"The ugly truth is this—when a man says that he doesn't want a relationship, the subtext in that is 'I don't want to be in a relationship with you.'"—Unknown
OK. Deep breath, y'all. Raise your hand if you've been in at least one relationship with a man who you were fully committed to, only to discover that he wasn't fully committed to you. When you stop and replay the entire dynamic in your mind, how did you miss the signs that you were "more in" than he was?
If you think that I'm asking you that to put you on blast, don't. I am the poster child for committing myself to non-committal people. If I were to go really deep into why, I think that growing up in a two-time divorced home played a role in it. Come to think of it, I know it did because whenever my late fiancé and I would argue and I would threaten to break-up, he'd be like, "Why is that always your solution to everything?!" (His parents are still married to this day.) It's because never really saw commitment modeled. What I did see are people who desperately wanted to be loved without really knowing how to get it from their partner. So, that's what the foundation of my hamster-wheel-pattern was all about.
However, after watching a video about a woman who dated a man for 10 years, then, after five months, he up and married someone else, for the sake of sparing others from having our kind of testimony, I thought it'd be a good idea to share some in-hindsight-signs. Ones that clearly depict that, no matter how much you love someone, how long you've been with someone or how hard it might be to face reality about certain things, there is a 90 percent chance that ole' boy isn't going to making a long-term commitment or marry you. Ever.
Again, brace yourselves now.
I don't know about you, but the men I know, when they want to do something, they find a way with no hesitation. That's why, when a man seems to be so confused, befuddled or whatever other word along those lines about whether they want to be in a relationship or not, I don't really buy it. The combination of experience and observation has taught me that if a guy doesn't know what he wants to do about a particular woman, that usually either means it's a new situation and he needs more time or he's vacillating because he's able to get enough of what he wants without having to invest more on his end—and he's just fine with that. If it's a latter, 8.5 times out of 10, all you're gonna end up doing is wasting your time. Why? Because, as hard as it might be to hear it, indecision is usually its own decision. And the decision is no.
He Keeps a Billion Excuses on Tap
Something I've learned the hard way is a man who is ready for a commitment isn't only open to talking about it; oftentimes, he'll even bring taking things to another level all on his own. He'll ask things like "Where do you see this going?" or "Where would you like us to be a year from now?" (yes ladies, those kinds of men very much so exist). Meanwhile, guys who aren't ready for something serious and long-lasting will act like you're speaking a language they don't understand whenever you bring commitment up. They'll talk about all of the things they want to do first, how much more time they need or why they're not ready to have that kind of conversation, let alone take the kind of steps required to be in a monogamous relationship.
Popular entrepreneur Jim Rohn was really onto something when he said, "If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse." Why we as women think this doesn't apply to commitment-phobic men is beyond me. Because it does. Absolutely so.
You See No Signs of Him Getting into “Husband Mode”
Someone who's a nice guy or even a great date does not automatically indicate that he is husband material or even that he wants to be married (whether it's to you or at all). I know a guy who is amazing, on so many levels. But he has made it abundantly clear that the choices he makes—staying in a small place when he can afford a larger one, buying a motorcycle instead of a larger car, spending money on travel and going out to eat every day rather than saving up—are all about enjoying his single life, with no intention of preparing for a wife or children.
Meanwhile, a man who's in husband mode, he's gonna make plans to at least start the transition from being a bachelor to becoming a fiancé and then a husband. If he wants to wait, it's gonna be because he's saving up money to get a home or an engagement ring. Not only that but he's gonna mention wanting to talk to your family and/or going to premarital counseling. Plus, his world will be adjusted to make more room for you to fit comfortably into it because these are the kinds of things that a husband-to-be does.
He Makes You Feel Guilty for Even Bringing the Topic Up
Guilt trips are the worst; especially when they come from someone who you are emotionally connected to and you feel like you can discuss any and everything with. If your man is open to talking about your family, your friends, your job or your life overall, but the moment commitment or sharing a future comes up, suddenly he's got you feeling like you're pressuring him or being semi-ridiculous for even mentioning those things, that's another flag that you shouldn't ignore.
No woman should feel bad about or embarrassed for wanting to know what a man's intentions for her are. Any guy who makes—or at least tries to make—his lady feel that way is showing indications that he's not interested in making a long-term commitment. And he wants you to feel guilty for trying to change his mind.
Meanwhile, If You Never Brought Up Marriage, It Would Never Come Up
People tend to talk about things that they actually are interested in doing. Think about it. When your man wants to check out a new live venue, doesn't he say it? How about a restaurant on the other side of town or even a city that he wants to visit on y'all's next vacation? OK, now think about the state of your relationship with him. If you never asked, would he ever mention it? Hmm…
I have a male friend who's been married for a couple of decades now. He was really young when he got married, but he said that when he saw his now-wife for the first time, even though he didn't think he was ready for marriage, what he was also sure of was that he couldn't let her get away. So, he didn't. And he made sure that he let her know, very early on, that he had every intention in the world to make her his wife.
I'm not saying that if you've been seeing a guy for several months now and the words "exclusive" or "marriage" hasn't come up that they never will. What I am advising is you not mention them for a couple of months and see what happens. If the answer is absolutely nothing, well…yeah. You feel me?
He’s Fully Content with Things Remaining Just as They Are
Living in the moment. If a lot of us women were really real with ourselves, we'd admit that we could do better in this area. Sometimes, we're so caught up in—if not full-on obsessed over—what's coming next that we don't enjoy what's happening now. But it's one thing for your man to be relishing in the moments of just being with you (as he should). It's another for months or even years to go by and he doesn't seem to show any desire to do anything more than what the two of you currently are doing.
How does this happen? Sometimes it's our fault because we pretty much act like the wife without actually being one (check out "Why You're Always the One Who Prepares a Man for His Wife"). Then sometimes we make the grave error of mistaking patience for stagnation (check out "The Important Reason You Shouldn't Wait to Be Chosen"). Sometimes, we're waiting for him to bring up what's next even though he's not in the relationship by himself, so it's perfectly fine—encouraged even—to speak up.
I don't know about you, but there's not one man in my life who has a problem with speaking their mind when it comes to getting what they want. So, why we want to make excuses or exceptions for them when it comes to us, that's unfortunate.
You deserve to have what you want. If you want more and he's fine with the way things are and—get this—he doesn't speak on not being fine for the foreseeable future, rather than looking for signs of whether he's going to commit to you or not, maybe you should look for ways to detach from him.
Then maybe, just maybe, you'll be the kind of woman who dated a guy for a while, ended it and then met and married the love of your life shortly after. How did it flip? Because, unlike the guy that you're currently with, "future dude" actually wanted and was ready for a commitment and dated you with that life plan in mind. Funny how that works (wink).
Featured image by Getty Images.