“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
He says he really likes you but does not want a relationship. You have been spending time together and getting along well. You may even be acting like a couple, but you’re not exclusive. When you bring up commitment, he says he doesn’t want to get into a relationship right now. Can you get him to commit?
It’s possible if he really likes you, and success is based on your response. You need to respond with both love and respect for your love interest as well as love and respect for yourself.
Here’s what to do.
1. Give yourself a time frame of 8 weeks or whatever seems reasonable to you to expect a commitment from your love interest.
Work the next steps within this timeframe.
2. Completely stop talking about commitment.
The more you pressure him, the more he will feel like he is disappointing you and will only draw away from you more. The more you talk about it, the more pressure he will feel. You stress him out and make yourself look insecure.
3. Give him incentive to change.
If you are giving him everything he wants now, why would he be motivated to seek a relationship with you? Set some boundaries with him. Don’t take his last-minute calls to come over late at night or when he has a cancellation. Stop having sex with him if you are physically intimate.
Tell him, “It’s been really great hanging out together and dating, but I do need to set some boundaries here. I am not comfortable sleeping with someone that is not completely committed to me.”
If he leaves just from that, you have your answer. He only wanted you for sex. If he sticks around and respects the boundary, you are making headway.
4. Date. Even if you don’t want to date anyone else, it’s counterintuitive to just wait around for him until he makes a commitment.
If he knows you are not going anywhere, he will treat you as such. He will take you for granted. If he is afraid that he may lose you to another man, everything changes if he truly likes you.
Just avoid blatantly telling him, “Hey, I’m dating other people. I have a date tomorrow,” as that will just make you look like you are playing games. Simply fill your life with others so that he knows you aren’t just sitting around waiting on him.
5. After the time frame you set, bring up the relationship talk again.
If he still does not want to commit, tell him that he needs to take some space to figure it out as you are looking for someone to commit. If he decides later that he wants a relationship, perhaps you will be available to be able to meet him in a commitment. Commit to giving him that space. Do not casually date during this time with him as it will lower your value, and you will be in the same situation again.
Kat Peoples, Ph.D., LMHC, LPC – www.facebook.com/drkatpeoples
So, he says that you’re great (you are even if you don’t feel great right now), but he doesn’t want a relationship right now. Ouch! Rejection can cause us to feel all kinds of not-so-good emotions including sadness, shame, confusion, and even anger. These feelings are to be expected. It happens to everyone.
So, what can you do to cope with these feelings?
1. Prioritize self-care.
Self-care is simply anything that you do (or don’t do) to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Self-care fosters resilience and helps you to become better equipped to manage negative emotions. Self-care differs from person-to-person so you have to find what works for you.
Some people find bubble baths to be physically, mentally and emotionally soothing, but some people do not.
Ask yourself…what do I do that feels good?
What energizes me? What relaxes me? Reflect back to times when you felt good. What were you doing? Do that! Do those things that make you feel good.
2. Surround yourself with people who love you and make you happy.
So, he doesn’t want to be with you but there are people who do. Spend time (in-person or virtually) with those people. It’s amazing how a little time with your support system can boost your mood.
Surround yourself with people who help you to feel better, who listen, who are there when needed.
Your time is valuable. Spend your time with those people. Everyone else is just passing through. He, she, or they were just passing through. And that’s okay.
3. Change your thinking.
Unfortunately, when we experience rejection, it is easy for us to experience really negative self-talk. You might make (negative) assumptions about why you aren’t in a relationship. Perhaps you tell yourself that there’s something wrong with you. You might start to nitpick your perceived flaws.
Whenever that type of negative self-talk occurs, it’s important to correct it and replace it with accurate, more positive thoughts.
So, instead of saying, “Nobody is ever going to want me,” say: “This happens to everyone.” Instead of, “They think I am ugly and stupid,” say: “I have many people who like and love me. This relationship is not an indicator of my self-worth.” When you change your thoughts, you change your feelings.
Let’s be honest. Rejection can be really painful.
If you find that you are unable to implement these tools yourself, a therapist can help.
Beverly Joy Pedroche, PsyD – www.drpedroche.com
You feel a spark. But they don’t feel the same way. It’s normal to feel hurt.
Often our first thoughts can flow to our own inadequacies and insecurities.
These thoughts then influence how we respond to ourselves and others. But here is the secret to growing from this experience…We can catch these thoughts and look with more objectivity at our situation.
The hard truth is either a relationship is going to work or it’s not.
Having this information now, versus later, lets you make better decisions about where you invest your time and energy. With so many people in the world and the advent of virtual dating sites to connect us, we must expect a byproduct to be more rejection.
This also means the right connection is out there and you have a lot of opportunities to get it right.
Approaching dating with a more positive, open mindset will help ward away discouragement.
Each relationship provides us insights and if we seize the opportunity they can empower us to move forward with greater awareness of what we want and need.
Therefore, the bottom line is if someone isn’t feeling the same spark, thank them for letting you know and wish them well in finding their special someone.
You deserve to be someone’s number one and there is no sense in bargaining for a place in someone’s life. Know your worth, hold your head up high and take what you’ve learned to attract the right person.
Also, remember that you have yet to meet all the people that will love you.
Dana Hall, LCPC, MA, TF-CBT – www.danahalltherapy.com
If he says you’re great but doesn’t want a relationship, believe him.
He’s probably telling you the truth and doing you a favor. It is much better to have someone be open and honest with you then to lead you on with false hopes.
If you want a relationship, this may not be the guy for you.
You can probably be friends, but if you want something more serious, set your sights elsewhere and keep moving. It is better to find out early on than to waste years of your time hoping for something that is never going to happen.
If someone is honest, that shows integrity, and that is to be respected. Respect yourself, and look for someone who will meet your needs.
Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com
The dreaded words – “let’s just be friends.” We’ve all heard them at one time or another. Sometimes we’ve heard these words too often.
A male suitor may share that you are wonderful, have so many great qualities, etc, and yet he is not interested in a relationship. This leaves you at a loss after committing time and energy to the dating process and feeling as if you have no ideas in regard to what you could have done differently.
In these situations, I want to reassure you that you should not ever change for a man.
Secondly, if this individual does not want to be in a relationship with you then it is better to know this now than after months (or worse – years) of dating.
From there, I encourage you to think deeply about your own personal interests and hobbies. What brings you joy?
By focusing on these areas, you are more apt to meet others who share similar interests while participating in activities that bring you happiness. In addition to this, you can use this time to further consider your own goals and aspirations. In what areas do you want to grow and evolve?
As we become more and more our authentic selves, we often discover the confidence to attract the right partner into our lives.
Using this time between dating for introspection and self-growth can be so beneficial both in the short term and the long term. When Mr. Right (for you) does cross your path, then you will be confident and ready for this next chapter!
Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH – www.thriveforlifecounseling.com
Many men have reasons why they don’t want a relationship and it often has nothing to do with you.
I love the acronym Q-Tip. Quit Taking It Personally!
There’s a line we often hear in comedies that has become a cliché. “It’s more about me than it is about you.” We can laugh at that thought, unless it’s happening to ourselves.
If you have been “seeing” a man – going to movies, having coffees and sharing meals – you have a friend!
Perhaps you received “signals” that he wanted a more intimate relationship with you or you were imagining a different relationship and confronted him. You got the response that he “doesn’t want a relationship”.
Well, if you are already friends, you Do have a relationship.
The “R” word gets bandied about and many of us consider it to mean a committed, intimate partnership. But relationships can have many forms.
We have relationships with our family, siblings, and friends.
In these relationships the only expectations are to be a friend, which means honoring commitments, honesty, trust and other values. But when we set expectations with someone, like an intimate relationship, we may be misreading the signs.
I’ve had many “boyfriends” in my life and a few really good male friends. These are men that I can hang out with, share ideas with and just be myself with any of the anxiety that often accompanies “Intimate” relationships.
Having male friends, and that is a relationship, is wonderful in so many ways.
It can help us to better understand men, especially when they enjoy and appreciate me. And besides, the best way to have a friend is to be a friend.
Margot Escott, MSW, LCSW – www.margotescott.com
If you are confused about your relationship, you have a lot of work to do.
There are some questions that need answering, like,
“What does he consider great about me?” Where is this relationship going?” “Do we see a future together?” ‘If not, why are we still seeing each other?”
These are not unreasonable questions, especially if you are with your partner a long time. After all, if your goal is marriage and a family and his isn’t, why waste your time?
So, ask yourself, “Why am I still with him? Why don’t I just leave?”
Look at why you are willing to stay under these circumstances and why are putting up with his inability to commit. After all, you know that he doesn’t really want a relationship, yet you are still hanging around. You can go if you want to, but you just don’t.
So, what can you do?
1. Make a decision one way or the other. Are you better off with him or without him?
Do you want to stay in this kind of going-no-where relationship, or are you ready to leave because you want more? Give yourself the pros and the cons and then make an informed decision.
2. Open up the conversation and have a heart-to-heart with him.
Maybe he truly cares enough to commit, because he doesn’t want to lose you.
3. Consider couples counseling.
In a safe, neutral environment, you can both speak about your concerns and fears and, hopefully, come to some understanding. If you each make some personal changes, the dynamic of the relationship will change.
Your relationship should give you some comfort and enjoyment. Not knowing where you stand or where it’s going can be very counter-productive.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
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