It’s frustrating to be in a relationship and wonder why he won’t commit but won’t leave you alone. You want to either advance your relationship or get out of it, but there he is, constantly drawing you back in.
Why won’t he commit? Why is he so stuck on you? What the heck can you do about it?
What You’ll Find Here | Why He Won’t Commit but Won’t Leave You Alone
He Fears Rejection
He Doesn’t Want to Feel Smothered
You Have Different Priorities
He May Feel He’s Unlovable
He Doesn’t Believe He’s Good Enough For You
He’s Ashamed of Something From His Past
He Can’t Trust Women
You’re Locked in a Power Struggle
He Fears He Can’t Make the Right Decision
How to Overcome His Fear of Commitment
What are the Risks for You
Why He Won’t Commit but Won’t Leave You Alone | He Fears Rejection
Women don’t own the market for being rejected in relationships. Men get rejected too and it hurts us just as badly. When a guy has been rejected, it makes it much more difficult for him to commit again.
Oh, he wants to commit. He might even know he loves you, but that fear is eating away at his insides. He’s been here before and it ended with what felt like a kick to the gonads. This is a big reason why he won’t commit but won’t leave you alone.
Because of this, he doesn’t like conflict either, so when the natural disagreements of a relationship occur, he tucks his tail and runs, rather than try to settle things with a discussion. His history is that it doesn’t work.
He might talk to you about the issue over text or email, but not face-to-face. He can’t handle it. So, he withdraws and cools his heels. Depending on how bad the disagreement was, he’ll either come back slowly or continue to retreat until he’s fully gone if you haven’t already broken up with him by then.
Men often have a problem with conflict because they weren’t raised to know how to deal with negative emotions like stress and anxiety. They have a harder time soothing and calming themselves after a disagreement, so they’ll pull back to calm down.
If your guy fears rejection, he might show it by avoiding arguments. He pulls away before you can.
Oh the Mysterious Ways of Men!
There's no way for a woman to know intuitively what to expect from a man. That's why I'm here! There are many differences between men and women and this article shows you a few. But there are others. Click the button below to read those articles too!
He Doesn’t Want to Feel Smothered
Many young boys start life with a strong attachment to their mothers. It’s natural. In many instances, she’s the one nurturing him through infancy and his toddler years. But when he starts striking out on his own, the attachment should begin to dissolve. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.
Mom stays ever-present, even though junior is an independent young man. The more she smothers, the less he wants to be smothered as an adult.
And you shouldn’t be smothering him anyway. That’s not a healthy relationship. Your need to smother stems from your own insecurity in the relationship and a lack of other things to do to occupy your mind and time.
Some men don’t have the mother issue, but that doesn’t mean they want to be smothered. No healthy person does.
While you might not think you’re smothering him, it might be a good idea to learn what his mother may have done that made him feel smothered. You might be doing something that you don’t think is a problem, but it is to him.
A guy who fears being smothered can feel love, but when it comes to making a commitment, he feels like he can’t be himself. He can’t spend time with his buddies or go off on a fishing weekend for fear of retaliation.
If your guy seems to be harboring this fear, pull back and find your own things to do. Forge new friendships. Develop new hobbies. Join a gym or take a cooking class. Anything to occupy your mind and time and let him have his time.
Once he sees that you aren’t going to smother him any longer, things should improve.
Why He Won’t Commit | You Have Different Priorities
Everyone grows at a different pace. When you’re young and either in college or just out, your priorities are different from someone who’s been working for several years and may feel like their chance to have a family is slowly declining.
As we grow and mature, we do so at different paces. When you met your guy, you were both on a career track. Fresh out of college, the two of you both wanted to get great jobs and move out on your own. That feeling of renting your first apartment or buying your first car is powerful and motivating.
Then you both get into your careers, and he decides he wants to settle down and have a family, but you’ve decided to go for an advanced degree. Now your priorities are different, and a commitment might not make sense.
Things can get sticky if your expectations don’t meet his priorities or vice versa. Sometimes, you can talk this out or come to a resolution, but not always.
You need an open and honest discussion where you each lay out your priorities and expectations to see if there’s a way to line it all up. Sometimes you can find a way; sometimes you can’t.
He May Feel He’s Unlovable
When someone grows up undervalued or not being validated as a child, they come to believe they aren’t lovable. It’s simple – their history is all the proof they need. A man who grew up like this feels unlovable, as if he’s never going to be good enough for you. He’s insecure and has low self-esteem and low self-worth.
He asks for your approval or validation frequently, “Did you enjoy that restaurant tonight?” How he feels is determined by how you feel. This is a classic codependent relationship.
Because he feels unworthy of you, he’ll pull back as soon as commitment becomes an issue. The “L” word strikes fear into his heart in a big way. In the quest to understand why he won’t commit but won’t leave you alone, consider this a strong possibility.
If you flirt with another guy, he’ll be devastated. The same goes for talking to your ex or, heaven forbid, cheating. He won’t fight to win you back if you cheat on him. He’ll just withdraw into a ball of self-hate and believe even less in his ability to be worthy of a good woman.
This type of guy is more comfortable doing solitary things, like playing computer games or solitary sports like golf. He’s probably quiet or shy and seeks approval by appearing to be helpful. He’s unable to talk about his wants or needs because he’s afraid of scaring you.
Why He Won’t Commit | He Doesn’t Believe He’s Good Enough for You
This is a little different from feeling he isn’t lovable. A few of the ingredients that go into men rely on a man’s ability to earn a good living and provide for his family.
If a guy feels he’s falling short of being able to provide, he’ll also feel he isn’t good enough for you. While men are usually okay with having a girlfriend or wife who works, what’s sometimes hard to swallow is when she earns more than he does.
Many men grow up believing that they need to succeed at everything they do. It’s not a man thing, but I think it’s probably more prominent in men. If a man falls short in school, sports, gaming, relationships, as a lover, parent, or breadwinner, he’ll feel less than worthy of you or any other woman.
Another way this happens is if a boy is raised by a single mom who constantly tells him he’s the man of the house before he’s physically and emotionally prepared to be that person. The spoken and unspoken expectations are too high, and he’ll always feel like it’s failing. This leaves him feeling unworthy of being the man he thinks he should be before he’s even had a chance to truly be a man.
The more he’s into you, the worse his fear of not being good enough for you. You’ll see signs of his insecurity:
- Bragging and exaggerating about his accomplishments, often to the point of lying
- Making sure you know about his wins
- Shrinking away from you if he experiences a setback
- Finding another woman who makes him feel good about himself
He’s Ashamed of Something from His Past
When a person has something in their past that they either feel ashamed of now or were made to feel ashamed of then, they feel vulnerable. Many men don’t handle vulnerability well. It’s not how they were raised. It seems to be getting better now, but men of my generation were raised to suck it up and deal. Don’t show emotions. Never let them see you sweat. That sort of thing.
Consequently, if he has something in his background that he’s ashamed of, he might shy away from a commitment over a fear of being discovered.
The thing he’s ashamed of might not even be that big of a deal to you, but somewhere in his past, it was made a big deal, so it’s a big deal to him.
The other way in which a man might feel shame is if he perceives he has a flaw of some sort. It might be his height or lack of hair, or something else like a scar or other physical defect.
He may feel like he’s always falling short of other men. He doesn’t get the big promotion, but he gets a smaller one. Instead of earning valedictorian for his graduating class, he came in second. These things don’t matter to you as much as they matter to him, so you might not understand why it’s such a big deal, but it is.
Why He Won’t Commit but Won’t Leave You Alone | He Can’t Trust Women
Divorce can be ugly for many couples. The disdain they feel for one another filters in and everything blows up. I have a friend who went through this very thing.
Jerry was happily married for ten years. He and his wife Maggie have three children, now all adults, but at the time of their divorce, their two younger kids were still in elementary school. Maggie decided she wanted a divorce when the goals she and Jerry had seemed to be at odds.
Their divorce was epic. They went to court every six months because Maggie refused to be compliant with court orders that enabled Jerry to see and spend time with his kids. Jerry fully supported his kids with child support, even though they slowly gravitated to living with him. He also offered her more alimony than was required because he wanted her to be able to go back to college and get a degree.
Meanwhile, Maggie falsely accused him of things like abusing their kids and other similar behaviors, all of which were found to be untrue.
None of it mattered and Jerry is now in a position where he loves a woman but is terrified of making a commitment. He doesn’t trust this girlfriend because of everything Maggie put him through.
Often it is a divorce that causes a man to distrust women, but this can also come from a childhood where his mother or another important female figure wasn’t there for him when he needed her. Often the answer to the question of why he won’t commit but won’t leave you alone involves this problem.
When a man suffers from a lack of trust in women, he’ll often speak negatively about his mother or his exes. He’ll claim to be a victim of things women have done to him and might even say he doesn’t believe in marriage.
You’re Locked in a Power Struggle
When an alpha woman and an alpha man date, a power struggle is as certain as the sun setting in the evening and rising in the morning. Two alphas can be in a relationship, but a lot of negotiating is often required.
The attraction between two alphas is mesmerizing, but the power struggle that results can be polarizing.
Two people in charge rarely works because of the personalities behind each of them. An alpha man will rarely concede control to a woman. It’s not in his nature to do so. If you’re an alpha woman and you’re dating an alpha man, you’ll probably need to give up leadership in the relationship if you want it to survive.
When two alphas meet, there is a natural fight for position. For animals, this fight is physical, but for alpha humans, it’s often a mental fight.
The problem is that alphas, male and female, know what they want and they aren’t afraid to go for it. The high level of intelligence and drive that attracts you to him is what also causes strife.
Alpha men will date alpha women, but they’ll often marry women who aren’t alphas because they don’t want the fight. They need to be in control and the only way to do that is to date a woman who isn’t an alpha.
If you’re an alpha woman, the best man for you might be a beta.
Why He Won’t Commit but Won’t Leave You Alone | He Fears He Can’t Make the Right Decision
Many people have problems making what they perceive to be the right decision. He’s never sure about which car to buy, which neighborhood is the best to live in, whether he really likes where he works, and so on.
As soon as he makes one choice, he thinks of all the reasons to regret it. It can take a man with this issue years to decide on what car to buy, which, of course, is problematic because cars are always changing.
The same applies to deciding on what woman to choose for the rest of his life. As soon as he thinks about committing to you, his mind becomes anxious over whether there are other women out there who are better for him.
People going through this often face analysis paralysis – they analyze something so much that a decision becomes impossible.
This type of guy is usually very intelligent and intellectual. It’s that intelligence that is his worst enemy. He overthinks things and obsesses over decisions. He’ll spend hours on Google® researching possibilities and will think he’s decided numerous times before he does. He spends a lot of time second-guessing himself.
The best way to get this type of guy to realize you’re the woman for him is to allow him to miss you in his life. Yep – leave. You aren’t getting anywhere with him as things are anyway, so your best plan is to move on without him.
Sometimes a guy will wake up and realize what he’s lost, and he’ll come back to you. Other times, he’ll continue in the same destructive relationship pattern.
How to Overcome His Fear of Commitment
The first step in overcoming his fear of commitment is to find out why he carries this fear inside. It could be one or more of the things you’ve read above, but how can you find out?
Have an Open and Honest Discussion
I know this strikes fear right away. You’re thinking, “But Gregg, if I ask him about this, it’ll push him away!!” He’s already pushing away from you, so you can either try to pull him back in or shove him out the door.
Either way, a discussion is a great step. He probably realizes he’s carrying some anxiety over the commitment, but he might not be sure why. Sometimes just talking to someone can push that why to the forefront. He has an ah-ha moment and recognizes what he needs to do next.
He may say he thinks you’re moving too fast. In that instance, you can establish a timeline you can both agree upon and stick to it. Regardless of what his reason is, talking about it helps you both understand what you’re dealing with.
Work Together to Fix Problems
If the problem is different priorities or that he feels smothered, you can work on those things. Compromise is necessary in any relationship, but you first need to know where those compromises need to be.
Both of you need to be great listeners so you can truly hear what the other person is saying. Don’t try to inject your own stuff into whatever he’s saying. Hear him out and think about what he’s said before you reply. Hopefully, he will do the same, and if he doesn’t, kindly ask him to hear you out.
Fixing problems starts by recognizing what the problems are. If you can do that, you can often come to some sort of agreement on how to move forward in a way that supports you both.
Determine What Your Limits Are
You should have a limit – a timeframe by which things need to change, and so should he. For example, if the issue is that he has issues with trust or feels unworthy, he probably needs to seek professional counseling to help him overcome it. You need to allow him time. Time to get the nerve to make the appointment, then time to work with that professional to overcome his issues.
Additionally, if he needs some sort of therapy, he may ask you to participate. His bottom line might be your participation or lack thereof. Yours might be that he participates in counseling for some period.
Either way, you need limits. If he puts off seeking professional help for three months, you’re out. If he makes the appointment but doesn’t go, you’re out. Decide what your limits are and be generous enough to allow him time to do what he needs to do.
Once the limit is passed, you should follow through, unless you can see some slow progress and you’re willing to wait. Don’t wait forever for a man who won’t put in the effort to be with you. You deserve a man who will work hard for your relationship.
Why He Won’t Commit But Won’t Leave You Alone | What the Risks are for You
You wonder why he won’t commit but won’t leave you alone, but have you considered the risks for yourself?
You Develop an Unrealistic Acceptance of the Situation
You’re having fun with him. The sex is great and you have fun together. Eventually, he’ll commit, right?
Wrong. Your delusions are keeping you from seeing how dysfunctional the relationship really is. You only see the actions he performs that seem to indicate he’s into you and you ignore all the signs that he’ll never commit.
That leads to the next risk.
Your Self-Esteem Decreases
As he strings you along, not committing but not setting you free, you begin to feel as if you’re unworthy of love. He never sends you a card or brings you flowers. He never surprises you in the spur of the moment.
Those little things are signs of caring, so if you aren’t seeing them from him, you may begin to believe you’re unworthy or unlovable, just like he does.
You Lose Time
The more time you spend on a man who won’t commit, the less time you’re spending on finding a man who will.
If you’re young, you might not care much right now, but as you get older, time becomes more precious to you. None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow, so it’s important to Live Like You’re Dying.
Of course, you have two options. You can stay with him, considering him to be good enough, or you can ditch this effort and find a man who will treat you like you deserve to be treated.
You’re Risking Heartbreak
At some point, if he doesn’t work out his issues, he’ll break your heart, then you’ll come to me wanting to get him back. This is assuming you don’t settle for whatever minimal attention he gives to you and your relationship.
Sticking with a man who won’t commit and won’t work through the issues that are preventing him from committing is setting yourself up for heartbreak.
Why He Won’t Commit but Won’t Leave You Alone | Conclusion
Ultimately, the decision is yours. You can continue to date a man who won’t make a commitment to you, or you can move on and find a loving man who will make a commitment to you.
Many of the reasons why he won’t commit aren’t his fault. They’re the result of how other people have treated him in the past. Regardless of how much you think you’ve proven yourself to be different, those scars still remain.
Remember, it’s not your job to fix him, but that doesn’t mean you can’t discuss the problem with him and provide him the support he needs to fix it on his own.
For some men, this means retreating from the relationship entirely. That’s what many guys do when they need to deal with their emotions. If so, be patient, and if you say you’ll wait, then wait. Don’t become part of the problem by breaking a promise to him.
Set limits for how long you’re willing to wait so he has the motivation to work hard and not poke around. This way, you both have a hard deadline or rule for when you’ve waited long enough.
Just because he can’t commit to you now doesn’t mean he won’t be able to if he works things out.
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