When He Won't Commit

When he just won't commit. The reason he won't commit has nothing to do with you, it's all about him. A beautiful woman sits at the edge of the bed wondering why her boyfriend won't commit.You've tried to move on so many times. You've shed more tears over this guy than would fill an entire ocean. You've done everything you can, you've tried everything you've read or heard to get him to commit to you in the way you want him to commit to you. You've hoped and waited and then hoped some more, spending more time and energy analyzing him than you're comfortable admitting. And nothing has changed. You don't want to believe that you might have to let this wonderful guy go, but you're starting to wonder if you're just wasting your time with him.

No one seems to understand.

No one seems to understand you and what you’re going through; the agony and the ecstasy, the highs and the lows (oh those awful lows), and the highs that keep you in it, keep you sticking around convincing yourself that eventually he’s going to get it. This time is going to be it. Those wonderful (albeit few) moments with him that keep you on the begging end, keep you wishing and hoping and staying right where you are all in the hopes of finally getting him to see the light. Of you. Your light.

You’re not alone.

And more importantly, what you're feeling is nothing to be ashamed of. I know; you feel like you can’t admit to anyone just how deep you are in this. You have a hard time believing it yourself. And every time you even think about leaving him, getting out, it’s enough to give you a panic attack. Everyone tells you how easy it should be. Because of the way he treats you. Because of the way you feel most of the time with him. Because, because, because.

You know in your head that they’re right. On the head level, you get it. But none of that matters to you when it’s your heart that’s going through this, when even the thought of being without him turns your world upside down. There’s no one you can talk to about this because your friends are all tired of hearing about it over and over again. And they can’t understand why you don’t just leave him once and for all. And you’re starting to wonder if you might be a little crazy yourself for not being able to just do it. But you can’t. No matter how much you want to, you just can't him go.

It has nothing to do with you.

Just know that the reason he won't commit to you has nothing to do with you. This is all about him.

There are so many possible reasons why he can't bring himself to commit to you, and none of them will make any sense to you, so don't waste your time trying to figure him out. It's time to simply accept that you've done all you can. If you've tried my recommendations to move him along and he still won't commit, then the answer should be clear. It's been too long, it's been too much. It's time to make a clean break and focus on you and the life you've been putting in the background.

Who are you? What do you love to do? What makes you happy? What makes you feel alive?

Find your way back.

Don't do it to hurt him, or as an ultimatum, or in the hopes that he'll now see just how awful and empty his life is without you. Do it for you, and because it's the best thing for you and your life, your values, and to move on and find what you want in your life. This isn't about him.

Know without a doubt that if he is the one for you, he will come around and he will contact you, but it's time to stop waiting and hanging around, wasting your life away waiting for him to come around. If he come's around then he'll come around, but don't expect him to or keep hoping he will - just move on with your life without looking back.

You deserve so much more than this, my beautiful friend, and you waiting around for someone who doesn't even appreciate you is no way to live. It's time to choose you over him and start learning to live again, living the life you were born to live.

In the light of that beautiful woman known as you.


  1. Suzy says

    I absolutely love to read these posts by you. It is like you are right here chronicling my life, it's eerie but comforting. I am on my path towards myself. I have taken so much time away from my own dreams and possibilities and lived in the shadows of the wrong men. Well, no more!! I feel a sense of deep relief and a strong hopefulness for a future that begins with me and fulfilling my dreams. I am not worried that I won't find love again. I will, it will just be a better, healthier love that is built on a foundation of respect, appreciation and knowing what we both want. I have a long journey and it may be lonely along the way but it will be a journey that is worth taking to change the habits of not feeling worthy, accepting poor behavior, being treated badly and general disrespect. If I respect myself and nurture who I am, then he will come along someday. I am excited by the changes that have already occured and want only to put myself in my own sight for a change. Thank you for your inspiring words.

    • Jane says

      Thank you, Suzy. I'm so glad to hear you are finding support here for your journey. I am never surprised anymore at the timely messages we receive when we are open to receiving them. :-)

      It sounds like you are well on your way to discovering a whole new way of relating to both yourself and men. How succinctly you capture what so many of us have gone through with your own inspiring words "I have taken so much time away from my own dreams and possibilities and lived in the shadows of the wrong men". Thank you for sharing that. You show such strength and beautifully express your thoughts here in recognizing this and determining to begin anew for your own sake. And while, yes, it can be a lonely journey, as the farther we have traveled away from our true selves, the longer it takes to find our way back, it is only by going through this journey that we eventually arrive home to our beautiful true selves, to a place we never knew even existed. It is there that we finally discover all that we are and all that we deserve and refuse with such a steadfastness to settle for anything less than the whole package of a whole self and a whole soulmate who's been on his own journey waiting through it all for us to meet him there, too.

      It will all be worth it, Suzy; and putting yourself in your own sight for a change, is a beautiful place to start!

  2. Aly says

    The last few months I saw this guy that didn't know what/who he wanted in his life. Sometimes he showed that he liked me, but sometimes he pulled away. I suppose I found that interesting, but it got tiring for me. And even though I knew things weren't going to work out, it still took time and strength for me to break away. I'm afraid that maybe I just wanted someone I couldn't have?? Anyway, I finally started doing what I enjoy, and I have been able to let go of him. I know I'll have some ups and downs for a little while, but I'm already beginning to feel much better. 'When he won't commit' was a terrific article and I love the gettingtotruelove website.

    • Jane says

      Thanks, Aly :-)

      All these thoughts and feelings you share here are such a part of this journey, and having your kind of awareness of the reality of what you're experiencing is such a healthy part of really getting to know yourself and what you are all about when it comes to who you're attracting (and attracted to!) and why. There's always a reason we are attracted to someone and just being able to recognize that is a huge step to getting to the root of the why part that finally allows us to move on to the next chapter of our journey. Be so proud of yourself for having that inner strength to choose you over any guy who isn't capable of giving you what you so deserve!

      • Aly says

        Actually I dated this guy about 20 years ago for about 6 months, but things didn't work out because I had a small child and he wasn't ready for children. So I ended up marrying someone else, but I divorced about a yr ago because I finally had enough of being ignored and I always felt alone. When I ran into an ex boyfriend a few months ago, I thought it would be fun or maybe to find out if things would be better now that we are older and more mature. He had never married, but I now think he had/has BPD (which I knew nothing about back then). I think I actually liked the emotional ups and downs. I am just realizing that I tend to be attracted to guys that are not stable or emotionally available. Yes, I'm more complicated that my previous comment showed, but this article came out at the perfect time for me. I actually want to enjoy being alone now and find out what I'm about.

  3. Jim says

    I read this and remember. Here I am pushing 50, and have never even dated, because every woman I ever asked for a date was already committed to some idiot who wouldn't commit to them.

    • Jane says

      I hear your frustration, Jim. It takes some of us a very long time to finally get what others can see so clearly from their outside perspective. Unfortunately, we do miss out on some potentially wonderful and available men in the process.

  4. Alan says

    Does this apply to girls who can't commit as well?

    I'm in a situation where I can relate to what you've brought up in the article. The girl I've been chasing for a year now and dating for 2months doesn't seem ready to commit to me. I feel that maybe if i waited long enough, she'll find that I'm the right one for her. She agrees that I am, but she has so much fears that she can't do it. I don't know what else to do. Maybe i should just let it go like what u said. It's weird that i seem to be the lady and she's the guy.

    • Jane says

      Hi Alan - Yes, it is very possible it's the same. There are some women who can be as scared to commit as many men, it's just not as common, but it does happen, usually because of our own similar issues, too. Try my suggestions in the post, you will know best which one's will fit your own situation. And know that if it is meant to be, you will know and it will be, as hard as it can be to do.

  5. Susan says

    Wow, thank you so much for this article that I just happened upon this morning. I've been searching the web for "commitment" related articles for the past few days, and, by far, this one has touched me more deeply than all of the others. It's so spot on - the ease with which friends will tell me to move on from this relationship (or whatever it is) combined with the desperation of knowing that moving on feels akin to shifting the Titanic from its perilous course. meh. So hard to put 'me' first when I've been raised to always put others and their needs ahead of my own. It'll be a difficult trajectory but one, out of necessity, I must explore. Thank you again for speaking to my reality and to my heart.

    • Jane says

      So glad you found this and it spoke to your heart like it did, Susan. I understand the Titanic analogy completely! Right where you are is such a difficult place to be, but know you are so not alone and you will be stronger, whatever you decide, just by facing your reality like you are. It's in just that kind of openness to explore and face what you find in that process that you find a richness in yourself and your journey that leads to nothing less than the very best life and love have to offer.

      And if you haven't already, check out this post I wrote about being selfish, for some additional perspective - one of my own most difficult patterns to overcome.

      • Susan says

        Thank you Jane for your response and for the "being selfish" link. Such good advice! At the beginning of this relationship, it was easy to be selfish; there was so much attention and energy coming my way, I felt the world was my oyster and I could ask for, and receive, whatever I wanted. Then, as he - my guy - started to retreat and slip away (he even honestly admitted to me he's a commitment-phobe and told me to run away from him as fast as I could), my response was to drop my selfish and revert to my tried and true (and painful) selflessness once again. Ironically, his honesty with me about his own failings in the commitment area tended to draw me to him, not push me away. He followed up his "commitment-phone statement" with telling me how much I mean to him and that he doesn't want to lose me. So, since that talk (back in early December), it's been an ongoing dance of pushing me away while simultaneously pulling me to him. Talk about crazy-making. Yes, it's ultimately up to me to make the move because THIS IS WHO HE IS. I love the good times, the close times, but they typically occur only if I initiate them. For now, I'm willing to ride this roller coaster, but I don't know how much longer I can. He is a good guy; lots to love. He just can't be "my" good guy. Not now. Maybe not ever. And that's tough.

        • Jane says

          It is always so hard when that beginning is so incredible, Susan, but unfortunately, that is such the MO of guys who have issues with commitment. But at least with your eyes wide open here, you're the one making your own decision and choosing to ride this out as long as you choose to. That's empowering when you can make that choice knowing the full reality of what's going on and why you're choosing it for now.

          This is the whole point of all our relationships; only you know what you are willing to put up with for what you're getting in return, and for each of us, the answer is often different. Just keep living your own life, Susan, and remembering all that you are and all that you have to offer someone who is truly deserving of your beautiful you, and you will know just how long you are ok with things like this. You NEVER need to convince someone who is truly right for you of why they should want to commit to you!

  6. Pepper says

    It's so true all this and it helped me with the situation im going through. Just... is not that easy for the heart to be smart and realize it too. Thanks Jane your an Angel helping all of us women.

    • Jane says

      So true, Pepper; we so often forget to bring our logical thinking minds with us on this journey, too. I'm so glad this is resonating with you and you're finding some help here, my beautiful friend. :-)

  7. Suz says

    I read this article and see my situation all over it. We are perfectly suited for eaxh other....but playing the "waiting game" for 13 years is now destroying me. I don't know how to stop it. How do you when you love somebody who can't love you back. The times we spend together, the talks on the phone, the texts are keepong me going. I have lost me and my joy....how do Ivgwt it back. You are right...thinking of life withoit him scares me.

    • Jane says

      By realizing no one, not even a man who's all that, is worth losing yourself over and your joy, Suz. The longest I ever played the waiting game was three very long years, and that was beyond painful and enough to lose myself so completely that I cannot even imagine what you are going through after 13 years. I do know, though, that it's never too late to start again, to accept what you cannot change and live within the reality of what is, not what you so want it to be, and to pick up the pieces of your life and begin anew. It always the most excruciatingly painful experience in the beginning, but I have both personally experienced and heard from so many women in your situation who then went on to experience the relief that comes from knowing you are finally free, you are finally able to choose how you live, what you will accept, what you won't accept and where you want to go from here. On your terms.

      It doesn't have to be so all or nothing. You can begin to live again right now with him, by making a conscious decision to stand up for what you want, set your boundaries, refuse to commit to him any more than he is committing to you by living your own live within this relationship. What are your interests, what are your passions? What are your hobbies? What brings you joy? What makes you feel beautiful, desirable, and wanted? What makes you feel special? When your words don't mean anything to him anymore, because he knows you'll keep waiting for him, show him what your terms are by your actions that say so much more than any words.

      While I know just how scary it can be to even think of life without him, over time, when you start with the baby steps of asserting yourself, remembering what you deserve, regaining your confidence, remembering just how much you really are worth, you will know what to do. Is he worth it? Is having him in your life worth what you're going through? Only you know, my beautiful friend, but I do know, and I know you know this deep down, that none of us deserve to be unhappy, to lose our sense of self, to lose our joy. Take back your power my beautiful friend, you are that confident, you are that amazing, you are all that! Don't ever let anyone else ever tell you anything different. And you deserve nothing less than someone who loves you, who adores you, who loves the essence of you. You just have to decide if the security of what you have is worth more to you than giving it up to see what else awaits you. It's always your decision.

  8. Joanna says

    Hi Jane,
    I am 47. I was dating a man for nearly 4 months. He is 52, never married one child. I grew very attached to him but there were no signs of a committed relationship that i could see after 2.5months.... ie: wouldn't call me by name, never got compliments, never asked about my feelings etc...don't get me wrong he was a kind gentle man but i got the feeling he had issues around trust and intimacy. I told him of my feelings and suggested if we weren't on the same page we should part ways as i did not want to get hurt, no hard feelings. He said he saw us as friends and enjoyed my company but had not thought more about it anymore than that....and then he asked if he could have time to think about it. I pointed out that feelings either existed or not and that friends dont have sexual relationships in my book....but I waited another month and he volunteeted nothing..so i left...i met him online so 10 weeks later i decided to shut down my profile and went to another dating site. He turned up there 5 days later and sent me a message saying i looked nice in my new picture and he hoped all was going well. I replied polite but brief. Why did he contact me again? He let me go, called me after i left but when i didnt return phone calls he did not ask whats wrong he just stopped calling...i really dont get this guy...i am trying to move on but i feel stirred up again now he followed me to another site. I closed them all off now to have time out. What are your thoughts...

    • Jane says

      It sounds like you correctly picked up on him having his own issues around trust and intimacy, Joanna, because often men who aren't comfortable with a deeper level of intimacy and closeness still want to maintain some type of connection, as in the behavior you described here. So he sends you a lighthearted message about your picture because that's within his comfort level. Since you were the one who brought up feelings, my guess is that he would have been content to continue on with the way things were without the deeper level of commitment and intimacy.

      Someone who is closed off from their deeper selves and isn't comfortable - or able - to express themselves on a deeper more emotional level isn't going to dig deeper into asking you what's wrong or what's going on with you; so unless you're willing to have the type of relationship that he's shown you he's comfortable with, I wouldn't assume that anything has changed.

      Remember that when someone has done the work they they need to make changes to their own life and dig deeper into their own issues, they'll want to let you know, and you'll be the first to know. There isn't a right or wrong when it comes to where someone's at in terms of level of commitment; it's about being on the same page at the same time. That's as much about what it means to be truly compatible as anything else!

      • Joanna says

        Thank you Jane. I realised when I read your response I had left our fairly important information. You were quite right when you said he would have been content to remain status quo with me for a longtime probably but if all I needed to do was stay put to give him time to build the trust he needed I would have done so, I adored this man...however he maintained his dating profiles and even updated them with qualities he was looking for in a woman (which strangely were things I had been described as possessing by other men i had dated ) but one day in a bid to seek answers I created a dummy profile so i could go back and read his profile in detail without him knowing (most sites allow users to see who viewed their profile). The profile had no picture....I was devastated when he made contact with this profile to introduce himself when he hadn't even seen a picture. It made me feel completely worthless that he could have such low standards or be that desperate, having just spent a lovely weekend with him at his home. He never spoke of other women he dated but he never allowed things to get any deeper either. He was always willing to do things for me so long as they did not require emotional depth. I was surprised he did not run away when i confronted him as i had invited him to do so...he seemed to want to get closer but not with language. I knew he would be available to me if i wanted to see him as he always answered his phone. I just dont understand how an intelligent and incredibly articulate caring man, who described in such detail and with such warmth what he was seeking in a woman, yet when it was presented to him it seemed non existent. I am not a foolish woman who is unrealistic or in denial this man made a lot of effort to build something with me but seemed unwilling or unable to acknowledge me in a normal way...when he made contact recently i hoped he was trying to get past fears around intimacy to reconnect with me but i dont think that will happen...honestly Jane he was an unusual, quirky man who was not good looking and i think we were amazingly compatible, not something he would find easily by todays standards and expectations...i suspect he will settle for less so long as he doesnt have to commit, once a woman wants that he will leave them empty...i just hope and wish that i can have the grace to accept the situation as it is and be able to let go and stop holding on...

        • Jane says

          You will, Jo. Keep reminding yourself of what you know, keep remembering the reality of what you know to be true of your relationship here, and it will get easier. It's never about the potential, or the what ifs, it's about what is.

  9. Joanna says

    Thank you for your support and kind words Jane, you are helping people all over the world...I myself am from Australia..wising you and your readers all the very best

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *