Things seem to be going well.
You exchange messages and chat with each other nonstop. You find yourself getting closer. You haven’t had this much chemistry since a high school science class.
But then he says he’s not interested in having a steady relationship with you.
It’s a tough pill to swallow.
Being in that “I like you, but I don’t want a relationship” situation is hard, crappy, and confusing.
What you need to do now is step back for a moment and take a look at what’s going on. And as someone who has been through this all before, I’m here to help you do this.
In this article, I’ll share with you:
- The reasons why he doesn’t want to be exclusive.
- Signs he’s not ready for a relationship.
- What to do when he wants to keep you around.
- What you need to do about this.
We have a lot to get through so let’s get started.
12 major reasons he doesn’t want a relationship
You might be ready for that next stage of the relationship, but he isn’t.
If he’s telling you that he has feelings but can’t commit to a relationship, it’s time to figure out why doesn’t want to go steady.
But first, remember that his reasons have nothing to do with you.
1) He could be hurting from the past
Guys have feelings too.
If your guy is having a hard time investing in his emotions, he might have experienced deep traumatic feelings in the past.
Okay, “traumatic” might sound a bit serious. But for men who had been cheated or left behind, it is already considered traumatic.
Maybe he was dumped or rejected by someone he loved deeply. The pain is still too raw.
Even if he has feelings for you or loves you, his fears and insecurities hinder him from committing to you. He’s been burned in the past and scared that getting exclusive might hurt him again.
2) He isn’t over his ex-girlfriend yet
If they’ve just recently broken up and didn’t have any closure, things can be a bit messy.
Or if he’s still in touch with the girl, hoping to get her back, then there’s no reason for him to commit to you.
He’s enjoying your company as he’s trying to forget his past relationship. He could also be trying to move on.
But if he compares you or remembers his ex through you, that means that he is not over her.
You’re sparkling that love that he still had for his ex. Since he’s still focused on his ex-girlfriend, he won’t invest further into a new relationship.
3) He wants to keep focused on his priorities
Sometimes men have a hard time balancing everything.
He wants to concentrate on that and doesn’t want to get distracted by anything. This isn’t a bad thing.
There could be a lot of things going on with his family or his career. Thus, he might not be able to squeeze in that quality time that is needed to maintain a relationship.
If he is focused on his goal, having a relationship may be the last thing on his mind.
Don’t make it harder for him to force a relationship that he doesn’t have time for. What you can do is to give him time and space to do what he needs to do.
4) He has commitment issues
When it comes to commitment, some men are strangers to it.
He is worried about what will happen if things don’t work out in his relationship. He might also be afraid that his life will change dramatically once he stays exclusive.
That’s it. He’s guarding and putting a wall on his emotions.
Commitment is vital in a relationship.
But when a guy has this sort of “commitment-phobia” he won’t be ready for the openness and honesty that a healthy relationship needs. And if he feels that he can’t trust you with this heart, just forget about it.
5) He prefers time with his friends than you
Men don’t want to feel trapped when spending time with their friends. He enjoys the company of his buddies: drinking beer, talking about women, telling dirty jokes.
In a study published by an online journal, Men & Masculinities, men get more emotional satisfaction out of “bromances” than their romantic relationship with women.
He is also more comfortable sharing his true self and emotions with his guy friends than with you.
Your man is enjoying this form of independence without someone getting in the way of his freedom. This makes romantic relationships a secondary factor.
6) He’s pursuing other women
When a guy is interested in taking things further, he won’t get excited at the thought of meeting other women. He won’t enjoy spending time on dating apps like Bumble, Tinder, and OkCupid.
Since you two are not exclusive, he can do what he wants, right?
He still got the case of “the grass is greener” and wants to make the most of all those endless options out there.
7) He probably has someone else
Gasp! Someone else is already occupying his mind and his heart. You just didn’t know it — and he’s not telling you about it.
Watch out as your situation could turn out to be a Netflix drama series. The only way to know is through his actions and your instincts.
The sooner you know the truth, the better you can save yourself from falling too deep.
8) He feels pressured
No one wants to feel like they have to do something especially if it comes with lots of feelings involved.
Don’t try to change his mind or force things to happen. He will feel that you are trying to control or manipulate him. Maybe he feels overwhelmed by how much you want to make it official.
If you keep on demanding your man to commit to you because it’s time, stop it. The more you push him into a serious relationship, the more you will send him away.
9) He suffers from low self-esteem
His low confidence level makes it hard for him to get involved in a relationship.
He might feel ashamed of something deep in his core. He could feel flawed, different, or just didn’t have that self-love. Because of that, he might even feel unworthy of having someone as amazing as you.
Even if he won’t admit it outright, he wishes he was a bit different. You can tell from these patterns if he’s suffering from low self-esteem.
Maybe it is his self-image and insecurities that make it hard for him to commit to you.
10) He’s too busy and needs time to deal with relationships
Sometimes, the reason why he isn’t ready to commit is simpler than you think.
Even if he has feelings for you, he doesn’t want to rush things out. If he needs more time for himself or other life commitments, acknowledge that. It could be that everything is going well in his life. He didn’t want to change this.
Or, it could also be that there’s so much stress that he’s steering clear of a relationship. Either way, he’s keeping you at a distance.
Another thing is that he avoids relationship dramas.
Relationship fights and misunderstandings can be complicated and stressful. He may not want to deal with all the pressure that every serious relationship has.
11) He enjoys the single life
This is a tricky one — but a truth that you have to acknowledge.
Some guys want to stay single. They don’t want anything meaningful, for a huge number of reasons.
For him, the freedom that comes from being single is enjoyable. He is content with this and doesn’t want to change anything in his life right now.
No wonder he just wants to keep things light and casual.
12) He hasn’t met “the one” yet
Ouch! This hurts in a major way. He doesn’t see you as someone he wants to have a relationship with.
See, if a guy has feelings for you and likes you, he will keep you. He wouldn’t give any of those lame “I’m not ready” lines.
Most of the time, knowing why your guy doesn’t want to have a relationship will help you understand your situation better.
11 surefire signs he’s not ready for a relationship
Watch out for these red flags.
These are warning signs that even if he has feelings for you, he’s unwilling to be in a real relationship.
1) You can feel it in your gut
This is exactly what you’re feeling right now.
You feel unsure, uncertain, and uncomfortable. You’re surrounded with insecurities, worries, and fears. Your strong intuition is screaming at you — and you know that something is off.
Even his behavior alone is enough for you to be sure that he isn’t the real deal. Listen to your instinct.
Trust your gut so you won’t expect anything long-term with him.
2) You can’t talk about the topic of relationships
When you bring up something about commitment either he changes the topic or ignores it. It even spoils his mood.
If you feel that he’s not comfortable talking about where you two are heading, then it’s a warning sign.
Don’t let wishful thinking sink in.
3) He won’t define the relationship
Being with him feels very “coupley” but he doesn’t want to put the label on it. This isn’t a good sign. It’s undefined.
You have no idea what relationship you’re in, where it’s going — and it feels horrible. But sometimes, deep down, you already knew the answer.
It’s tough to accept, but he’s not ready for something serious. It’s just that you don’t want to believe it.
4) You’re not his top priority
While you have canceled appointments on your schedule to spend time with him, he doesn’t do the same.
When he only remembers you when he’s bored or not doing anything, then it’s a warning sign.
5) You’re not part of his plans
He may share his big dreams and what he wants to achieve, but you can’t see your part in it. His plans could just be for himself — and maybe his family — but never for you.
If this is happening, then he is not keen on developing a serious relationship.
A man with a desire to commit gets excited about a future with you. But if he’s leaving you out of his plans, then it only means one thing — he’s not the one for you.
How do you know if he’s “the one” for you?
See, if he wants to be with you, he will show and you can feel that you have a future together.
6) He’s too focused on his life
You can feel that he doesn’t give a damn about your life.
He can be selfish most of the time. He doesn’t even care how you feel when you tell him that your pet cat died.
If he wants to commit and he has deep feelings for you, he’ll show interest in your life. He’ll get to know more about you — your likes, dreams, passions — outside of the bedroom.
7) He might not know what he wants
This is normal. There are instances in our life where we aren’t 100% sure of what we want in life.
He’s probably confused about what he wants in his life and there are several reasons behind this. And this makes having a relationship more confusing.
Maybe he has other plans for himself, his career, or his family — and getting exclusive doesn’t fit into that timeline.
8) He disappears then comes back
You go on a date with him, then he stops after that. Then he messages you, then turns silent after.
He ghosts you and reappears when he finds it convenient. One moment he’s hot then turns cold afterward. His actions are inconsistent and this confuses you. He’s sending you a lot of mixed signals.
What’s up with that?
Either he has intimacy issues, pursuing other girls, or doesn’t want anything serious to develop.
He’s doing those things because he likes you. He has feelings for you. He enjoys being with you, talking with you. It feels good and fun. It boosts his ego, so he doesn’t want to let you go.
9) He doesn’t open up fully
This is one of the less obvious signs. He has walls that you can’t go through.
He can’t open up as it takes a lot of trust and commitment — and this would make him pretty vulnerable.
There’s also a huge possibility that even if he likes you, he’s nervous and this gets in the way of getting in a relationship.
While it takes for some people to open up, if you feel that he doesn’t share personal things, then it’s a sign that he wants to keep things casual.
10) He doesn’t make you feel special
I’m sure you’re giving him your time, your attention, your emotions, and your energy — even your love. But he didn’t reciprocate any of these.
While you hang out and date, he doesn’t pay attention to all your quirks. Why?
Because for him, you are not worth the effort. He doesn’t see and appreciate the amazing woman that you are.
If he does not see your value, then that’s something you need to think about.
11) He tells you he doesn’t want an exclusive relationship
It’s good that he’s being honest. But, ouch if you are looking forward to having a relationship with him.
If he says he doesn’t want to commit, believe him. Respect his honesty. Acknowledge that you’re at different stages and that you want different things. Protect yourself.
Keep the fact that he’s not ready, and at least you know, right?
While there are signs, sometimes you choose to ignore them — like what most women are doing. Why?
Because you want to see where this goes. You are considering every possibility and what-ifs. While you don’t have to cut him out of your life completely, these signs serve as a warning for you to not get too heavily invested.
Should you wait for him to be ready for a relationship?
Never try to convince him, and don’t wait if he’ll be ready.
Never hope that he’ll wake up one day and realize that he’s missing something. Okay, these won’t work.
Just ask yourself:
- Will this be worth my time and energy?
- Will I regret staying in this situation?
Know what you want in life. Your needs, dreams, and happiness matter.
It’s a shame if you deny yourself of all these just to meet his wants and hold on to the hope that he’ll be “the one”.
You don’t have to wait around for him to be ready. It won’t happen. But if you are sure that you have an invincible heart of steel, then go ahead and wait for him.
But remember this important thing:
Never settle for a guy who will never reciprocate the love and attention you’re giving. You deserve a man who is not just great to be around — but will also make you feel safe, secured, appreciated, and loved.
Most of the time, if something doesn’t satisfy you and you have different goals, it has to stop. You have to keep growing.
Some relationships evolve at a certain point and then stop there. Some are meant to grow and stay forever.
It’s for you to choose where you want to be.
Why he keeps you around even if he doesn’t want a relationship
Have you been too available, too eager, too open to him?
While this seems like a good thing, men are left unchallenged as they can easily wrap you with their fingers.
Okay, you’re facing another obstacle.
He tells you that he has feelings and still wants to spend time with you. There are reasons why he acts like a boyfriend but then you know that he isn’t ready for a relationship.
Here are 5 of the most common reasons why he wants you to stay around:
1) He doesn’t want to be alone
Being alone is uncomfortable.
Your company makes him happy, so he’s keeping you close on those long lonely days. He enjoys spending his time with you. If he let you go, he’d have no one to hang out with.
Sounds shallow and pathetic but he knows you’ll be around when his buddies aren’t around.
Maybe he has insecurities too. But being with you makes him feel better about himself.
2) He likes sleeping with you
This isn’t a surprise. He could very well be doing so just for the sex.
Guys can hide their true intentions. Though, when you see things clearly, you’ll find out that he’s just using you to satisfy his sex drives.
So if he wants you just because of this — without the commitment, think about it. It’s just that being intimate early on can blur the lines between something casual and having a serious relationship.
3) He doesn’t want anyone to have you
In some instances, men can be territorial. This possessiveness isn’t always a good thing.
He’s keeping you to himself, not to protect you, but to consider you his property. He enjoys the attention and devotion you’re giving him as it boosts his ego.
See, when you give him all the benefits of being in a relationship — even before he commits to you — he won’t see the need to put a label on it. The thought of you falling for someone else can make him feel awful.
4) He wants to stay friends with you
Despite not wanting to have a relationship, he doesn’t want to lose you as a friend.
He wants to keep things light. He doesn’t want things to change. Taking things to the next level is likely to put more pressure on him.
Should you want to stay platonic, here’s how you can make a platonic friendship work.
5) He doesn’t want to hurt you
Considering that he’s a good guy, give him the benefit of the doubt.
Perhaps, he doesn’t want to put you through the pain of a casual break-up. He’s aware of your feelings and he knows you’re more emotionally invested than he is.
But even if he cares, you’re still not on the same page.
He still wants to move on with his life — minus the relationship and without any strings attached.
Will you stay or move away?
Even if he wants to keep you around, I know it does not dull your heartache.
So ask yourself if you’re comfortable staying or stepping away. But look at whether staying in this situation is something that you want.
If you can’t let go and prefer to stay, at least for a while, better do it platonically. If you can gain a friend in him, then choose that. Do it for friendship.
But since he’s not ready for a relationship, don’t give him any benefits. Try to pull back a bit and don’t be so available to him.
Don’t let your time and efforts go to waste.
What to do if he’s not ready for a relationship
Sometimes there is absolutely nothing you can do to make your guy commit to a relationship. If he isn’t ready, he’s not.
How can you deal with the dreaded romantic rejection, “I like you, but not in a relationship way?”
Those words cut deeply in the most unexpected ways.
10 steps to handle the situation
Ideally, if you’re stuck in this “non-relationship relationship” limbo, you should dump him. But I know this won’t happen (at least not right now).
So I’m sharing these to help you handle it the best way you can.
1) Enjoy the present moment
In the meantime, you can enjoy his company and this fun and flirty situation. But remember not to expect anything more.
You already know that a committed relationship is off the table. Just make sure to keep yourself open to other guys and the possibilities of other relationships.
2) Be clear about how this situation makes you feel
Lay your cards out. There’s a possibility that he’s not sure about how you feel.
Talk to him and let him know what you want. Then, look and understand the entire situation.
Is a casual relationship something that you want? Does it make you truly happy?
3) Know your limits
Even if he wants to keep you around and you want to stick with him too, you have to create boundaries.
Since you know he’s not ready for a relationship, make sure not to get emotionally and sexually involved. Protect yourself from getting hurt.
4) Limit the time you spend with him
Don’t be too available for him. I know it would be hard.
When we have feelings or like someone, we want to spend most of our time with that person.
If you want to see if he will miss you, then do the opposite.
4) Forgive him and yourself
It’s normal to feel bad, but don’t hold on to resentment.
Accept what he wants. You don’t have to change him too.
Convincing him to start a relationship or asking him to give it a try, is a recipe for a major heartache.
5) Accept that he’s not the one for you
Okay, this hurts again — and I know it’s not what you want to hear.
You might feel and think that he is, but then, if he was, he won’t be doing this.
Remember, one major sign why he doesn’t want anything serious is that he doesn’t see you as “the one.”
6) Walk away
This won’t be easy, but this is the best thing you can do for yourself.
See, he wants you to stick around. But then, those reasons why he wants to keep you don’t even matter.
Leave so you can find the one who’s worthy of your time and love.
7) Let go
Okay, your life and your happiness are very important.
If he isn’t meeting you halfway, he’s not worth your time. So the best thing to do is to let go.
It won’t be easy, but staying in your situation isn’t easy either. Yeah, it would hurt for a few months, but eventually, you’ll go over it.
In time, you’ll be with someone who has feelings and more than ready to have a relationship with you.
8) Shift your focus on your best self
Do the things that you love. You can live a full, meaningful life without him.
Instead of spending all your emotions on this guy who doesn’t want to commit, explore your options. Set your sight on someone else.
You’ll have more peace of mind being with someone who sees your value, respects, and cares for you more deeply.
Stay open. Something real is coming along. The thing is, there is someone out there who’s meant for you.
9) Accept that it was not meant to be
You deserve a relationship with someone who feels and wants the same thing you want.
Just be thankful for what this experience has taught you. Move on with the hope of finding the right one for you.
The faster you accept the truth, the faster you will heal.
I know it’s hard…
You can grieve and feel the loss.
It’s not easy, especially when you feel you almost have something to look forward to with him.
You may feel that your world is crushing, but remember, what you’re feeling right now won’t be permanent. But if you don’t move on and walk away, the pain will be harder to bear.
Understand that you are worth it
Someone will see how amazing you are and will fall in love with you.
This one will embrace a relationship with you as the best thing that could ever happen to him. Remember that the right relationship happens naturally.
When two people feel the same way and are on the same page, then the right relationship will happen without questions. No need to convince him or take an effort to make him commit to you.
Even if at some point you have to take a risk at loving and take a chance on love, it has to be for the right person.
When you get to know someone who isn’t, you’re a step closer to finding someone who is. The right guy for you is out there.
In time, you’ll get over all these. You can do it!
The real reason why men pull away
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