There are many reasons why men fear commitment. To a woman these reasons may be unconvincing or even facile, but understanding these fears is the clue to overcoming them.
There are two types of men who won’t commit.
The first type will be happy while things between you are fluid and casual. But as soon as you start expecting him to call every day, to spend your weekends together, to be his girlfriend, he will back away. It’s not so much that he has issues with commitment; but that he was never sufficiently into you in the first place.
The second type will go through the dating and getting into a routine part, so that you feel you are boyfriend and girlfriend, but somehow things never move any further forward. You don’t meet his family or many of his friends, and if you try having ‘the talk’ with him he becomes evasive and disappears for a week (or longer).
When he reappears you don’t like to raise the subject again, so you go on as before until you finally decide it’s time for another ‘talk’. And so on…
This man might be like the first type, except he has fewer principles and likes to keep you around. Or he might be unsure whether he wants to move closer to you because of one or more of the many reasons why men fear commitment.
1: You WANT Him To Commit
And you’re making it painfully obvious.
The girl at work who just became engaged, your cousin who got married last year, your friend who’s just moved in with her boyfriend…You talk about them all, and far too often for his comfort. Maybe you’ve even started looking at rings in jewellery shop windows when you’re out together…
All this is making him feel strong-armed into making things between you ‘official’ in some way. And he doesn’t like it.
No-one likes feeling pressured, or that someone else is trying to direct their life or take over their future. You wouldn’t like it if the roles were reversed – be honest, now, you wouldn’t. And when it comes to big, life-changing decisions, it’s essential they are made freely, without duress.
A man will not feel truly committed to a choice that was forced on him. Anything that goes wrong will be blamed on you, and his feelings of resentment will make him unwilling to try to solve your problems. That’s not a recipe for a long and happy relationship.
Don’t try to put labels on your relationship; or make him feel you’re in the market for a husband, rather than valuing him for the person he is. It won’t get him closer to you: in fact, it’s one the main reasons why men fear commitment.
2: You Changed (and Not in a Good Way)
Have your relationships ever gone like this?
You meet a great guy and start dating. At first things are great, and you feel yourself falling for him. You hope he’s feeling the same way. You spend lots of time together, and gradually stop pursuing your hobbies and seeing your friends: after all, your relationship is far more important, and you’re determined to give it your all.
But your boyfriend continues to see HIS friends and keep up with HIS interests, which makes you nervous and jittery. Why isn’t your relationship as important to him as it is to you? Why are there times when he wants to do something else, even though he could be with you?
You start to get angry with him when he wants to do other things. He resents what he thinks is over-possessive and unreasonable behaviour on your part.
You get more and more demanding as he withdraws
He gets more and more resentful as you demand his total attention
In your eyes he is just not sufficiently committed to you. But to him you have simply done a complete volte face. When you first met, you were great fun and he really loved your company. Now you’ve changed completely.
You are needy and clingy
You are frighteningly possessive
You are beginning to seem a bit crazy
He feels cheated. You are not the awesome girl he thought you were. And worse still, you’re not happy with him.
High on the list of reasons why men fear commitment is doubting that he can make a woman happy. And making you happy has already become a struggle.
This is not what he signed up for…
3: You Don’t Accept Him As He Is
Men’s interests are not women’s interests.
And if a woman is insecure, she often feels threatened when a man spends a lot of his time on things which she doesn’t see as important. Such things soon become a threat in her eyes; a threat because something she sees as trivial or even inimical is taking up her boyfriend’s interest and time.
The usual way such women deal with that kind of perceived threat is to trivialize, denigrate and mock it. This reassures them that they can still exercise power over their men and control them. Doing this makes them feel more secure.
But they are mistaken.
Men might not want to get into a confrontation over such things, but their girlfriend’s refusal to acknowledge the value and validity of their particular passion leaves a bad taste in their mouth.
This is a big deal for men
The implication is that to be the man his girlfriend expects him to be, he will have to give up something which he loves and enjoys, and which is an expression of the man he is. It means she isn’t prepared to accept him unless he changes, or at least cuts a part of him adrift.
This isn’t what he sees as true love. And he’s quite right.
Men’s and women’s private passions are unlikely to coincide, because men and women are different. Happy couples accept their differences and allow each other to be the person they are; rather than feeling threatened by them. It’s a question of respect, which is an even bigger deal for men…
4: He Doesn’t Feel Respected
When a woman disapproves of a man’s interests and passions, it’s a big downer for him.
Men are quite willing to accept that women might not share their interests. But they don’t like it one bit when a woman belittles something that is important to them, by disparaging, mocking and sneering at it. Not only does it stop him feeling accepted, as we have already seen, is also stops him feeling respected.
Just because you don’t share someone’s particular fad or fancy, it doesn’t follow that it is therefore worthless. But bashing guys has become a bit of a habit these days.
Turn on the TV and it’s not hard to find a show portraying them as dumb, lazy, clueless and unworthy of the inevitably awesome women in their lives. This kind of stereotyping is just as negative and damaging as the old one of the little woman confined to her home and her household chores.
Some women will even put their man down in public; telling stories that show him in an unflattering light, belittling him and making him look small.
This is a really big deal for a guy
Being disrespected by his partner is another reason why men fear commitment. Of course, there are going to be times when you need to talk about problems. But that time is NEVER in public.
Remember that a man takes pride in what he does for his family and his community. He needs to feel he is fulfilling his role as a protector and provider, so a clever woman will praise him when he does something great. And if you praise him in public, that’s even better.
Nothing makes a man’s heart swell with pride like hearing his girlfriend tell her friends and family what a great guy he is. And it’s good to get into this habit early.
It’s a powerful reason for a man to think that you might be The One.
5: The Relationship Feels Too Much Like Work
When a man starts dating a woman, it’s new and exciting: you are getting to know each other, sharing the activities you each enjoy and generally having a blast. But over time you lose the freshness and with it the excitement, and one day you realize that relationship isn’t much more exciting than your life as a singleton; you are stuck in a rut, or a routine.
And what’s worse, you’re expected to KEEP to the routine. If your boyfriend wants to something with his friends on an evening which you usually spend together, you don’t like it. You remind him that he’s supposed to be with you. Things deteriorate from there, and you both end up feeling short-changed and resentful.
Your relationship is no longer fun. And ending up both restless and jaded is another reason why men fear commitment.
In fact, your boyfriend is beginning to find it all a bit of a burden. Soon he’ll be asking himself why he’s with you and thinking wistfully how much happier he’d be if he was single.
Most relationship end up here at some point, and it’s one those pivotal moments when you can either reinvigorate it or watch it sink without trace.
Be more flexible
Don’t do the same thing every day of every week. Go out with your friends sometimes and be happy for your boyfriend to do the same. Go to new places. Go somewhere else rather than wait hours in a queue. Find another place to eat if the one you planned to visit is packed: maybe you really wanted to go there but does it matter enough to wait an hour for an empty table? You can always go another time.
Be more spontaneous
Surprise him with a brilliant plan for tonight which has just come to you; and be enthusiastic when he suggests something last minute. You’re feeling restless on Friday afternoon? Grab him and drive out of town together for an impromptu weekend away. Try something new; rock climbing, ballroom dancing, paintballing.
Keep the fun in a relationship and you’ll keep the spark alive. Sometimes the most memorable experiences happen without any forward planning at all.
6: He Doesn’t Feel That You Support Him
Most men don’t expect you to share their enthusiasms. But they won’t want to commit to a woman who treats their hobbies with derision and tries to curtail the time they spend on them.
Men often like to spend time alone, doing something they enjoy or just relaxing quietly. They appreciate a woman who doesn’t resent it or make an issue of it.
And if you can even show up and support him sometimes, then he’ll start to see you as a keeper. So go and watch him playing sport, or join him at the races or a motor show or a computer exhibition, and show a genuine interest in it. Even though it’s not really your thing, you can probably find something that grabs your attention.
It matters to him to know that you care about what makes him happy. And learn to give an Oscar-winning performance of “No, of course I’m not bored”.
7: He Feels Imprisoned
There are women who insist on knowing EVERYTHING about their boyfriend.
Where he is, who he’s with, what he’s doing – and they want to know this all day, every day. And if the guy has the temerity to object, well, then he is the worst villain ever in the whole history of mankind.
After all, this is LOVE, isn’t it?
You want to know all these things because you LOVE him so much, don’t you? And he must keep you permanently in the loop because HE loves YOU so much, mustn’t he? That’s what love means, REAL love.
If you haven’t spent the night together, he must text you first thing in the morning. He must tell you what he’s having for breakfast. He must text you when he leaves for work…and when he arrives…
He must tell you what he’s having for lunch…and when he leaves work…and when he gets home…
And if he’s out with the guys, he must send you regular updates, including pictures. And you will bombard him – sorry, UPDATE him – with absolutely everything you say, think, do, eat, drink, buy; and everybody you see, and everything you say to them, and everything they say to you, all day long.
That’s what love means, isn’t it?
And he would never do anything without telling you first, because he couldn’t possibly love you if he did, could he?
There’s lots of terms for this sort of thing: under the thumb, henpecked, pussywhipped; whatever you want to call it, he doesn’t want to be it.
Finding himself in this situation is a prima facie reason why men fear commitment.
8: He’s Not Ready To Commit
Maybe he’s at a stage in his life which makes him unable to commit.
If he’s still young, he might have things he still wants to do before settling down. It’s a mistake to try to pin such a man down, because he’ll always remember that it wasn’t really what he wanted; and whenever there are problems it will all resurface. He won’t be committed to solving them because he wasn’t wholehearted about the relationship in the first place.
A young man might simply be too immature to take on such a responsibility, and then too it’s a mistake to pressure someone into doing something for which they are not ready.
Another bad situation can arise when a man has made a commitment with the best intentions, but which has subsequently gone wrong.
Divorce is a bruising experience, which is often compounded by the loss of money, home and children. Many women try to mitigate the fallout, but it’s a sad fact that some women take their former husbands to the cleaners, which leaves them distrustful and cynical about commitment.
A man who has just got out of a bad relationship, married or not, needs time to come to terms with it and to sort out his emotional baggage. Even if he thinks he’s ready to give things a go, he’s likely to haver between being in and out of the relationship; a sure sign that he’s not in the right emotional place to commit.
It’s not enough that you want commitment. For a relationship to succeed, you must both want it; otherwise when the bad times come the motivation to work things out just won’t be there.
9: You Can’t Resolve Your Problems
So how have you been handling problems in your relationship?
All relationships have problems. But how do you go about solving them?
Do you try to understand your boyfriend’s point of view? Do you treat his feelings with respect? Does he reciprocate?
Or do you try to score points, to make yourself look better? Does he do the same?
The thought of constant conflict without resolution it is another reason why men fear commitment.
It takes maturity, love, consideration and respect to deal with the inevitable problems you encounter in relationships. But too many people are far more interested in scoring points, winning the immediate argument and diminishing their partner.
No matter how good it makes you feel in the short term, such behaviour is always destructive, and will inflict deep damage on your relationship. You need to be able to make your point without putting your partner down. That means trying to understand their feelings as well as expressing yours. The essential skill here is to criticize the action rather than the person.
Your boyfriend wants your happiness, just as you want his. That means neither of you is acting with bad intent. When you get things wrong, it’s because of misunderstanding; not malice. You both want your relationship to succeed. You’re not trying to score points. So try to be honest while still being kind; and you avoid the obvious pitfalls.
Making accusations – ask for explanations instead
Being sarcastic or downright cynical – assume your boyfriend has the best intentions
Trying to win, rather than trying to understand
Being honest, rather than passive-aggressive or downright hostile
Believing the worst rather than the best of him
How you handle conflict between you is a good indication of how much faith you really have in your relationship. If you believe in it, and in him, you will be ready to do what is necessary to resolve things.
10: You’re Not Sexually Compatible
It takes a lot more than great sex to make a man want to commit. But you won’t be surprised to learn that the quality of your sex life together is still important.
One of the reasons why men fear commitment is the thought of only having sex with one woman for the rest of his life. When it comes to sexual fantasies men go for variety every time. If he’s not happy with his current sex life, he’s unlikely to want to settle for it for a lifetime.
ARE you sexually compatible?
Are your libidos in sync, or wildly different? If a man already feels starved of sex, he’s not likely to be thinking of commitment. And if you don’t want sex as often as he does, you need to ask why?
Is it because you don’t have a very active libido? Or is it because you just don’t fancy him that much?
Noting sets a man’s blood on fire more than a woman who can’t wait to get inside his pants. Knowing that you really WANT him, the smouldering desire when he leaves for work, the anticipation when he returns, and the passionate consummation of your mutual craving for each other: he will move mountains to be with such a woman.
Of course, in every relationship desire comes and goes. But if he is always having to ask for sex, and you do it because you feel you must rather than because you want to, it is not going to enhance your relationship.
Everybody wants what they can’t have.
Women hate it when men objectify them sexually; men love it. They love it because it so rarely happens. So if you think he’s sexy, tell him so. He’ll love knowing that he can make you all hot and bothered. It’ll make his day, his week and probably his year; he’ll smile to himself every time he thinks about it.
11: He Fears Change and Responsibility
Most men like their domestic lives to run smoothly and without drama. Having their lives turned upside down by someone else is another reason why men fear commitment.
He will answerable to someone else
His time will no longer be entirely his own. He has to consider his partner’s wishes and may fear spending a large part of his life doing things he doesn’t want to do (shopping, for instance). This is not a cheering or an encouraging thought.
Even worse, he may fear missing out on the things he really enjoys. Looked at like that, commitment doesn’t seem to have much to offer.
He will be responsible for someone else
Most men take responsibility seriously and wouldn’t consider settling down until they feel confident that can support a wife. Of course you see the both of you as equal partners, but if you want a family then there will inevitably be times when you will be unable to work. And being able to support his family is essential to a man’s self-respect.
Then there are the women who start out sharing expenses, but somehow end up looking to their partner or husband to provide for them financially. He probably knows at least one guy in this situation and doesn’t want to end up in the same boat.
He may be wary of the prospect of fatherhood
Some men dream of fatherhood, most don’t. Whatever his views, don’t be one of those women who start talking about children when you’re still dating. Not only is it too much pressure, he’ll instantly think you only want him to fulfil the role of husband and father that you’ve already mapped out for your life.
He wants to be wanted for himself.
He will certainly fear divorce
The man who ends up having to cede his home and his children to his ex-wife is far too commonplace nowadays. Many men feel they get a raw deal over divorce, and they don’t look forward to seeing years of building a home and family going down the tubes.
He’s only one half of the relationship. It he doesn’t believe you’re in it for the right reasons, he won’t want to commit himself to you.
He may have bad memories of a fractured childhood
Maybe he himself came from a broken home, and still bears the emotional scars. He’s determined not to end up divorced himself, but he’s not confident it can be avoided.
He’s seen too many relationships that started out with love and hope but ended in despair and bitterness. He remembers how it felt to lose the security of his home as a child and doesn’t want to find himself back in the same situation.
12: What If She’s Not The One?
It’s takes time for a man to decide there’s no-one better out there. Every time he’s in a relationship and it throws up a red flag, he’ll start thinking it means that you’re not The One.
Deciding to be with one person for the rest of your life takes maturity, and the belief that you met the one person who’s right for you. But if the relationship is a long way from being perfect, then he’s not likely to be convinced that person is you.
Committing himself to the wrong girl means that one or more of the reasons why men fear commitment is likely to come true. And that terrifies him.
A man learns what is important to him from his past relationships: the qualities he wants a woman to have and the qualities that would make her into Miss Wrong – for HIM. Remember, it’s all down to with personality and choice: what suits one man will be different from what suits another, a deal breaker for one man will be less important to another.
But he really, really doesn’t want to make a mistake.
Men tend to take longer than women to decide it’s time to commit. Men don’t usually dream of wedding days or building a home, and they don’t have a biological clock ticking in the background. A man commits to a particular woman, not to some abstract idea of commitment.
If a man is cagey about commitment, it’s a good thing. It means he is taking it seriously, and he believes that, having made a commitment, he should stand by it.
But you don’t want to be the one who’s doing all the work. And you don’t have to be. All you need to know is how flip certain switches in his mind that will make him want to commit. And commit to you only: the one woman who’s different from all the others, the one woman he can’t live without. Find out how here.