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That Dreaded "C" Word - Men and Commitment

May 8, 2008
Say we have a couple that have been dating for a year or so. They are monogamous, he says he loves her, she loves him. He knows he doesn't want to lose her. She cannot imagine her life without him in it. They have great sex, good times, long intimate conversations.

So one day she says: "Honey, I think we should get married." Suddenly, he starts stuttering, backstepping and having trouble breathing. He eventually chokes out those dreaded four words that are the killers of progress: "I'm not ready yet!"

What is the problem here?

What is it that you guys are waiting for?

Women get fed up with this wishy-washy stuff! A gal needs to know where she stands with you! She wants to know if it is going to be worth her time to wait for you to get ready or not. She needs to know if you are getting ready to commit, working on getting ready to commit, or if she should just leave you in the dust trying to figure it out ALL BY YOURSELF.

Author Shere Hite, in her book Women and Love reports that most women felt that men were not giving as much as they are getting in their relationships. Guys, you must know you have it good! You talk, you cuddle, you sex it up, bask in the warmth of her love. You enjoy this immensely.

The way women see it though, you want to enjoy the benefits of a committed relationship without the responsibility and obligations. That ain't cool. When a woman feels used and taken for granted, bad things happen. (Remember Angela Basset's Porsche and Armani suit flambe in the movie "Waiting to Exhale?")

Ladies have to take responsibility early on for finding out where your man's head is. Do not be afraid to be direct and state your desires for more. Sit down with your guy and calmly ask him "what does commitment mean to you?" "When a woman tells you that she wants a commitment, what is it that you start thinking about?" "Why do you get scared?" You also need to ask "where do you see this relationship going?"

He should have some really good answers to those questions. You both need to discuss what you want from life and a relationship to determine if continuing the relationship makes sense.

One word of warning however... do not ask these questions prematurely, i.e. after dating only a few weeks. He barely knows you, so pressing him for a long-term commitment under those circumstances would be inappropriate, make you appear to be desperate, and pretty much guarantee he will bolt and run.

One study I read concluded that a man knows within 5 minutes of meeting a woman if he wants to get to know her better. My own opinion is that a man knows within six months of dating if he could marry you or not. If the answer after a few months is YOU ARE NOT THE ONE, why keep messing around with each other for months and even years?!

Should you ask him where he sees the relationship going, and he tells you to your face that he doesn't want a commitment or isn't thinking about getting married now or ever, BELIEVE HIM and move on!

If you know that you need a commitment from him and he starts to hem and haw, gives you weak tired excuses, mentions feeling "trapped," or starts telling you about his other women, then you know it is time to go girlfriend!

Why He Avoids Committing to You

Some guys won't commit because in actuality, they are looking for Ms. Perfect, not Ms. Real. Real women have a tendency to disappoint, frustrate and sometimes hurt feelings by doing or saying things they are not "supposed" to say or do.

So when a guy meets a beautiful woman he may initially decide she is Ms. Perfect. Later when she shows her human flaws he deems her to be "unworthy." He may begin to constantly nag and complain about things that you need to "work on" before he will consider you as good enough to marry. In this case it probably means that he does want to give a commitment, BUT NOT TO YOU. Again, it is time to hit the road girl!

Likewise, a man that is married to or living with someone else is not available for a commitment. A man that considers himself a "player" and has lots of different women "in rotation" is another high risk for heartbreak. This guy is still playing the field and hasn't yet met the woman that he feels he can commit to or wants to settle down with. Bad news for a future in both cases.

Another scenario to consider is a couple that have been dating happily for years and years. However, you wake up one morning and realize that he is no closer to marriage now than he was 2 years after you started dating! You should move on to find someone that wants what you want sooner rather than later or never.

Valid excuses are generally those that have a timeframe around them. These might be a man that wants to wait "for a year until I finish this training/school and get a good job," or "wait two years until I get my degree and get a full time job making at least $65K."

Slightly older men might want to feel that they are positioned to properly support a wife and children, and will want to put marriage off until they have "something to offer," maybe a promotion, or a beautiful home in the suburbs to put you and his future children in, or until his children from an early marriage are over 18 and he is through with child support payments.

If you love him, then wait patiently and don't bug him. This guy is coming around and wants to give you the commitment you seek. He just needs time to accomplish his goals so he feels like a man with something to offer his woman.

With a true understanding of exactly where your man is coming from you'll know whether he is Mr. Right or just Mr. Right Now. You can then determine your next move with confidence and in your own best interest.
About the Author
(c) 2008 Deborrah Cooper. Deborrah has authored dozens of relationship articles and advice columns on Ask HeartBeat!, which focuses on modern relationships for teens and adults. Her dating guide Sucka Free Love! provides street-smart, hilarious insight into the toughest issues facing singles today. Check out The Sucka Free Dating Radio Talk Show on Wednesday night at 8:00 pm PST.
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