other side is through it, as painful as it is, as hard as this is. Keep trusting yourself and your decision; sometimes just knowing you could go back, but seeing how nothing still has changed, it helps to be reminded of the reality of what is. Surround yourself with as much love and support as you can right now; you will get through this, and you will be stronger and more clear on who you really are and what you truly deserve. Time really does heal all.

  49. Holly Smith says:

    Hi Jane, this article really hits a weak spot with me. It's like you are describing everything I'm going through to a T. I've been with my bf for almost 2 years long distance. He lives in NY and me WV. About 6 hrs. Weonly see each other once a month for 2 to 4 days. I've been ready for him to move in and he's admitted he isn't ready. I've been waiting like you said and holding on to that ounce of hope. He says he loves me and doesn't want to lose me but.isn't rdy for that step. Should I just let go and deal with the heartbreak now. :(

    • It is so hard to be in that place where you are, Holly; with 2 yrs of yourself invested in someone that you naturally thought would at some point be ready for the next step in a relationship where two people say they love each other. If you have tried all of the suggestions in this article, and if you have set a time limit on how much longer you are willing to live like this, and it seems like now is that time, then trust yourself to make the decision that will be right for you. Only you know what it is worth to you to wait longer to see if he will come around, but it always helps to ask yourself what you would do now if he never changes, if this is as good as it's ever going to get.

      I wrote a more recent article about waiting for someone to commit to you, that you may found helpful as you decide what to do, but I do understand that this is such a heartwrenching decision that is never easy to make. Whatever you decide, know that you are still the same beautiful and attractive woman with or without him, and you ultimately deserve nothing less than someone who wants to commit to you and doesn't need any help to make up his mind, whether it be this particular guy or someone else!

  50. Thank you so much for writing this article and love that you take your time to reply to all comments! :)

    Would love to know what your thoughts were to my situation.

    In August, I was very much fed up with my relationship with my ex and had already emotionally detached myself for a few months prior. And was going through the motions of breaking up with him, and did end things with him. During this time I met the guy I have been seeing now for 3 1/2 months. Honestly, I dated him because it really helped breakup transition. The guy also knew everything that was going on with my ex.

    He is very sweet, the most thoughtful person, cooks for me and the sex has been great. So I really thought nothing more of it as a great distraction. We saw each other quite a lot in the beginning.

    Of course it became more, once I realized how great he was. We dont't see each other as often as we used to but I felt like we've definitely progressed and its not just about just having someone there and sex. and now I'm not really too sure of what he's thinking in terms of us. I do not want to bring up the "talk", in a sense im afraid to know also and haven't really felt the need to know till recently because my feelings are growing for him.

    He is 39 and I'm 28. He also came out of a broken engagement in Jan, this year (she was also my age). I felt like he has been dropping here and there that he was still cynical about relationships but he's not hopeless about them.... It is obvious we both have grown to care about each other, but im just not sure if hes actually just not ready and is scared to be something more.

    He does show signs of wanting to be more serious sometimes, and then other times I'm just not sure. For my birthday earlier this month, I asked him to come out to celebrate with my friends and I. He took me out to dinner and met my friends after. He's always very interested about my family and my friends. So he already knew a lot about them before he met them. He socialized with everyone and was very likable. The next day I had mentioned that my best friends had said he had kept telling us to dance on the tables that night. He immediately asked if thats all they said about him. "Um well no.." Right after he said that he should have my friends over for dinner, have a little dinner party.

    I was really happy when he suggested that since he got the feeling that he didnt make such a great impression with my best friends. But at the same time, I know he's going to spend New Years Eve with his family, so I dont think I"ll be seeing him.

    So Jane, I"m just curious... Do you think he wants to make sure and get to know me better before getting himself into anything? Or does he just like having me around, till he finds someone else? Or is he afraid that I'm using him as a rebound?

    Thanks for listening!

    • It's always hard to know what someone's really thinking, Violet, unless they're directly communicating with us or clearly showing us by their actions and general behavior. So when you have a guy like this who isn't emotionally letting you in, who isn't clearly letting you know by his words and actions where you stand and where he stands when it comes to you and your relationship, it really comes down to you figuring out and getting clear on what you are looking for here from him and this relationship. Whenever someone says they don't want to have the "talk", or they really don't know what he thinks about them or the relationship, those are always red flags to me because if you are in a healthy relationship with someone who is on the same page as you are, you don't need to have the "talk" or wonder where they're at because you're emotionally connected enough to each other to know these things naturally. In the course of getting to know each other, they just come up. Like the little things he'll say or do, the little things you'll hear from him about relationships in general and how he feels about life and love. It's in the way he treats you, the little everyday, mostly insignificant things that show and tell you what he's all about and how this relates to you. So if those things aren't there, it could be that he doesn't know himself what he's looking for, if anything right now since he recently came off a broken engagement or for any other number of reasons that he might have. Or he may want to take things very, very slowly because that's his comfort level. Or he might be just enjoying your company because he doesn't want to be alone, but isn't sure if the two of you are ultimately compatible.

      The problem is, you don't know, and he isn't being clear on this, so if you need to know then you're the one who has to decide what it's worth for you to know. Do you need to know badly enough to risk losing what you have with him or at least changing it by having this type of direct conversation with someone who isn't showing you he's comfortable conversing with you like this in the first place? Or are you ok with taking it one day at a time and letting things flow naturally to see what happens? Ultimately, time will always tell what's going on with him beneath the surface, it's just up for you to decide whether or not you're willing to take that time with him knowing he may not be ready for anything more from you even after waiting to see where he's at.

      If you can keep living your life, while still dating others and keeping your options open and keeping a detached emotional sense of yourself that keeps your self-esteem intact and not dependent on whether or not he's committing to you or not right now, then this may be an option that works for you. But ultimately, remember that you deserve nothing less than to be with someone who wants to be with you as much as you want to be with him and never keeps you guessing as to how he really feels about you. And sometimes, the only way to make sure he knows this, is to let your actions tell him this in more ways that words ever could.

      • Hi Jane

        I just wanted to thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me. The dinner that he had cooked for my friends went really well, the food was great, it was a fun time. Of course my friend opened up a can of worms when she asked if we were bf and gf. Which he told her it was personal and he didnt believe in labels and that they ruin things.

        After they left, I did end up bringing it up and it ended up being a really good conversation, light hearted, we were joking around while having the conversation He told me he was hesitant about getting into a relationship and he didnt want to make the same mistakes. I told him I already knew he would tell me that already and im glad we addressed the questions I had on my mind. He made sure I wasn't mad at him (which I wasn't) and made sure he answered any other questions I had for him and if I was ok with "us
        and okay with him.

        I think all in all, I think we both realized we were both avoiding this talk but it ended up clearing a lot of things up and if anything improved our communication. I think he realized that I'm not trying to force anything upon him and I do want to keep seeing him to just see how things go naturally. Beforehand i think he almost kept everything very light and casual and at arms length.

        The past few days hes been contacting me more, we've seen each other more often, more affectionate and I just felt having this talk was a step forward in our "relationship"

        Thank you again!

        • So glad to hear how this went so well, Violet. Sometimes some conversations that are necessary for us to have find their own way to happen, regardless of whether we plan them or not. :-)

  51. Wow. This article made me feel all sorts of ways. I recently met a great man 6 months ago, and he did tell me at the beginning that he wanted to enjoy life now that he is finally money and struggle free and has finally started working in his career. At first, I was okay with us just dating--because that's how it starts, JUST DATING. He then started doing boyfriend things like showing up at my job with lunch because he messed up, or sending me good morning texts every day, calling me baby this and that, having me sleep over and ultimately gave off the impression that he MIGHT change his mind. I was very protective about my feelings for the first 4-5 months, he is a man and I know how most men roll, no use in showing affection if we are not committed or in a relationship. This bothered him a tremendous amount and we spoke about it and he FINALLY understood my perspective (how can a woman give all her feelings and emotions to a man who is clearly dating others?). By this point, we tried birth control for a few weeks but retracted back to condoms because in my eyes, if we are not in a relationship, I am not going to give you the prize of condom-free sex (we both got checked out FYI). 6 months later(a few days ago), things got in too deep and he admitted that he was with someone else, though no sex was involved HOWEVER he did not like the way he felt and the risk he took, he trusts and cares for me and did not want to damage that and proceeded to tell me he wanted to only deal with me. I should have been happy and doing backflips, but at the end of the day, that is not a relationship, all he meant was "i only want to have sex with you, but the miscellaneous chicks will still be around for late night texts/dates".

    He would occasionally say "this is a trial period for me, I want to see how we are, but I want you to stick around because I do want a girlfriend and we have some communication to work on but I like you" (that was a month ago and BEFORE the girl he admitted too)

    It pains me to let him go but how is that fair to me? We started off on the same foot, but somewhere along the way, a lot of contradictions and mixed signals got in the way. He knows I have been loyal, caring, and ultimately trust him but to get the title is SO hard--and eventually, I got tired of bringing up the subject and feeling like a nag. I don't think it's love but there are some strong feelings involved. Ultimately, we are now taking a break, or as he put it "light and slow" and have to chill for now. He takes the blame for most of his actions when nothing was established permanently, He says we might be the right fit but wrong timing.

    This article is well written and it carefully depicts each and every scenario that a woman goes through while she is waiting around for a man. I hope that one day we do pick up where we left off but right now, he wants to be a bachelor.and the only thing I can do is make my life better so that in the event we DO get in touch sometime in the near future, I can say that I have been doing great…….

    • One of the hardest things to do is let someone go when you really don't want to, but when you recognize that he is not on the same page as you, and you don't know when or if he ever will be. Be so proud of yourself, Desiree, for having the courage to stand up for yourself and choose yourself first over and above how much you may have feelings for this man. It takes a strong sense of yourself to be as direct and uncompromising as you've been on what you will and will not stand for. By seeing this break as a time for you to really get to know yourself and live your life to the fullest, you will have so much more to say than "you have been doing great"; you will have a life that is being lived the way life is meant to be lived and when someone who is deserving of your love and all that you have to offer comes along - whether it's him or someone else, you will be the only one that he wants in his life, period.

      • Thanks for the response. In all honesty, I'm just so darn confused because everything seemed to be going great. Do you think that the idea of him having a girlfriend vs. the reality of being close to getting a girlfriend scared him off? He did want to be monogamous, so maybe that was his way of slowly making a change and i blew it?

        I keep telling myself that-that's the reason why we did not work out and regardless of what anyone else says, "he doesn't care" "he's not interested" is all irrelevant because only I know the relationship we carried and it was quite special, which is why i found myself in this situation. I HAVE dated other men before and never fell for them or had feelings of pain/hurt once we went our separate ways because I'm pretty good at reading men and it never worked out because their intentions were not true, there was nothing that they did or said to me that made me second guess their intentions about wanting to be with me….not like this man did.

        I have been resisting the urge to contact him and just hope that we can remain civil or just start over because i do miss him as a person--but he said we need to chill, I need to heal and he needs to figure himself out. He's not from where we are so he confessed that i have been there for him and have treated him good. We also had future plans to go away together and little dates that we had to go on, mostly on his part.

        I can't help but blame myself for everything that has happened, I sit here and tell myself that maybe if I would of stayed for another 3-4 weeks, we would have been together--but it's killing me. The reality IS that if he DID want things to work out, if he DID want to be with me, he would've made the choice--he did tell me "I think you're ready, but you're just waiting for me" and he was right. So he knows how I feel, no matter what I said out of anger….I just have to tell my heart that my brain as accepted it and both need to be on the same page and move the F on…..

        I hope he misses me

        • You didn't blow it, Desiree. You can't blow anything when it comes to two real people who both want a real relationship with each other. That door is never closed when two people both want the same thing. Whatever changes he wants to make, whatever place he's at, that's his, and not yours, and you can't take that on for him. Nor will second guessing yourself or blaming yourself do anything except drive you crazy. Don't blame yourself. Don't tell yourself it would have been different, that you would have been together if you stayed another few weeks. There was a real reason you didn't. There was a real reason he didn't. There's always a real reason we make the decisions we do in a given moment, and it's only when we look back that we see things differently because in those moments, we are there, when we think back, we are not.

          Hold on to your last statement "The reality IS that if he DID want things to work out, if he DID want to be with me, he would've made the choice" - and repeat that as many times a day as you need to. It's true. He knows this is about him. He knows what he needs to do. He knows exactly how you feel - especially because it came from such an emotional place in your heart. And yes, I so understand how this is killing you, but you did what you did for a reason. And that, my beautiful strong friend (you really, really are from everything you've said!), is exactly the hardest part of this; convincing your heart of the same thing your head already knows. I'm sure he misses you - how could he not? But the rest is up to him. It's his move, unless you want to open that conversation up which is always an option. But I hear you, this isn't easy. Being strong and standing up for what you deserve and refusing to settle for anything less than that never ever is. Much love to you, Desiree. And know, without a doubt, that love won't give up on him if the two of you are eventually meant to be together. Not ever.

  52. My name is Denise. I have been involved with a guy for two yrs now. Him and I are childhood friends. I have a lot to offer, he does too, but won't give me a commitment. We spend time together daily. I live in Jersey and he lives in Delaware. Whenever I ask about a commitment he gets very upset and says "I'm tired of talking about the same thing all the time." he tells me he loves me and to believe in him. I do believe you shouldn't have to beg anyone for commitment, and actions speaks louder than words. He's content and I am not. I have invested a lot of feelings in this man. I don't want to be alone. I want to be loved. I feel I'm not strong enough to let go, but I am so hurt over this! What should I do? Every time I say I am backing up, I find myself running to him! Help, please help! =['

    • It is so hard to accept that someone can be so content with the status quo of a relationship, while you are not content at all. The challenge is in recognizing what exactly is more important to you. Is he worth being with if this is the best it's going to get? Are you willing to quell your own need for this commitment, and stop talking to him about it, to enjoy just being with him on a day to day basis? Can you just enjoy his company or does the commitment issue outweigh everything else? Or are you so tired of wasting your time and energy on him that the thought of living another two years like this is enough to make you convinced of what you need to do? This is not an easy decision, and of course you're hurt because he isn't giving you what you want from him, but rather than letting him control this situation, it's time for you to take your power back and make a decision for yourself if that is where you are at. Of course you feel you're not strong enough to let go; we rarely ever find that kind of strength that comes from such a deep place within ourselves until we find ourselves in need of it.

      Only you know know what this is all worth to you, Denise, but trust yourself enough to know that you've been here two years, so whatever decision you make, you know this relationship and him well enough to make the right one. I've written a post about what I've learned about men who can't commit, and another about how long to wait for a commitment that you may find helpful in this process. I feel for you, Denise; these matters of the heart are never easy.

  53. You're right, Jane. I know i should to let go of this guy.. He's my friend for 2 years. We're kinda right for each other. Until couple months ago, we decided to be bestfriend with benefits. He said it clearly that he's not ready to commit. He likes me, he says that i'm completing his life and how glad is he to have me beside him. But he have different priorities like focusing to his job. He said that it is useless to have a relationship when your not ready in financial aspect, you can't take it to the next level (marriage).
    And you know what, i'm just throwing myself and saying that i'm willing to "have fun" and be just friend when i'm clearly not. He ever said that he loves me as her sister, but he always say that "if we're meant to be, then it will just happen". In my heart i believe that someday when he's ready, i will be the first option. And also he say "why not".. He can count on me in everything, and i'm the only girl who's close to him. But there is no guarantee.. Why do i stick around to love someone who only see me as a good friend. This sh*t be really hard to understand :( If i distance myself from him, do you think there's a chance he would miss my presence and realize how much i meant to him?

    • Oh Angel, you remind me so much of myself when I was single. Willing to "have fun" and settle for less than you know you deserve because of the attraction, because it's better than being alone, because it's something, because you never know when he'll come around, because you can see so much of his potential, because because because. There are so many reasons we stick around, I wrote a post about exactly this - why we attract these type of guys - that you may find insightful. All the while knowing in your heart of hearts that there has to be more to love than this, to a relationship than this, and to that beautiful woman of you than what you are settling for. I so hear you; this kind of work on this journey is not easy, but is so worth it in the end, when you finally see your patterns, when you finally can see what triggers you and why, and when you finally realize that there is a little girl inside you just waiting for her turn to be loved in the way you know you deserve.

      Yes, if you distance yourself from him, he may miss you and realize how much you meant to him, but he may not either. Don't do it for that reason. Focus on you and filling up your life so full of everything that makes your life worth living without him, and then whatever he does or doesn't do won't matter as much to you. You'll be in a better place to decide how you really feel about him and the relationship as it is if he's not the only thing you've got going on.

  54. So, i have been seeing this guy for a few months now.
    Just over a year ago he officially ended his relationship with a girl he was madly inlove with, as she didn't feel the same about him and she also cheated on him. Broke his heart.
    We have been good friends for a year and recently slept together. At first it was great, then he backed off and said he doesnt seem me more then a friend.
    He then wanted to give it another shot, and again backed away.
    Then, I stopped contact with him for a few days. ONLY a few days, then he said how much he missed me, and he wants this to work between us. He said he cares for me so much and loves having me in his life. He was talking about the future between us both, including me in his. Then when we were really happy, he backed away again. He then told me that he doesnt feel a connection between us both and that he has feelings for me as a friend and nothing more.
    I have decided to just back away compltely now, because i cant keep doing this to myself. I see him all the time as our friends are the same, and when I do see him he is just awkward around me. He stares at me, and I just go on being happy. (putting on a care free face)
    Im not going to go back to him, definitely not anytime soon as he just can't commit to me. But the thing I want to know, is why does he seem happy, and then all of a sudden shut me out?
    Is it because he cant seem to trust ANYBODY? I don't think he is ready for a relationship, but will he ever be?
    I am crazy about him, and he knows that. I just want to know, by me not going back to him AGAIN...is it for the good or the bad. I am trying to go by the 'everything happens for a reason' saying, but when he pours his feelings out to me about how much he likes me, then goes to bed and wakes up a new person not wanting me, i am so confused and just holding on to the happy times.
    Just some advise would be great! Thanks

    • Sometimes, Chelsea, the only way to look at a situation like this is to recognize that anyone who can go back and forth like this with you is so very confused within himself, that you would not be able to have any kind of a healthy relationship with him until he figures himself out. This is his work to do, and not yours. There could be so many reasons why he behaves like this, and there is no way of knowing when or even if he will be ready to do the necessary work that's required before being ready for a relationship.

      What you can be confident of, is that what you are doing by not going back to him again, is the healthiest response you could have. This back and forth attitude he is taking with you is clearly letting you know he is not on the same page as you, and it is only by giving him some space and refusing to be with someone who isn't giving you what you need that he will know what you are and are not willing to put up with. Your actions say so much more than your words, and that may be the only thing he understands here.

      Hold onto the reality of all your time together, the good and the bad, not just the happy times, and this should be easier on you. It is all too easy to just remember the great things of a relationship, and not the reality of what most times are like when we think about a relationship, and this can leave us longing for the potential of what could be, rather than the reality of what is.

      • Thanks Jane!
        I know what you are saying:) I think I just hate the thought of not knowing what he is thinking about me! He apologized to me the other night, just saying sorry for everything. But I just don't even think he knows what he is sorry about.
        What makes things really hard, is that we are all going away together and me and him are staying in the same room together. I just don't know how all this is going to pan out:(
        I really just wished he could give me a straight answer and then stick to it and not keep going back on what he says.
        Do you think he isn't ready for a relationship because of what happened before with his ex? I know that makes take longer to heal and to get over things in there life.
        I'm just really confused because I know that he has feeling for me, because why would he keep coming back.
        All this just drives me completely crazy!

        • And that's the problem, Chelsea; these guys can be so good at driving us completely crazy when their behavior has nothing to do with us and it is not our place to figure them out! Our past relationships can't help but affect our future relationships, so that is a real possibility that's what going on here, but deeper than that, is the fact that our stuff, and in this case, his stuff, his baggage, is what attracts him to that type of person, and that type of relationship. But more important here, is you.

          There's so many reasons and possibilities for why he's behaving this way, and you really don't have any way of knowing for sure what's going on with him, but you can make your own decision to do what is best for you and decide whether or not he is worth all this time and energy you're spending on him. No matter how awesome this guy is, there is something to be said for being with someone who doesn't drive you crazy trying to figure him out, who gives you clear signals and doesn't leave you guessing, but only you can decide when enough is enough and just how much you're willing to go through for him.

  55. This hit home for me. I'm going through this exact situation right now. Thank you so much for this post. I needed to hear this advice.

    • I'm so glad this post resonated with you as you're going through your particular situation, Kristin. It is never an easy one to go through, but know you are so not alone!

      • Thank you Jane. It's funny.. I read this post and then I started allowing things to just "be" and now he is saying and doing things so much more. He told me to just relax and stop "looking" for answers and we spent Christmas together with his family and he is being so sweet. I think the less I expect...the more I get from him.

        • I'm so glad to hear that, Kristin. There is really something to be said for just being, in the moment, and observing rather than expecting. So often we are surprised to see what's really there, whether it be what we were hoping to see or the opposite. That reality of what is. :-)

          • scarlett says:

            hi i was wondering if u could help me , i have been with a guy on and off for four yrs now , so much has happened to us its unbelivable yet we still feel so in love comfortable and great when were together. it started when i got pregnant and he didnt want baby we was only six months into relationship so i cud see why but i was gutted . i already have a son myslef and i was very upset. i aborted the baby and at the time my boyf lived away. my ex (my childs father ) came on the scene right after the abortion and i saw him as a comfort blanket in a way and we slept togther i felt terrible but was so hurt and confused. i didnt want to get back with my ex so he told my bf everything and showed him messages and since then he forgave me but has never realy got over it. we have stayed togther on and off for another three yrs since then and i feel i truly paid for my mistake and tried everthin for forgivness. he move closer to me and we saw more of eachother but its been a nightmare i didnt trust him for ages he wouldnt live with me and i checked his phone to find loads of girls on there and eventualy found out his also cheated on me loads of times . i got preg again and again he didnt want it and i was heartbroken aborted anoter baby and got rid of him for three months . three months he begged me back sayin he wanted everyhin with me marriage the lot so i go bk and nothin has changed he wont commit i have asked him so many times to move in and he just says he cant because me cheating with my ex my kids dad will alwys be there throughtout our lives but we just cnt seem to let go iv tried everythin and we alwys go bk its got to the point sayin its over means absolutley nothin anymore an we still love eachother so much somehow and go back but i just want commitment now after all that and i keep waitig hopin he will come around im so lost please help
            thanks

            • Of course you feel lost, Scarlett; you keep trying to make him love you, to commit to you, to be there for you, and yet despite how great it may be when you're together, it doesn't sound like he is capable of giving you that love and commitment you're craving from him. I'm wondering if this is really about this guy, though, Scarlett, or if it's about you. You talk about what you've done here - the pregnancies, the cheating, the fact that he can't trust you, but you don't seem to see the other side. That he also cheated on you! That he was just as responsible as you for getting pregnant! That he can say he can't forgive you for cheating on him, but what about him cheating on you? You can't make anyone love you. You can't change anyone except yourself. But what I want you to see is what you're doing to yourself. You are being so hard on yourself and yet so understanding and forgiving of him!

              Is he worth all this? Is he worth what you're doing to yourself, allowing yourself to get pregnant and then go through these abortions in a bid to try to win him over, to get him to stay with you? Before you give anymore of yourself to him, Scarlett, to trying to make this work, to waiting around wasting your own beautiful life away while you wait for him to commit to you, ask yourself why. Why do you want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you? What does he do for you that you can't do for yourself or get from someone else? How has he proven to you that he's even worthy of being with you? We can get so caught up with trying to do everything in our power to get someone to be with us, but in the end, is he really worth spending so much of your time and energy - and your beautiful you?

              It sounds like this runs deep for you, Scarlett; like he reminds you of someone else that you've tried to prove your worth to. You never have to prove your worth or why you're loveable or why you deserve to be loved to someone who is right for you. Love doesn't work that way. With someone who is looking for you, who is compatible with you and wants the same thing you want, this won't be so hard. But the only person who can know this, if you. The only person who can do this, is you. The only person who can see this, is you. And you my beautiful friend, deserve so much more than this, so much more than this settling, so much more than this accepting crumbs from someone who can't give you what you are looking for. Find your beautiful you, that little girl deep inside who knows what she's worth, and then create that life you were born to live.

              The truest, most beautiful love is your birthright, Scarlett; and when you refuse to settle for anything less than you deserve from someone who isn't capable of giving it to you, you will finally be free to receive it from someone who will be. That is what real love is all about.

  56. I met this amazing guy 6 months ago, we are practically "dating" without the title... He hangs out at my house all the time, he loves my family, they love him, we hangout almost every day, enjoy eachothers company, hes a sincere guy eventually looking for a long term relationship. He is everything I have ever wanted in a guy.. super attentive, cares about me, great heart, ... but he's also a very complex guy. He takes the title "girlfriend boyfriend" very seriously, as he says he is "over" casually dating people and wants the next girlfriend he has to become his wife. So he is taking his time and not rushing anything, which he usually does in relationships, rushes things then gets burned, he told me. He has had a lot of heartache and met a lot of the wrong type of girl in the past. When i met him, he told me up front he was looking for love, but isnt ready for a relationship yet, as he is joining the military. He has always put his career on hold for love in the past, which caused him to always put his dreams on hold, and he never had a chance to achieve his goals. He says he made a promise to himself ( before he met me) to not let that happen again. So we met, things are great, 6 mos later he is almost all officially signed up, and is starting to pull away, as he doesnt want to hurt me when he leaves. He is scared of having a relationship when he leaves for the fear of cheating, or feelings changing (which happened to him in the past, a female cheated on him while he was in another branch of the military). He says he wants to get through basic training, and see where things are with us when he gets back. I really feel like he could be the one, we talk about our futures, what we want for our futures, kids, marriage, all that... but he isn't happy with where his life is right now, no job, no money, nothing to show for himself, so he says he wants to have all his ducks in a row before he can get into a relationship. He is also unsure of where he will be when he exits the military and gets stationed, as he told me he will go where the jobs are. I told him i would be willing to make it work, but he doesn't want to put me through any pain waiting around for him. I am lost, because I feel i am falling for him, but this is standing in our way. I know he likes me too and cares for me, but am i waiting around for a long shot?

    • I so hear you, Jennifer; falling for someone who would be so perfect, who could be the one, if only it weren't for this thing standing in the way. It's so hard not to get caught up in all the wonderful feelings, the conversations you share about your future lives together and how much you have in common and want the same things. And yet, the reality is that there is this thing in the way, this whole unknown about the future because of his going into the military and not knowing what things will look like when he's done. But the reality is that this thing is there because he has chosen this path. He has made the choice to go into the military even though he met you, even though he may have found everything he's looking for in you, because this is his priority right now, this is what he needs to do for him and it sounds like he's committed to this; that nothing you can say or do is going to change that.

      So the question becomes, not are you waiting around for a long shot, because there's really no way of knowing what will become of all this, of him, of his feelings, of the two of you once he's done finding himself and making a life for himself that makes him happy and ready, the question instead is are you ok with this? Are you ok with waiting around for him? Are you ok with putting your life on hold for him? Are you ok with hanging onto someone who is telling you no, don't wait for me, when you tell him directly that you would be willing to make it work? He may have the best of intentions, he may be a wonderful guy, but if he isn't where you're at, if he isn't looking for the same level of commitment as you are, then the rest really doesn't matter. You deserve someone who is ready for you and wants the same thing as you do, and while he certainly may be ready for you and a future with you when he's stationed somewhere, the reality is there's a lot of unknowns about all of this, and you deserve to have something more concrete than a whole lot of unknowns if you're going to be waiting around for someone.

      Ultimately, only you know if he's worth it. But in the meantime, what you can do, is focus on living your life, including dating others and being true to yourself and all that you are. And then, whatever happens, whatever the future holds, you won't be left brokenhearted, putting your life on hold, waiting to see what happens. If you can shift the focus to you, and what you deserve, then what he does or doesn't do won't matter as much. In the end, know without a doubt that if two people are meant to be together, if both want the same thing and are committed to seeing it happen, it will happen regardless of any circumstances.

      • Jane,

        I honestly CAN'T thank you enough...I must have re-read your reply 10 times... You hit the nail on the head. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and reply to my dilemma. Everything you said was absolutely the truth, and I am definitely taking your advice.

        I have been a little emotional lately with regards to all of this. He has been distancing himself a little more and more, preparing to leave. We still hangout all the time, have a great time together, and I am trying to stay positive about it all, but it can get difficult. In this new year, I am just going to try and roll with the punches more. I know he could absolutely be the one for me... so I am just going to take things day by day, and ride out this rollercoaster wherever it may lead me. I am taking your advice about staying true to myself when he leaves, dating other people ( even though right now, that is NOT anywhere near what I want to do ). It's hard when the only one I want is just out of my reach...but I have to do what I gotta do.

        I don't know if it's because I am such a positive and hopeful person, but I really do feel as though things will work out between the two of us. I feel as though I met him for a reason, we have this special bond for a reason, and maybe him leaving is giving me the chance to make certain that he really IS the one, and that there is no one else out there for me, I can have the time to finish school and better myself. And in the meantime, he can him himself, get stable financially and begin his career, and making his own life how it was meant to be. Meanwhile, he will be able to see my dedication and love for him while I am supporting him the entire time he is gone, and I can really find out if hes meant to be "the one". This will sure be a test of all that! I know whatevers meant to be, will be. I just hope he is meant to be for me, because I feel he is more than worth it to me.

        Again, I hope thats not me just being wayy to hopeful about it all! lol..

        I thank you again so much, you've helped me more than you can ever imagine.

  57. Just sat for ages reading all this so helpful. Been with my partner over two and a half years, been living together for two years, everything great but I'm looking for the next step in commitment-proposal and engagement ring-yes so the world knows he loves me and wants to be with me. But he says he's not ready to get married yet and will ask me when he is ready. He also has his ex wife's name tattooed on his arm which upsets me and recently got my name tattooed on his forearm but you need a magnifying glass to see it. He says he won't be pressured by me and that is the last thing I want to do as then it's not real. He wants us to buy a house together (we live in mine) this year and says "we'll see how things go, no one knows the future". This is not commitment to me. We are both in our 50's. Help please.

    • I'm glad this was helpful to you, Laura. He's being clear. He knows where he stands and what he wants. Now, it's your turn. If he is worth it, if you want to be with him, then you need to decide if you are willing to be with him on these terms.His terms. He wants to be with you, but he's just not there with the level of commitment - that you so deserve! - that you are asking for. If you've already tried talking to him, if you've already tried my suggestions in this article, then it's your turn to get clear within yourself and be clear with him. There is nothing wrong with continuing to be with someone who you want to keep in your life, even if it's not your ideal, if you are ok with it and willing to trade that level of commitment with having him in your life. But that's exactly my point, you need to decide what your terms are, what you are ok with, and what you can live with. Sometimes two people are perfect for each other, except for the commitment issue - and that can be a deal breaker for the one who wants that commitment more than him in her life. You are so right; you don't want a response or an action on his part based on pressure from you. You want - and deserve! - nothing less than the real thing.

      • Thank you Jane for your reply; I understand the ball is in my court. My concern is that the proposal will never come and if we are "seeing how it goes", I would have thought he would know that by now. It makes me feel unimportant and very sad that we are not on the same page.

        • Of course you feel sad and unimportant, Laura; my heart goes out to you being in this position. Yes, you would think he would know by now. Unless he doesn't know himself, unless he is just very content with the status quo. So many reasons and possibilities, and ultimately trying to analyze it all can make us crazy. And of course you go back and forth, sometimes seeing just how good things are, how compatible you are, how much you enjoy his company and how content you should be. And then maybe you question yourself. Why do you need more than this? Why do you want the whole package? And you may try to convince yourself of just how good you have it with him and how you should just be ok with it. But Laura, the point is that you are who you are. You are not anyone else. Some women are content with what you have without the commitment, the ring, the larger tatoo - all those things you are looking for from him. But so many of us are not. Because we know in our hearts we want that kind of a big love, that kind of a full commitment and nothing short of that will do. And that's where that kind of clarity makes all the difference. So we can know earlier on exactly what we are looking for and hold our hearts back until we see that someone is exactly on the same page as we are in that area, by his actions and his behavior, and not just his words. Sometimes, when we realize we really can't change someone, we really can't make them love or commit to us the way we want them to, acceptance becomes the only thing we can do. It is so sad to be so full of emotion and have such a flat response. But in accepting the reality of what is, instead of what we so hope it could be, we can find our peace and calm and the strength to be true to our hearts.

    • Don't feel like the only one sweetie, I'm in the same boat though I don't have as much time in. My guy asked me to move in saying he didn't want to lose me, he always made it clear that he was looking for a permanent relationship and used the word forever quite a lot with me. I guess I misunderstood, I thought he meant that after a time we would, , well you know, then when some well meaning friends brought up the subject he acted kinda goofy about it so I sat him down and quite simply told him that in the future I'd like to be married. I was totally surprised at his response, as if he was dead set against it and he even mentioned that he doesn't react very well to pressure, hmm, really?i first of all was talking in future tense and second of all tried my best to present myself to say that I wanted that kind of relationship in the future, I ultimately told him we'd never have this conversation again and that when I was ready someone will get down on one knee whether it's him or not and that this simply meant he wouldn't have me% 100 I dropped another guy who i felt an amazing connection to to move in with this guy and I remember getting a proposal from an ex due to my leaving him and hesitating coming back, I may be forced at some point to leave this one but it's only been a few months so we'll see.

  58. I have told him it's over and to go. Not talked about it. He just asked if it was still the same-over and he was to go, I said yes.

  59. Hi
    Great article. Im so confused still. My story is a bit different. I dated a guy for 1 year and things were going very well. We were in I believe a relatively good serious relationship. However, he was starting a business when we met, an online business, and it did not hit off at all. He is now running out of savings and times are really hard for him.
    One day we had the "talk" and I asked him about commitment. He stated he is "unsure if he wants something long term." After a year of being together exclusively, this kind of surprised me, is very confusing and it hurts actually. He was the one who wanted an exclusive relationship, I was reluctant based on his financial uncertainties but eventually gave in because he was a nice guy. Fast forward a year later, He says that his life/financial did not change and get any better, he is not happy and feels maybe he should solely focus on fixing his career/money situation. I decided to not to speak to him ever again. I dont know if I made the right decision. He sent me a text that he misses me but I did not respond. I dont know if I should speak to him again. Please help with any kind of clarification.
    Thank you

    • It's never an easy situation when you have someone so focused on their life basics - career and money - especially for men, that they aren't really able to focus on the relationship. And yet, the reality is that if was truly interested in having a committed relationship with you for the long term, then it would seem that he would want to include you in the real life realities of his life. Which includes having a hard time with this new business and having financial difficulties. That's real life, and if you're in a relationship with someone, that's part of your life, too, and not something you keep separate or keep working on independently. But he may not know what he wants, he may have some strong "shoulds" in his own life that say that he "should" be financially independent and successful before having a committed relationship with a woman in his life. Or he may just be confused and not know what he wants or have the energy to spend getting his stuff together and getting clear on where he's at.

      But regardless of all that, Didi, the reality is that you also deserve to have a real committed relationship with someone based on the reality of what is now, and be a part of that process of living life with what is going on right now. So, if you are with someone like this, and not feeling like a priority, and not feeling like you are a part of his life, or at least some part of his focus, then you also can choose to opt out because you have needs to. And it is completely reasonable to expect that someone you've been exclusive with for a year, would be ready for the next step - a committed relationship. So whether you made the right decision or not, the question I would ask yourself is how do you feel about him? About the relationship? What are you getting out of it? Is your life better or worse without him in your life? Is it better or worse with him in your life? You can't change him, so this is really about you and what you're looking for from him and from a relationship with him. If you need that commitment from him and he has made it clear he isn't on that page right now even it he misses you, then you are both on different pages here and a relationship where two people are not on the same page isn't going to be what a successful or healthy one. It may be you want to be friends still, if that is an option for you, and that way you won't feel like you are cutting off all ties, or it may be you're ready to move on and see what else is out there for you. You deserve nothing less than someone who knows he wants to commit to you, regardless of his financial situation, but only you know what he, and this relationship, is worth to you.

  60. I am glad to see that I am not alone. I have been dating a guy for 4 years and he won't call me his girlfriend, he continues to insist we are "dating". It seems silly of me to have put up with this for so long, but I always felt he'd come around. About two years into our relationship, he found out I was seeing other guys and he was clearly upset. I told him that the reason I was doing it was because he wouldn't commit so I felt that i had no other choice. I know I should've been upfront and not done it behind his back, but I was scared. We got through it and continued our "relationship". I am currently living abroad and I went back for two weeks for the X-mas break and we spent almost everyday together. He picked me up from the airport, brought me flowers, told me he missed me, etc. However, when he drops me off, he acts like it's nothing, even if I start crying. I know in my gut he has love FOR me, but I don't know that he loves me. I've met his family and some of his friends and he knows most of mine as well. I feel like every other woman who's posted, where you have something so great, but if only he'd commit, it would be perfect.

    I emailed him yesterday pouring my heart out and I still haven't received a response. I know for the most part he is afraid that if I become his official girlfriend, I will hold him back from achieving his career goals. I wouldn't do that and I told him. I am scared to receive his response, but I am preparing for the worst. It's just hard not knowing. I mean I guess deep down, I know the answer, I just need it to be clear.

    Thanks for this site, it's really amazing and helps me feel better knowing other women have it worse (as awful as that sounds). I am not glad other women are suffering, I wish we could all just find love easily and painlessly, but if other women are strong enough with more difficult circumstances, I know I will be fine as well.

    • And you will be, Sara - more than fine. You deserve nothing less than someone who isn't afraid to tell you how he really feels about you, who is in touch enough with himself to know what he really wants and to not let anything get in the way of that, including his career, instead of the other way around. Whether or not it is this guy or not, there will be someone like this for you. And whatever his response to your sharing your heart and soul with him like you have, know that it doesn't really matter because if he's not there on the same page with you, you are so much better off knowing this than continuing to hang on - like so many of us do for too long and learn the hard way that he doesn't change. If he isn't on the same page as you, at least you'll know clearly, and sometimes, it's only this type of clarity that causes us to finally move on and find what it is we've really been looking for. Because the reality is, as much as we don't want to believe it, you can't make anyone else love you and commit to you the way you want them to, no matter how hard you want to believe you can.

      • Thank you so much for your response, it means a lot to me. He did respond and basically said he is in love with me but does not want the responsibility of a relationship or taking care of someone else and that he should be alone. I've cried my eyes out all night and I know I will for the next few weeks, but at the same time it's a huge burden off my back. It makes no sense to me but I guess it doesn't have to make sense, it is what it is.

        • That is so hard to accept, Sara, but at least you know where he stands now, having heard it directly from him. And at least you can feel a sense of the relief that comes from that kind of honesty, knowing the reality of what is, even if it wasn't what you wanted to hear. Let those tears fall as often as they come to wash over and help heal your pain. You are still the same beautiful woman now as you were before him.

  61. Wow I really loved reading this article. I read alot of relationship related articles online but this one was amazing, Im glade I found it. Jane, I would love it if you can give me some advice. Ive been dating this guy for 4 months, we talk every single day since we met, hangout once a week we always make sure to make our weekly plans, he shows me alot of attention, I met his parents and some friends and he has met my mother. We always have such a great time together, we really connect, he tells me he really likes me and that he would'nt devote so much time and attention to someone he wasnt interested in. I really feel like he is "the one" as corny as that sounds. Everything seems perfect, well thats the magic word "seems". When we were 3 months in we randomly had "the talk" I told him what I was looking for (long term commitment, Monogomy etc) which I also discussed when we first met so he knew what I wanted from the beginning.
    His response: he wants to take things slow and not rush, he wants us to really get to know each other and built a foundation/ a friendship before we take the next step because that how relationships really last. He also mention that wanting to be commited to someone should come natually and when women presure men into a relationship that just pushes them away.
    Now another piece of info about him is that his best friend recently became single, they have been party alot and Im afraid all this will encourage him to want to stay single and have his freedom, and im also worried he will meet someone else in the process.
    I feel like Im getting mix signals at this point, I am also worried that he keeps me around because its comfortable or because he's waiting for something better to come along or maybe he just like me as a friend and hes afraid that if he's honest with me he would lose my friendship, I have thought of everything... I told myself that I will give him 6 month tops to make it official, I know that doesnt seem like a long time but i know in my gut that if i stick around longer I will get hurt baddd and I dont want to allow that to happen.....My question is if it doesnt happen by then should I move on or does six month seem like not enough time? Please help im soooo sick of waiting for men and when they feel like the time is right! I feel like I deserve better but it sucks when you really like someone, like you said jane its scary to walk away. I want to be strong and walk away if I have to but I dont want to think about the "what if's".

    • I so understand what you're going through, Sierra, and it's not easy. It's so very hard to care so much about someone and yet feel so powerless over whether or not you are going to have a committed relationship with him. Especially when you've been down this road enough times before to know it's a real possibility that your beautiful heart may be broken again.

      It's true that you can't make this happen yourself, and talking with him and pressuring him will usually only push him away, especially if he's not ready for a commitment. But there's another approach you can take that will help. I wrote about it here when I recalled the worst dating mistakes I'd made in my single days. Specifically, it's about keeping some emotional distance from him. Not giving him all of you, holding back enough of yourself until you know that he's worth being exclusive with and committing yourself to. Because it's only been 4 months and you really don't know him well enough yet to know for sure that he might be the one. The fact that he's telling you that it pushes men away when women pressure men into a relationship, is something for you to consider, because by saying this, he's letting you know he doesn't want to be pressured. And you don't want someone who you have to pressure to be with you. You deserve so much more than that! Instead, let your actions speak louder than your words. And if 6 months is what seems reasonable to you and what you're comfortable with, then follow your gut and stick to that. You should have a good idea of where he's at by then or if things are progressing the way you want them to. But don't give all your power away to him.

      Look at this another way, Sierra. Do you really want someone in your life who doesn't adore you and know that he wants to have something more with you in the near future? I know exactly what you're saying about the "what ifs", but there are no "what ifs" if you know what you want and what you deserve and he isn't able to deliver. That's reality, not what could be. We always have a habit of falling in love with someone's potential, but the reality is really what we need to focus on and not the fantasy we want to see happen. And if he's that unsure about your relationship and what he feels about you that he could be persuaded to go back to the single life with his recently single friend and meet someone else in the process, he wouldn't be someone you would want in your life anyway.

      It sounds like you're making this harder on yourself than it needs to be if you don't have any real reason to doubt him other than your own fears and insecurities - which I completely understand - but try to take that step back and focus on you and living your own full life so that he takes a more appropriate, smaller role than he is now. Because you'll know either way soon enough if he's on the same page as you and wants what you want. And if he doesn't, then you can decide what you want to do about that. If you're living your own life and remembering all that you are and all that you have to offer someone who clearly is worthy of your love, it won't matter as much what he does or doesn't decide about you. You don't have to end things before you're ready if you have that kind of emotional distance and are filling your life with so many other things besides him.

      • Thank you sooo much Jane, this really helped. I agree with u 100% about not giving my all to someone unless they deserve it, I tend to give all my power away really fast and my girlfriends tell me the same things you are....I need to back off emotionally a bit and focus on myself keep myself busy but when you hear it from someone other then people you know it sinks in alot more. I know 4 months is a short time and I need to relax Its just hard, it sucks but its reality. After our convo I have back away a bit and I havent mentioned us at all, I dont want to pressure him at all. I have been very nonchalant about things e.g. him going out with his friends etc. You are right again, I need to focus on the reality of things not the fantasy, not the "what ifs" which is y Im firm on giving him 6 months and after that I will do my own thing and date other men which I should be doing right now given that we are not exclusive. I really am making this harder on myself because at the time I recently became unemployed due to downsizing and I have very little to focus on so I think Im putting all my energy on him which is baddddd I hate it. I need to live my own life and do my own thing like you said, its just hard. Thank you so much for your response, I appreciate it and I think u are right, the key to gaining some power back is to focus on myself... I hope I can be strong enough to do that. Thanks again Jane.

  62. Hi Jane,
    I feel like I desperately need some advice. My situation is very tricky. First of all, I have been dating this man for 10 months now, and truly believe he is the person I'm meant to be with. Lately he seems to be struggling with leaving his bachelor lifestyle behind, and moving forward with our commitment. I am 19 years old, and am in university, so am having a lot of trouble keeping up with all my work at uni, and all my work with him! It's not that he's not lovely, he is. He wakes me up with breakfast in bed all the time. He drives down to surprise me (it's an hour long drive). He buys me flowers. He even included me in his major thesis acknowledgements, and introduced me to his family (whom live in India), and he has never introduced anyone to them before! So as you can see, it's been a happy relationship. But recently, I found out I was pregnant. I told him straight away, and he came to the doctors with me to confirm. He sat with me when I told my mother, and he held my hand at the abortion clinic. The night we found out, he proposed to me, but I told him I didn't want it to be purely for the reason that I was carrying his child. A week after the termination, he asked again, and I said yes. Less than 24 hours later, he backed out, saying it wasn't right and he wasn't ready. Now he says he wants to marry me, in 5 years! It's just the little things that have been giving him away. He promised he would move closer to me, but instead, moved further away, and shares a house with the one mate I don't like the way he is around. He asked me to move in with him next year, and my dad offered to rent out his property to us in my local neighbourhood, but the boyfriend got into an argument with me and said he wants to live in the city. I'm not sure what to do. It seems that he's willing to concede into commitment, as long as he gets everything he wants, WHEN he wants it, and I'm not getting any of the things I want in the timeframe best suited to me. I love him to bits, and I want to be with him like crazy, but when he ignores my feelings on things, and disregards my opinions, I'm not sure he wants to be with me as much as I do him. The situation is made even more difficult by the fact that I am from a British Christian family, and he is from a traditional Hindu family, who disapprove of his choice (He's the only son, AND he's used to doing everything his parents ask of him- he's 23 years old!) Please advise me. I am lost.

    • I'm so sorry for your loss and what you've gone through here, Emma. This all sounds so very complicated and yet love in its purest form is never complicated if it's real love. It doesn't have to be like this but it sounds like this is exactly the way he wants it. The way he's most comfortable with it. Especially because someone who loves you and truly cares about you would never ignore your feelings on things and disregard your opinions. No matter what! And if really loves you, while different backgrounds, families, and religions certainly make things more challenging, they aren't deal breakers if he doesn't want them to be. Do you see what I'm saying? None of these complications are dealbreakers unless he wants them to be. And it sounds like he holds all the cards right now. And your heart is very much on the line with him because you love him so much and are willing to overcome all these complications, but it doesn't sound like he wants them to be overcome.

      So it's your turn, Emma, to take back some control of this relationship and take your power back. You deserve someone who truly wants to be with you and isn't afraid of some challenges along the way if he really wants you in his life and wants to be with you and have a future with you. You need to decide what you are ok with and what your boundaries are. What is your timeline, what do you need from him, what is acceptable and unacceptable to you? If he doesn't already know where you stand with all this, then make sure he knows. But it sounds like he already does, so then the best thing you can do for yourself is to be clear for yourself. Give yourself the same emotional space that he's giving you and don't let yourself get ahead of what your reality is with him unless he's clearly showing you that he deserves all your love, all your caring, all your you!

      You are so young and you have your whole life ahead of you! This is the time to focus on you, and your education - don't let him keep you from excelling and living up to your own full potential at university and with so many other areas of your life. And use birth control that you can be confident will work. From everything you've said, he is clearly not ready to be a dad and you don't want to risk another scenario like that again with him. You deserve so much more, regardless of his promises or what he is telling you, Emma, but only you can choose what is best for you.

  63. Well isn't that just a smack in the mouth with some tough loving truth! The last three 'loosely-termed-relationships' have all ended with "I'm just not ready for a relationship" cliche. And whilst my head span around like the exorcist this last time whilst I internally screamed "no! You stupid-idiot-mixed-signal-giving-loser, don't you know what you've got?" Your post actually helped me breathe.

    If I read it once, I read it everyday, twice a day and saved it as my screen saver. It helped me sit and reflect on a few things and realise the line "it's not you, it's me" was bang on the money. Now I'm not saying I'm gods gift to men, but I'm worth as much as I give. I'm kind, considerate, fun loving and as understanding as I can be. The best part of the article is "this is me". If you're not ready for a relationship, you're really saying your not ready for a relationship with me and as 'me' is all I can give I might as well move on. So I have. This time I haven't called to keep the connection alive afraid that if I disappear he'll forget me - if he does then he wasn't into me. This time I haven't played the victim and made him feel guilty - if I don't need to apologise for how I feel then why should he. He's been honest and I'm thankful it was now and not in three years. This time I've been kind, polite, honorouble and respectful when he's contacted me - I've got the higher ground and look bag with dignity. This time I've let him go knowing he'll come back if he wants to and not if he doesn't, but in both situations I was in control of my relationship. This time, I feel great. Strong, decisive, clear and to be honest, ok about the whole thing.

    So thank you. Your words were ace and contained the head spinning exorcist until the next time!

    • Thank you, Katie; I couldn't have said any of that better myself. You have absolutely got it! My entire intent in writing this was so you could get those points exactly as strong as you have. And it's true - all of it; regardless of how you feel or when you're questioning yourself or feeling that old familiar self-doubt creeping back in. It is all absolutely true and you should be so proud of yourself that you are not only recognizing it, but living it, too. That is what this is all about! :-)

  64. Lorenzo Blake says:

    You know.....I'm a guy and well.....I'm experiencing what seems to be the same that you women experience with my fellows men. My girlfriend who is 18 and fresh out of highschool and I'm 20.....she repeats over and over she wants to be in this relationship and how happy I make her and how she doesn't want to lose me but me compared to her.....I'm making the effort like 3x more to see her and hang with her. Communication is no really an issue but I just don't really see her making the effort to see me like I am her. I don't know I maybe I'm reading to much into things or maybe I'm doing too much to try and see her that I don't give her the chance to prove herself to try and see me but.....she just doesn't seem to want to commit to our relationship 100%. She's always busy though she claims not to be but seems like when I've typically tried hanging with her it's either or "no, I don't know what I'm doing, lemme make sure I'm free". Then when the day comes she even "forgets" to try and hang. She says she has a really bad memory and she actually "forgets" to try and hang with me....how can your memory be so bad you "forget you want to hang with your boyfriend.....either she truly does forget or she's not fully ready for a relationship.

    • Well, Lorenzo, it sounds like you have either a girlfriend who is truly trying to find out what you're made of and whether or not you are truly worth her being with you, or she isn't sure what she wants, and is keeping you at arms length while she figures this out. But regardless of what's going on for her, if you are truly interested in pursuing a real relationship with her and maintaining your role as her boyfriend, then I would suggest you treat her well, communicate how much you enjoy being with her if you truly do, and then let time tell.

      If she truly is interested in being with you and is just wanting to make sure she knows you're on the same page as her, then it shouldn't be long before she comes around and sees that you both want the same thing. If she doesn't, and if she keeps this behavior up, then having a heart to heart talk with her may help to clarify where things stand, or it just may be time to move on if this is the type of relationship she wants to have with you.

      Do you have a gut feeling about her and her behavior? Usually, we know what's going on with things like this on a deeper level if we dig a little deeper, but open, honest communication is the biggest sign of a healthy relationship and if you're not comfortable talking with her about this, and about how you feel about her, that's always a big red flag to me. Try not to take her behavior personally, either; this sounds like it's more about her than you, and that said, you sound like a very loyal guy. There's so many women who would love to have someone making 3x the effort to see them! :-)

  65. Dear Jane

    Thank you for this great post.
    I am in this situation. I dated a man for 2 years and we broke up when he got into college in another state.

    I stayed in love with him and we recently got back together after three years apart. We both still loved each other but I pursued him and he came back to me.

    Now I have brought up marriage again. He always said he wanted to marry me and have kids and still does before college he said he would marry me but is not ready yet and wants to focus on his career. He says the same about children. He thinks he will be ready to marry in 3-5 years but I'm already 28 and want marriage and kids now. I said I'm willing to compromise for 2 years away and he said he"ll think about it and we"ll see.

    Other than this he treats me like a queen and makes me feel loved other ways he always says and acts like he is in love and is proud to show me out in public etc. the only thing is he doesn't know when he'll marry me or when he wants to have kids and when he'll get engaged. He only will do it when he's ready.

    If he loves me so much wouldn't he marry me?
    Should I leave before I get hurt again? Can this possibly have a happy ending?

    • So it sounds like this relationship and this man is everything you want, Marianne, if only he would marry you and get your life together as a married couple started. And he knows how you feel and you've made it clear that you would be willing to accept his terms for 2 more years, but he can't commit to that either. Yes, if he loves you so much, it would seem natural the he would want to marry you. But all too often, because of reasons that have nothing to do with you, a man like this can love you and yet still not be able to commit to you. Some men are scared, some men are ambivalent, some men have a lot of unfinished business in their lives to resolve that makes them unable to commit, and some men have no idea why, but are just not the marrying, committing kind. And that's why it's always so hard to know what to do, how long to wait, what to do, how much more to say or not say, and how to protect your beautiful loving heart from being broken again.

      There really is no way of knowing for sure whether or not he will never be ready for the commitment you're looking for from him or whether he will eventually want to get married and have children. He may not even know himself. This really comes down to you; whether or not you're willing to settle for a relationship with him on his terms so that you can be together. You know him, you know yourself, you know the relationship. If you haven't already, read this post on how long to wait for commitment, but ultimately, this decision is up to you. Can you move on emotionally, and see where things go from an emotional distance that keeps you strong and your heart protected? Can you shift the focus to you and living your own full life so that it doesn't matter so much what he does or doesn't do? I know this is hard when you just want him to come around. When everything else seems to right, so perfect, if only for this thing. Remember that this is his decision to have this thing in your relationship; what you do with it, is your decision. Know that if this truly is meant to be, it will be because two people on the same page will make it happen. But it always takes both of you.

  66. Thank you Jane! This came to me in the right moment in my life and I hope you can help me out!
    My boyfriend and I have been together for a year. We are an official couple: i’ve met his family and friends, he introduces me as his girlfriend, we spend most of our free time together etc. All in all he’s a great guy. BUT in all of this year he hasn’t said that he loves me. So I started wondering if there was something wrong, specially since lately he has been super withdrawn.
    So, I left him alone and when he came back to me, I asked him about the withdrawing and he said that he withdraws from time to time because he feels that I’m more into the relationship than he is, that he’s afraid of opening up and falling in love with me, and that he doesn’t know why he’s having such a hard time being open and vulnerable. I couldn’t believe that after a whole year together being super serious he now pulls the “I’m afraid of love/relationships” card. So as I was leaving for good he said he really wanted to work things out and he didn’t want to lose me. After the conversation, I feel so confused and hurt and I’m not sure what to do. Please help!!!!

    • He seems to be committed to a certain level, but not entirely so as to be open and vulnerable and fall in love with me. Please, if you can give me some advice I would appreciate it.

    • My heart goes out to you, Clara; this is so hard to face this reality of where he is at after a whole year of being together. His awareness of himself and openness to look at why he thinks he withdraws like this is a positive thing, but what he chooses to do with that knowledge is really what matters. It sounds like he is content to continue with your relationship the way it is, so if you are looking for more from him, if you need to hear him say he loves you and need someone who is not afraid of relationships and falling in love, then you have some decisions to make. Is he open to counseling? Do you both ultimately want the same thing out of your relationship? Can you talk openly about all this with him?

      The fact that you have been able to leave him twice, only to have him come to you to work things out, sounds like he genuinely wants to work on the relationship and really doesn't want to lose you. But like so many situations like this, the answer really comes down to you, Clara, and what being with him is worth to you and whether you are willing to accept this reality right now and wait a little longer or whether the year you've already waited is enough for you. You deserve someone who is on the same page as you are where love and commitment are concerned; and if he really does want this to work, it will because both of you are willing to do what it takes to make it work, and that means him, if this is his issue. You aren't going to change him, you can only be clear on what you will and will not settle for and go from there.

      • Thank you so much for your response!

        I talked to him, told him that I wanted and deserved someone that loves me just the way I am and that wanted to invest himself in the relationship and work for it. He said that I deserve only the best and that he wanted to be that man and give me only the best, that he can't picture his life without me and that he wants to work for this relationship. He also said that there isn't anything I can do, that I should leave him be the one who works for me and that if he didn't want to be with me, that he would've let me go. He said this came as a slap in the face to him and that he knows he has to man-up and bring his best self to the relationship.

        So I think that maybe I have to give him time for him to prove me that his words are true? And in the meantime work on myself and my self-confidence.

        • You've got it, Clara; keep living your own full life and doing those things that make you confident and strong in yourself. It sounds like he wants to do what he needs to do here, what he knows is his own work to do. That kind of awareness and openness on his part is huge! Whether it's enough, is, like you say, something he will need to prove to you if this is going to work for both of you, but he sounds like someone worth hanging around a little longer to see where this might go. Keep us posted; I've no doubt whatever happens, you are strong enough to come through this even more confident in yourself and the beautiful woman you are!

  67. Dear Jane,
    Thank you so much for writing this article. I'm in the midst of the crucial period of decision making.

    We've been living together for 2.5 years, and my recent 35th birthday has sped things up: I am ready but he doesn't seem to commit. As you so rightly put it, I'm on 'waiting mode'. I'm on doubt mode 'what if it only took a little bit longer'? He says that if the relationship improves (ie, I don't pressure him to be more interactive with me, to help with chores, to plan the future, and if I leave him more 'him-time'), he could think of committing in a year's time. But his requirements clearly state that he's not ready to build anything anytime soon, right?

    I am very scared of leaving him, very scared of being along and panicking at the idea of the clock ticking. We need to have a final chat on what to do next over the coming weekend, but at this stage, I'm not sure of anything else. There is no evident reason why to break up (he's tender, calm, trustworthy,...) but I feel like I want to build something with someone now. We don't have any, absolutely any plan for 2013, not even travel plans.

    When I finalised the mortgage of my flat several months ago, I started thinking of savings, buying another flat in a couple of years, and I realised I didn't want to think of buying on my own any more. I want to make those plans with someone, and he said he wouldn't consider buying something then. Two weeks ago, an offer came up in his home country and he's considering it...with his brother, not with me.

    It breaks my heart, it hurts to think that I may be alone for a long time and may eventually 'lose my window" for babies while waiting for another partner (if the next one ever comes) instead of, as you write, just 'waiting a little longer'. I'm in pain....

    Sarah

    • Oh Sarah, my heart goes out to you. I know all too well what this can feel like. It's so hard to be so ready for that part of the relationship that includes marriage and children only to realize you're the only one on that page and he's so close, but so far away. So of course you feel so torn. So close, but then he says the relationship needs to improve? That you need to stop pressuring him, give him space, let him off the hook with contributing to the household? And he seems to have no problem with you being fully aware that he might choose to invest in a home with his brother, but not you. What does all this say when you put it all together? These are clearly his terms and he is making sure you know where he stands. He is so clear with you, but how loving is this? Do you feel love from him? Do you feel loved? Clearly he is fine with things the way they are, clearly he doesn't have any motivation to change and he feels comfortable with all this as long as you don't rock the boat. So once again, as it always does, this really becomes about you.

      Do you really need to chat about this anymore? I would skip the chat. He already clearly knows what you want and what you are looking for from him. He's just going to feel more pressure and it's only going to make you feel worse. He's very clear. You've been clear with him, or at least he clearly knows from what you've said thus far. Of course you feel your clock ticking, and especially after 2.5 years with him. And of course you're scared of both leaving and staying. Of losing any more time by staying and waiting for something that never changes, a reality that never comes, and the alternative, being on your own and not finding anyone as good as him, and then finding he's ready when it's too late.

      It wouldn't ever be too late, Sarah, if it's true love. If this man truly loves you, adores you, loves you the way a man in love loves a woman, there can be no too late! A man who really feels that way will never let the love of his life get away! Stop negotiating. Stop settling for his terms. If you can let your actions speak louder than your words and still be with him, without losing any more of your self - your beautiful you that doesn't ever need to beg or plead your case, your terms, or resort to having someone finally decide you're worth committing to - then try that for now and see where that takes you. Know that marriage and children are so wonderful when you're with the right person for you. But if you're not, if e's not, a divorce down the road with innocent children's lives torn apart becomes a travesty of no small proportions.

      Only you can weigh all this and make a decision, Sarah, but trust yourself. Trust your gut to know what's really going on. A house, marriage, children, being with someone all mean nothing if you're not with someone who wants all this, too. You don't have to leave right now or make any rash decisions, my beautiful friend. Start today by taking the first step of focusing on you and all that you are and all that you deserve, and see what happens next. Trust yourself; you will know when it's time for something different.

  68. Hi Jane,
    Thanks for your article. I started dating a guy about a month and a half ago. Everything was going great and we talked daily. We both have busy jobs and are involved in other activities so we talked upfront about how we may not get to see each other as much as we'd like. But we still communicated and went on dates and hung out as often as we could. We both care very much about each other. He just recently told me that he doesn't fell like he has time for a relationship and feels that it's not fair to me to wait on him. He says he doesn't want me to miss out on an opportunity because he may not be ready. I let him know that I didn't feel that way. He said he liked me very much and this was hard for him. I'm very upset about this sudden halt in our relationship.

    • It's never easy to hear those words from someone when you don't feel the same way at all, and when nothing changes when you tell him how you feel and that you're ok with waiting for him, only to hear to him repeat those same words and still let you go. Of course you're upset and hurt, Kel. This is one of those times when the only thing you really can do here, since you've already told him how you feel and tried to keep things going to no avail, is to accept what he's saying and believe him. Even if doesn't make sense, even if it's the last thing you want to hear and the hardest thing to accept. He's being honest with you, and clear. And as hard as this is to hear, at least he isn't leading you on and keeping you hanging, which would only lead to more heartbreak down the road when you are that much more involved with him, and your heart is that much more with him.

      You will get through this, Kel; know that if the two of you are meant to be together, you will be. If you're not, there's always a reason. This is about him and his readiness, not you. For whatever reason, his reason, he's not on the same page as you. And for something to work, it takes two people both on the same page who both want the same thing and are willing to do what it takes to make it happen. It's about two people. Trust in love, believe that there's always a reason a relationship ends even if we don't understand it at the time, when we're going through it, but in the end, you deserve nothing less than being with someone who truly wants to be with you. You are worth that and so much more!

  69. Hi Jane,
    Thanks for all your advice. I have been with my boyfriend for just over 1 year. We have never lived in the same city and for 6 months of our relationship I was in the UK and he was in US. I saw him twice during this period. His original plan was to move to the US and his best friends are out there. Since he came back things have been good between us but he still lives about 3 hours away from me and I have been finding the distance difficult. He says now that he will stay in England (partly because of me and partly because his family are here) but at times he seems unsure of this decision. He has applied for a post-graduate course in my city 4 months ago and has heard nothing back from them. He also says that he doesn't love me - we had a discussion about this and he said that he feels this is something which will develop, he wants to be with me and he sees this as a long-term relationship. I have got to a stage where I want us to be in the same place in order to give the relationship a chance. I offered to move, but he said that because he has applied for a course in my city he doesn't think I should move. If he fails to get a place on the course in my city his other options include moving abroad, but I have made it clear that I don't want a long-distance relationship. He treats me wonderfully and is a very loving and caring man. I feel that this relationship could work if we were in the same place but I don't think he minds long-distance and I'm not sure whether to stay with him. Id appreciate any advice.

    • It sounds like he is quite content with the way things are, Ellie, and doesn't see the need to make any changes to see if your relationship can work. I know that's so hard to accept, especially when you know just how good it could be if only he would give you two a real chance! But you are clearly the one driving this, while he is making this work as much as he wants it to meet his needs and where he's at right now in his life. These "if onlys" are so difficult because you really have no say in this except to accept his terms if you want to be with him. It really comes down to you and what you are and are not getting out of this relationship. Only you can make a decision that you can live with based on what he means to you.

      If a relationship is meant to be, it always will be if you have two people both on the same page, who want the same thing and are committed to making it work. It doesn't sound like that's what you've got right now with him, and it doesn't sound like he's ready for anything more than this right now. He may never be ready for more, and that's a reality you may have to accept. Sometimes it helps to set a time limit that you can live with so you can be confident that you saw this through as long as you could and nothing changed. Personally, I've been through this enough times to know that if someone hasn't committed after knowing someone as long as you have, you're not going to change anyone and make him love you. He is who he is and he is going to be who he chooses to be. It comes down to what you are and are not willing to settle for in exchange for being with him.

  70. Hi Jane I am a mum of 3 I got with a man who makes me feel so good just a text from him gets me smiling he helps me out with my kids he is so good with my kids if i phone him cos i need help with sum think he will come over asap he calls me he's angel and he said he thanks The Lord ever night that he found me and he has been saying he loves me but is not ready for commitment just yet & wouldn't expect me to Waite 4 him and I am very special & mean a very lot to him but he is sleeping a rand and staying at girls house I do not know what to think :( I am in love with him xx

    • It sounded so wonderful, Tracy, until you got to the part about him sleeping around and staying at a girl's house. Are you just friends with him? Is he saying that he loves you as a friend? Because if he is sleeping with another woman, and you are having what you believe to be a relationship with him, then clearly there has been some huge miscommunication between the two of you.

      If all you are looking for is a friend who is there for you the way he is, then it sounds like you have someone who is enjoying helping you out, and you have exactly that. But if you are looking for more from him, and he is clearly letting you know he isn't ready to give you anything more than that, then believe him, and accept that you are not going to change him, and focus your time and energy on someone who will be all that he is andis ready for a real committed relationship with you. You deserve nothing less than the whole package, Tracy; with someone on the same page as you are who wants the same thing as you do.

      • He keeps saying he loves me and wants to be my man but just not now and I was sleeping with him to but I stopped it cos he was sleeping with sum girl is he just trying to keep me happy so if things do not work out for him them he thinks I am going to be here for him ? Xx

        • It sounds like that might be the case, Tracy; or at least it's serving some purpose for him, but it doesn't serve you. You so did the right thing to stop sleeping with him. You truly deserve better than this, Tracy, no matter how much he helps you out or makes you smile. If you are looking for a relationship with him, and he answers your requests for a commitment by being intimately involved with another woman, you need to look at why you want someone who isn't making you a priority in his life and why you can be in love with someone who is not in love with you.

          I know it's hard when someone means so much to you, but if it isn't mutual-if he doesn't feel the same way-what do you really have with him?

          • Thank u so much wat u have said has helped me know wat to do me and my kids need better then this and here is a man out here for us and one day we will have him :) thank u Hun x

  71. Hi Jane I just have this dillemma, I have met this guy last October in an EDM event. We were both with our friends then. After both our friends left the party, we met and kissed and he asked me if I would like to go back to his apartment. Me being quite tipsy said yes but said I wouldn't like anything to happen between us. He was very respectful when we went back to his apartment. He said he would not like to cross the line that i set between us. Since I got too many drinks it still happened. I also found out that a week before that, he just broke up with his 4-year girlfriend bec he says the girl would like to get married already and he wasn't ready (the girl was in Australia and he was relocated in our place somewhere in Asia to work). After that I slept a little bit at his place and got a txt saying he had fun and was hoping we can catch-up again. I replied saying I had a nice time too let me know when so i can check my schedule if I am free.
    For the next two weeks, I have not heard from him I was about to just forget and move on with my life. Until a week before another EDM event. He said it has been a very busy few weeks and he asked if I was going to the event. I said I wasn't sure. During the date of event a friend of mine dragged me to attend it. There he was. He approached me and basically ditched his friends to be with me all night.
    I ended up to his place again after that. We met several times again after that. He asked for my help in shopping for a costume for an event. My friends liked him a lot that they invite him for dinner or drinks. He would always be present and would stay by my side all the while.
    Since we've been going out with my friends a lot, he has never asked me out on a real date. Just the two of us. He would say he would like to catch-up soon but he never asked me out. I am not sure if its because I always have the weekend planned with my friends which is he is well aware of. I am getting quite a bit impatient already.. I am not sure if I should tell him I really like him or if its still early? I have met him 3 months ago but we have seen each other for about roughly 6-7 times (usually with my friends around) only as we both have a lot of things going on with our lives. I am looking for a long term relationship but whenever Im around him I get tongue tied and cant seem to open up to him about this. Please help..

    • If he was looking for more than this right now, Reann, you would know by now because he would be asking you out on one on one dates (it wouldn't matter if you always plan your weekend, he would ask), and making sure there was no doubt he was interested in you. There was a reason he told you right when you first met that he had just broken up with his long-term girlfriend because she wanted to get married. He wanted to make sure you knew where he stood right from the start. Men know that a woman doesn't sleep with him unless she's interested, no matter how tipsy she is, so he knows how you feel. And all this is why you don't feel comfortable opening up to him about this whenever you're around him; it's because you know on some level that he's not there on the same page as you when it comes to commitment. Even though you'd like him to be, the reality is what you want to look at here.

      So it comes down to where you want to go from here. It doesn't sound like you're content to just keep going on the way you have been with him - and I wouldn't be either if a committed, long-term relationship was what I was ultimately looking for, so you have some decions to make. You can talk to him, letting him know direcly how you feel and what you'd like to see from him, but know that there's a good chance that will probably push him away if he's not ready for more. That can be a good thing, though, because it will be out in the open now and you can move on from here to someone who will be on the same page as you!

      You can also let him know by your actions what it is you want from him. Or you can set a time limit on how much longer you are willing to wait to see if this develops into more by keeping him on the sidelines and focusing on you and living your own life, still dating other guys, and keeping a safe emotional space from him so that you are only committing to him as much as he is committing to you.

      Remember that if a relationship is meant to be, it is always because two people want it to be be, and are on the same page, committed to making it happen. But it takes two. The most important part here is to make sure you're not compromising on what you need, on what you're looking for, Reann. Because if it's not him, there will be someone else. And you never need to convince someone who is right for you that you are worth committing to! :-)

      • Dear Jane,
        Thank you so much for taking time and reading my dillemma about the guy ive been going out with. This weekend, we had spent two nights together attending events and sleeping together without sex. I had been in a rollercoaster of emotions and decided that I should tell him how i feel and what I was looking for. Today I had finally told him how I feel and what i am looking for. His reply was hurtful.. He said he is not looking for something serious right now as he would be leaving for Australia soon and he is cautious about being in another long distance relationship. Partly i knew it would come to this. At the same time i was very relieved that i can finally go on with my life. I know in time i may meet someone again whos worth all the effort and time and will never keep me guessinh on how he feels towards me. Thank you Jane! You dont know how much your advice had enlightened me and pushed me to finally make this decision of coming clean. ;)

        • Thanks for letting me know, Reann; I'm sorry it ended this way, but it's always for the better when it wasn't honest and honoring you and what you were looking for in the end. Hold onto that relief, my beautiful friend; that is what this is all about, knowing that you are free to live the life and embrace the love that is out there when you are willing to risk standing up for what you deserve and refusing to accept what you know you don't! So glad I could help :-)

  72. brownsugarbabe20 says:

    Jane, you have NO idea how much your article has meant to me and how finally, finally, Ive managed to find something on the net that I can identify with. I was with someone for 4 years. I currently live in the UK but Im originally from another country. We went back and forth with visa's and everything battling so hard to be together. Eventually I got an unmarried partner visa, got back to England. We lived together for two years after two years of me being in and out with my visa.

    We were extremely happy. I knew his family, he knew mine. We were best friends. We did everything together. We drank together, we went on holiday together, he went out with his mates alone, I went on girls nights my own. We lived together but still had independent lives. We were both very very happy. So when I mentioned marraige and kids, didnt think it would be a problem.

    Thats when he started with his confused, he doesnt know so I would leave it for a couple of months then it would come up again and again like a bad penny. Eventually we were going onto year 5 so I told him Look if we dont get married or plan a future or get babies then Im going to have to move out. He agreed and said that I pressurised him to do something he was not ready for.

    I eventually moved out in April 2011. And he is a nice guy. Helped me looked for a flat and everything as all my family is not here in this country. Helped me unpack my stuff and all that. Obviously I broke down thinking I made a mistake as he drove away. He said we should see how it goes after 6 months.

    A year went by, I was seeing other people but still seeing him now and then and SLEEPING with him. Not giving anyone else a chance, still hoping and hoping that he was going to change his mind. He then told me that his seeing someone and she MOVED in, can you imagine into a home that we built together but they fighting over me all the time, she is violent towards him and goes through all his bank statements and is convinced that he is still seeing me and that he was very unhappy.

    Obviously I felt sorry for him because he went on to tell me he has become a horrible man, lying and cheating which is not like him. I then became his agony aunt where he decided to go into details about how they flew all over the world as she is an air hostess and intimate details about them etc etc. I felt so sorry for him, he had problems at work so I was like putty in his hands.

    So this year January 2013 after New Years, I told him I still loved him, lets get back together, he said that after the ordeal with this girl, he needs time alone to think. So I said ok, Ill wait then this week I got really sick, I told him, he said he will come round then he told me he will be a bit late as he is having some pints with some friends at work then casually mentions that he went on a date and watched a movie with someone.

    There and then after all this, it will be TWO years in April. TWO years that I hung around waiting for this man, hoping and hoping for him to change. Thinking the distance would change things. It just clicked. Now its hard very hard. Im now learning that I Have TO CUT off ties. Its been two days but I read your article over and over and I need help because he doesnt make feel good about myself, Im always angry and upset and I feel worse when I speak to him than better.

    • I'm so glad this article resonated so much with you. You do need to cut ties. For you. For all that you are and all that you have to offer someone who is truly deserving of you. This man clearly isn't it. You know it on every level, but of course, there is this pull, this subconscious pull that you probably can't even explain because it doesn't make any logical sense to anyone but you. And those of us who have been through this before.

      But, my beautiful friend, there is so much more to life and love than what you have been putting yourself through! How can it not leave you feeling angry and upset and feeling awful about everything, including yourself? As much as we want to believe our love, our being everything they are looking for will somehow be able to reach them and make them love us, in reality, the only thing that does is hurt us so much in the end. With broken self-esteem and a broken sense of ourselves when we finally get the courage to do what we know needs to be done, and let go. It becomes so clear when you are completely on the other side and away from him, but of course, when you are in it with still so much of your heart and soul, you question whether you are doing the right thing, yes, even as he drives away. It can be so crazy-making. But this is no way to live. This is no way to love.

      Know that getting through this, cutting those ties is never easy. It's usually the beginning of a journey that will bring you to such a rich place of being in touch with yourself and who you are and experiencing a love for that beautiful woman known as you that you probably don't even know anymore. This first step sets in motion so much more than you could ever have with him living like you have been. But getting through this initial stage of letting him go, is always the most difficult part. Doing something different when we long for the situation to simply be different, is always difficult and requires such inner strength and resolve to stay the course and know you are doing the right thing for the only person you can change - yourself.

      You deserve so much more than the crumbs you've been accepting from him in the name of love, my beautiful friend; and the sooner you refuse to accept them anymore, the sooner you will find that real love is about the whole package, and not just some crumbs to keep you coming back for more. You deserve nothing less than this!

      • brownsugarbabe20 says:

        Gosh writing everything down made SUCH a difference! Ive been going through this internal turmoil for 2 years. This took me to 6 years all in all. All my friends told me what you have just said but coming from a stranger and re-reading what I wrote has made me realise what a pickle Ive been in. Yes LETTING GO is hard but if it means Ill find true love at some point, Im willing to risk it. When I read your answer, I burst into tears. So many things you have said is so true. I left my own home country for this guy. I have nieces and nephews I dont know because I chose to build a life with him instead so its nice now to make my own plans. Thanks so much for your answer. Its printed and will be hanging in my flat underlining some important words.

        • I'm so glad that helped and you found something that resonated with you; it is so hard to see this when you're in it. You're so not alone and not the only one by far. This first step, doing something different, is always the hardest part, but by focusing on the plans you now can make, like you say, to get to know your nieces and nephews and make your own plans, you will discover a life you never knew that's just been waiting for you to embrace it! :-)

          • Hi!
            I really need advice. I dated this guy over a year. Even before we started dating he told me he wasn't looking for anything serious. Although he still wanted to see me and hang out, and so we did. We spend time together, I got to meet his friends, he went on a trip and invited me but I wasn't able to go. This guy had trouble sleeping with girls, literally calling asleep with someone in the bed, yet he slept like a kid with me every time, holding me all night. He talked a Lot about his insecurities when it Comes to feelings and relationships. He had had few serious relationships prior, he said he had never really lives someone and that he was emotionally like a child, coward and scared. I accepted all this, told him it's fine and I didnt want to pressure him or try to changera him.
            But in the end, I could"t wait for forever, after 1 year I got tired, and I also asked him if he had been dating other girls at the same time, he said
            : yes, just once, it was nothing, It was just dinner and I got out of there as soon as possible. I also asked where we stood and what he wanted, he said: I honestly dont know what I want, in general. so I told him I wanted out, I told him I am not gonna settle and that I deserve more. I told him he should work out his insecurities and try and mature because he is getting older, like when is he going to become a man? He's acting like a little boy.
            Anyhow, our chemistry was unlike any other, he was a great guy, just very confused. I could tell he liked me when we where together but I just wonder how one becomes so afraid of commitment or just so afraid of feelings and love... Maybe It sounds like I am only making excuses for him but he had other psychological issues, so this wouldn't be so strange after all, if it where true.

            now, when I broke it off, he didnt want to, he was upset, I told him to speak his mind since we were not going to talk again, he asked why I was talking as if he was going to idé, why couldn't we keep in touch? I said; whats the point of keeping in touch? Also he said it didn't matter what he had to say cuz it would only complicate things even more. Regardless, after that he never fought for me, he didnt call or text. It's been a month. I can't seem to forget him, help me.... Did I do the right thing by letting him go?

  73. Hi!
    I really need advice. I dated this guy over a year. Even before we started dating he told me he wasn't looking for anything serious. Although he still wanted to see me and hang out, and so we did. We spend time together, I got to meet his friends, he went on a trip and invited me but I wasn't able to go. This guy had trouble sleeping with girls, literally calling asleep with someone in the bed, yet he slept like a kid with me every time, holding me all night. He talked a Lot about his insecurities when it Comes to feelings and relationships. He had had few serious relationships prior, he said he had never really lives someone and that he was emotionally like a child, coward and scared. I accepted all this, told him it's fine and I didnt want to pressure him or try to changera him.
    But in the end, I could"t wait for forever, after 1 year I got tired, and I also asked him if he had been dating other girls at the same time, he said
    : yes, just once, it was nothing, It was just dinner and I got out of there as soon as possible. I also asked where we stood and what he wanted, he said: I honestly dont know what I want, in general. so I told him I wanted out, I told him I am not gonna settle and that I deserve more. I told him he should work out his insecurities and try and mature because he is getting older, like when is he going to become a man? He's acting like a little boy.
    Anyhow, our chemistry was unlike any other, he was a great guy, just very confused. I could tell he liked me when we where together but I just wonder how one becomes so afraid of commitment or just so afraid of feelings and love... Maybe It sounds like I am only making excuses for him but he had other psychological issues, so this wouldn't be so strange after all, if it where true.

    now, when I broke it off, he didnt want to, he was upset, I told him to speak his mind since we were not going to talk again, he asked why I was talking as if he was going to idé, why couldn't we keep in touch? I said; whats the point of keeping in touch? Also he said it didn't matter what he had to say cuz it would only complicate things even more. Regardless, after that he never fought for me, he didnt call or text. It's been a month. I can't seem to forget him, help me.... Did I do the right thing by letting him go?

    • Trust the decision you made to have been the one that was right for you, Dana. It is always all too easy to second guess ourselves when we see that the result wasn't what we were expecting or hoping for. When he's able to just walk away from us without fighting for us or doing what it takes to make it different. But the reality is, this is your answer. If this was meant to be at this point in both your lives, you would know without a doubt because he would be fighting for the two of you; he would be doing the work on himself to "grow up" and sort out his own issues that keep him from being able to commit to a committed relationship with you. This would all be clear to you.

      If you haven't already, read the book Men Who Can't Love, by Steven Carter and Julia Sokols. I've mentioned it several times before, but it really helped me get my head around what had happened in all too many of my own relationships. This really is about him, not you, and from from what you desribe here, Dana, it sounds like you are a strong, confident woman who knows your worth, knows what you deserve and what you're not willing to settle for; you just need a reminder here and there - like every strong confident woman still needs sometimes! - that standing up by letting someone go if the relationship isn't going anywhere, was exactly the decision that honored and respected you!

      Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is accept that you were right; he wasn't the one for you - and you recognized that and made the decision to move on. It's hard because there's always that part of us that wanted it to be different and sometimes still holds out that hope that it could be. It takes strength and courage to be able to do what you've done; don't doubt yourself that you knew exactly what you were doing and when it was time to let this one go.

  74. Hi Jane,

    Amazing how many women seem to be going through the same thing isn't it! Your advice is very wise and healthy and what we all need to hear.

    Here's my dilemma. I dated a guy for two years. He is an absolutely wonderful in many, many ways. He is Christian and believes in the whole concept of commitment and marriage and has told me so from day one. Our relationship had a few bumps along the way (including a situation where it was clear that despite his words he was maybe still keeping options open). We stayed together to work on "us." On paper we are great together!
    He is 45, divorced, no kids. I am 43, divorced and have most awesome 14 year old son in the world. Very similar interests, beliefs, etc. I've spent a ton of time with his family and they adore me and I adore them.

    During the two years together, my boyfriend was struggling with some difficult work and life challenges akin to a mid-life crisis. That obviously created some problems for us. He is stuck in indecision quicksand when it comes to just about everything in his life and also suffers from chronic discontent. He has doubts about his feelings on everything. He constantly questions whether he really makes me happy despite me shouting it from the mountain tops. And on top of that he is unfortunately in a very self-centered stage in life where it's all about his feelings and needs - despite the fact that he talks only about wanting to take care of mine. After two years of really trying to make it work we got to a point where neither of us was happy despite how much we loved each other and we knew it was time to part. I just figured that he wanted commitment but just not with me.

    Of course, that was a devastating realization and I had about three REALLY tough weeks after our separation. But then I started to get strong, trusted in God's plan for me and just really began living my life to the fullest again. I concentrated on career, hobbies, volunteering, traveling, making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, etc. I was feeling great. My inner confidence was soaring. He watched all of this. He wasn't experiencing the same. He began contacting me again and started a brand-new courtship. He told me things he had never said before. So we went on a few dates and had the most amazing time and connection that we'd ever had. This was finally the perfect relationship we both wanted. I felt so incredibly special.

    He went overseas for work for two months and we had a romantic pen pal relationship. All he talked about was finally being ready to get married, me being his soulmate, dreaming about waking up next to each other every day......and so on. He asked about stones and settings for rings. He talked of the most beautiful things.

    Then he came home. At first it was great. But his work situation was getting increasingly worse and it was affecting him greatly. There was no more real talk of our future, just a few placating expressions now and then. He was withdrawn and irritable, only focused on his own needs and hobbies. Our beautiful relationship slowly began to unravel again.

    So here we are today. He has gone back overseas for work for two months. He has a job opportunity that will move him out of state immediately upon his return. I've asked him about his thoughts on plans for our future and he says that he knows he wants to be with me, but just not all the logistics. Romantic, huh? He says he loves me and doesn't want to lose me. Deep down I know what I need to do. But we love each other so much and it's so hard to walk away. He knows me like no one else. But his lingering doubts and vascillation have affected my renewed confidence and ability to be happy and live my life like I was. I won't continue to have a long distance relationship so I know that when he comes home, that's it. I really thought we were each other's soulmates. I know I need to let him go, I just don't know how to do it and still feel good. I am worried that I may be saying goodbye to the love of my life. Help:)

    • There is no situation more difficult, in my opinion, Shelly, than exactly the one you have described. Where you have seen such huge and long glimpses where everything is almost perfect, almost everything is exactly as you have always dreamed it could be, except it isn't consistent. He can't keep it going. He's so close, and it's so amazing when he is there, but in those inconsistent other times, it's like you are with a different man in a different relationship and that is the problem. It's on his terms. It's when he feels good about himself and his work and his life. It's all about him, as you say, and not about you and where you're at and what you need. And that's the hard part. Yes, you know what you need to do, if you ultimately want more from him, if you want the consistency that isn't there and may never be there, but when it's wonderful and perfect, it really is, and that's so very hard to give up.

      I hear everything you're saying, Shelly, and I know just how difficult it is to weigh those pros and cons, to look at all this in the light of the true reality of it, and still come up without feeling absolutely confident of your decision. Your concern is so understandable, but ultimately, you have to trust yourself to make the best decision that most honors you and what you are looking for in a relationship. You have to decide if it's ultimately worth it to you to have him in your life on his terms, knowing the reality of what that looks like, or if you would rather give that up for a chance to find what you're really looking for with someone else who is able to give you what you're looking for. And only you can weigh that and decide what it comes down to for you. Know that if he is truly is the one for you, it will happen, it will be because if two people ultimately want the same thing and are truly meant to be together, both of you will be willing to do what it takes to make that happen. It always takes two.

      • Thanks so much Jane! Such wise words. It's just so darn hard...because I really believe he is the love of my life. I guess in order to make a real relationship work, we BOTH have to believe that though, huh? No matter what happens, he is a good man and has enriched my life in so many ways. No regrets;)

        • It sounds so simple - that both people have to believe that each other is the love of their life - but it really isn't easy for us to get what that really looks like sometimes. And you're so right, Shelly, it's not about him being a bad person, it's about being on different pages and just not being right for each other, no matter how much that hurts, no matter how much we don't want to believe the reality of what is. Thanks for stating it so clearly. :-)

  75. jane--
    thanks for this article. i recently ended things after dating a guy for almost 4 months after he told me that he didnt consider what we were doing "dating". He just considered it hanging out. Ive known him for 20 years and i felt like i was with my best friend. we both shared very private things together even talked about marriage. But i saw this situation turning into the many situations i have been in most of my life. Which were basically me hanging on until the guy decided that he wanted to date me. Now, ive made the decision to cut all ties with him unless he can show me that he is ready to have me as a girl that he dates or even his girlfriend. Us women must know that we are all deserving of a loving, committed relationship. Your article helped solidify that!

    Thanks again

    • Thanks so much Jane! Such wise words. It's just so darn hard...because I really believe he is the love of my life. I guess in order to make a real relationship work, we BOTH have to believe that though, huh? No matter what happens, he is a good man and has enriched my life in so many ways. No regrets;)

    • What you did takes real courage and strength, Rebecca; know that you did the right thing. It's only when you refuse to settle for anything less than you know in your heart that you deserve, that you clear the way for someone knew to be in your life who is on the same page as you and will be looking for the same thing you are! I'm so glad this article helped, and thank you for letting me know :-)

  76. well this article made me realize 2 major things. 1st, I always did smart by getting out of all relationships where I felt there was no stable ground, that way I saved myself from getting torn to pieces; 2nd. I might just have to dump this guy I'm seeing now.
    I always thought that there is something wrong with me because I never had a relationship that lasted longer than 5 months. But after reading your article I just realize I was smart enough to know that neither of those guys was the one so I gracefully set both them and myself free. So far I always got to the point where I was ready to take the relationship to the commitment level but they weren't, so I left. Every single time. I never wait for anyone. If I get to the point where I realize I need consistency with a man and he won't give it to me, I'm out of his life. So thank you so much for your article!
    2nd, this guy I am seeing, he treats me so great, is so affectionate and loving when we are together, but when we're not, he doesn't even bother to call. Today is the 4th day in a row since I last heard from him. Again, I'm in that place where I realize I truly care about him and I need consistency and he just won't give it to me. We've been going out for about 2 months so I think I'll have to dump him just as I dumped the rest and hope that someday, that ONE that is in the same place of mind and heart as me, will come into my life and there'll be no more stress, no more games, no more doubts or questions and no need for neediness. I would really love the idea of having at least one serious relationship longer than 5 months but why forcing myself to be unhappy just to prove myself I can with someone for longer than that? I promised myself that I would wait for this one and give him another 3 months to see if his behavior changes, but after your article I feel just like giving up right now. What should I do my dear?

    • I'm glad you enjoyed this article, Mimmy, and it resonated with you. If you're not feeling it, Mimmy, and you've either talked to him directly so that he knows what you're looking for from him, or shown him by your actions, and he isn't responding in a way that shows you he's on the same page as you are, then I've always felt it's better to move on rather than wasting your time and energy trying to change someone. Each situation is different, but I think we usually know on a heart/gut level what is instinctively going on if we listen to ourselves on that level.

      And if you haven't already read the article I wrote about why you attract the wrong kind of guys, you may find it helpful. You deserve nothing less than a relationship with someone who wants the same thing you do and is ready to commit to a real relationship with a real person. And whevever that happens, Mimmy, you'll know because you won't have to guess what is going on or whether he is on the same page as you. It will all be very clear, because real love is never complicated.

  77. Hi there Jane!
    I just wanted to know what you think of my situation (I'm in university, by the way!).
    So for the past month or so this guy has been showing all of these signs that he's into me; he texts me a lot, we hang out quite a bit, and I catch him staring all the time. He instigates conversation and everything, but he never instigates our "dates"! And whenever I ask him to come over and hang out (we live on the same campus residence) he always makes the excuse that he's busy with schoolwork. Basically, I keep giving him signs that I like him too! I feel like this may be a commitment issue, since he recently broke up with a long-time girlfriend. Or maybe he's shy (he IS a shy guy)? OR he's just not into me and I'm interpreting everything all wrong? Or maybe he really IS just busy with his schoolwork all the time?
    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Annaliese, From how you describe your situation, it sounds like this guy is quite content with the way things are, whatever the reason. It could be any of the reasons you mention, but the bottom line is that you've initiated enough with him, and given him enough signs so that he knows you would definitely be interested in more. So if he isn't responding, or at least responding in a way beyond the more safer "at a distance" way of texting, and casual hanging out and the like, regardless of how much he stares at you, he just isn't motivated to move beyond his comfort zone right now. If things change on his end, I'm sure you'll be the first to know, but in the meantime, try not to focus too much on him and his potential.

      Try to just enjoy the time you do spend with him, but spend time with others as well - enjoy all your social options that the unique experience of university offers, and keep your options open so that he doesn't become more to you than he is just because of his aloofness. You've got so many things to enjoy and experience during this phase of your life, Annaliese, that you deserve to see all that is out there for you - including men! - without getting set on someone who isn't actively pursuing you!

  78. My relationship needs major help and I dont know where to turn! Me and my boyfriend have been together for almost 5 years, engaged for 4, but he refuses to marry me. I talk to others about us and they always tell me that I am in the right to what to get married and to put a date on it, and stick with it. I had a set date for a wedding in 2011 he was all for it up until about a month before then he changed his mind said he wasn't getting married and has been very firm about it. So for the last year I have tried giving him time but its really hard for me to do since I want to be married so badly. I love him and truly believe he is the one for me. We have went and talked to a preacher about our marriage issues and that seemed to get us no where since he felt like the preacher just took my side on the matter, which seemed to make him resent me even more for trying to get help. We have tried to have dates alone with no kids, we talk about all our favorite moments together, we made pro and con lists. It seems as though nothing is helping. I know he loves me and we really have a wonderful relationship but this marriage thing is weighing very heavily on me. I want it so bad that I can see I am driving a wedge in my relationship. What's wrong with me??and why in the world am I willing to give up a wonderful man/father just for a silly piece of paper???

    • Leah, you don't need anyone to tell you you're in the right to want to get married. If you want to get married, then this is part of who you are, and that doesn't ever need any outside validation! There is nothing wrong with you, and a marriage certificate is not just a silly piece of paper! It is so much more than just a piece of paper; it represents a commitment to each other that usually brings a level of security and stability and contentment that many woman - and many men - count on as being part of that piece of paper. And while that same piece of paper is no guarantee that a marriage will last, or that that security and stability can be counted on, it is still a public union of two people that many people, and certainly our culture, still believes in.

      But regardless of what anyone else might think of marriage, the important point here is that it matters to you! And if you and your boyfriend are not on the same page on this point, then you need to come to terms with the reality of where you want to go from here. You are not going to change him, but you can make your own decision based on what you know about him and the relationship and what it is worth to you as it is.

  79. I think I needed to read a kinder article and this was the one, so much out there says get over it and get on with your life etc.. its tough when you have meet who you think is the one.. but you go through some stuff that pulls you apart.. Its been over a year since we broke up and the other day I saw him after so long.. we embraced and had an amazing time together.. we talked of all the wonderful things we used to do and now he's back to his single life and has not really contacted me.. its been three weeks.. he not in that place to be with me right now and to make it worse he wont talk about anything to fix or understand the situation... yet we have this amazing connection and I miss him so much.. i'm 37, I am in love with a man who's in denial....I know he cares and loves me the same as he did and his stress (or what happened) is an excuse he cannot confront.. its rough as I want to reach out to him.. but instead I have to act like he died to be able to move forward. Should I write him? I'm at a loss

    • The little book, "How to Survive the Loss of a Love" comes to mind here, J, as I know exactly what you're talking about where it's easier to pretend that he died than to think of him as living his life but without being together with you. This is one of those times when you have to accept that you have done everything you can, you've told him as much as he is willing to hear, and for whatever reason - his reasons, I would emphasize - he is just not able to go there with you. Don't write, don't call, don't do anything more that brings you and your beautiful self down that downward spiral any further. This is not about you. Yes, you may have an amazing connection and you may be in love with him, but unfortunately, he is not there. Whether he feels that same connection or not, it doesn't matter because he is not willing, or able to do anything about it. And that, my beautiful friend, is the whole point. That is your reality. If you need to write him, write to him, but don't send it - write it for you and then release the letter, release him, by some ceremonial way that might hold some significance for you and allow you to move on with you own life which is still so full of potential if you can take your time and energy and focus on you instead of him and what you want your relationship to be with him.

      I know this is so much easier said than done, J, I know how much this hurts when you feel like it has so much potential, like he has so much potential, but as I learned the hard way from my own journey, you simply cannot make anyone love you, regardless of how much you want them to or how much you feel like they are missing out by not being willing to talk. If you can gently come to accept the reality of what is vs. what you want it to be and know it could be, you will eventually find there is a peace and a sense of relief when we finally stop fighting what isn't, and accept, however much we don't want to, the what is. Know that you're not alone in what you're going through, J; and even though so much tells us to just get over it and move on, very few of us are able to do that. For most of us, it's a few steps forward, a few steps back, some more baby steps, and repeating the whole process over many more times before we finally wake up one day and discover our steps forward are a little lighter and a little longer with less looking back. It's this journey that we're all on together, so go easy on yourself and remember that learning to love yourself through it brings us to the other side faster than any other quick-fix solution.

  80. Hi,
    I really need your advice.
    I broke up with him before I read this article. I told him what I want: I want long term. He told me he can't give me long term commitment. So I broke up with him right before Valentine's Day.
    We didn't meet for a long time. 5 months and half. But he's everything I'm looking for. He's so caring, so sensitive. We met online. He is 25 years older than me. He's been divorced for almost three years. He had an ex-girlfriend. They were in a long distance relationship for over a year. He cheated on her with me. But I feel he still like his ex-girlfriend. He still kept all her photos. His ex can call him anytime she wants. They still contact regularly, which I cannot accept at all.
    I'm young, well-educated. I'm not fat, not ugly. I gave him almost everything. But I realized that he takes everything for granted. He uses my young body without giving me any long term commitment.
    He said "I love you", he asked me to be his girlfriend, he introduced me to his two sons. He did all those kind sweet things.
    But I just can't get over his ex even though I already broke up with him. I just feel so hurt because I tried so hard to be with him and satisfy him, but he still contacts with his ex. He's worried to hurt her, but what about me? And I hate that he can't commit. I blocked everything from him, facebook, google+, skype. I can't be friends with him anymore. I don't know why he can still maintain friendship with his ex, maybe because they still love each other?

    I'm so sad! I just feel I did everything but he doesn't give a shit. I tried so hard to move on. I feel I'm still expecting. I want to get over this. I need the peace. But I just can't forgive him. What should I do??

    • You did the absolute best thing you could have done, Fiona; you deserve so much more that what you were putting up with this man! You gave him so much of your beautiful, sweet self and he was obviously not on the same page as you, so be so proud of yourself that you finally stood up to him and clearly let him know what you required from him! As hard as it is to see this right now, when this is still so fresh and you don't have any time and space between both of you to see him or the relationship you had with him with fresh, clear eyes, you will see the reality of what was lacking and why this was all about him one day very soon. I would begin now by looking at why you were attracted to someone like him in the first place, as so many of us find ourselves with men who aren't able to commit to us because of our own deep issues that are often subconscious and out of our awareness.

      Of course you're sad, Fiona, if only things could have been different. But the reality is, he is who he is and nothing you can say or do or be, can change this. We simply can't make anyone love us or behave the way we want them to regardless of how much we do for them. It is actually much easier to get over someone when you don't have constant reminders about them, so the fact that you have blocked him from everything and aren't remaining friends with him should help make this easier, but the very best cure for heartbreak is to get out and live your life like you're never lived it before. The type of living where you do everything you've always wanted to do, you go to the places you've always wanted to go, you reach out to people you've always wanted to reach out to and you keep the focus on you. You deserve some healthy selfishness in your life even if you've been led to believe you shouldn't be selfish! When we go so far the other way to please someone, we often need to be reminded of this. You deserve nothing less than a mutual relationship based on two people who are on the same page and want the same thing and includes a loving, caring commitment to each other. That's what true love is all about, Fiona, and you deserve nothing less than this!

  81. Hi Jane,
    I am 24 and have been with my boyfriend (26) for 7 years. I love him, he is a great guy, but I have been bringing up marriage for about a year now and he has yet to propose. During our seven years together, we have been very happy and stable. We live together and have a dog together. He claims he wants to marry me "in the future". This is so vague and his refusal to discuss marriage more in depth has caused me to resent him. I feel that after 7years, if he's not ready to commit to me, will he ever be? But at the same time, I worry that an ultimatum that forces a proposal will not be as special as if he took the initiative himself. At this point, I wonder if he is taking advantage of me because I am basically already his wife, so there's nothing really in it for him. Three months ago, on my birthday I had been drinking and we had a huge fight about it. He said that I nagged him too much about marriage which is why he hadnt proposed. This was hard to take, but I haven't brought the subject up again and gave him the lead on the issue. Since then he has dropped hints that he will propose on this day or that day, but the dates all come and pass without a proposal. He hinted that he would have a special gift for me on valentine's day, but valentines day came and went without the proposal. I'm so confused, this is putting such a strain on our relationship and making me unhappy with him. I don't know what to do. Isn't seven years enough time for a man to know if he wants marriage or not? Am I unrealistic to expect this of him?

    • Seven years is definitely enough time for a man to know if he wants marriage or not, Danielle, and no, you are not being unrealistic. What it does sound like, though, is that you are both at different places in your lives and not on the same page when it comes to a marriage proposal and commitment. Yes, when you are living together and share a dog and live your life as a married couple, some people find this so similar to what a marriage looks like that they cannot understand why they need to change anything. But that is some people, and we are talking about you here. You want to get married; you want the whole package and that is what a committed relationship leads to for you. It doesn't sound like this is what it leads to for him, or at least not right now. And it doesn't sound like there is any specific time frame in his mind if he's honest with himself; and he doesn't like to feel pressured into making this type of commitment, which of course you don't want to initiate as an ultimatum so that you make something happen that isn't coming from him.

      So like so many of these things, Danielle, it comes down to you and what you can live with. You are not going to change him, so this becomes about you making a decision on what a marriage proposal and a marriage commitment are worth to you vs. what he is worth to you. Of course it's putting a strain on your relationship; it's because this is a point of conflict between the two of you. So it is up to you to figure out if it this is a deal-breaker for you. Do you need this commitment from him in order to continue being in this relationship with him? Can you continue to accept this relationship the way it is, on his terms in this area, if this is all he is capable of giving you right now, and for who knows how long? He may consider you both still young and not feel the need to actually get married until you're ready to have children, or he may have some issues around a marriage commitment that he is still working out for himself.

      He clearly knows how you feel, so I wouldn't talk to him anymore about this, I would just make your decision and then accept it and move on. Either decide he is the one for you and accept that you have a wonderful relationship with someone who isn't ready for marriage yet, and enjoy the reality of that relationship, or decide that you can't live with him without the marriage commitment and move on to find someone who is on the same page as you. It's never an easy decision to make, but living like you are right now, just hoping and waiting tomorrow or the next holiday will be the day he finally proposes, is no way to live. Trust your heart, and you will know what to do here. You don't have to settle either way, Danielle; it's about accepting the reality of what is and going from there.

  82. Hello, thx for the article. I have a question, hoping to get the answer! well I met this guy 7 mounts ego wile I was on a trip. we hang out and I felt there is something going on, with the moves he made and looks I felt that there is something!!! but we never talked about our feelings, non of us! at the second meeting of us I told him that I will move to there for living! so I made clear that we will be not able to see each other for 1 year! and he's response was good! I mean he felt relived when he heard that I will be living at the same county after one year! when I left there we only talked through chat couple of times, then I send a gift, a necklace, and send it for him. since then he is wearing that everyday. I catch that as a good point! but it's been a wile that I got no news from him! and I feel like he dose not what to be connected with me, don't know why! there is so much I wanna tell you but I'm afraid now, cuz I will be visiting him next mount, he doesn't know, and I'm so afraid what would be out meeting like... (I have to mention that his family are in the middle of war in Syria and being far away from his family really hurts him! so I figured out the distance dose much to him and when I move there everything will fall into normal!) wanna know ur opinion! dose he care about me!? will he wait?! based on what he dose wile I was with him!

    • It's hard to tell what's going on with him, Lernik, without more specifics. Has he been contacting you regularly and then he stopped for awhile? Are you the one doing most of the pursuing, most of the contacting him? Has he ever come right out and said he was looking forward to you coming to live there in a year? Sometimes when you meet someone, especially if you are visiting from somewhere else, you can both have different interpretations of what that time meant to you. Without hearing more from him, it's hard to say if this is just a case of being apart that will change when the two of you live closer together, or if he isn't looking for the same thing you are. While those moves and looks he had with you when you were with him can mean he was interested in being with you then and in pursuing something further, they can also mean he was simply interested in being with you while you were there and not necessarily for anything long term. He may not even know himself.

      There's really no way to know for sure what's going on without spending time with him or communicating directly with him about both of your expectations. You didn't say why he doesn't know you're visiting him next month, but if you want to find out where he's at and what he's thinking and feeling about you, you may want to let him know you're coming to see how he responds. That should give you more of an idea of where he's coming from based on his response. Whatever he does or doesn't feel about you, relationships take time, so try to be patient with both yourself and him to see where this may lead. A great relationship always takes time and a willingness from both parties to make it happen; and you deserve nothing less than that!

      • thank you so much for your answer. actually this is the firs time I wrote on website and got an great, helpful answer. thx. well I would love to write more specific things for you to make things more clear! I have a girlfriend there who is close to me like a sister, we know each other for a very long time, I first saw him when I was out waiting for my girlfriend to show up, and he was with her. first I thought that she found a boyfriend! but then when we separated our ways she told me that he is just a very close friend nothing more! cuz he is younger. next night we hang out with they group of friend, at the end of day he proposed to go to swim pool next morning, I agreed and one of my close friend who was also visiting there at the same time agreed and also one of his friends! so we went to swim pool next morning and had a great time there, that was the forst time we actually talked with each other. I found out that he is a kind of person who dose not talk too much about what he wants or like....not talkative at all! when we sad goodbye he hugged me and the day after we went out with friend, went to a bar and he set next to me even one of the other guys asked him to change his seat to be more comfy but he didn't, and I felt that he wanted to always have a connection, physically, with me, like he linked his elbow to mine on the desk or his foot to mine!!! and another 2 or 3 days that we went out then one night we were out on there usual bar when he asked to go out! and I said okay, we went out and set next to each other and then he asked if its cold and I would like him to hug me and I said yes, and I set there in his arms for like one hour..and even when we were walking to reach the taxis he still held me. we didn't talked that day about us at all. and another day I was out at the morning and messaged him, asked if he would like to come out, but he said that he had things to do (well his washing machine was out of order and he had to wash the clothes all by himself! :D ) then after a wile I meet one of my friends also visitor there and we went to our usual restaurant which has two floor, we set at the second floor, for hours then got out for a walk and when we got back he was there with his boyfriend, I went to up stares without even looking around then he came up stares! I really wasn't expecting him to show up! he was acting like we are in a relationship for a wile! or like we know each other for a long time! well I went down and then the hole group of friends show up and we changed out table and he didn't make to seat next to me, I got really upset cuz it was his fault! he was upset too, he tried to get to me, one boy was between us and I asked him a question about cellphone and he jumped in asking the guy what are you talking about? what's going on!? and when we went to bus station he stud right net to me, so close, like he was trying to say sorry that I didn't make to seat next to you!!! well all in all he was protective. when a buy was talking to me! or what ever was happening that he wasn't aware of at the moment he was just like crazy people, jumping in the middle and asking hey, whats going on? what are you doing?!?! And I have to add this that one time after the night he hugged me I took his hand wile we were walking, he seemed surprised but he liked it and I could see that he couldn't even control his smile. when I think of all these I can't even think that there is nothing !!!
        hope this can make you see the image more clearly dear. I do really care too much about him and I'm trying to be patient but that's what I'm not good at! about not telling him about my visit now, I just like to surprise people who I care about, don't know why!!!, but If you think that I should let him know, that this would help me more I will. Again thank you so much for ur responses...

        • I know exactly what you mean about enjoying surprising people, Lernik. My concern is only that, while everything you describe when you were together on your vacation certainly sounds like he was very interested in you, sometimes people's feelings can change from being together on a single visit to a more regular meeting. Having gone through this myself on more than one occasion, and finding out that an initial interest didn't translate into more than that when I returned for more of the same, I simply tend to have my "make sure you know where he stands before you give too much of yourself away" hat on these days. So it's the time between that initial visit and since you've been back away from him and what your communication has been like since your first meetings that would create a more accurate picture for me of what he's feeling and where he's at. So for me, if I were in your shoes, I would simply need to know more back from him in that more recent space of being away from him, before I would feel confident on where things stand and how I would be received surprising him now. Does that makes sense? That initial high of meeting someone new and the excitement associated with that is just not as clear an indicator to me of how someone feels about you permanently being close enough to be a recurring possibility in his life.

          It's always a difficult balance, Lernik, between not wanting to put a damper on things, yet also being protective of your beautiful heart and soul. Try to keep that balance yourself, between loving with the beautiful enthusiasm and excitement you speak of here, and the reality that you really haven't had a chance to get to know him that well in such a short time. I sincerely hope that both he, and the potential you feel with him is everything you want it to be - and deserve!

          • About our conversations after I left, I just can say that I wrote first, cuz the last night that I was there when he said goodbye to me I realized in one moment that this is gonna be so hard and that I would miss him but I couldn't say anything and just nuked my head and left! so when I got home I wrote him that I didn't mean to say goodbye like that, just at the moment the emotions got me! and he wrote that it's OK after that I got message from him in which he asked how am I doing, and that It has been a wile we didn't talked then thanks about the gift I sent him for his birthday and a cute picture in which he was holding the necklace in his hand and matches it with a ring he had! then every 2 or 3 weeks I just left him a note, just to make sure he is doing fine and he was responding good but then I stopped writing and wait till he would decide to write me first! then my grandmother past away and he wrote me, that he heard about and that means allot to me. then his sister went there to live with him, he was so happy but also worried cuz the sister is younger and he should take care of her too!! well as I decided not to write to him to see if he would write to me, I'm still waiting. It's been a mouth that I haven't heard from him. well I know how he is doing from my girlfriend (who I told is close with him), but he isn't messaging me..
            As you sad it's better to see his response when he would know about my visit than to surprise him! but I think now is a bit soon, I will tell him 2 weeks before. is that Ok or I should let him know now!?!? I jut don't wanna mess up things this time....
            Thank you so much for responding and helping me.

            • If you haven't heard from him in a month, Lernik, then I would ask yourself what that means to you. Why he isn't messaging you and why you want to visit him if he isn't initiating contact with you. I know that I would want to let him know I was planning to visit him if I were you, because I would want to gauge his response to know he was on the same page as me.

              I don't think it matters when you contact him to let him know, it's more about whether you want to put your time and energy into someone who isn't messaging you or initiating something with someone who may not be where you're at in thinking about you the way you are about him. Again, this is about you and what you are looking for from him and from this visit with him, but I know I would want to make sure we were both on the same page before risking having my heart broken by someone who simply isn't looking for the same thing as me. It sounds like you really want this to be something, Lernik, but my concern is that by his silence, he just isn't thinking about you the way you are about him.

          • well as long as I have family relatives there so I'm visiting there with my family but of course the important part for me is to once for all make sure where he is standing and what he is thinking about me and sure my family doesn't know about all these! after all I'm ready for worst! you'r right, I really what this to work out but If It's not going to then there must be a reason...
            So, it's more like a family vacation, visiting family members and If I'm going to inform him that I would be visiting It wouldn't be for seeing him!! just a family trip in which we can also meet! and I can figure out whats going on...

            • I'm glad he's not your only reason for going, Lernik; that will keep everything in a better perspective having something else to focus on as well. It always helps to be prepared for whatever the reality is, and it sounds like you are getting that, too.

              I wish you a wonderful time, Lernik, with him if he's on the same page, your family and with whatever other vacation adventures that are meant to be. You truly deserve the best of everything life and love have to offer you and your enthusiasm is such a beautiful thing; the right guy for you will adore that side of you!

          • Thank you lots for listening to my story and helping me out with your great opinions. I really enjoy talking with you about the emotional part of life, I would like to be in touch with you in some privet way and tell you what would happen later!!! if you don't mind....?! :)

            • I'd be honored to hear from you, Lernik; feel free to send me a personal email through the "contact me" section. Of course I don't mind :-)

  83. I met this guy 4 mos. ago, he's legally separated with kids, divorce on going. He has them most of the time, 2 teenagers and the youngest has some behavioral issues that requires treatment. He asked me to b his girlfriend but would hardly see each other because of our kids. At first I was in doubt why he couldn't spend time with me, I asked him, he said he has a lot of things going on at home and i know hes struggling with money too. but wouldn't really talk about it. He wanted to do everything by himself even if I offer my help. Then I jst accepted he has a lot on his plate and that his kids are his priority. But everytime he would get close with me, he'd tell me to take things slow, he needs space. He would pull away everytime. Then broke it off. I know he cant commit because of what hes going through. I think he was a good man so I decided to stay in touch with him. He said he wanted to remain friends. We would still see each other but no commitment. Even if he doesn't admit it, I know his struggling with his divorce and kids. It's hard for me to leave since I've learned to love him even he's told me he can do it alone, he doesn't need sum body and that he can't commit. Is it stupid for me to stay and wait til he's ready, but I don't want to leave him seeing him stressing about everything. I wanted to b there for him, give him emotional support. But I'm the one jst hurting. I would txt him everyday to show him I care, that I can b faithful despite of since he was cheated on by his ex wife and became bitter about women. Should I continue with it or jst let it go?

    • Of course you're the one who's hurting, Jane; it's hard for even the most caring and compassionate of us to be in such a one-sided relationship as you describe. I hear how much you care about him, Jane, but he is clearly letting you know where he stands by both his words and his actions. He can do this alone, he doesn't need anyone and he can't commit. I don't hear anything in there that says he wants to pursue a relationship with you and see where it leads, or that he has any time or space in his life for a relationship with anyone right now-including you. Whatever he's going through is his stuff, Jane; and while it's a beautiful thing that you are so caring and understanding with him, you deserve to be with someone who gives as much to you as you do to him. Save those beautiful qualities for someone who truly deserves them. You don't have anything to prove to him. You, my beautiful friend, deserve so much more than this!

  84. It is comforting to stumble upon an article like this. As well as read comments like the one's above, to realize I am not alone in my situation. Because being with a man, loving a man who won't commit to you, feels lonely.
    I have been with a man for nearly a year and a half. He was divorced for nearly a year before we met. We built a friendship, then began dating. He wanted to take things slow. He was clear he was unsure if he was ready. I understood. We became best friends. Spent so much time together, had a wonderful time together. But he continued to hold back, have reservations, withhold. Say he thought he wasn't ready, say he may need to date others.
    While I continued to fall in love. His actions, the time he spent with me, were different than his words. I believed he cared, that he was "about to turn a corner!" How could this connection we have be for nothing!
    He admitted we had something special... but that he wasn't feeling "pushed" to commit. So heartbreaking.
    I have tried to walk away. I have tried to tell him I can't be his friend, that I care too much to just be a friend... but we always fall back into communication. He comes to me about everything, comfort, business, the everyday.
    I no longer know what to do. I have hope that when he is ready for a commitment, that he will want it with me. But I worry he will date someone else, and she will have the opportunity that he never gave US, due to TIMING.
    Because timing is everything.
    So what to do? Do I remove myself from his life entirely... and see if he realizes my absence?
    I feel all consumed by this... I feel like men can just go on with their lives, focus on fun and not think about things, and we women spin things in our minds over and over... where is that crystal ball!

  85. Laura Williams says:

    Hi Jane,

    My boyfriend and I are both 27, we have been together for 1 1/2 years. I have a 7 year old son from a previous relationship. We have always had quite an intense 'loved up' relationship and we call each other soul mates and tell each other we're meant to be/ this is forever etc...all those sickly lovey things. It has always been that way even from the start. However...even though we are like that with each other he tells me that he can't commit to me right now. Our definition of 'commit' is marriage...a proposal - he says he just can't do that right now, but that it doesn't mean he never will. He's quite vague about whether he definitely will ever do it though. He says things like, "I want to be with you until the day I die, but I just cant promise you a proposal at the moment, but that doesn't mean to say I never will"...his actions are quite positive...he lives a very busy life with a full on job with lots of travelling, yet he always makes time for me - texts me constantly, calls me, sees me as much as he can when he had time off, showers me with gifts. Though contradictory to that he has never met my family or friends, despite opportunities...he has only met my son and I have to admit he is very good with him and makes a real effort there. But the family/friends thing does bug me and sets alarm bells ringing.
    What do you think? I have spoken to him about this a lot and quite frankly I'm tired of talking about it :( and I know he definitely is as well.
    My gut instinct tells me that we're not meant to be because we want different things right now, we're not on the same page. And I know there wil be someone out there who wants what I want, right now and who im perhaps better matched with...i know that...
    BUT on the other hand that person 'won't' be him :( . And I also feel as though we haven't been together for very long yet and I haven't given the relationship enough of a chance to grow? Should I wait longer and see what happens? What is a sensible time frame to wait?

    Laura x

    • It's no small thing to be able to think about these things in a practical way like you obviously have here, Laura, so give yourself credit for the thought processes you've gone through here and the way you're able to see your boyfriend and this relationship so objectively. That in itself is huge to be able to do when you're in the thick of a relationship like this that you so want to be the real thing with a full commitment. And yet you have an honest guy who is at least being honest with you and not leading you on about where he is at. Your gut instinct is probably correct here, however, it is one thing to get understand this on a head level, and another thing to accept this with your heart, and it sounds like that's where you're at. Not an easy place to be, I understand all too well.

      So if you also feel like you haven't given this enough time to grow, then listen to that part of you as well. We all have a different definition of what seems like enough time to know whether someone is going to commit to you. I have always personally found that a year is a good time frame to know how you feel about someone and visa versa, because by then you will have gone through the different seasons of that year and had a chance to really get to know them in all different situations. But we're all different, and you have to make a decision that is one you can live with.

      If everything is wonderful with the exception of a commitment in the form of a marriage proposal, then you have to decide what that is worth to you. What being with him versus not being with him is worth to you. And then decide. I don't get the feeling from you or from how you describe him that he is a lost cause, and it sounds like you have a very clear picture of where you begin and he ends, so I'm not as concerned about you being with him as I otherwise might be, but at the same time, if it's a full commitment you're looking for now from him, you have to come to terms that he may not be able to give you this anytime soon.

  86. I’m 40 years old. You’d think I would have figured relationships out by now. If anything, I would think that I could have written this article with all the men who have come and gone over the years! But alas, I needed this article to guide me in the right direction.

    I met this guy a few years ago although it was only a business relationship. He was the owner of a car repair shop and every 3,000 miles when I’d bring my car in we would chat and flirt a little. He made my heart race every time I would see him and I would always daydream like a teenage girl about him asking me out on a date. And six months ago he did just that. Jane, I was beyond thrilled!! Ever since then we have been a part of each other’s lives. I would spend time with him and his teenage son, he has met my friends, he drove 6 hours one way to my home state to surprise me on Christmas Eve, he would do home improvement projects for me, he is smart, sexy and charismatic. We are best friends and very well matched. He made me laugh like no other. The relationship between us, however, started out as a FWB situation because both of us had just gotten out of serious relationships. I would never have accepted a date so soon had it been anyone else but I had waited years for this opportunity. After a few months together I would look at him sleeping next me and it still felt so surreal. I couldn’t believe that after all those years daydreaming about him he was actually laying next to me! Our feelings grew deeper for each other after Christmas. We told each other we loved each other. Just once. But lately something has been amiss and it all came to a head on Valentine’s Day. He bought me a bottle of my favorite but very expensive liquor, which was very nice, but it was the card that did me in. On the front it said “Friends Don’t Let Friends Spend Valentine’s Day Alone” and inside it was signed, “From, …”. My heart dropped. I was very disappointed as you can imagine. I was expecting a little more from him as we had grown so close. I was confused. Although his actions tell me he wants to be with me I don’t get the verbal affirmations I need from him. I excused that part away because I knew what a nightmare it was for him growing up and how verbal expressions did not run rampant in his household. But I reached my breaking point when I received that card.

    A few nights ago he came over and I told him that although I knew it was difficult for him to express himself, it is what I needed every now and then to feel special. Whether it be verbal, written or even through a song. It all just fell on deaf ears. He had the opportunity then to tell me how he felt and where he thought this relationship was headed (as I asked about that too) and he remained silent. All he was able to say was that he missed me while he was gone and that he was “very happy” with me. Since then I started reading articles on the internet and yours was the first to really resonate with me.

    For the last couple months I did play that waiting game. Waiting for him to come around and I was scared that I would pull the trigger too soon. And I knew that if I ended it with him he would not try and change my mind (he’s too prideful) or step up to the plate (outside his comfort zone). So I kept hanging on because I knew being without him would be painful. But after reading your article I know that it would be more painful to hang on to someone who can’t – or won’t - give me what I need. So THANK YOU to you and to your other readers who shared their heartbreaking stories. I know I deserve to be with someone who finds me special enough to step outside of their comfort zone.

    I just can’t believe that after years of wanting to know this man on a more personal level and then finally getting close to him that this is how it ends. I need to be thankful that I figured this out now, with your help, then many more months later.

    *hugs to all going through this*

    • Thanks for sharing your story here, Shannon, and for your support for everyone else going through something similar. I so hear you and what you went through with this guy, and I especially relate to your reaction when you received that card from him, Shannon, as I had a similiar experience when for Christmas one year, I received a book on dream interpretation (because I was having such strange dreams because I was with him, I'm sure!) with a humorous card along those same friendship lines from someone who I thought I was in a promising, romantic relationship with! It's that reality check that brings us that undeniably real picture of what we really have with someone that we can no longer deny.

      The true sign of whether someone is on the same page as you in a relationship, is if you know without a doubt that he would not try and change your mind or step up to the plate if you ended it. For whatever reasons. It never matters why; just that fact that someone can let you go without any attempt or effort on his part is always confirmation that you did the right thing. Even when it's so not what you want and you fight it until you can no longer deny that you are not on the same page and this isn't going the way you want it. Then it becomes a matter of what he and the relationship is worth to you, and if you are willing to have the relationship with him on his terms if that's what it takes to have him in your life. Everyone is different and has a different response and threshold for what they are and aren't willing to put up with in the name of what they call love.

      And so here you are, and of course it's so sad that it can end like this, and yet, it does, because it always takes two people, both on the same page, willing to make it work because they both want the same thing. And yet so many of us take so long, and go through so much heartbreak, before we finally understand this truth. You are not alone, Shannon; and I hope you're not being hard on yourself for taking until now to figure this out. Some of us take a long time to get there, myself included. It's never about beating ourselves up, but about finally seeing the light and remembering that it's always a journey, and never quite the way we had pictured it.

  87. Hi
    Your article really touched me and made me cry it felt like someone was talking to me directly telling me to walk away. I have a problem that would really like to hear your thoughts. I have this guy in my life we were friends initially and for about a year now we have been almost unofficially dating (ie. We talk every night, everyone thinks we are together, we've both introduced each other to our friends etc). Because he never committed (even though I know he doesn't see anyone else and has no intention to) it got to a point where I couldn't take the uncertainty in our relationship anymore even though everything else was great and he treated me so well. So I insisted on moving on and breaking it off unless he gave me some certainty. Initially he begged me to stay and give him more time but eventually he agreed to let me go

    Only problem was that shortly after I tried to be without him and it was so painful and the time apart and knowing it was the end made me realize how much I had fallen in love with him. Now I begged him back and he thinks it's not a good idea because he feels at this stage things won't work out between us and dont want to waste my time anymore. Although he keeps saying hes not sure if it will work out for the future but just not right now. Something that bothers him is the fact that I've had sex before with my ex and he's Christian so it's something he cant get over (although we have also done it) and he's family not supporting a non Christian gf. At this stage I'm so in love with him I would even convert for him not because hes suggested it but because I want to myself.

    I don't know what to do. He wants me to mOve on and sometimes he intentionally does not act as loving as before to push me away because he feels bAsed on my ultimatum that it's the best for me. But he still calls me everynighy and cares about me eg. Whether I've gotten home ok after a night out with my friends. And sometimes he still flirts
    With me. It's so hard for me to move on and bc he still treats me like this and has told me he's not looking for some other girl right now its so hard for me to let him go
    What should I do?? Will he ever get over my past or am I wasting my time. He sometimes tells me
    To have faith in god and that god had a plan for us all and if we're meant to be together things will happen but I find I can't be so passive myself and let things so bad and just let fate decide

    • If he cannot get over your past, this is his issue, Confused, and is really unfair to you, because we all have our less than perfect pasts. This also sounds very hypocritical to me that he would judge you and hold against you the same behavior (having sex), that he has enjoyed with you! It really sounds like he is punishing you for simply being the imperfect humans we all are. It sounds like you may be judging yourself pretty hard, too. His answer to you, to just wait and have faith in God, sounds like he is content to take a passive stance on your relationship, so you need to look at all of this together and decide what he is worth to you.

      I do get the picture from the way you describe the whole situation, that you are on the begging end here, and he is quite enjoying his position of power holding all the cards over you, so to speak. I'm wondering if you missed him so much when you insisted on moving on and broke things off, or if you were missing being with someone. Sometimes it's easy for us to confuse the two, especially when we're feeling like we made a big mistake and let fear take over. Because for you to insist like you say you did, and you went through breaking things off with him, tells me that there must have been enough there that wasn't working for you and wasn't what you felt in your heart was truly right for you in being with him, for you to follow through like you did.

      Decide what you can and can't live with, and go from there. I would personally try to get as much space from him as possible, and focus on your own life and meeting other people and doing other things that you enjoy and make you feel alive and powerful and filled up without so much focus on him and what's going on with him. You deserve someone who wants to be with you, all of you, the part of you that isn't perfect and makes mistakes. If he can't accept you on these terms, and if he can't get past your imperfect humanness, ask yourself why you want to be with someone like this in the first place. It sounds like his true colors have come through and while it may be hard to move on, a life with someone who can't accept every part of you, not just the perfect parts, is never a recipe for a healthy long-term relationship.

  88. Unsure of what to do. says:

    First of al thank you for your article - it really gave me a new perspective. Secondly my story: I met this guy about five months ago and there was this instant connection and he gave me his number after we had chatted and hung out for a couple of hours. I was living in a different area at the time but we started messaging a lot and calling each other for about a month just talking about our interests and our lives and just being friendly. After a month I already had plans to move to where he was living so we then met up there was still an amazing spark so we started dating. Overall we had an amazing relationship; I was a little more guarded at first and he was the more open forward one about wanting a relationship. Gradually I let my guard down and we really had such fun with whatever we did; I honestly think we were both smiling 24/7 when we were together, we talked constantly, had lots in common, shared time with friends as well and really truly enjoyed each others company while keeping a good balance in life. I went on holidays for three weeks just a couple of months ago and each day he would tell me how much he missed me and I would do the same and when I came back things were fantastic; we just appreciated each others time even more. Then suddenly out of the blue a month ago he said that he couldn't do this and didn't see a future with me. I asked if I'd done anything wrong and he said 'No you're amazing I just feel sometimes you need to be better cared for'. All of our mutual friends were so shocked by him making this decision and he really doesn't seem happy with his decision from what I've heard. I am from Australia (currently living in Canada) and he's from Canada so I'm not sure if he got worried it would be difficult in the future. Also we have opposite schedules (he works nights, I work days) but there's never been an issue with this and we make it work. I know a couple of months ago he told one of our mutual friends that he was worried about the fact that I was from Australia and he might be holding me back, but I love where I live and he knows that. Plus he had even mentioned a week before he broke up with me that he'd like to visit Australia but I'd never pressured him or discussed whether I was staying or going home etc. I know he hasn't cheated on me or anything like that as we had a very honest relationship and I had absolutely no reason to doubt him. Like I said it's now been a month since we've broken up and we've caught up twice since then in the last couple weeks after I followed the whole 'No Contact' rule etc and he suggested the catch ups. Both catch ups we were both laughing and having so much fun but it's hard because I still have strong feelings for him and it seems like he does too by how he was acting. Last night after we had dinner with a friend he messaged me and said he thought we both needed some more time because he said he has so much fun when he's with me but it's not helping him move on. To me it seems like he wants to be with me but is just scared of the future but I'm not sure if this is a situation like your article says where I just have to let it go? He seemed committed to the relationship at first (even more than I did) so I'm surprised it changed so suddenly! I'd love your feedback - your article and other people's feedback and your comments have really helped already so thank you so much - it's really nice to know there's other people in similarly confused boats!

    • It is so hard to make sense of this when it just doesn't make any sense. And it truly doesn't. But that's the point. Clearly he has an issue; there is something he just isn't comfortable with or some fear or trigger that he may not even consciously be aware of that is driving his behavior. And that is the point here. This isn't anything you can fix, or change. It has to come from him. If he were the one for you, none of these trivial things would matter, no matter how big of a deal they seem to him. Not the opposite schedules, not the Australia/Canada issue, not that you might need to be "better cared for", not any of those things or any others. Because if someone wants something to work, if a man truly wants a relationship and a woman to work out, none of these things would be deal breakers.The only reason he would be willing to risk losing what you have together, and giving up the relationship you've described here, is if this is his issue and not something he is willing to work on. By putting it on you, and making it about you, it absolves him of taking full responsibility for his decision.

      I know this isn't easy to hear or accept; when you're in it personally it never is, but know that you've done all you can here; as much as it sounds like you have him figured out and what's going on, it has to come from him if this is going to work. No matter how crazy it seems that you just can't point these realities out to him and get back where you left off, the reality is, it takes two people on the same page, committed to each other and making a relationship work, to make it happen. And that, my beautiful friend, is what you deserve. Nothing less than that. So yes, it doesn't sound like you have many options here besides letting him go and move on, since that's what he's requested, but know that there's always a reason why a relationship doesn't work out, no matter how perfect it seems. If he isn't there, for whatever reason, rest assured then it's not as perfect as it seems, and there is a problem that has nothing to do with you.

      • Unsure of what to do. says:

        Thank you so much for your advice on this. Even just reading this now has made me feel a lot better about this situation and make a little more sense of it all! I really appreciate how you evaluated all areas of the situation - it meant a lot!

  89. This article is definitely what I needed at this time. I just recently ended a "relationship" with a guy I had been talking to you for 4 months. When I met him, it was like the gates of heaven opened. He was everything I looked for in not only a boyfriend, but in a husband as well. In a lot of ways, he was just like me! Three weeks after I met him, he made it clear to me that he wasn't looking for a relationship and I shared that I was. He insisted we remain friends, but not without me showing my dismay towards it. Regardless, we hit it off at the beginning speaking to each other non-stop everyday. This actually went on for about 2 months. Then month 3 hit and everything went downhill from there. He became busier than usual and couldn't keep up with consistent communication like before. I finally broke down and asked if we could talk in person to discuss the state of our relationship. I wanted to make sure I wasn't making permanent decisions based solely on my emotions. He asked me what my issue was through a text message (ugh I know), and I stated I was confused about where the relationship was heading. Instead of responding, he chose to ignore me. That was the final straw! His non-response was all I needed to know.Initially I was so afraid to let go! I didn't want to lose such a great guy. It really hurts because I liked him a lot. I wanted it to work out so badly. But the truth of the matter was, he wasn't the one for me right now. I let him get away with a lot of things I normally wouldn't during those last two months. Now that I have put my foot down, I hope he realizes that I'm not going to lower my standards just to make him feel comfortable. If he wants a woman like me, he needs to get it together or get left behind! I'm still disappointed, but seeing that so many other ladies are going through this same situation makes me feel a lot better about my decision. Thank you for this article!

    • I'm so glad this resonated with you at just the right time, Delia. It's never easy to let go of a relationship or a man that you so want to work out, but it's the healthiest and most loving thing you can do for yourself when he's just not there, not on the same page as you, no matter how much you want to believe in his potential! Be so proud of yourself that you were that strong to see this and stand up for yourself and what you deserve - that took such courage and strength!

  90. Hi,

    I was reading your article and I needed some advice. I thought it was a good article with some solid, yet compassionate advice, so here goes:) I met a guy about 3 months ago. We had been slowly getting to know each other and the last month or so we were getting closer emotionally. He always initiates phone calls (that usually last up to hours), text messages and us getting together to hang out. We have a lot in common, make each other laugh, etc. Well, less than a month ago, he asked if I wanted to hang out and I said that I was going to stay home, read my book and just relax. I called him a couple days later to talk and he seemed distant, a bit moody and made comments about how it was never an issue for him to drive around town visiting friends even if was far away (he lives about 45 min. away from me), and asked me to hang out again that day and that I could "bring my book and read" at his place. I declined politely, and then he ended up opening up about how when he meets a girl and things can be going so well and she "just changes" on him, it scares him. He started going on that he's not ready for a relationship and that is ex ( 7 year relationship) dumped him about 9-10 months ago, and that it came as a big shocker to him.

    Since then, he still initiates most contact, wants to hang out, etc, but seems a bit more distant to me.

    I don't know if I'm right, but it really seemed like things were going well between us and that we were heading for something more serious, but he got really "butt hurt" because in his eyes I rather "read my book" than hang out with him and that because he has been hurt before, retreated and got really gun shy. It seems like, because he doesn't want to get hurt, he just changed the whole dynamics of our relationship from "getting to know each other" on a dating level to "getting to know my new friend."

    The thing is, he's a really great guy, better than any guy I've been with (I'm sure you've heard that before!) As much as I like him, I don't want to get hurt either and I won't "hang on" forever as great as he is. Do you think I should talk to him about it? Should I wait seeing as he just opened up about this recently? If I "put my foot down" and give myself a time limit, should we not hang out any longer?

    I'd really love some advice!! Thank you.

    • That's a tough one, Emily; because you behaved in such a healthy way, choosing you when you really wanted to just read your book and stay in, instead of giving into being pressured by him to hang out. So healthy on your part! Because that's exactly how you want to be while you're getting to know someone; keeping your life, keeping the focus on you, and not going out of your way to be with someone just because they want you to.

      So it strikes me as a red flag that he would respond the way he has with you. Certainly, your behavior and choice to have a life of your own apart from him as well, would be seen as a desirable quality for almost every healthy man I can think of, so I'm concerned that he may have some issues that you aren't aware of, and he may not be aware of them himself. I understand what you're saying about him being hurt before, and that might make him gun shy, but honestly, we've all been hurt before, and if anything, that would typically make someone glad to take it slow and get to know each other before rushing into anything or having expectations of you like this, that you would want to drop everything to be with him. If that's how what he expects of someone who's interested in him, that would be another red flag. He sounds almost a little angry, or maybe it's a little passive aggressiveness I'm picking up on from your description; like he's "punishing" you for not dropping everything to be with him when he wants you to. But that's so not healthy, and that's why you are sounding a whole lot healthier than he is.

      I'm just curious what it is you really see in him, what makes him a great guy, and as you say, better than any guy you're been with? I don't think there's a whole lot more for you to say about this to him since he's clearly let you know what his expectation is around what happened, and you didn't do anything strange or uncalled for. You had a very healthy response to a new relationship where you're getting to know each other better!

      I wouldn't worry about either waiting or putting your foot down; I would just dig a little deeper to see what you're looking for from him and why, and then if you want to see where this might go, I would just keep being yourself, getting together if you want to, but choosing to do your own thing if that's what you feel like, and I have a feeling this will work itself out; that you'll know soon enough if he is on the same page as you, and whether or not this is a relationship and a guy you want to pursue.

  91. Hi jane..I really cried reading your article..thinking of the man imwith with all the details I read here.I'm in this situation if he's into me, stop waiting and wasting my time and just move on and let him go,,I'm currenty dating onlinewith a man for almost three years now ,we talked everyday but don't know if he loves me coz I haven't heard it from him.,evrytimes I asked hell get mad and would tell me that he is only like that.not showy and if he wouldn't love me he will notbe around and spent dollars to visit me in my country..I love him and I tell that to him always and didntg get an answer from him..I really wished and hope that one day I wouldhear those words from him.I told him about this and told memaybe soon if your attitude is right already..coz since then his prob is my attitude like being dramatic,doing and telling things he don't like..he's blunt about this...now I'm thinking if I'm gonna keep waiting to hear those words or not or will find someone else who would loveme and accepts whtever flaws ihave..jus thinking that majke me feel so much pain..I realyy don't know if what we are ,wht s our status..were not even gf or bf.regarding hiding things when visited me he even hide his phone and passport that I can't even see. It...he said he'serivate an that he had a bad experienced when he's a child with his parents.. he said they would try to search things to him thus evrytime someone will do to him he reacted to that easily,not comfortable..which I'm thinking maybe he's hding something or hevisited othr girl here in our county. Before he visited me coz for 2 weeks I coudnt call him and thst he's goin to texas and that no signals there for verizon or the telco made a mistake regarding when to ut is incimng calls coz its cut already before hevisted and was only surprised when he got here nd got an email from him ..I got suspicious coz he can receive email and send email but can't get calls or do calls,,same thing when hes n texas ,thus I wanna see his passport but he won't allowme nd he even don't know what time he came frm thr states..I had h flingtat he's in our place already days before he met me..ms jqne plshelp me if I'm gonna stay and wait for him to say those words or leave..thank you

    • Oh Che, I just want to give you a big hug and set the record straight here. You never ever need to ask someone who's worthy of you if they love you. Not ever. If you have to ask that, you're not in the right relationship, not on the same page and you're certainly not being treated the way you deserve to be! And as for accepting whatever flaws you have, my beautiful friend, we all have our flaws. Our imperfections, our shortcomings. But these are not unloveable, awful parts of ourselves that we would want to rid ourselves of. These are the parts of us that make each of us our beautiful unique selves, and each one of these so-called flaws has another side, too, that can be seen as positive thing if we choose to see ourselves this way. Someone who loves you for you will love you because of all of these things that make you who you are - and exactly what he is looking for. Read the post I wrote about how to attract the right guys and avoid the wrong ones where I talk specifically about those imperfections each of us have. Anytime someone has rigid rules about when you can or can't contact them, this is another red flag because someone who is interested in you should be happy to hear from you! And anytime you're feeling the need to check up on them to see if they're telling you the truth is usually a sign that you know in your heart something isn't right, and you should listen to that part of you and explore it further to see if you're being treated the way you deserve to be. Very few of us had perfect childhoods, Che, and to excuse his behavior because of the way he was treated as a child doesn't get to the root of the behavior; that you wouldn't be asking to see his passport or phone in the first place if you were in a relationship that was based on mutual trust.

      So the question becomes what to do with all of this, because it really is your decision and only you know what being with this man is worth to you. No matter how anyone else sees your situation, you are the one who has to live with yourself and your decision. It doesn't sound to me like hearing those words from him would carry any weight, Che, even if he did say them, because his actions are saying the opposite of what love is all about. But don't make your decision to stay and wait or leave because of anything I say or anyone else says. Take a close and honest look at yourself, and see all that you are and all that you have to offer someone who proves himself to be deserving of you. See the beauty within yourself, that loving, giving, caring beautiful woman that you are who never deserves to be on the begging end of any relationship, waiting for someone to decide if he'll tell you he loves you. Choose you before any man, Che, and know that you show him how to treat you by how you allow him to treat you. You deserve nothing less than someone who loves you for you, who tells you this without you ever having to ask him because he feels this for you, and who never makes you feel bad for wanting all the things a loving relationship based on mutual trust entails. You, my beautiful friend, deserve nothing less than this!

  92. Pandora says:

    Hi Jane

    Your article was really helpful. I've been in a loving, romantic and passionate relationship for almost 6 years. We are each other's best friend and I thought I had met my Prince! For the last 18 months I have been wondering where we are headed and to this today my boyfriend is unable to share with me what he would like to see happen in the future. He now realises that things are serious as we have recently given each other space to reflect on the relationship. I've always been honest and told him I want to be married, to have children and be successful in my career. I am so confused as he is so committed to me and we have a great relationship but I don't why he is struggling so much to commit. I am now 30 and beginning to wonder what I should do as I don't know if I can wait any longer. As time goes on, I feel I can be rational and prepare for breaking up with him as he is clearly not giving me enough to trust him on.. What do you think I should do?

    • It really comes down to what you can and can't live with, Pandora, and what he and this relationship is worth to you vs. the need to get married and start a family. You don't have to know why he won't commit; there are so many possible reasons that have nothing to do with you. If he's not there, on the same page as you are, the reality is that you are not going to change him. He has to be there, too, on his own. He has to want the same thing as you but it has to come from him. I wrote an earlier post about how this is your decision that you may find helpful.

  93. Hi, I really need some advice on my relationship! I'm on a working hol visa in Australia and I met a guy through work! We started texting, meeting up, having sex. He told me straight away he was jst out if a long relationship and wasn't looking for anything serious but it's been a year on I'm staying with him an his mum at the moment, met all his friends and family. We get on really well but anytime I bring up commitment he says he's not ready and to stop pressuring him. It's so weird because we are like a couple in every way except the status. Unfortunately I really want that status:( am I wasting my time with this guy? I feel like I'm just filling in time for him and it will never come to anything:( pls help!!

    • It sounds like you've answered your own question here, Sarah, when you say that the two of you are just like a couple in every way except the status. He knows this. He's quite content with the way things are, and doesn't have any motivation to change - he has everything he'd have with a commitment, but without having to make a commitment. When he told you he wasn't looking for anything serious, he meant it. And while to you a year may seem like enough time for him to be ready for a commitment, it obviously isn't to him. So believe him when he says he's not ready and asks you to stop pressuring him. That's where he's at.

      But what really matters is where you're at. It's your turn to decide what you are willing to live with and what you're not. You aren't going to change him, it has to come from him. So what is he worth to you? What is being with him and having him in your life worth to you? Is it worth being ok with the way things are and letting go of the whole commitment issue until he brings it up? Or is this a dealbreaker for you? If he's not willing to give you this, what you're asking for, what means so much to you, what does that mean to you? Is it worth finding someone else who will be ready for a commitment, even if it's not him?

      These are tough questions to answer, but they're necessary for you to dig deep and get a clearer picture of what you really want here - and to determine if you are just wasting your time, as you say. Because there is no way of knowing for sure. You may have to choose between him or a commitment, because you've been clear on what you want, and so has he. And that's the hardest part, my beautiful friend, and what makes falling in love with someone who isn't there on the same page as you, so absolutely heartbreaking. Trust your heart and your gut instinct here; if you honestly feel in your heart that you're just filling time and it will never come to anything, there's a reason you feel that way. Explore that. And remember that you deserve nothing less than someone who you don't have to chase, that you don't have to feel like you have to make love you. That's not the way real love works, and that's not what you deserve.

  94. Hi Jane!

    What a great article and reading the posts definitely made me feel a bit better. I have been with my boyfriend for almost 2 years. He is 45 and never been married, no kids and wants a family and wife. We live together and he says he wants to marry me and have kids but, we've been having this conversation for so long. I'm going to be 39 and I want a family. My heart breaks each time I get a year older because my time frame is much more aggressive than his. He owns a company and has struggled in the bead economy and his focus has been in his business. All of his friends, family, my friend and family cannot understand why he hasn't been able to commit. He always has an excuse and I feel as if he is dangling a carrot in front of me but, nothing happens. I am so confused and concerned about the whole situation.

    Thanks for your advice.

    • You have to decide, Clara. What he's worth to you. Whether you're willing to trade him for commitment, if that's what it comes down to. He knows clearly what you want from him, and for whatever number of possible reasons that wouldn't make sense even if you knew, he just isn't there right now, and who knows when he will be. Certainly he doesn't. That's why the excuses. He doesn't really know himself why, he just knows he's not there, and he can't make himself be for whatever reason. So of course your heart breaks a little more each year. Another year that you see your dreams floating by and your reality getting closer. It is heartbreaking when you're in it like you are, and my heart goes out to you going through this.

      So you decide, Clara. Make your own decision. You can't change him, but you can choose whether he's worth having in your life on his terms, the way things are now, or whether this is your dealbreaker, and it's time to move on and see what else might be out there for you. Both options are probably scary. And you wish you had a crystal ball to tell you how it will all turn out. So know this, my beautiful friend, if he is the one for you, you will know. Because when both people want the same thing and are on the same page, they make it work. When one isn't on that page, it doesn't work, or it looks like it works, but someone's miserable. You decide what you want and then trust your decision. There is no wrong or right answer here. There is just you and what means the most to you.

      • Thanks Jane for your advice and it makes absolute sense. I spoke with him last night and had a serious conversation and he said we will be engaged before summer- he doesn't have a specific date but, it will happen. As much as I'd like to believe this he has addressed concerns of marriage and his unknown fear of marriage. He is concerned that he will not be able to enjoy his first passion which is hunting. He loves it so much that he'd be away at least 60+ days a year (which I am totally fine with as I have many interests as well). He also said it would be stupid of him if I were to leave because of this situation and his lack of getting over his fear of marriage.

        A few things about him that might be part of his fear is his loss of his father at a young age and his mom being married 3 times. He says he wants to be married and have kids but, he's just afraid. He also mentioned that he wouldn't be wasting my time if it weren't going to end up in marriage. I am so torn and confused because I want to believe him and (he is a very trust worthy guy) but, again am I waiting for more disappointment?

        His mom sent me a text this morning and she has been my biggest advocate and her only dream is for him and I to get married and have a family. I'm assuming he must have called her to get some advise. I know this comes down to my decision and it sounds as if many of the ladies who have had similar issues struggle with the "did I leave to early". I believe in my heart that he means what he says but, why does it have to come down to this? I am independent, financially stable and make a great income, even tempered and most of the time happy go lucky. And I know this sounds so mundane but, I am so frightened that I won't find love like this again. I'm silly, I'm sad, I love this man and don't want to walk away. I know everyone has a different timetable and I'm typically pretty cool about things but, he's 45 never been married and wants to be? So why is this so confusing??? Thank you Jane for all of your advice.

        • Clara, I'm no psychologist ( hope Jane doesn't mind my input) but you love this man, I'm assuming he loves you too. So what if you won't get married or have children? life still goes on and you have each other. That's what's important in my opinion. So many women are out there who haven't found love well into their 30's or just don't find love at all. You said it yourself, you might not find love like that again. Maybe you should wait until the summer, it's almost here anyway. After that, I guess you could make a final decision. But I would really think about what I've got in the mean time and if you find that you can still be happy without marriage and children, then stay and enjoy each other. The decision is up to you like Jane said

        • The fact that he is being so honest with you about all this is huge, Clara, and it sounds like he is truly trying to get there. It really comes down to you. It only comes down to this if you let it come down to this. You aren't going to change him, you only have the reality of what is. It sounds like this is so confusing because it's not the way you pictured this. But it is where you both are right now. Ask yourself whether he and this relationship would be everything you want if you were married. Or if there would still be something missing. That may help you see more clearly.

          And for what it's worth, because I'm not you, but if I were, I would personally take all the pressure off and stop talking about all of this. I would just be. I would live my life, pursuing my dreams and passions and hobbies and everything I love to do, and I would see where our paths would lead. I would see what and who showed up, and where he was. And I would remember most of all to never commit to him anymore than he was committing to me. Not angrily, but matter-of-factly. And then without him and marriage being such my focus, I think I'd have my answer.

          But it has to come from you to be real. It has to be what you feel, and you would have to be able to feel that confidence, that sureness of who you are and trust in love itself to be in that place. But it begins with getting to know yourself on the deepest level, and loving every part of you, and knowing that you are going to have everything you deserve, because you know that you truly deserve nothing less than this. You'll know, Clara; you may just need to give yourself some space, too.

  95. i have been with the same guy for 3 years as of this saturday and he still wont commit we started dating at age 19 and were 22 now. i got him a job about a month ago were i used to work and he was staying with me and my family , but as soon as his brother got a job there(his 1st night was lastnight) my boyfriend desides to move home with his parents wich is an hr away and tells me i cant come because his parents wont aprove of me living with them. ive been trying to talk him in to getting a place of our own and he always says he wants to be finachaly sucure first mind u he makes a grand a month. so know he dosent see why im upset and all of this after we just talked about commitment and he said whats wrong with were were at why do we need to change anything

    • It sounds like he's not on the same page as you right now, Kay; and I know that's not easy to hear. He sounds content with the way things are but it sounds like you want more from him. Try to remember that you can't make anyone change or behave the way you want them to, even if you've been together 3 years. You're both still very young, and sometimes, especially for guys, it can take them a much longer time than us women, to come around to where they are emotionally ready for the type of commitment that comes so much more easily for us.

      If he isn't ready to move in together, if he wants to have some space and live with his own family right now, the best thing you can do for yourself is to accept that this is where he is at, and give him that space he is obviously needing. If this is meant to be, know that it will be, because a real relationship always takes two people who are both committed to each other and on the same page, and want to make it work regardless of circumstances.

      He isn't rejecting you, Kay, this is just about him and where he's at. Try not to take it so personally, but focus instead on filling up your own life with enough of your own interests and activities and friends and the things you enjoy so that he isn't such an all-encompassing part of your life. I know it's hard to have someone back off a little when you've been used to working together and living together under the same roof, but sometimes, it takes having some physical space for someone to come to see what it is they want. And what you really want, and deserve, is nothing less than someone who chooses to be with you because he loves you and wants to be with you on his own accord, and not because he feels pressured into it.

  96. Hi Jane, I'm back for some insight
    I met a guy 2 weeks ago (he's 29) we went on 4 dates so far. After the 3rd date, 3 days went by and I was really debating whether I should give him a text..I asked my younger brother who's 24 for help. He said to do it, because a guy shouldn't do all the work and for the first 3 dates, he initiated. So I texted, he seemed happy about it. I set up a 4th date for last sunday. I thought it was good, he made "getting together in the future" comments, which I thought was a good sign. After we parted he said he'd text. (of course these are just words) anyway 3 days go by again and nothing. I think it should be his turn. Am I supposed to just sit back and do nothing? I'm living my live and do what interests me, but I secretly wish he would. I read alot of your articles on dating, you said it's supposed to be fun and not taken too seriously, but I feel this is such a stress for me. I don't seem to be understanding the dynamics, like who texts whom? can I initiate a few times after a some days pass? So many sites say, "don't text , you'll look desperate let him chase they like that bla bla bla" especially in the beginning. But if a girl never shows any interests, and it's always him initiating that could make a guy lose interest. Thinking "why bother, she never texts" Shouldn't it be 50/50 even in the beginning? I think he likes me, but who knows really.

    • oh, Elysya, I struggled with this so much myself in my single days; what are the rules? what are the do's and don'ts? We just want to know so we can know what to do! All these things you read, all the expert advice you hear, it really comes down to two important points.

      The first is that if he is interested in getting to know you better and seeing what the two of you might have together, he will actively pursue you if you let him know you're interested in any subtle way. That means if you've given him your number, returned his calls or texts, or even given him some body language that says you're interested, he won't hesitate to keep things going if he's truly interested and the timing is right for him.

      The second point is that if the two of you are meant to be together and you are both interested in each other, it will happen regardless of anything you do or don't do. We all say or do things we regret when we're in the beginning stages of a relationship and just getting to know the other person, but the reality is that those little regrets or things that you later second-guess yourself on just aren't worth getting so worked up over. If he's the kind of guy you want to be with, he won't hold anything against you. While most guys do like to do the pursuing - it's the way they're wired - calling or texting or initiating something on your part won't change the direction the relationship was going to go in anyway. So don't beat yourself up thinking you might have ruined what might have been a relationship with your one and only - it just doesn't work that way!

      But if there's one thing that I really learned the hard way, it's that if you do choose to initiate contact with him, whether just to say hi or to suggest a date, there are many men who have no problem responding even if they're not really interested, simply because it's easier to respond than not, and they can always come up with an excuse later one. And this is why we get so confused because we can't figure out why they respond like this, only to disappear or come up with excuses the next time. So if you really want to know if someone is there on the same page as you, the easiest way to find that out is to allow yourself to be pursued and sought after, at least in the beginning until you know for sure that he's even someone you want to get to know better, someone who proves himself worthy of all that you are and all that you have to offer him and isn't going to be break your heart down the road when he suddenly realizes he's in over his head. You, my beautiful friend, deserve nothing less than that!

  97. I struggle with this so much. My boyfriend of two years told me that he just cannot commit to me. My frustration is over the past few months he kind of goes back and forth. I am not sure if things are the way they are now because he is dealing with his father's very recent death. Either way he has given me so many mixed signals. When we first started dating I just wanted a casual relationship. I eventually relented, and now that I want more he does not want more. What am I supposed to do? If I even mention the idea of seeing other men while things get figured out, he expresses how jealous he will be and it will upset, but he won't commit? What is a girl to do????!?!?!!?

    • I so hear where you're coming from, Britt. How hard it is to be with someone who won't commit to you, and yet won't give you a break when you bring up not committing to him exclusively! This back and forth behavior of stringing you along with just enough so that you hold out hope that he's almost there is so typical of these type of men who have real issues within themselves that are not yours to deal with. This really has have nothing to do with you; but it comes down to what you are willing to put up with to be with him. How much you're willing to put your life on hold while he figures out what he wants to do with you and your relationship with him. It really is your decision here, Britt; only you know what he being with him is worth to you.

      Whatever the reasons, and they are his own reasons that he has to come to terms with in order to move forward here, you can't change him - you can't make him commit. What you can do, is focus on you and living your life giving him the same level of commitment that he's giving you. You don't need his permission to do this. It's a mindset where you're still with him, but you shift the focus from him to you, even if he's not happy about it, so that whatever he does or doesn't do is his stuff and what you do, and how you choose to live your life so that you protect your own heart and soul is all yours.

      If you can live with a little more emotional and physical space from him, and replace that space with activities and people that enrich your life and make you happy, it will be easier for you to see him and the relationship more objectively. You'll be in a better position to know what you need to do, if anything, and you'll be able to see him and what he's giving you and what you're getting out of this relationship more clearly. You deserve nothing less than someone who wants to be with you and who you don't have to convince that you're worth committing to, Britt; and whether or not it's him, you'll know in time because if he wants the same thing as you do, he'll be there on your same page willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. It's just up to you to decide how much time you're willing to give him to find out.

  98. Samantha says:

    Hello. I'm 20 and I'm a university student now. I came across this post of yours and I find what you say really supportive. I don't usually do this, as in leaving comments but I guess I really need someone to talk to now. Here's the thing, my best friend and, we've actually known each other since high school and it has been 8 years now. Then few months back he told me he's falling for me. At first I didn't really trust him because he just went through a break up, and also cause I've gone through a break up and I have trust issues myself. But he was there for me, and he made me trust his feelings for me and he did a lot for me even though we weren't in a relationship. He's actually in Australia now and I'm in Canada. We're both studying and because we're so far apart, we've decided to go with the flow, as in we talk to each other every day and we'll see what happens when we graduate four years later. Then yesterday I randomly brought up the topic, asking if he ever thought of dating me for real four years later if we still have feelings for each other. And he said he never thought about it as in he doesn't know. He said he knows he's not ready for commitment and he doesn't wanna promise or even say anything and in the end it might not happen. I know he's being realistic in this, cause we are very far from each other. He said he isn't gonna date either just because he doesn't want commitment yet. I understand because he is focusing hard on his studies now and so am I. I don't want it now either but I was thinking if this goes on long term, eventually I would hope that we would be in a relationship for real, and that's normal isn't it? I don't know what I'm suppose to do. As in what's the right thing. I kinda feel sad because after all that he has done for me yet he doesn't think of being with me? As in he doesn't think far. He focuses more on what's in front. As in he cares about me and he tries to make me happy he just doesn't think of it long term. Maybe its normal for guys I guess? I don't know, he's my best friend and I do understand where he's coming from. Yet at the same time I don't know if he will want to commit at the end? I don't know if after him being honest to me, I should pull out? Or I should still continue giving it a try. I feel sad because he's my best friend and I guess I've really fallen for him at this point, after all that he's been doing for me. Maybe if he really liked me, he would think of a future? Please advice me on this. Thanks a lot Jane =) You gave me the courage to write something here.

    • I'm so glad you reached out, Samantha. It sounds like this is really weighing on you as you're trying to figure out what to do with his response. So many times, we can get so caught up in the romance of our relationships and the fantasy and our dreams and plans for the future, that we forget that there also is a very practical part of life and relationships. So when you asked him about the future, while you were dreaming about the romantic part of spending your lives together, it sounds like he responded with a very practical answer that wasn't at all what you were hoping for, but was simply honest and realistic on his part. So instead of looking at what he said so seriously, and seeing it as such a negative answer, I think it will really help you to put this is perspective if you can try and understand where he's coming from. You're both 20. You both have 4 years of studies left. You both live in different countries. You both don't know what the future will hold or where you will be in 4 years. He was put on the spot by your question.

      Here's where I'm going with this; you both decided you were going to go with the flow and communicate daily and see where you're both at when you graduate in four years. Then suddenly, you needed a more concrete answer from him about the future. And there's nothing wrong with that; sometimes we just want to know! But the reality is, he doesn't know, and really, how could anyone know for sure? So rather than giving you a pat answer, or an answer based on the future that he can't possibly know for sure, he gave you a real answer, not just some fluff! I see it as he was being honest with you, instead of simply telling you something you wanted to hear. Do you see the difference? And because men can think more practically than we can sometimes, that's where his answer came from - from thinking practically about your question. It doesn't sound to me like anything has changed, or that this is any reflection on him not imagining being with you in the future. Try to think of how you would have answered this if he had suddenly asked you the same thing, and that might help you understand where he's coming from as well.

      So try to relax, and enjoy this long distance relationship for what it is. Two people who are best friends, who've fallen for each other in that friendship, committed to enjoying being together as much as it's possible to be together when you're in two different countries, in university programs for the next 4 years. He's made it clear he doesn't plan on dating anyone else. And know, that if this isn't working for you, if you find yourself needing more of a commitment or happen to meet someone closer to home, you can re-evaluate this relationship and decide what you need in light of the realities of a long-distance relationship like this. But a romantic relationship based on the foundation of an eight-year friendship is a solid foundation and something worth exploring and trusting that whatever is meant to be will be. I hope this helps! :-)

      • Thank you so much Jane. After reading your reply, I really felt so much better and have a clearer picture of the whole thing now. I was really in hesitation last night and we both had a hard time so we decided to cool down. But very soon after he came back and apologized to me and said we should stop fighting and that we'd be okay. So yea, I figured out that I shouldn't have put so much weigh on his answer. You're right he was being realistic yet I expected so much more from him. He always tells me he doesn't like to make promises and in the end it doesn't happen. So I guess he didn't want to tell me something just for the sake of saying it. And we said to keep things casual and see how it goes. I guess I was expecting too much. We still go back to our hometowns and perhaps we'll get to see each other once a year for the least.

        You bring so much comfort to me, Jane. Thanks for being so caring and making time to reply my comment. Take care. I hope I can come to you if I do have problems next time. =)

        p/s: I'm glad I found your website. Haha I went through the blog posts and they're really meaningful!!

        • I'm so glad I was able to help, Samantha, and that you have found some comfort here. Know that I am always here for you in whatever way I can help along this journey of finding yourself first, and then attracting that love that you so deserve. No one should ever have to go through the things we go through alone, without the support of someone who's been there and remembers all too well what it's like. You're never ever really alone :-)

  99. Hello mates, how is all, and what you desire to say about
    this article, in my view its actually awesome in support of me.

  100. Yes, this makes so much sense. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. I've found that it's so much better to "mind my own business" rather than sitting around scratching my head trying to figure out how I can change HIS mind. And yes ladies, they do come back. Just be clear about what you want and you'll be better off.

  101. Hi Jane, like many other women, I am looking for answers and I so hope you can help me. I am 43 and my boyfriend is 46. I've been with my boyfriend for 2 years and 7 months now. We've been living together for a year and 10 months. Our relationship just seemed to flow smoothly in the direction we both wanted. We are around each other, pretty much 24-7 and for the most part get along great. And considering how much time we spend together, we're both impressed how little we fight, but we do have some fights/ disagreements, but not often. Recently we adopted a puppy and we seem like this little family. (we've talked about having kids and we both don't want any.) He talks about the future with me all the time...ie. he says, one day we'll get a house...etc. I'm close with his family and all seems great. Now the BUT. He's afraid of marriage and feeling totally responsible for another person is what he has told me. I told him that marriage is something I want and I said to him, that though i don't have to get married right away I need to know that we're heading in that direction and does he see spending the rest of his life with me? His answer: "sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I think, could I spend the next 30 to 40 years with you?...but when we fight I just want to run in the other direction and so I'm not sure. I don't like to plan the future. I like how things are going with us and moving a long the way it is. I want you in my life."

    I love him, but not hearing " I want to spend the rest of my life with you" has hurt me so much. Do I move on or play it out? It's so hard to move away from someone who you have a great life with. Please help!

    • I'm sure this is so painful, Maria. To be with someone who is everything you are looking for in a partner, but who just can't promise when or if he will be where you are right now when it comes to commitment. At least he is being honest with you, but I know that's little consolation since his answer is not what you want to hear. And now you have a little furry new addition to your little family. It sounds like he is perfectly content with the way things are, while you on the other hand, see that now you have everything you need to make the perfect little family - now you're ready to make it all official. While he sees that everything is wonderful just the way it is.

      It sounds like his fears about marriage - with his emphasis on being responsible for someone else - are based on his own upbringing and what he associates with marriage, so it would probably do him some good to talk to someone about what marriage is and isn't. But he has to want to dig deeper into why he has these fears. You can suggest it, but it has to come from him. And even then, if he were to get help with this, he still may not get there; these issues may be just that huge for him.

      But this is about you, my beautiful friend. Here you are. Hurting while living with this perfect little scenario if only he could promise you where you will be in the next couple of years. What I do know for sure, Maria, is that we can't change someone else no matter how much we want to. We can't make anyone love us. We can't make anyone commit to us. You can try all my recommendations in this post, but it may not change anything. Because it can only come from him. You can give him an ultimatum, and he may marry you because he doesn't want to lose you, but he may not and you have to decide if you're willing to play this card. You have to decide what he's worth to you, what the relationship's worth to you, and whether or not being with him on his terms is worth more than being without him and being with someone else who will commit to you. Only you know the answer to that. The other thing I know for sure is that if a relationship is meant to be, it absolutely will be - but it requires two people on the same page who want the same thing who are willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. You deserve nothing less that that if that's what you want, Maria, but only you know what your dealbreakers are, what your terms are, and what he and this relationship are worth to you. That is what this all comes down to.

  102. JOMARI BATISTA says:

    Hi Jane, I am so heartbroken and have been dating a man for over three years, he has it real fine, he contributes NOTHING finacially to the household, I pay for verything, he lives in my house, I buy and pay for all his clothes toiletries food, the bond water an lights. Do everything possible but the bedroom issue used to be ok but as he chooses to do less and less and constantly protects and runs back to his ex drunk alcoholic girlfriend its as if that all I am good for to support him. I love him but have come to a time in my life when I gave the ultimatums he wiped his rear end off on me and just ignored all my requests, I am terrified to ask him to leave my house and me again as he runs back to his drunk ex every time....am I crazy? WE HAVE SO MUCH IN COMMON BUT HE HAS DETROYED BY NATURE ENTIRELY AND i HAVE BECOME THE PERSO i HOPED i would never become. JEALOUS, SUSPICIOUS AND OVERLY SENSITIVE. He never seems to care about me or my feelings, he just keeps doing the smae thing over and over hurting me, treating me poorly and in return I retaliate hurtimg myself more by what a dragon and monster I have become......he has nine flats of his own, yet he lives with me and is chasing money all the time I have spent thousands on his home and him and not even a thankyou.....I am crushed

    • My heart goes out to you, Jomari, to be so heartbroken over someone who is so clearly not there where you want him to be, but who is clearly destroying you in the process. My heart breaks for you because you have no idea just how powerful you truly are, Jomari. This is your decision. It's time to stop waiting for him to change and accept the reality of what is. It's time to get yourself and your own life back..

      You choose how you will be treated, my beautiful friend. You choose what you are willing to put up with in the name of love. He's shown you how he feels about you by his actions, now it's your turn to decide what you're worth. You can do this. You are that strong. Draw your own line in the sand, Jomari. If he's not there on the same page as you, what are you getting out of this? Only you can put an end to the way you're feeling, to the way he's treating you. But it has to come from you.

      If you can't see this clearly, find a trusted friend, or counselor, or anyone else you feel comfortable confiding in. You deserve so much more than this, Jomari. But until you see this, until you come to believe this, nothing will change. You, and only you, are that powerful.

  103. Hi Jane,

    Great, great blog, I really respect the advice you're giving to women and (speaking as a man) my heart goes out to all the women who feel challenged in this area. As you say there is no reason that relates to the woman as to why a guy wont commit, but imho its often alot to do with our selfish need to want to have our cake and eat it too. Its quite sad to be honest that so many "good" decent men decide/refuse to realise/appreciate that being with a partner who loves and cares about them, one they can truly grow with emotionally and spiritually is the most "fun" who can ever truly have. Much power to you and the progressivet level of support and clarity that you're putting out with this great blog! GOD bless

    • Thanks for your kind words from a male perspective, AC. You are so right that nothing compares to being in a real relationship with someone who truly loves and cares for every part of you - emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. Unfortunately, our culture and the media promote such a different view of love and relationships that the surface relationship without the commitment becomes more of the standard than the exception. It's in refusing to settle for this type of arrangement that we have a chance to raise the bar on how we are treated when we insist on nothing less than what all of us - men or women - deserve!

  104. Hi jane,
    Your article touched me in a special way, jane i tried all the ways with him, putting time limits, taking breaks from each other, its simply not working!! He's a great guy i really wants him to be the one, its been more than 3 years now, and we're more than boy-girl friends, we talk for hours each day and spend lots of time together, although he did not committe to me and he keeps telling me he's not ready for committment, non of us see other people, we've been exclusevly dating, but no committment, am tierd of that speacialy that in our country a couple have to officially be committed /engaged to go out with freedom, every time we try to take a breake we agree on a date , but on the same day he changes his mind and tells me that he wont stop calling me and try to convince me that we r happy like this and to leave things to develope naturally,,, wht should i do

    • It sounds like so much of your life with this man and your relationship with him is controlled by him him, Suha. His comfort level, his agenda, and his decisions about the two of you. And you've tried all of these things with him, only to find that he is who he is and he has decided what works for him, and this is clearly where he is at right now. The reality is that you don't know if or when he might be ready for a committment and on the same page as you, and you have no way of knowing if he will ever come around.

      This is about him, not you, Suha, but this is where you need to decide where you stand. You know where he stands, now it's time for you to own your own power and make a decision that's in your best interest. What can you live with? What can't you live with? How much is a commitment worth to you? Is it worth losing him over? Is he worth it? You know yourself and him and the whole relationship better than anyone else, Suha, and since each of us is different, only you know in your heart what being with him on his clearly defined terms is worth to you.

      Personally, I would focus more on your own life apart from your relationship with this man, and live your life as though he wasn't such a big part of your life as much as possible. That way, what he does or doesn't do won't matter as much, and in the process of giving yourself some emotional space, you will find the answers to the questions you're asking become that much clearer. No matter what your culture, no matter where you'v come from, or how much time you've invested in him, you still deserve nothing less than someone who is on the same page as you, who is committed to the same type of relationship and is willing to do whatever it takes to make the relationship work. In the end, that's what makes a relationship work, and it always takes two people who ultimately want the same thing.

      • Jane,, thx a million for ur answer, u r right i will focus on my personal life more and try to be happy with or without him. I would like to also tell u that am 8 years younger than him, have a proffessional career that anyone in my age would want, and i can say am good looking, if i would just take him out of my mind i will be able to meet other people easily, but the big thing is i want HIM and him only!! For the last 3 years in my life i did not talk to anybody else i think i by default give people the idea that am taken or that am in love so i dont give chances to anybody.
        Having him that close to me makes it more difficult, he is so nice, he alwayse gives me gr8 advices, he is my friend, brother, lover , he is everything to me

        • You recognized such an important point here, Suha - it's all about getting him out of your mind! Know that that's why this is completely within your control; that you truly can do this because of that simple truth. As hard as it is to do, the reality is he's only this wonderful, this amazing, this incredible in your mind.

          Focus on the reality of what you truly want and deserve, what you are and aren't willing to give up to keep him in your life, and this will slowly become easier - whatever you ultimately choose. You truly are all that, Suha - you've got it! We just sometimes need a regular reminder of what we already know to be true. It's part of what makes us human. :-)

          • Thx jan

          • Hi jan, hope u r doing gr8
            I have some updates that i want to share with u
            Yesterday i was so frustrated and sad and i cried alot and took the decision to work things out with him
            So when he called, he knew that i was crying from my voice
            We talked alot and i asked him so many questions and shared the things that are frustrating me
            Like why he never said i love u to me.... He answered but i never said i dont
            I also told him that i started to lose hope that we'll be together he said but i never acted like there's no hope and said that u know that if i felt like i dont want to committe to u i will tell it directly to u, whwn i talked about love, he said "actions sometimes speaks louder than voice i dont have to say everything... But as u know we'women' needs to hear it,
            We ended up taking tge decesion to be seperated for a while si both of us can think clearly
            He did not like how sad i was and promissed me that he will try to stay far for a while untill i feel better and could think.
            Am giving u those detals jane coz i want to hear from u why do u think he is saying this? I want to understand what he is thinkong

            Today was the first day of our open break, u can
            Say that i cried for 15 hours untill now !! I just cant ... I keep hearing voices in my head yhat r telling me i did a mistake, maby i could have done it in a different way? Plz tell me

            • Don't put yourself through this, Suha; 15 hours of crying is no way to live! We're all at different places at different times in our lives; we all come to this journey with different things we're meant to learn, so if you're not there where you can truly be apart from him, if being apart from him is so much worse than being with him, then don't do this to yourself either. This always was - and still is! -your decision. So if he is worth it, if you need to have him closer to you right now to get to the point of whatever this relationship and this experience is here in your life for right now, then make that decision.

              You truly are that strong; you truly can do this, but if now isn't the time, know that it's ok. We've all been there. And we all understand how hard it is to know what to do when your heart is breaking. I don't know for sure why he would tell you those things, except that he doesn't want to lose you. He knows you really are all that, Suha! Just like you said you know it, too - so does he! Now it's just up to you to decide where you want to go from here.

              You can always change your mind, my beautiful friend; sometimes we need to do that dance of letting go with two steps forward, three steps back to get to the place where we can see more clearly what we need to do. And sometimes, we're surprised with what we find when we can stay physically, but distance ourselves emotionally enough to keep our hearts from being broken again. There's never any shame in going through this journey, Suha, whatever yours may look like, there's always a reason for where we find ourselves.

          • He sent me a msg saying that he wanted to call but he also wants to keep hus promise to me that he will not and wished a goid nught

          • Jane u r such a helpfull person, i want to tell that i am stronger now, and i am ready for a real break i now understand that this break will make him appreciate the time that we spent together and come back to me... If he did not... Then he dont deserve me right? :-) between me and u i feel he will he already sends me msgs everyday..

  105. Miss NP says:

    Thank you for sharing this post, it really did help.

    I have a dilema that fits your topic but i'm not sure how to deal with the other things I am experiencing.
    I recently met a man 3 months ago. He says meeting me was love at first sight. He lives about a two hour drive away from me and has been driving down to see me every weekend. He gave me a ring for my birthday and told me that it was a diamond worth 6 figures, he also told me he is a millionaire,, I found out that the diamond is in fact glass and he admitted to lying and told me that he's not a millionaire after all. Since then I had a very serious talk with him and made him promise to tell the truth form now on, that I didnt care if he wasnt a millionaire and I forgave him about the ring. Since then he has talked about marriage, children and committment and tells me that he loves me every day. My dilema is that he lives far away, he never answers his phone when I call him, he tells me that he doesnt get reception at his house so we never talk when he is there, he has never had a conversation with me on the phone when he is with anyone else and today when he was at a bbq with freinds he switched his phone on silent all day he hasnt texted and ignored my call. I am scared that this guy is just telling me what I want to hear because he knows that I am ready to settle down and really he is playing around with me and wasting my time, worse case scenario he has another secret life. I dont know what to believe after he has already lied to me. Please help!

    • Beginning a relationship with someone who lies to you, misrepresents himself and then continues to have a lot of rules about when and where he can talk to you even though you've had a serious talk with him, sounds like a recipe for a lot of heartbreak down the road. I would be very suspicious of anyone who comes on this fast, and starts giving you expensive gifts and talking about marriage and children before you really even know each other.

      Only you can decide what you want to do here, Miss NP, but if you do decide to see where this goes, I would keep your eyes and ears open and keep living your live apart from him, leaving your options open and looking for the warning signs and red flags if you see them. This is one time when you really need to listen to your head, and not just your heart. Time will ultimately tell if he's on the same page as you, but it's always you, my beautiful friend, that you want to be looking out for with clear vision. You deserve nothing less than someone who is completely honest with you who you never, ever have to wonder about!

      • natalie pottinger says:

        Thank you so much Jane, hearing it from someone else with an objective point of view really has helped a lot. In fact yesterday I decided to see if he was in fact serious about moving in together and he came up with every excuse not too. He didn't give concrete reasons why but this was the proof that I needed that says that he is full of fresh air. Thank you for your perspective and clarity.

        god bless you and your great work

        Miss NP

        • Glad this helped, Miss NP; and know that you're always better off hearing the truth, no matter how much it initially hurts, even if you have to sift through the excuses to find it. Thank you!

        • sadiesays says:

          Natalie, it seems very clear that he could be married or living with someone. He lives far away, never answers the phone. I believe he was living out a fantasy with you. You need to try to visit his home if you want to continue with this guy.

  106. Dear Jane, I've read your article since December last year, again and again and I can say I've read it 50 times at least, it lessened a lot of my pain and I was incredibly happy to see that you respond to each and every question... I fell in love with an african guy at school (we are from different cultures) and hes on a scholarship, he gives himself a lot of pressure to perform and excel in life and that was one of the things I was attracted to. From the start, he said he couldn't make any commitment to me, so we shouldn't get intimate, but I initiated everything and he was my first, and gradually, things developed, I can see that he genuinely cares for me, sometimes he'd contact me, we'd sleep together, not sex, but cuddling, talking, we had one date that didn't happen in the end. everything started since last year, and it's been so painful for me. he promised that he will come back, but me waiting around feels like I'm being in limbo. I told him that I slept with someone else after him, and he cried and told me to leave, he said I hurt him so much and he does care about me, and when I wasn't there, he missed me so much it surprised him. But apparently not enough for him to commit huh. Eventually he accepted my apology and after that, we didn't get intimate but he's told me he doesn't want to lose me.
    Everything hinges on his results, so mostly we dont see each other for weeks on end and he works himself to the bone. and even though I told him I'd wait, waiting is so painful and for a period of time I got clinical depression because I yearned for him so much and I couldn't accept the situation in which both people love each other but things are unclear. he's told his friends that he misses me and is sad when im not there but he told me he can't give me what I want now, so we can't be in a relationship; and he knows he will come back for me, and that he knows he'll never like another girl until we've given it a shot, and it's a promise he intends to keep. you know how it hurts, being apart from someone you care about, we don't spend time together. recently I told him that the hurt and pain is enough and we should end things, forget about the promises, and he's said, "we've been through this, and you keep going back and forth like you're playing me, you hurt me, only talk to me when you miss me and expect things to be the same, but I've been honest with you from the start and this is exhausting", but after that he told me that he still hopes to come back for me, I told him, "you don't have to" and he said "I want to. despite what you think, I like you very much". I said I wouldn't accept anything less than a committed relationship, and he said "of course, I'm not going to come back and make you sad again" I can't stop hurting, I miss him so badly. but I'm not going to wait until he decides that its the "right time", I just can't move on, I'm so sad, I gave him all of me, a part of me I can't take back and I'm just really sad Jane. Do you think he will really come back? But would it be worth it? When will he come back? Did he really like me, or was I just another notch in the bedpost. All these questions are messing my head up, and I hope you can throw things into pespective for me.

    Love,
    C

    • I'm glad this article has been such a help to you, Carrie; it does always help to know we're not alone, especially when it seems no one understands what we're going through.

      It sounds to me like there is a lot of drama here for you, Carrie; like that little girl inside is working out a lot of her issues with this man who isn't able to give you what you are looking for right now, and yet you feel the need to put yourself through all this, to wait for him, as though you are the beautiful princess who is waiting for her knight in shining armor to come rescue her and make everything all better and give you a reason to make your life worth living. Regardless of what he says, and what his actions clearly show.

      From my perspective, Carrie, there is the simple reality of what is, and then there is the dramatic story of what you've made this out to be. With this view that you are caught up in, probably subconsciously, it makes perfect sense that you're depressed, that you go back and forth with what you're willing to accept from him, and that you create even more drama by letting him know someone else finds you worthy by revealing that you slept with someone else.

      My heart goes out to you, my beautiful friend, because I only understand this because I've been there myself. Waiting for someone to come back to me who told me to leave a candle burning for him and he'd be back when he was ready to commit to me. My own fairytale ending came crashing down around me when I realized that I can't make anyone love me, no matter how worthy I try to prove myself to be. It is so hard for us to see it this way when we're in it, but the reality of your own situation is clear if you refuse to go there to that place of the fairytale that fills such a need for you on some level, and see the situation for what it is so you can move on and let go of a situation that is having such a negative effect on you.

      He isn't ready for a committed relationship like you are, Carrie, he's not on the same page as you right now and he's honestly let you know that from the beginning. Although like any man might have a weakness to do, when you do all the initiating and come on so strong, he finds himself caught up in this too, and yet, he knows he's still not there. That is the simple reality, Carrie, he's not there where you are. And the only way to have a real relationship with someone, is to have two people who are both on the same page, who want the same thing with each other, and are willing to do whatever it takes regardless of circumstances. There is no what ifs, no drama, no extreme highs and lows within that reality - just what is. It's we who make it so much more complicated and dramatic in our quest to repeat some of our past history with a different ending, in this new story. But without this, it remains the simple reality of two people on different pages who will be together if both people come around to want the same thing down the road.

      But it's the waiting that only wastes your beautiful life away, Carrie. It's the holding on to what could be that ties up our energy and keeps us so focused on someone else for our happiness that we miss the whole point of living our own lives in the present moment with the wonder of all that's in store for us right now. It's this waiting that has us missing out on the person who may be right in front of us, ready for us now, and missing out on naming our dreams and goals and passions and seeing the beautiful life we could be creating for ourselves right now that doesn't depend on anyone else to play a certain role except ourselves - just being our true selves.

      I know this is so hard to see right now, Carrie; I understand that more than probably anyone else because I have been there, so I know how hard it is to see it through different lenses. But know that one day you will look back on this and see how much this is about you hanging onto your own dream, your own fantasy, your own fairytale ending, and not about him, but about you. Know beyond a doubt, that if this is meant to be with him, it will be, and you will be the first to know. But in the meantime, the best way you can make this happen, is by focusing on you, creating your own beautiful life apart from anyone else. Filling it with people who love and support you and make you feel wonderful and beautiful for who you are when you are with them. And letting go of those who don't have that affect on you. By discovering who you really are, and what you want to do, apart from anyone else. What makes you happy? What are you passionate about? What does that little girl inside you want to do that she doesn't believe she can do without a man to do it for her?

      You deserve nothing less than all that life and love have to offer you, Carrie; the irony always is that it often takes refusing to settle for anything less than you deserve to find exactly that.

      Love, Jane

  107. Hi Jane,

    Love your article

    Yup, a dude here who can't commit :(

    Here's my story:

    My friend Kevin called me up one evening (fall 2011). He wanted me to join him and his friend (a girl ;)) for some dinner.I had just gotten back from working on a farm and was tired out and almost said no. But curiosity got the better of me because I had heard about this girl from him, so I decided to go have a look see :) We were all going to the university so it was just a burger night in a college town. I drove into the diner where they were parked waiting for me. As we got out of our vehicles she and I locked eyes and my knees just about buckled as that pretty mouth curved into smile of "well hello there" haha. She was the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen and is to this day. So I decided to ask her out and we started dating. Life was great! I could not get enough of her. I had never met anyone so deep and yet gorgeous as well. This went on for about two months but then I started to get a little scared. She would always want get inside my head, ask me "what I am thinking", I felt like she was searching for something or probing me. I had never truly opened up to a women at this point and the thought of connecting on an emotional/intellectual level had never been my strong point (but show me a guy that is). I ended the relationship a month later by convincing myself that it just wasn't working out. Bear in mind that I had never been dumped before, I had always done the dumping and I never been in serious long term relationship. She was devastated, in tears, and said that I was a phenomenal boyfriend and wished me luck :(

    A month went by. I felt terrible the whole time, I couldn't stop the regret and missing her and feeling angry with myself. I decided to write her a letter of amends to hopefully see if we could work through it. We met up for coffee and it was like breath of fresh air to see her again. We talked about it and she agreed to give me another go. Another three months went by of dating but she was not the same person. She did not open up like she used to (understandably so) and I felt like she was holding back her true self to me. At the end of the third month I was feeling like a free bird with my whole life ahead of me as I was graduating and leaving town to start my new job (mechanical engineer). She was staying in college to finish her masters. She started to become less important and the thought of having good times being single in a new town was exciting. I broke up with her once again and she had the same reaction saying that I'm going to miss her. She was right. Nevertheless I did my best to move on telling my self that you just can't go around breaking up with girls twice after they put their heart and soul into a relationship. However several weeks later she contacts me wanting to see me (we are long distance now about an hour apart). We start to talk again and end up on a back and forth fling type relationship for several months. The thing about flings with ex's is that it will usually ends up one person wanting more. We finally agreed to work on it and take things slow with the now long distance. I wanted her to stop being so impatient about a relationship and just have fun with me. Connect with me by doing fun things she had never done like golf, snowboarding, bike riding. This did not bode well for long and I finally found myself chasing her more than she was chasing me. She would not return phone calls, she would not want to talk long on the phone, she would not want to really go do anything with me. Finally I wrote her an email saying what I wanted in life right now (not done being a mid 20's man) and I told her that if we make this work I would be true to her an no other. She wrote back a few days later saying that she was fed up with "taking it slow" and really just wanted to me to say "yes I want a committed relationship and build something together". She thought it was a good idea that we don't try to make this work anymore and was fed up with the fact that I couldn't decide what I want. She finished her email by saying that she wasn't mad at me and part of her will continue to want to be with me but she didn't want to wait around anymore for me to decide what I want to do. Rightfully so. All of this happened over about a year. Bear in mind we both have had rough patches in life before meeting each other where trusting anyone has been hard for both of us. Also she was trying to prove a Masters thesis while dealing with me at the same time and things have not looked up for her.

    My status now:

    It's been about three month's since I saw her last and I'm definitely not the same person I was two years ago. We don't talk much and I don't have a Facebook (I'm old fashioned) so we don't really keep abreast of what's going on in our lives. We chat on Google sometimes and every now and then and she sends me a text to say hi. I like to call her once in a while too. In the meantime I have a full time job as a engineer and life really hit me like a ton of bricks after she left. I realized that I used her for a lot of my insecurities and convenience of having someone care for me instead of me caring for myself. I've begun to live my own life and work hard to maintain it. I joined a anti-porn community not long after our final breakup and I plan on being porn free for the rest of my life after the research I've done on it. I've been really trying hard to find out what I really want and going for it. Since she left I have bought two motorcycles, met lots of girls, sing in a cover band at a local bar, exercise daily, and try to follow through with what I want. The thing is though: of all the girls I meet and date she is still the one think about when I go to sleep and first thing I think about when I wake up. I dream of her every night as well. I don't know if I will ever get another chance with her because she has lost faith and respect in me, but I feel like now is not the time as I need to work on myself. Her finally letting me go really showed me what I need to work on. I think I am good man and I have never cheated on a woman. I still love her and I want her to be happy too. Any suggestions to help me with committing to someone would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Nate

    • Wow, Nate; I am so grateful that you somehow found your way here and shared your story in such detail! What a rare glimpse into the perspective of what goes on from the perspective of a man working your way through your own commitment issues!:-) It's the side we so often don't see; since we usually are on the receiving end of the ambivalence and rejection that is very much what you describe here.

      The fact that you are open to seeing the reality of your situation and what happened and are letting this serve as a wake-up call to do some work on yourself is huge and takes real courage, Nate. Know that if the two of you are meant to be together, at some point, that is exactly what will happen. But for now, I would focus on learning what it feels like to get close to someone slowly, over time, without pulling away, if you're truly interested in getting to know someone better. Just enjoy the whole dating process, Nate, being open to your triggers and being aware of what feelings come up for you and then reminding yourself that this isn't about anything more than two people getting to know each other, finding out if they're on the same age and are looking for the same thing.

      I think we can all tend to make this so much more complicated than it needs to be, but if we just remember that first and foremost dating is to have fun and get to know each other better without making it about the big "C" (committment!), it will come naturally when we're ready. Watch for any patterns you notice about yourself, Nate, and then if you notice yourself being triggered by anything in particular, that you will tell your where your areas of work are. Sometimes, it's about scenarios that bring up things we observed within our families growing up, other times, it's about the programming we received that may put a lot of pressure on us, particularly if you're a very responsible man! But know that regardless, if she is the one, when you're both ready, the timing will work. Personally, I met my own husband twice, a year and a half part, and the first time, neither of us were ready, while the second time, we both were - and on the same page - and the rest is history. :-) You'll have your own story, too, Nate - and it will truly be the best one for you!!

      • Jane,

        Thanks for the wonderful input! Letting go of this girl has not been an easy task but I feel like it's necessary to help me be a better man. Sometime's I also feel left off the band wagon as far as long term commitments. She and I both have friends that have either been dating for years, engaged, or married, and I maybe she feels left out. However, all my BEST friends are still single and have commitment issues, go figure :) Bottom line I know where I want to be someday as far as a long term relationship i.e. marriage and children. I'm 25 years old and I what I want is to just have fun with my significant other and not worry about down the road. If all seems to be going great then we can move to the next step. That was the only message I was trying to make clear to her and I was left a little confused there at the end. As I thought about it though, I understand what she must feel after being dumped twice. Maybe someday we can reconnect and move forward.

        • What you are looking for sounds very healthy to me, Nate, and at 25 years old, I think you're doing exactly what you're meant to be doing at this stage -enjoying life and seeing who shows up and being honest about who we are and what we are looking are. That is entirely the point of dating - "if all seems to be going great, then we can move to the next step".

          Sometimes, in our impatience and anxiousness, we can get so caught up in wanting to know for sure that a relationship is going to be everything we want it to be, when in reality, if we just relax and go with the flow - as long as it truly is flowing - we would find everything so much easier than what we make it out to be.

          For now, rest assured that if the two of you are meant to be, and you are both eventually on the same page, the history won't matter. I can say that from personal experience, my friend. :-) Love that is meant to be always finds a way to make it happen if both people truly want the same thing.

  108. Hi Jane! Great article! By the way, I would really appreciate some of your advice on my current situation!

    This is going to be long... I met this guy at a party late February this year and he asked for my number that night. I ended up not replying his texts for a few days and I knew I wasn't interested. However, about a month later, I accidentally bumped into him at a pub and he asked why I didn't reply him all the time. I told him I'd reply him the next day just so he'd get off my back.

    He told me that night he was moving to another country 4 hours away from where I am for a new career (we're both Asian) and that he made the decision before he met me. I decided not to get involved with him because of that fact, that he was leaving the country in 2 months. After all, he doesn't know how long he will work there. Maybe 2-3 years. He's korean and was working in my country for a couple of years before making this new decision.

    He kept asking me out and I finally decided to go out with him and I'm glad i did. Things went well and soon, we were dating. He was leaving soon but he said he wanted to meet me everyday, that we have something special going on. I've met all his friends and he introduced me as the girl he's dating. He's affectionate even in front of his friends. Everything was good and it felt like we were in a relationship. I was hesitant at first but he convinced me to carry on with him. His friends told me they've never seen him like that with a woman.

    I kept telling him I can't trust him because I still don't know him that well. He tried to make me believe him but I was scared. He told me he never texts a girl every single day but he has done so since he's met me. He proved I can trust him when a girl tried to ask him out. He told her he's dating me. He's pretty transparent about things and shows me his texts without me asking.

    We spent a few intense weeks together meeting so often and then the time came for him to leave. I was upset and knew I would miss him. I finally told him I liked him too and that i think i can trust him a few days before he left and we discussed about meeting new people. He said he wouldn't date me anymore if I even had the thought of 'cheating'. We never really made it official but I think we're dating exclusively. Not gf/bf though. He's big on respect for others so I feel he wouldn't hurt me intentionally.

    He has been gone for almost a month and surprisingly he's coming back here for 5 days on a work trip. That would be exactly one month that he's been gone.

    So far, he has contacted me everyday. Calls once in awhile and that makes me happy. We don't check-in with each other though. One thing I don't like is that he gets drunk so often and just falls asleep without letting me know anything. I'd roughly know he's going out to drink again but I don't know where and with who. And I don't want to ask because I want to show that i trust him. He doesn't tell me his daily activities all the time and I'm okay with that, just feel maybe he should communicate abit more. I do get jealous and scared alot but I don't say anything to him for fear of scaring him away. Most times my fears will go away after some rationalization in my head.

    I know he likes his space and I'm happy to give it to him. I don't restrict him on anything. There are some things that I would like though, like some updates on when he's sleeping so I won't call and get an unanswered call again, etc. I want to be part of his new life, to know what's going on and how he's adapting. He did mention he's not the type to report or say much, and that he understands my point. Things were good for a couple of weeks.

    For his birthday last week, I sang him a birthday song in korean and sent as an audio note. He only listened to it two days later. I must admit I was hurt but I didn't tell him. But I told him it meant alot to me that he listened to it cos I don't do this for anyone. He did right after that and thanked me for it.

    Lately, his texts and calls have been getting lesser. He still asks about my day most times but I feel as if our conversations lack quality. I don't know what to do about that. I don't want to pressure him especially since we are not gf/bf. I am a heavy drinker as well but I don't get drunk like him. And he didn't ask where I've been the last 2 days of the weekend. It feels as if he doesn't care as much anymore. Am i over reacting? Or is he settling into a comfortable mode? He's the one initiating contact everyday about 80% of the time. We've never had a no-contact day since we started dating. Sometimes i would initiate contact, recently more so. He mostly asks how are things with me or how did that event/activity go, have I eaten, what am I doing at the moment, and sometimes updates me on what his plans are. He does take interest and show support for my hobbies and I feel happy about that.

    Sometimes i think maybe he's still getting used to his new life and still making friends. He plays soccer with his new team most of the time. He works late as well. He's always tired, it seems. Other times, he'd be out drinking. It's a Korean culture but to me, it may be abit excessive if he's always passing out after a night out.

    Before he left, he told me he's tired of dating around and he would want to marry someone he actually wants to be with. He's 29 and I'm 26. We have the same values in life and we're pretty similar in personalities. What he likes about me are stuff that I like about him too. He also said he wants to be with someone who won't change the way he is. That's what I feel as well so I think we're compatible that way.

    I don't really need him to be happy but I'm looking to settle down too in my next relationship. I know I'm responsible for my own happiness. I have friends and family and hobbies and everything else that's constant and I'm contented. It's just that he adds on to my happiness and that's why I feel he might be the one I'm looking for. He complements me. He's not the centre of my universe but I'd say he's pretty darn important to me.. I'm pretty much an independent person, like him, and I have my hobbies and social gathering to go to almost everyday, so I don't think about 'us' when I'm busy with those. He told me before he left that he thinks i'll forget about him when I go about my routine life when he's gone.

    I'm afraid he will 'cheat' because he is an attractive man and he is a very friendly person. I'm afraid of girls coming onto him. Him not telling me things was not an issue when he was here with me but it has now become one because he's away from me. I don't dare to tell him this even though I know I should communicate. We haven't had any fights though. He said to not think too much about things, if not it will put pressure on both of us.

    I'm afraid things will not work out. I'm afraid to talk to him lest he finds I'm pressuring him. It's only been almost 3 months that we're dating and I know it's too early to tell but this is a long distance thing and I don't like the uncertainty. I think maybe he's still in the assessing stage?

    He's coming back next week and he hasn't said anything about meeting me. I know we will meet but it would be nice to know if he's actually excited to be coming back to see me. Before he left, we talked about me going over to visit him when he's there, but since he was coming back, it wouldn't make sense for me to visit him prior to his work trip. I asked him then 'Will i be visiting as your friend or the girl you're dating?' He seemed pretty amused and said 'Of course as the girl I'm dating. You're not my friend!' That made me feel a little better as up till then I was still on the fence on whether I wanted to continue after he left.

    My friends say he's already doing a pretty good job of contacting me daily so I don't have anything to worry about. Thing is, it's getting lesser...

    Please help me. I don't know whats wrong here and what to do... Sometimes I wonder if we are still dating. I know long distance is hard but i really want to make this work. Do I say anything to him? Do I see mention anything when he's back next week? I know lots of people say long distance don't work, but I'm willing to try to make this work because this guy is different from all the guys I've dated. If I don't try, I'll never know. I've learnt to be more accepting of giving men space and taking a step back to chill out. But right now, I'm in a little bit of a pickle and not sure if I should do anything about it.

    Just as I composed this message, he texted me this morning asking how was my day at work last Saturday. Well, it took him 2 days to ask but he did ask... The past 2 days (weekend) were a blur because I think he got drunk and played football so he barely said much to me...

    And I'm sorry this is such a long message... Thanks for reading. :)

    • Long distance relationships are never easy, Mae; there's so many more unknowns and uncertainties that can't be resolved as easily when you're farther away. There's a lot of fear that's coming through in what you're saying and that's so understandable when you so want this to work, when you feel like he's so different from all the rest, and you fear he may not be on the same page as you, and may not be as invested in this as you are.

      Please know, my beautiful friend, that if he is on the same page as you, if he truly wants the same thing, then you will be together and nothing will come between you. When two people both want the same thing with each other and are committed to making the relationship work, they make it work regardless of circumstances or distances. If he's not there, if he's not on your page, then there is really nothing to be afraid of because you don't want someone in your life who isn't coming from the same place you are, who doesn't want what you want. It's not a match if you both don't want the same thing. But don't go there in your fear, because you will know if what you have is the real thing because it will become apparent as you get to know each other more.

      My best advice is always to not go there until you know that he's as committed to you as you are to him. This is what will save your heart from being broken if it turns out he's not there. You really don't know him that well yet, either, so look at this time as really getting to know more about him, and finding out if he's worthy of you! You mention his getting drunk a few times, and I would certainly agree that this could be a potential red flag whenever this is a regular pattern. It's the reason behind that need to drink to that point that is always concerning to me.

      As for whether to talk to him about any of this and how you're feeling, that really depends on you and how much this is all affecting you. While on the one hand it sounds like you are strong in yourself and living your own life independent of him, the reality is that if this is all keeping you up at night, and on your mind to the point that it's affecting your life in a negative way, then you need to weigh what it's worth to you to talk to him versus simply living your life on the current terms of the relationship with it being long-distance and the current pattern of a delay in him responding to you. Talking about it usually doesn't change things; he is showing you what he's capable of giving you already right now by his actions, but what it usually does is bring out what's already there that much faster. So if he isn't there, you letting him know what you need from him will usually bring out that reality faster than by not talking about it. Do you see that? It doesn't change anything, but it makes it come out because it's on the table.

      Either way, whatever you decide, remember that you deserve someone who wants what you want - with you! Sometimes we get so caught up in what someone appears to be like, when in reality, you don't know him all that well yet. Three months isn't very long to really know someone. It's always the reality of what is, and not the fantasy of what we so want something to be, that needs to be our focus, as it's always us loving, giving, caring women who think more with our hearts than our heads, that need to make especially sure that he's worth it!

      • Hi Jane, thanks for your advice! I'll keep your words in mind! :) Just wanted to share abit more on what happened next as I'm currently feeling insecure...

        I replied him a short text on how work went and he said 'Oh, that's bad!!'. I felt like this didn't exactly warrant a reply from me so I didn't respond to that. He called me a few hours later after work, and I was pretty surprised because I wasn't expecting it. I think maybe he was wondering why I didn't reply him when I usually would. We talked abit and for a moment it felt great! He told me he was going out for dinner and would talk to me later because our connection kept breaking up.

        I did tell him last week that I like it when he calls me because it makes me happy, especially when he does it randomly when I'm not expecting it. I thought it would show him that I appreciate what he's doing for me when we're in this LDR. He does call if he doesn't hear from me for awhile. That has always been his pattern. Could it be that he's scared I've lost interest?

        I went on my business and did my own things, but he didn't call/text me after that for the rest of the night. It could be that he fell asleep again, which seems to happen pretty often. When we started dating, he was a man of his word. Everything he said, he followed up on it. Maybe he's just comfortable with me now?

        Sigh. Sometimes I think I should just pull back and let him miss me. Neither party has mentioned anything about his upcoming trip next week. What do you think?

        I thought about it and this wasn't an easy pill to swallow. I feel I'm not getting much or anything out of this LDR at this moment. I thought I was chilling out taking the time to get to know him abit more, and it sort of worked because now I've seen what he's abit like when he's 'comfortable' and maybe happy with the way things are. I thought he needed time to slowly open up in communication to me because he hasn't been in a relationship for quite some time.

        I'm still wondering if I should talk to him, as he might not have a clue I'm feeling this way at all, considering I don't voice out that I'm unhappy. He doesn't get any flak from me for anything at all. I just let him be and let him do what he wants, knowing I have no official 'right' to stop him. I don't think he knows where I stand on certain things.

        I once spoke to him about something before he left (I can't remember what), and he told me he's 'stupid' and I should go straight to the point and break things down for him. He's not the type to talk about feelings and he doesn't know how to express himself.

        Now I'm not sure if I'm being childish but I just don't feel like talking to him. I feel like ignoring him. Is it wrong to do so?

        • I understand how you feel, Mae, but if you don't talk to him and give him a chance to hear you in the specifics he's asking you for, I have a feeling you'll regret it down the road. But on the other hand, if there's more to this that you're picking up on, and you're not sure if this is worth it to you to continue in the relationship this way, then you know what you need to do for you more than anyone else.

          It's always better to be honest than to play games with someone, although I know it's not always the easiest thing to do, and you may feel like he should just know how to have a relationship with you. But I have found that we have the least regrets when we're the most honest and authentic with someone. Being hard to get is always so much better than playing hard to get, or any other games. If he hasn't brought up his upcoming trip, either make other plans for that time so that what he does or doesn't do doesn't affect you, or else bring it up directly with him and find out where he stands. He may just be assuming you know you'll be doing things together, but if it's on your mind, either find a way to resolve this within yourself, or bring it up with him.

          Remember that whatever you'd like this relationship to be, Mae, the reality is that it is what it is. He is where he is. You are where you are. Focus more on that, and less on what you'd like it to be or what it was, and this will all be much easier on you in the long run.

          • Hi Jane, thank you for your reply. Right now, I'm feeling pretty terrible..

            He's already in town and has been for 3 days. What happened last week was this: I asked him to meet up to spend some time together. He said he will be busy with trainings from Monday to Thursday and can only meet on Friday or Saturday after his trainings are over. He was staying at a friend's from Fri-Sun and leaving the country on Sun afternoon. I asked if we can meet after his trainings like we used to before he left (we met everyday before he moved away because he wanted to spend all his time with me. He asked me out to join him and his friends for his farewells.) He said he can't due to trainings, only can meet after that. So I was abit upset and told him I felt it seems he wasn't interested in meeting me. He replied that he's in town not for a holiday but for work. So of course work and trainings come first. I replied him about 9 hours later that I understand that work is important especially since he's in a new job and he's still trying to adjust. I also said I thought we could spend some time together since we haven't met since he left a month ago. He replied saying 'lets catch up on fri or Saturday'. I told him sure and asked about his day. He replied he was busy with urgent projects so I encouraged him that he can do it and that I was taking my video for the dance competition submission that night. No reply from him until the next afternoon when he said he saw it on Facebook, and good luck. I thanked him and he didn't text anymore.

            So the next day on Saturday afternoon I asked him how his Friday night went. He didn't reply at all and that was the first time we went without contact for a day. I panicked but didn't contact him and used the time to do my own things. He didn't contact me on Sunday either, and he was flying to Singapore on Monday. Needless to say I was so worried and scared.

            I decided not to make any moves. And I was surprised when he texted me on Monday afternoon telling me he has just arrived back and he was in the office going for trainings soon. I told him good luck and to text me when he's more free later then. He didn't.. I thought since he was here he really was busy socializing with local colleagues and everything so I didn't contact him. I dropped him a text late that night asking how his first day at trainings went and he didn't reply me. That was Monday night.

            It's now Wednesday afternoon and I've heard nothing from him. I saw on Facebook that a friend asked him for drinks and he replied that they can drink on fri or sat. Which was the same thing he told me before he came here. I was abit upset but didn't contact him. Maybe he intended for me to join his friends like the last time before he left.

            I'm feeling so neglected and he's pushing me away. I don't know what to do and I feel I cannot accept the breadcrumbs he's throwing at me. I feel I'm better than this. But I want to meet him to talk to him about what I feel. Preparing to leave him if necessary. But maybe he was already ending it without telling me.

            I don't know when he will contact me to confirm plans for meeting me on fri or sat. I feel like he thinks I will come when he calls, that's why he doesn't make concrete plans. Or maybe he's avoiding me and doesn't want to meet me anymore.

            What should I do? I want to make things work with this guy and I want to tell him what I'm feeling. :(

            • Do what you need to do for you, Mae. This is really about you, not him, and whatever you do or don't do isn't going to change the way he feels, or where he's at in his life. He's going to do what he wants to do; the best thing you can do is do whatever gives you peace, whatever settles your anxiety, whatever brings you a sense of calmness about all this. I hear you trying so hard to do the right thing, but give yourself a break and know that it's just not in these little details. It's in the bigger picture of where he's at and where you're at and if there's a match there.

              I know this is hard, because what you really want isn't what he's doing right now, and you can't change him, you can't make him do what you want him to do. He may or may not respond to you in the way you want him to no matter what you do. And he may or may not be willing to sit down and have that long talk with you that you want to have. It's not all up to you, and accepting that, coming to terms with the reality of what is instead of what you so want it to be - and I so hear you with your longing to make it work! - will make this so much easier on you.

              Remember that if it's meant to be, it will be, but only because both of you are on the same page and want to make it work. It always takes two. If the mixed signals you're getting from him are just too hard on you - and they would be on me! - then decide what your terms are, decide what you are ok and not ok with and set your own boundaries - you can do this without communicating with him because it's always your actions that say more than your words. Make your own plans so you're not waiting around for him, and fill your days with things that you enjoy doing, with people you enjoy doing them with remembering that he is only one person!

              I know he means so much to you, but if the way he is now is the way he is, can you live like this? You're not going to change him, my beautiful friend, so please don't be so hard on yourself. Even if you do everything you can to make this work, it's always, always both of you! Make sure he's worth what you're putting yourself through. If he's not there, there will be someone who is, and you won't be the only one trying so hard to make it work.

          • Hi Jane, I have a really urgent situation and need your advice!

            After ignoring me since Monday night (it's Friday afternoon now) he messaged me on Facebook to say he can't use his phone for some reason so he sent me a message on Facebook. He said he would be meeting his best friend tonight and if I'd like to join, to contact his friend. So i guess he really was busy with trainings and work that he can only meet his best friend today too. How should I feel about this? What should I do?

            I have thought about what you said and tried making things about me now, and not him. I know I can't accept the way he is treating me now, and unless he changes, I will not want to continue with him.

            I don't know if I should go and then find some time to talk to him. Or to go and act as if everything is normal. Or to not go because it sounds like he doesn't care if I go or not. Or if I don't go, to even reply him on that.

            Please help! :(

            • Do what will leave you with the least amount of regrets, Mae. I have always found that to be the best option when you're not sure what to do, because when you look back on this moment - which we all inevitably do! - we fill so much of our mind with the "what ifs?". What if I had gone? - if you didn't go. What if I didn't go and didn't reply? - if you went. What if I went and told him how I really felt? - if you went and acted like everything was normal.

              Know that it won't really change anything whatever you decide. If he's there, on your page, he's there. If he's not, he's not. The details, like this decision that seems so much bigger than it really is, really don't matter in the bigger picture. What does matter is if the two of you want the same thing, are on the same page, and are both invested equally in this relationship. If you don't have that, nothing else really matters, my beautiful friend. Make sure he's worth all this, Mae, because you are!

  109. Hi Jane-

    I really enjoyed your article. Very inspiring and well written. I too have been involved in several relationships described, one of which lasted almost 13 years. I am glad to say I did finally move on from that, only to end up in what I think is happening all over again. Let me explain.

    5 years ago, I met a young man in the airforce online. At the time he was stationed in MO while I am in NY. It wasn't bad at first, I visited him once a month for several months. We talked everyday via online games and ventrilo. I was lonely, but we spent all of our time together. When his tour was over (2 years later), he moved back to his home town, with his parents in CA. Now he was even further away and we both were having financial difficulties due to the bad economy. We started seeing each other less, at most twice a year. One year we only saw each other once. We did still talk everyday, text, and play games together. Last year he started a job that he hates. He can not afford a place of his own in his area on the salary he makes, and I have been unsuccessful finding work there. I recently applied for a great position in FLA, and asked how he felt about moving there. He said "We will see". When I asked him what that meant, he basically told me he did not want to move anywhere until he had a job there first. I can understand that, but if I make enough money to get us started, I really did not understand the issue. He basically came out and told me that he is "stuck" at the moment. He explained to me that it has nothing to do with me, that he wants to be together and loves me very much. I told him that I felt like he was stringing me along, that I have been waiting for him for years. he did say he understood that, and that he understand if I can not wait anymore. I love him very much, and I know he loves me. But is that enough? 5 years of a long distance relationship has taken it's toll on me. He has been out of the military for 3 years. I knew the first year he would need to acclimate himself to civilian life, but these past two, I am at a loss. I do have my own life of course, and I have grown a lot as a person over the years. But this really surprised me. He said his motivation to move is to get away from his mother. He did not once say anything about me motivating him, or us being together. So, I am so confused now. I want to play things out for a little while, but I do not want to be miserable at the same time. I do not know if this is a commitment issue, or some sort of life crisis on his part. Either way, it is just too much for me to handle right now, and I just do not know what to do.

    Thanks for listening,
    Amy

    • Long distance relationships are never easy, Amy, and especially when you're not sure what's really going on with someone and where he stands. And especially when you feel like you've already given him so much of your time, waiting for him, believing he's going to come around. The fact that he didn't mention you and the two of you being together as any part of his motivation for moving would definitely be a red flag for me, for if you were a priority, that would have been the most obvious reason to want to move, and it would have been on his mind.

      While we'd always like to believe that love is enough, and certainly the fairy tales we grow up with would say it is, the reality is that love without the behaviors to back it up that show that love in action just isn't enough. Regardless of whatever life crisis may be going on for him, or whatever his commitment issues might be, if he's not there and you are, if you're ready and looking for a commitment from him and he isn't, if you're more than ready to be together in the same place and he's not, for whatever reason, then it's not enough. It's always painfully difficult to accept the reality that you may not be on the same page, and you don't know when or even if you will be - especially when you've devoted 5 years of your life waiting for him to be ready - but sometimes, the most loving thing we can do for ourselves is to accept what is and make a decision that reflects that reality.

      I so hear what you're saying about being confused and don't know what to do. There comes a time when you have done everything you can do, Amy; when you realize it has to come from him if it's going to work. You are only one person in this relationship and it always takes two. If a relationship is meant to be and it's going to work, it always takes two people who want the same thing, who are willing to do whatever it takes to make it work regardless of any extenuating circumstances. Remember that you deserve nothing less than this, Amy, and if he's not the one, if he's not there and he doesn't know when he will be, know that there will be someone else for you who will be looking for the same thing you are.

      This isn't about trying to make anyone love us, my beautiful friend, it's about finding someone who's been looking for you all along!

  110. Hi Jane! I must say that your article just truly inspired me. I don't know where to begin. I met this really great guy and we have been dating for months. I fell in love with him. Everything started off really great. He was married for 9 years and divorced because his ex wife cheated on him 4 times. He has healed from that relationship and has been dating different women (not all at the same time though). When I came along, he wasn't involved with anyone but he always told me how I was the best thing that came around yet. I was the most mature, always made him feel comfortable around himself, something that other women have not been able to do. Basically, I was special in his eyes and he seen that. He and I both are only the type to date just one person at a time, as well as engage in any sexual activity. We have been sexual active together. He is just as emotional as I am. Well at least he always told me that he gets emotionally attached quick, and falls in love fast. We had a lot of compatibility. The problem started when he told me that he was thinking about moving out of town. He told me this a week into dating each other but I let it go because we both decided we were going to give things a chance to see where they go. Just go with the flow. He was not planning on moving until August which now got pushed back another 4 months. But anyhow, since these big plans came into place, he didn't know what to do with me anymore. Apart of him (his heart) wanted to keep me around, especially knowing that he didn't have any reason to cut me off and the other half of him wanted to cut me off before things got any deeper. His indecisiveness was an off and on thing. We had this conversation a couple times before where I told him he really needed to make a decision because I can't be put on a string. Never did, and things went back to the way they were because he didnt want to let go of me. A week ago we decided to give each other some space so he can get in touch with his true feelings to decide where he stands to maybe come up with a decision. We didn't talk for a few days, but didn't see each other for 2 weeks. We finally seen each other again yesterday but here is the problem. He told me before I got to his house yesterday that he did not want a commitment all of a sudden right now but we can still hang out as friends?!? Only if we are on the same page, because if we are not then this wouldn't work. I told him that I was falling in love with him a few weeks ago, but not in love with him. He told me he has strong/deep feelings for me and cares a lot about me. Don't you think that is the same thing as being in love or falling in love? but he may be scared to admit it to me? Anyhow I told him on the phone we could still hang out because I did not want to lose him even as a friend. He said he didn't see his self being committed even months from now, but you still never know. He always contradicts himself. By the way we originally met on a dating website, and he was looking for a long term relationship. All of a sudden things are getting deep and he pulls away. His excuse is he has so much in his life right now going on that he can't provide for me the way I need and he is trying to move, even though there is a possibility that he is still going to move within the state or out. He doesn't even know yet. He said he doesn't want me to think that he is using me, and that would be wrong for him to tell me to wait around until he is ready for a relationship, which it is. I told him I was going to keep my options open then but decided to hang out with him yesterday and stayed the night! Big mistake! I realized this morning before I left how strong my feelings really are for him. I knew then deep down I could not do this. He was asking me questions yesterday about how I feel about keeping my options open because I told him I was going to. I asked him if he was scared of commitment and he told me maybe. maybe not. This man is 37 years old. But says he is just so happy in his life right now. When I got home this morning, I decided to take my power back and tell him I couldn't do this anymore. I did just that. I feel I made the wrong decision. I told him I am in love with him and I can't hang around someone that I am in love with. I don't want to lose you but I have no choice. His response was "WOW KIM!! " "This is a unique situation. I don't know how things will play out but you have to do what makes you happy and makes you feel safe." He always contradicts his self. Now he doesn't know how things will play out, but that is the point of going with the flow, you are not suppose to. Yet he always puts the ball in my court and gives me the option to either leave, because he doesn't want to take that responsibility.Anyhow he said he respected my decision and sorry things are this way. He seemed to not have a care in the world like it wasn't bothering him. This was through text messages by the way. It hurt more because he knew he had this really great girl, how can you let go of a woman so great? I don't even know if he is really sure how deep is feelings are for me until I disappear. Do you think that it is possible for him to realize he is in love with me without me being in the picture? I have a hard time letting go, yet I know what is meant to be will be. He is used to be being there and didn't think I was going to walk away like I did today because he always told me if this had of been any other guy, I probably would of walked away sooner, but it being "him" its harder. It is the truth, he is different from most guys, he is honest, but I think he is fearful and insecure in some ways. I think his part marriage messed him up even though he put himself through counseling after. This is wrong to think, but my biggest fear is him finding someone else, or someone else coming along and him committing to her. But I thought to myself if he can't commit to me, he can't commit to anyone else regardless of who comes or tries to come in the picture because he knows he doesn't want a relationship so why put himself in another situation like this one. And if he wanted to commit to someone it would have been me. What do you think about that? I don't know what to feel anymore. I decided to walk away, and I feel I have no other option left but that. I told him how I felt and we left off on good terms with him aware of my decision. I feel like I just missed out on a good opportunity. Sometimes I wonder how he really feels for me but it is so hard to tell because he will only say so much. I am so hurt because he allowed a really good woman to walk away.He let go of someone that was "different" to him. I feel lost.

    • You didn't miss out on a good opportunity, Kim, he was never there. As much as it sounds like he wanted to be, he just doesn't know what he wants. Of course you're filled with regrets about your decision. It never feels good when we finally draw a line in the sand and set firm boundaries around what we will and will not put up with anymore.

      You recognized what you were doing though - read what you said there - "I decided to take back my power and tell him I couldn't do this anymore." You knew. You felt powerless to change him or the situation and rightly so. By staying in it, by putting yourself through the emotional roller coaster of being with someone who didn't know what he wanted, didn't know when he would know, if ever, but couldn't take the stand himself to give you that freedom, you saw that you couldn't do this anymore. That is real strength, Kim. Because so many of us, including myself, have stayed far too long in relationships giving our power away everyday that we woke up to see if he would come around that day, only to find out months or years down the road that we were still waiting. Know that this is going to feel worse than before you made this decision because we always do when we put an end to the hope. To our dream. To all that we wanted this to be and knew it could be if only he could come around and commit to us.

      Be so gentle with yourself here, Kim. Know that if he was ready, it would have been you - you are absolutely right on that. And don't for one moment let yourself go to that place we all go where we start picturing him with someone else, committing to them, being everything he couldn't be to us to someone else. It doesn't happen like that. Don't take any of this personally. This is about his issues, his stuff, his life, and where he's at and not about you. If this is meant to be, my beautiful friend, if he really is the one for you and the two of you are meant to be together, know that it will happen. Love always brings two people together who are meant to be together if both people are on the same page, want the same thing, and are both committed to doing whatever it takes to make that happen, regardless of circumstances. And if he comes around, if he reaches a point in his life where he is ready for the same thing you are, then you will be the first to know! Then you can decide where you're at at that point in your life.

      You can't make a relationship work if he's not on the same page and doesn't want the same thing. We just can't make anyone love us no matter how much potential they seem to have. You recognized this, Kim, and more importantly, you chose you over him. That's huge! I know it doesn't feel that way right now, but believe me, one day down the road you will look back on this and be so grateful you stood up for what you knew in your heart was best for you. You don't have to ever convince anyone of your worth, Kim. You deserve nothing less than someone who wants the same thing, is on your page and isn't afraid to do what it takes to be together. Accepting anything else is no way to live!

      • Thank you for responding Jane! I actually have an update because I just found out that he is still on the dating website that he said he was going to delete a long time ago. He said that he's only checking his messages on there but i find that hard to believe. I think he's not ready because he still wants to play the field. He lied to me basically. But everything that wasn't adding up to me now makes sense. I believe he manipulated me because he showed me clear signs that he's an emotional manipulator. One being,he never took responsibility for anything and always shifted the blame on me. I guess everything does happen for a reason and I'm happy he showed his true character though he was a very great lier. Whatever the reason for his non commitment,I'm happy I listened to my gut instincts because the things he was doing finally clicked in my head.

        • Yes, Kim; you knew! And now you are free to move on and find someone who is on your page, who wants the same thing as you, and will be honest enough to make sure you know where he stands!

  111. I also just want to add that I confronted him though I should have not and of course now I feel terrible because I should have kept my mouth shut. He made me feel bad and once again he ended up shifting the blame on myself. I was upset and just wish he could have been honest and told me he wanted to just keep his options open instead of telling me he didn't want a commitment. At the end of the day I don't know what is really going on in his life but do know he manipulated me and now how I wish I would have never confronted him because that was not my place. Again I was upset and at the moment wanted him to know that I now know the type of person he is though I'm sitting here wishing I would have just kept quiet.

    • We all have regrets about how react sometimes, Kim. Don't beat yourself up here. It doesn't matter. It doesn't change anything, you didn't lose anything more, and he's not giving your interaction a second thought. Don't do this to yourself either. You saw his true colors, you learned more. Let this whole thing confirm for you that you knew, you wisely followed your gut instinct and you did this all before you allowed your heart to feel anymore pain or heartbreak from being involved with him - on his terms - for any longer than you did. That's huge! Anything else doesn't matter, and it especially doesn't matter to him. You deserve so much better than this, Kim and it's only by refusing to settle for anything less than you know in your heart you deserve that you will free yourself up from relationships like this to find it! The details don't matter!

  112. *right

  113. Hi Jane,

    This article hits close to home and I think it is wonderful how responsive you are to comments.

    I face a similar situation as most of these women with my on-again/off-again romance with someone for the past 3+ years. A few months ago, we had re-connected and have been dating very sporadically. He, of course, continues to keep me at arms-length; however, I continue to see him because I feel as if he has improved in contact and progressing with his past behavior despite sometimes weeks between our dates (it varies).

    I do feel personality-wise he is the one for me, however, full-aware of his prior reluctance to integrate; I have maintained a rich social life and have been very active on the dating scene. It had been a couple weeks since our last date and I have since been casually getting to know someone else who displays some great potential as well – however, there is still much to learn from this person.

    Ultimately, my heart is still with #1 (he initiated a recent date) – but I feel as though I am coming to a crossroad where I need to make some decisions. It is a tough position to be in!

    • It sounds like you're doing the most important thing here, Aaliyah; you're living your life, keeping your options open and refusing to hand on and wait indefinitely while someone keeps you in infamous arms-length position! That is huge! You'll know when it's time to do something, when you need to choose. Enjoy getting to know this new person who's come along. Just enjoy what comes and goes and try to observe everything from a detached, observant position so that your heart doesn't get ahead of your head. Make any man who wants to be a more permanent fixture in your life prove that he's worthy of you, Aaliayh. You are worth far too much to waste anymore of your time and energy - and your beautiful you! - on anyone who isn't on your page and doesn't want the same thing you do. You deserve nothing less than this!

  114. hi jane, I need some advice please I have this long distance relationship always say such ugly things I think is bipolar quickly change your mind the fact is that we are perverts I accept but everything has limits. sometimes he do not get angry and tell me nasty things. I love him .. I blame the things I do not do this drives me crazy sometimes, as claimed pervert come before treated me bad when I can not believe this is something sick. now tells me that I need a head doctor, ugly things he tells me all the time. I do not understand. I wasted my time with downmarket suddenly treat me bad. I am very pretty I do not need a guy to treat me so bad I suffer stress. I think it's bipolar ... how to deal ... omg please tip sorry my english spanish girl..

    • If you have reason to think you may have a mental health issue, Lizzeth, then by all means seek out some professional help for yourself. Sometimes this is the only way to get help when we need it. But at the same time, it also seems like you may be with someone who is not good for you, who brings out the worst in you because you are not in a healthy relationship with someone who genuinely cares about you and wants the same type of relationship as you. You say he is treating you so badly, and yet you also say you love him. My beautiful friend, why do you allow yourself to give your heart to someone who treats you badly?

      You choose whether he is worthy of you. You choose whether he deserves to be with you. You choose what you allow, and who you allow in your life. You raise the bar on the treatment you subject yourself to. What are you getting out of this relationship? How does it benefit you?

      This is always about you, Lizzeth; he can only treat you the way he does if you allow him to. Real love is about two people who genuinely care about each other and show it by their actions, not just their words. Love is about honesty, and trust, and care, and being there for each other. It's about support and kindness and compassion. Just because we've equated love with so many other types of behaviours in the past, doesn't mean it's love. You know in your heart what love is, Lizzeth. You deserve the only kind of real love there is.

  115. Dear Jane,
    I wanted to thank you for writing this article and let you know it has given me some insight into my very difficult situation. I'm 19 and hang out with a few guy friends that I've known for years, they introduced me to a new guy friend "Ben" last year October time, and at first I thought not much of it but gradually I'd find myself getting more and more curious about him as time went on. It got to February and myself and Ben had been dating other people and such and never had an issue. One day I told one of my close guy friends that I thought Ben was hot and obviously Ben knew about it by the end of the day. Funnily e ought though, we got to talking and by April on a drunken night out we had our first kiss (not exactly the most romantic of stories, sorry!). After that we decided we needed to meet up n our own and we didn't take things any further physically until a month or so after seeing eachother pretty much every day since our first kiss. It was pretty obvious to everyone we were seeing eachother but I have never been in a real relationship before and because I felt so comfortable with him I told him I wanted to be in a relationship and gave him a weekend to think about it. However in that time, One of my guy friends kissed me and told me he loved me even though he knew I really liked Ben. When I met up with Ben to discuss the relationship issue, he said he was willing to try with me and be in a relationship but then of course I had to tell him about my other guy friend so as not to start a relationship built on secrets. He was heartbroken but he obviously still cared about me enough because a week of me begging for forgiveness he forgave me and we were back to normal. However the relationship question was dropped and I didn't want to bring it up out of guilt. Since then, Ben realised he wanted to go to a university 200 miles away from me. Our relationship grew and I encouraged him and he supported me and he is showing more and more boyfriend-like qualities everyday, I've met his parents, I've hung out with his close friends and other things...but we both know it has to end in September. There are so many things to think about when it comes to long distance that I don't think I could handle being with him, then I don't want to be without him and see him with other people but it would be too painful to wait for him, especially as all this time I still don't know what he wants from me as well as he has never said to my face ONCE that he likes me or misses me or anything and if I ask him he will say "I thought it was pretty obvious" I just don't know what to do. I don't want to lose him as a friend more than anything but uni is only 8 weeks away and it's getting to the point where I'm going out of my mind counting the days til he's gone and I have no one again. I would really appreciate some further advice on my particular situation as soon as possible because none of my friends or family know what to do either :/ please be in touch! Thanks again Jane!

    Loran

    • I'm glad this article helped give you some insight, Loren. These types of scenarios are never what we want, but somehow, here you are. I'm wondering why it has to be so cut and dry? If both of you are on the same page here and still want to be together, 200 miles away isn't really that far. You could always see each other on weekends, you can talk on the phone, you can text, you can email, Skype, there are so many ways you can communicate in this electronic age. Have you talked about continuing your relationship while you're apart, or are you assuming that this is the case or you are getting a certain vibe from him that leads you to believe this is how he feels? If you don't know, and you need to know for your own sanity, then there's nothing wrong with being honest with him and finding out what he really thinks about what's going to happen in 8 weeks.

      It clearly doesn't sound like you will be able to just focus on you and your own life and let whatever he does or doesn't do concerning your relationship not affect you. Whenever that's true, and you find the scenario you're imagining worse than you're reality, that's when not knowing becomes worse. That's when this becomes about you and your need for a sense of peace and calm that has been replaced with the nerve-wracking what if? unknown scenarios. Do you already know the answers to your questions and that is why you're feeling the way you are? The fact that you felt the need to ask him if he likes you or misses you, and the casual way he responded to your very serious question, suggests that you may not both be on the same page here. But if this is someone you could see yourself with, in a more long-term way, by finding where he's at, this will help you to know whether he's worth waiting around for or worth considering having a long-distance relationship with.

      You know him, Loran. Trust your gut instinct. If you need to know more, then talk to him. Talking about what page you're both on isn't going to change anything; he already knows where he's at and so do you. What matters more than anything else is that you're both on the same page. If you can't talk to him now about this kind of major change coming up in your relationship, when can you talk to him?

  116. Struggling to let Go says:

    Hi Jane,

    first of all, I want to compliment you on your website. I have read several articles and do find that there is a lot of wisdom here. I keep coming back to this article, in particular, because I think it applies to my situation by extension.

    I dated this guy for roughly 15 months. I had been burned pretty badly in my previous relationship (it took me a full 1.5 years to get over that 2 year relationship!!) and so was extremely cautious when getting involved with this new guy, X. Things seemed to be going well until about 6 months into the relationship, when I tried to confront him about some communication issues (namely, I felt like he wasn't telling me what he wanted). He suddenly tried to break up with me because he said he didn't believe I truly liked him. I told him he was 100% incorrect (he was -- I was crazy about him, and just days before I had been telling a friend how lucky I was to have found him), and the next day he told me he'd made a huge mistake and that he wanted to date me still. I was gun shy for a while and having a hard time reconnecting with him because I now didn't trust him as much, but we made it work for a while... 3.5 months later, he broke up with me again, saying that we were too different of people and that even though he loved me, it just wasn't going to work. I tried to convince him to work on things but gave him more space this time. We talked on and off for a week, and he decided to give it another go, though we didn't see each other for a total of 2 weeks. I was considering grad schools and there was a good chance I would move because programs elsewhere seemed like better fits. Before he had broken up with me, though, I was prepared to stay in the same state as him because I really wanted the relationship to work. After he broke up with me, however, I decided to heed my family's warnings to do whatever was best for me professionally and go to the best school I could get into. During this second breakup (though the first was only an attempt more than a breakup itself), he told me he got scared because of long distance. I took him back saying that I really wanted us to work on things, though I see now that a mistake I made was not being proactive enough to ask him to go to therapy with me to figure out how to communicate more effectively.

    Things were improving, I felt. Then, about 3.5 months later, I left for a 2 week trip to visit family in Europe. When I came back, we had to face a conflict that was stressful and caused us to argue. For the next month, we started arguing rather frequently. Some 2.5 months before I had decided to move to a different city that I knew I didn't like as much as the city he was in -- but I figured since we would go long distance I would come back frequently (I have flight benefits with a major airline and was planning on flying back and forth every 4-6 weeks). At the point that he finally broke up with me 2 weeks ago, we had plans to do all this stuff together before I took off, and he had finally said he was on board with long distance some 2 months before the breakup. He now says that he is completely worn down and has no hope that the relationship will work. He says he still loves me and is crushed and that the relationship was the best he's ever had, but it just won't work. I was supposed to move 3.5 weeks after the breakup happened, but I moved 2 weeks later because I figured I would otherwise just sit in my apartment moping (I am now sitting at my family's house moping before my move into my apartment closer to school in about 2 weeks).

    I am absolutely crushed. I feel completely overwhelmed and like i perhaps made the wrong decision. I have a lease and plans for this degree but some part of me wants to turn around and go back. He says that the relationship wouldn't have worked no matter where I was. I know that the relationship wasn't as great as it could have been because our insecurities fed off of each other's -- I think I was not able to fully get over being dumped, perhaps, and the fact that I was ready to commit to long distance far before he was made me really nervous that he would jump ship. I just don't understand how he can say he loves me so much but that he doesn't want to make the relationship work. I am really worried that I will not know how to let this go. He wants to stay friends, and I can't imagine not having him in my life, but the truth is that if he starts dating someone else, that will probably crush me, and I am also rather angry right now that he broke up with me right as I needed his friendship the most, during a major move to a city I knew I didn't really like. I am regretting my choice a lot because I know I won't want to stay here. I have uprooted and rerooted multiple times, and the thought of what happens after this degree is absolutely terrifying. I had thought I had finally found someone for whom I wanted to anchor down (I was planning on moving back to his city for my practicum next summer and then to live after the degree), and now I feel completely lost and like I made a poor decision. I keep wondering what would have happened if I had stayed, though my family makes a good point that if people want t make it work, they do and that he could have moved for me (he told me he was considering moving to be with me in a year about 3 days before he broke up with me).

    He's also told me he's not ready to be in a committed relationship. I asked him if he was just not ready for a relationship or if he wasn't ready for a relationship with me, and he said he guessed it was the second option because he just didn't think things were working out.

    I think you're right to say that if he /is/ the one, he will come around, but it just feels like everything about this is against all odds. Even if we miraculously bump into each other if I ever visit his city, or if I call him and he meets me for coffee, we have all this history working against us. He even admitted regret that he didn't leave his comfort zone too often while he was with me and said he was sorry for that; I feel like he really likes his safety and comfort, and all I wanted was for him to come sail with me. I think I invested too much and wonder what might have happened if I'd invested less -- if I'd given him an ultimatum to get help with me earlier, would things be different? I know all this is useless. I just feel so terrified of my future and miss him so much. Most of all, I'm terrified I will not find a good relationship because I overcommit like this -- I'm doing better than I was in my last breakup, but that was a horrifying experience and I promised myself I would never let myself sink that low again. I think that is the reason I am holding it together a little better.

    He and I aren't talking for at least 5 weeks, but I don't even know what to do in terms of trying to stay friends with him. I don't think I can if I still have feelings for him, and I worry he will always have at least a small piece of my heart because the relationship was not a bad one. I think he just got scared. My heart sinks just knowing that I may never even see him again because of the distance--I've moved a lot and I know that unless you're really intentional about prioritizing someone in your life, you're just not going to stay in touch... any words of wisdom? I feel like I am all over the place, and it is a little embarrassing.

    • Struggling to let Go says:

      PS: my grad. school will offer 10 free counseling sessions and I do plan on taking advantage of these to cope, by the way. Just wanted to add that. Nevertheless, if you have any thoughts on my (I just realized) very long post, I would love to read them!

    • Stop for just a moment here, my beautiful friend, and give yourself a break. Don't be embarrassed. Don't be so hard on yourself. There's a lot of fear you're expressing here and I suspect that that's really what this is all about. You don't want to have made the wrong decision, whether it's about this guy or about your choice of grad schools. It's ok. You don't have to be perfect. You're human, and that means we don't have the gift of knowing for certain what is best for where we're at in our lives, but it also means that we make the best decisions with what we know at the time we're making them.

      We do the best with what we've got.

      It doesn't sound like the two of you had a very healthy, grounded relationship to begin with. Anyone who suddenly breaks up with you, then changes his mind, then shifts the responsibility to you and how invested you are, then changes his mind again and again - honestly, it just doesn't sound like he knows what he wants or what he's looking for. And it doesn't sound like you're completely clear on that either. Which would make perfect sense that the two of you were attracted to each other and found your way into each other's lives. Because he could have moved for you. He could have made more of an effort to come your way, to meet you where you were at. He could have been supportive of where you are in your life and been a friend to you, too. But it sounds like he's not quite sure about the role he's meant to play and you're meant to play either. But this isn't about him.

      In the end, regardless of what he does or doesn't do, or what he says or doesn't say, you have to be able to live with yourself. Do what you need to do to regain a sense of calm. Counselling sounds like it will help ground you and give you a chance to sort out so many of your thoughts and fears. We all have them. Moving to a new city with a new school is an understandably stressful - and anxiety producing! - event. Go easy on yourself here. You don't have to have all the answers. You don't have to know what to do. You can change your mind at any time. No one holds you to the high, perfectionistic standards that you do. It's time to give yourself a break. To go easy on yourself. Just be in the present moment. Accept that you'll know more as you go along. But for now, looking back with regret at the decisions you've made or judging yourself on how well you're handling this breakup doesn't serve you well, my beautiful friend. You don't answer to anyone except yourself, and no one expects you to be so faultless except you.

      What brings you peace? What gives you joy? What makes you happy? What motivates you to start anew? What do you need here? What inspires you? These relationships weren't meant to be. If they were, they would have been. This isn't about there being anything wrong with you. It's about you being you. And taking care of yourself without making your plans around someone who isn't capable of being what you want him to be. It's scary to do this on your own sometimes, but you can do this. Trust yourself. And most of all, forgive yourself. You don't have to have all the answers. Just keep asking yourself the questions that come up for you and you'll find you know more than you think you do.

      • Struggling to let Go says:

        Thanks for the response. It is tough, but I'm trying to learn to sit with the fear and reminding myself that the answers will come when they are supposed to. It's just tough thinking that I had found some stability at long last after extensive work on myself over the past few years, but I guess you're never really done developing.

        I did think about what you had to say regarding the instability of the relationship. I did the math last night and realized that, in the 15 month relationship, 6 months were spent feeling grounded and stable, but the remaining 9 were on and off breakups, and no matter how much I wanted to believe there was stability there, the fact that there were multiple breakups makes that impossible. I think you make a good point about taking care of myself without making plans around someone who can't be there for me when I need him most. I've been reading a book by Pema Chodron that discusses fear and says that though you may feel it and be directed by it, the way to defeat it is not to do what it tells you to do. So I'm going to go to grad. school and work on my career, on making new friends, on living. Who knows where I will go after this degree? But perhaps the answers will become apparent along the way. Who knows.

  117. Tinner4Life says:

    Hi Jane... I have my oldest boy off to college this year from a previous relationship and two kids by my fiance (current). We've been together 10 years come November of this year. Around the 2nd year of being engaged his excuse for not marrying me was that His first marriage (dated 4 yrs, married 1) ended extremely bad and is afraid it will happen again. The second reason is because I had to last longer than his heeler dog in age(7) at the time. Well, correct me if I'm wrong but we're going on 10 years, 3 years longer than his expectations. I gave him an ultimatum that if he didn't marry me come our 10 year engagement I was going to cut off all ties and move on. Its still possible that he will come around and surprise the holy hell out of me but I highly doubt it.

    What are your thoughts on this matter?

    • Fear can hold such power over us, Tinner; and it sounds like he either truly afraid or using this an an excuse for some reason that has everything to do with him. An ultimatum is always hard because it means you are at the end of your rope, and understandably so. He's going to do what he wants to do, and an ultimatum probably won't motivate him. You're not going to change him, but you can choose to do what you need to for you. Decide what he's worth to you; what being with him is worth to you, what having him there as the father of your two kids -for them and for you - means to you. It's been a long time and you have built a life together that is more of a life than many married couples have. Clearly, he has a problem with marriage, but that doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't love you or isn't committed to you. He has everything he would have if you were married, so it makes sense that he isn't motivated to make it official - except that it obviously means so much to you.

      If you're really ready to cut off all ties and move on, would he be open to going to counselling with you? What do you need from him in that marriage commitment? Can you talk about that? Can you have a conversation with him where you let him know what he means to you and what a marriage commitment means to you where it's just about you and your feelings, so he can hear those "I" statements from you without feeling so defensive of his position?

      This is about you, my beautiful friend, and only you know what you truly need here. You obviously love him, and care about him or you wouldn't have stayed with him this long. So what do you want to do with that? It's always your decision. You can always leave. But it sounds like you're hurt and angry - and that's completely understandable! - and I'm wondering what you really need underneath all that when you peel away those layers. If you can't change him, what can you change? What do you need to do here? You always know.

  118. Hi Jane!

    Thank you SO SO much for writing this article. I can't tell you how grateful I am to have stumbled onto this website. These are things that I 100% needed to hear right now. I have literally been crying for 2 days now because there is this guy (my neighbor) who I have known for a year now. We are both 21 and I have liked him ever since I met him. He finally kissed me a few months ago and since then we've only done that, but we've gone on so many dates. I've been in a whirlwind not knowing if he was just interested in hooking up with me or if he was interested in more commitment. I'm a long-term kind of a girl and I don't date around. I over thought and overanalyzed this whole situation. I have been wanting to ask him what we are and a few nights ago he wanted to talk (which was the first time he has ever said that or brought anything up) and he was so nervous but told me that he wasn't ready to be in a relationship because he's busy with work but I am "perfect girlfriend material" etc etc. It totally crushed me because I hoped there was a chance that he would want to take things to the next level. Then he asked me if I still wanted to hook up and stuff and I said no way, I'm not like that. I said we're not on the same page and we should just be friends and left. After all this I still feel so hurt and still finding myself wanting him, as pathetic as that sounds!! I haven't heard from him since. What do you think I should do at this point?

  119. Hi Jane,
    You article and the letters and replys have helped me tremendously, but like everyone else I have a unique situation and would love to hear your thought. I have been with my bf for just over 4 years and we have has what I would call and he until recently called, a magical relationship. We first met many yrs ago when I was married and he was single. We had an instant chemistry but obviously since I was married we just left it at that. We never saw each other again but through family always heard updates on each other. To make a long story short, I was widowed and he divorced we live on two seperate coasts, he west, me east but that spark of many yrs ago was enough for us to reconnect and start a long distance relationship (we both have school ages kids and he shares custody with his ex). We see each other every month for several days and talk and text many times a day. We vacation as a family and we know everything about each other. We have talked about "someday" and what will do when we finally are together, where we will live how we will retire etc, but never has he asked me to marry him although he knows that is what I want. About 3 wks ago he shocked me by saying he feels like he is just going through the motions and feels as though he can't give me the commitment he knows I need and deserve. He says everything in his life seems to not be working, job, me, relationship with his kids, finances etc. he has told me in the past that he has had commitment and intimacy issues and that his failed marriage has scared him more. Now he is pulling away from me but he did say that he wants therapy for his issues and hopes he can get over them. He asked me to support him but he understands if I don't. Since he can not gautantee anything right now. I love him deeply and don't want to let this slip away but I am afraid that this is too deep for him to overcome.
    Should I stay or run?