I Love Him But He's Telling Me He Won't Ever Commit

A pencil erasing the word commitment written on white paper, symbolizing a man who suffers from commitment phobia and won't commit or make a commitment and is afraid of a committed relationship.Here's a letter from one of our lovely readers who's in love with a guy who seems to be suffering from commitment-phobia. Read her story, along with my response:

Hi Jane,

I stumbled across your site in search of answers for a non-committal guy. I couldn't find a situation close enough to mine so here it goes...

I fell in love with this guy. It took him 2 years to get a hold of me. We lasted for 3 months before he told me some unsettling news..."We wouldn't work out in the future."

Now it took me a couple of weeks to unravel the meaning behind this. He told me he couldn't commit and probably wouldn't commit. He had given me a promise ring a month into the relationship so him calling things off was surprising.

I saw it coming a few weeks before because he became distant. I did what I thought was right, gave him space, acted like nothing was wrong until the day of our breakup I couldn't take it anymore. I told him I knew something was up and that's when he told me the news.

Nothing was wrong in our relationship really. We never fought. We had great chemistry. I loved his family. The only problem was commitment.

Now he's not the average guy on the block. He's smart and respects me, my body, my thoughts. He was a bit of a player before I met him and that's why it took me so long to get into the relationship.

He still likes me and messes with me but won't commit. I believe it's linked to his father, who is a good man, because his father never married and "plays" around. His father is also a noncommittal guy. I saw potential and the day of our breakup he told me his intentions were not to break up with me that day but he didn't want me to be strung along when he realized we couldn't have a future.

I love him very much and are still friends. He acts like we're still together at times even. I want to have a future with him but I just don't know what to do. I can't change him. I can't make him commit.

I will move on but...I'd like to try again in the future. What should I do with him right now? We text a little, he acts distant and I know he is texting his other ex's because he did during the relationship. And another thing...I was his first SERIOUS relationship. Things got deep and he told me he can't handle the emotions and work that goes into it.

I'd still like to be with him since there was so much love left to hang in the wind. Please tell me your thoughts and thank you so much for taking the time to read this!

- Destiny

My Response:

This is exactly how it goes more often than not, Destiny.

When you see the signs that you’re always right about, when you sense it, when you can feel it and you do what you know is best; you give him that space, you go on like nothing has changed, until the reality of what’s really going on with someone like this catches up with the potential that you've clung so tightly to.

It’s only when, as you say, you can’t take living like this anymore, not being true to yourself or to the truth of what you know in your heart, you finally speak up.

And that’s when you find out you can always trust your instincts, you always know when something more is going on. It wasn't news to either of you, but bringing it up freed you both to express yourselves, to tell the truth of what page you were both on and so now you know exactly what you’re dealing with and you can decide where you want to go from here with this, with him.

You are so right for recognizing that you can’t change him, you can’t make him commit.

Just coming to that on your own is huge, Destiny, as so many of us get stuck in that part and only come to this after we've done so much damage to ourselves. The reality, though, is that while you’d like to try again in the future, he has to want to, too.

And so when he tells you that he “can’t handle the emotions and work that goes into it”, when he says “we wouldn't work out in the future”, and when he breaks it down even further for you by explaining that he “couldn't commit” and “probably wouldn't commit”, you have to ask yourself why you want to be with someone who is making such a point of making sure that you know exactly where he stands and what he isn't going to be doing with you.


Whatever his reasons, whatever his father was or wasn't – and  yes, our family histories and dynamics are such a contributing factor to so many issues around commitment. But as romantic an idea it is to rescue him from himself, to be that first serious love that conquers all, you’re not here to save or rescue anyone.

True love is about being with someone who’s on the same page as you, who wants what you want with you and is willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. This isn't someone who's repeatedly telling you with his words - and his actions - that the page he’s on isn't the one you’re on and clearly shows you this when he's texting both you and his other exes at the same time.

But you have to come to this for yourself.

You have to decide what you can live with and what you can’t when you decide what you want to do right now with him. And if you decide you want to wait, there’s only one thing to do. You live your own life.

You live and you live and you live some more. You go places you've never been, you do things you've always wanted to do, you create that beautiful life that just waiting for you to jump in with both feet. You discover your passions and you follow your dreams.

You find the things that stir your very soul.

You don't nag, you don't try to manipulate or control him, you don't play games. You stay true to yourself.  You’re honest and you’re real. You don’t compromise on what you want and what you’re willing to settle for.

You keep your options open and adopt the mindset that YOU are the prize here - because that’s exactly what you are! And in this kind of living, you make your own life so full and happy with the things that bring you joy so that you won't be looking to him to complete you or fill you up.

When you live your life like this, you'll find out that what he does or doesn't do doesn't matter as much as you do, and if he's ready to take things to the next step, you'll have given him the best chance to do this on his own.

That's what this is all about; living your own beautiful life in such a way that what someone else does or doesn't do doesn't matter; what matters above all else is your own happiness!

I hope this helps.



Do you have any other thoughts, encouragement, or advice for our beautiful friend Destiny? Share them with us in the comments.


  1. Helen says

    I have been where Destiny is right now, I thought I could change this guy. Give him everything he'd never had and what I thought he wanted. He never did commit fully to our relationship and he finally walk away 10 weeks ago. It was very hard for me to begin with, as I said earlier I was feeling very weak and if he said let's get back together I would have but not now. He liked to keep me hanging on and when he was feeling down or lonely he would text me loving things. The last time he did this I rang him and said what do want from me? I was shaking, my heart was beating so fast but I thought I am not doing this anymore. He has walked away so many times before but it was different this time, I knew I had to be strong and let him go and not accept him back if and when he wanted to. So I asked him not to contact me again, he said he couldn't promise he wouldn't do that. I said I can't do this anymore it's making me ill. He then agreed he wouldn't be in touch. That was a week ago, so hopefully he will leave me alone. It's the only way I can deal with it. I loved him so much, he was only the second man I had ever loved, my late husband was the first. But when I look back at the love my husband gave me it was so different from this other relationship. It is like you say Jane, it was so easy, it wasn't complicated and I knew he would go to the ends of the earth for me and I for him. That is true love, not what little this other guy gave me. Now I have a distance from him I can see this.
    Give yourself time Destiny, eventually they aren't in your every thought and you learn to do other things and start to enjoy life again.
    Helen x

    • says

      Hi Helen! I just want to say that your post was very inspiring. I'm sorry for the loss of your husband, but I am happy that you had the opportunity to experience genuine love and know what it should look and feel like going forward in your life. How selfish of that guy to take love but not give back to you, but when you state you need space, he tells you he doesn't know if he'll be able to give that to you. I had an emotionally unavailable guy say that to me too, after leading me on. Awful. Kudos to you for standing up for your heart and health and demanding the love and space you deserve!

  2. Being Real Davis says

    I just recently been through this same thing, I gave, gave, gave and gave somemore until I was depleted. Then he was not ready to commit. It was a hard pill to swallow, until I accepted wait I did not want to believe, I kept hope alive. I had to detach for myself if I had not done this for myself, he would still have be hoping, praying and wondering. I had to tell myself everyday I did not deserve crumbs but the whole cake. I am still on that journey...I am just glad I am not stuck anymore but moving on and forward. Jane your articles has helped me soooo much to start and stay focused on me!! Maya Angelou said it best "When someone tell you who they are BELIEVE them." Time heals all wounds!!!

  3. Maris says

    Thats hard Destiny, I think because you build a bond in those years.
    And I think it's going to be painful for you to even stay friends with him.
    Because aren't you lying to yourself? I think if you stay friends, you will always hope
    That he will "wake up" and choose you.

    The sentence which is what you said " he messes with me..." .
    So clearly you know what is happening
    When you hit the dictionary it says many things like this, here under.
    Now when you read this, do you still want this kind of human being to treat you like this.

    Messing :

    2. To use or handle something carelessly; fiddle: messed with the blender until he broke it.
    (Messed with your heart, and then he broke it...)
    3. To intrude; interfere: messing in the neighbors' affairs.
    ( wanting to know more about you , but at the same time also other women)
    1. To pass time in aimless puttering.
    2. To associate casually or playfully: liked to mess around with pals on days off.( he has nothing to do so
    He texts you or an ex.... Just killing time... Not knowing what he wants)
    3. Informal To be sexually unfaithful.
    ( get the sex or good hugs... And when the cup is full ... See ya later)

    I know nobody deserves to be treated messy , who is caring and a wants a good man.
    I would say stop the mess , clean it up!

    • Quincy says

      I am experiencing the samething with a man who I have been dating. He made it clear to me that he was not ready to commit but might be later on.

      We still go out on dinner dates sometimes and he treats me like I am his all and all, hold my hand and my purse if I need for him to do so, etc... He will do anything for me. However, I decided to pull away from him to focus on my own life and happiness. I plan social events without him. I've join a travel and fitness group.

      Please take Jane's advise to do all things you aspire to do, because it certainly helped me to become happier person and to feel good about myself. I do not worry about him anymore because I know someone else who is meant for me will come along one day !

  4. Meg says

    Go follow your dreams, do what inspires you, and gives you joy. AND FORGET THIS GUY. I'm worried that some of the advice here makes it sound like you can do what inspires you while you wait to see if this guy comes around. The danger with that is that he can really does stay in your heart, preventing you from being open to other guys who can love you and commit. If you keep having contact with him, even if only a few texts here and there, you can stay attached to him, no matter how hard you may try not to, and no matter how you've fooled yourself into thinking you've moved on. That happened to me; I had occasional contact with a man who broke up with me, saw him a few times, a few emails, calls and texts. I was elated every time and it was enough to keep the hope we would get back together alive, even though I was seeing other men. Just this week some things happened to make me realize what a minor person I really was in his life, and I asked him to stop contacting me, that it was too hard to do that because I wanted to date him. I would give up on your guy as an option completely. Have no contact. He sounds like the type that just cannot commit. Don't waste a year like I did.

  5. tash says

    Hey! there Destiny.. You are a beautiful woman and i feel that whats best for you is what matters..You have to live life, Your life the way you want to..You dont have to wait for someone to realise your worth..You are Amazing and am pretty sure that The Right Man for you will come..Just be patient. xx All the Best, and remember make the right decision for YOU, don't let "Love" cloud what you want in life because you can be in Love with the fact that you are in Love..& Not necessarily in love with Him and his actions..

  6. Tina says

    Destiny, if he's telling you he won't commit and doesn't want to string you along believe him and thank him for not wasting your time.

    The last guy I was with strung me along for 5 yrs! I thought he was special too, a very successful realtor and good dad to his 3 children...but he was not yet divorced. To make matters worse I found out in the end he was also seeing another woman Catherine, a realtor in Colorado Springs in the US (we're both from Toronto Canada) and he was stringing both her and myself along.

    Don't make the same mistake I did, you deserve so much better Destiny!

  7. Carolyn says

    This is a sad situation. When a man tells you he doesn't see a future with you or that he doesn't want to commit, why does anyone want to waste their time trying to change his mind? "I'm the one" or "I'm different" or "I can give him what he wants". He already HAS what he wants, which is lots of females who think like this. He is in heaven, unless there is one in the group who acts like fatal attraction. She creates a problem for a minute. I call this being in the circus. You know it is a waste of your time, but you do it anyway. Why? Because you are too lazy to find someone who is right for you. Yes, I was in the circus. Therefore I can tell you not to waste your time. Or you can go the way of "it didn't work for her but it will work for me!" All I'm trying to do is save you from yourself. Our best ideas get us in trouble. We can't play both sides of a relationship. Think about what you want in life. Start living the life you want to live "without a man". Don't give him another chance, or wait until later in life. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Don't try to get revenge or play men. The really sad thing about Destiny's situation is that she may get a big shock when out of the blue Mr. Unable to Commit gets married to someone else. At this point she should be jumping for joy, but she will be heartbroken instead. Just remember that these are our lives and we are in complete control. When you get tired of the games they will stop. How? Because you won't participate in the madness anymore. Know that I am always praying for you all. Be successful.

    • Tina says

      Carolyn, I love this!! Direct and to the point! And you're right men like this love having tons of woman around not because he cares about them but for his own selfish ego-it is truly sad when you think about it, but unfortunately it does happen.

      I wish someone had told me your words waay back then...But no use dwelling in the past, I have my life back now :)

  8. Jane says

    Hi Destiny, there is a wonderful saying 'If you love someone let them go free, and if they come back they are yours, but if they don't they never were' - hope this helps, sending you a big hug and bright blessings, Jane, England, UK

  9. Gabby says

    Hi Destiny,
    My hope for you is that you realize how special and amazing you are so you can let this guy go. It will take time but once you meet a man who treats you right you'll look back on this in the future and wonder why on earth you held on for so long.
    On another note - I'm not sure I believe in commitment phobia or fear of commitment. If a man wants to commit to a woman he will. When he doesn't, it means he's not interested in committing to THIS particular woman. I think we as women tend to hold on to this notion so that we don't have to face the cold, hard truth that the guy just isn't all that into us - well not as much as we hope anyway.

  10. says

    Hi Destiny! Im sorry for your pain, and I wish you love and happiness going forward. When a man says he doesn't want commitment or a serious relationship, we have to move on immediately because one thing is for sure: despite not wanting a relationship, a lot of guys will still string you along and act like there is more there than there is. That's why you're often left feeling this emptiness inside because it's not real. And this guy texted his exes while with you? Yuck! He isn't worth your time and you are worth so much more! Definitely cut all contact and do not be his "friend". Take care!

  11. KM says

    dear destiny, become captain ! of this destiny. stay in command. ; )
    in your words the dream and desire is there to still be with this man..
    i am brutally honest in saying he is not worthy of you. dont bat an eyelash, and
    perhaps re-evaluate why you invested so much in the pursuit. invest in someone
    who is willing to do same tenfold, theyre out there.
    struggle .. is movement in the wrong direction. be well,be blessed, be clear.

  12. Kate says

    I also been with a guy like this who I haven't seen for the past 6 months. He kept telling me that he's not sure whether he will stay in this country forever (he comes from other country) and he was hurt before by the girls he attached to. He just wants causal. I told him I dont mind where he will go in the end but I dont want to be someone's sex partner only! Well, yesterday I saw him and it turned out we had sex again! I felt I am such a stupid again but I couldn't help when he holds me :( I felt really sad and guilt. I dont want to get into complicated relationship but I just want things simple. He said he will call me and promise to have date next week but deep down inside I think he just said that. I REALLY want to tell him I dont want this anymore and i am just weak when I see him. What should I do? :(

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