What If This Is the Reason Straight Dudes Won’t Commit?
09.27.17
Gif by Emily Zirimis

“I can’t have a girlfriend right now.” These words come tumbling out of the mouth of the tall, dark and quirky math theory researcher I met a week ago at a party — within 10 minutes of meeting me for our first date. “So, um, I don’t know what you’re looking for, but…” He trails off, eyes glued to my face for reactions! Clues! Signs!

I shift position in my chair and smile. This is not going to be a thing and I know it. I change the subject instead. “So, where’d you go for undergrad?” The conversation sprawls out from there. It doesn’t shock me when he says he doesn’t know where he’s heading in life. He is seeking professorships out of state, he’s not looking for jobs in the area (at least, he doesn’t think), nor is he entertaining the idea of dating seriously, something he brings up yet again. I gently poke a little deeper on this last point, trying to unravel the intermixing of feels in his subconscious.

I’ve just finished a book about heterosexual dating and relationships and have been having deep discussions with young-ish guys just like him for the better part of a year now. I’ve also been told I have a “therapeutic conversational style,” so sometimes I can’t help myself. I want to unpack brains, lead horses to water…talk to guys about love.

Math theory guy is, unsurprisingly, convinced that real love hinders forward progress. He tells me about the only real relationship he’s had in his life, who left suddenly for a job opportunity overseas. The whole debacle caused him to lose direction. “Maybe I’m just not ready to be vulnerable like that again,” he says.

Ah! There. We. Go. “I can’t have a girlfriend right now,” he repeats. Me, still chill af: “I know, you said that, and I am here 4 u.”

I don’t date all the time. I go in spells, prompted by my best friend or mom telling me that I’ll one day end up old and alone with a bunch of blankets I’ve crocheted in my oodles of spare time. Overall, I’m just not a small-talk-with-strangers-from-apps kind of gal. So, when I am excited for a date, 1) it’s really rare, 2) I already feel a connection with the person, and 3) I’m really wary, because history has taught me to be such. Connection can be dicey.

There was the late-twenties grad student, who went from incessantly texting me and taking me on nervous-excited coffee dates, to telling me that I was amazing and he loved talking to me, but that he was not convinced he was good for me. There was the “inside sales” guy, who took me on several romantic dates before proclaiming he was “not in a stable place right now.” When I raised an eyebrow, he told me he meant location-wise. “I might move…in a year.” (In that case, I am not stable either.) Then there was the resident doctor, who kept delaying dates and blowing me off. When I finally cut him off, he tried a million ways to track me down and fix what he’d broke. I was just over it.

I’ve talked to lots of straight single women who’ve experienced the snap, crackle, pop of connection, only to watch it fizzle out in an extravagantly complicated way — which is when I tell them my theory: Many men, while still figuring out their lives, struggle with connection. It is a roll that must be slowed and managed. In some ways, they have to fall on accident, or they often won’t let themselves fall at all.

Frequently, we see rocky roads to romantic relationships, or the modern-day version of stringing along, which is really just keeping options open until you’re ready to truly go “all in” on the one you want, when you want it. Social media and technology has allowed us to keep tabs on lots of people, with various degrees of commitment and communication frequency, or so researchers found in a 2014 study on the phenomenon of “back burner” prospects. You have back burners. I have ‘em. Guys have ‘em. They get in touch with you, off and on, to leave the door open to romantic or sexual relationships…often, for the truly intriguing maybes, later.

The theory of the (straight) male dating spiral began with my (straight) male friend from high school, with whom I’ve always discussed relationships in great detail. A couple years ago, he told me that men want to date women who are in the same exact place as they are — in career, in life, in emotional development. If women are ahead, kicking butt in life, they admire that. They get excited for that. But really going for the girl who’s kicking butt will force a guy to grow, and sometimes, they’re in a phase where they just don’t want to face their fears of losing control and being truly vulnerable. “Sometimes, I want that girl who will inspire me to be more, but that’s not what I want today,” he told me. “I’ve always wanted the same girl. I’m just not sure I’m ready to be ‘that guy’ for her.”

But, like, they waffle. One of my more amusing male book interviewees, a tech guy in his mid-thirties, told me that he purposely dates the wrong women. Great girls, awesome, fun, but with whom he feels less connection and long-term potential. He dates prospects he calls “crushes,” and soft-approaches his actual assertive, independent type. “I always have this one woman,” he told me, someone who aligns perfectly to his ideal. “This is a person I pursue, but probably not very well.” He has intentionally gotten to know these women over time, who he calls “platonic girlfriends.” He keeps them in his inner-circle, a nebulous spot in the friend zone where he’ll act like a maybe-sometimes boyfriend, but can’t seem to fully go after them.

It’s a sort of “intimidation,” a twenty-something engineering grad student tells me. At the time we first talked, he was very into this girl, a couple years his senior, in politics, who he got major butterflies around. He wasn’t really going after her, though. Three dates(?) without any legit moves toward romance, and he was beginning to talk himself out of it. “Part of it stems from an overly critical view of myself,” he says. “On paper, this relationship would be on a higher plane. It would require more serious commitment because I’d have to finally become the person I want to be with her. It’s not a turn-off, but it’s a new way I have to navigate.”

Men who fall in this category are unsure if they’re ready to navigate differently, and that uncertainty leads to the start of a living, breathing relationship roller coaster. (All the highs and lows, way less fun.) They start to spiral and talk themselves out of it in front of you, too, as if the hot-and-cold behavior wasn’t tell-tale enough. One of my female book interviewees called the “I can’t have a girlfriend/be in a relationship” line the “mitigating expectations” talk. I loved that.

If you trace it back to the roots, the young-ish career set all have a similar, uber-millennial story. In the age of “emerging adulthood,” a phrase coined in the late ’90s by psychologist Jeffrey Arnett, these guys are unsettled and growing; they’re not looking to set up house or commit like their parents did. Maybe they’re about to move across the country, just started a new job, are focused on grad school, have been through a rough breakup, are playing the field, etc.

Problem is, they are also serious idealist-romantics, too. I explain my spiral theory to Karla Ivankovich, PhD, a clinical counselor and psychology instructor, and she “agrees with my assessments.” Millennial(ish)-aged men have both a weird pressure to excel, with higher emotional intelligence than any generation before. “They are raised to have passion and purpose, but also be the best at everything,” she explains to me. “And if not, they need to clear the plate of distraction. They are held to their gender role in an age where women have more leeway. Men are supposed to ‘have it all together’ and ‘make it work.’ Love comes after money and success.” So, feeling too much, too soon with someone? Kind of a barrier.

On top of that, guys know you want the best. And deserve it. You’ve been taught to believe that, have internalized it. “I think there is incredible pressure for men to get it right first time, and modern women don’t want to settle,” Ivankovich tells me. “Guys stress over the expectations they think women place on them; it can be a problematic clash.”

I’ve learned to bear with men as they figure themselves out. Sometimes, they really do fall in love accidentally/slowly/carefully. I have so many friends who’ve married guys who were dead-set on not falling, but did anyway. They want to feel it all, eventually, but keep those feelings in check until they’ve built their empires (a.k.a. stable lives). Love can feel huge and scary. In some ways, it is.

But it’s doable. Maybe Chrissy Teigen had it right, when John once tried to break up with her in the middle of a stressful, panicky time. Her response was akin to, “Lol, no.” Lol, yes.

Jenna Birch is author of The Love Gap (Grand Central Life & Style, January 2018).

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  • Meemaw

    What a bunch of assholes.

    • Hayley

      Lol

  • Adrianna

    I think people need to be interested in a relationship before you meet them. Too many have the fantasy of “well I must be really special if he didn’t want to be in a relationship before he met me.” I started dating my partner when we were both 23, and we were pretty much exclusive from Day 1. His friends were already getting married. (We met in Hoboken and currently live in NYC.)

    The guy I went out with before him literally told me that he isn’t looking for a girlfriend. He was later engaged to be married before my partner and I discussed moving in together.

    I wonder if it has to do with someone’s inability to multi-task. A lot of the men telling you they can’t commit to a relationship reference moving or finding a career path.

    • I think it’s about connection too. My boyfriend and I were talking about this recently. He said that when we first started going out and he had no idea what would become of it and wasn’t necessarily expecting a long term relationship, he just liked me. We texted each other to hang out every weekend. About a month later some girl at a party called me his girlfriend and we went with it. Our relationship naturally progressed and we’ve been together for 6 years now. I was 18, he was 20. Neither of us had our shit together and we still don’t completely, but we’ve grown a lot since.

      • Adrianna

        It’s odd that connection and chemistry isn’t really discussed. It seems to be that some people want to reject the notion of finding “the one,” and therefore approach dating as an opportunity to develop a connection with anyone

  • Abby

    I personally subscribe to the “their light is on” theory of men’s commitment issues, as explained by Sex and the City.

    • tmm16

      OMG SAME.

    • LMB

      See also: the avocado theory

      • RaquelT18

        I live and die by the avocado theory

  • bluesun21

    Oh god, could this article be the answer? I had a “thing” with a guy who fits this type perfectly. A few years younger than me, caught in a place in his career between comfort and ambition, thinking about maybe moving for bigger work prospects. He was also 110% infatuated with me, pursued me for years, couldn’t get enough of me once I relented, and yet claimed he “couldn’t” have romantic feelings for me or be in a real relationship with me. He told me all the time that I was the total package, and sometimes pointed out my career success in less than subtle ways. Once he flat out said, “You make a lot of money.” Our mutual friends weren’t helpful either… he relayed to me that one friend had told him, in the context of a discussion of salary levels, “You’ve got no chance with her, she knows how much we make.” In fact I did know, and didn’t care, but I guess this shows how much of a sore spot it can be for men who are still finding their way careerwise.

    Long story short, he broke my heart, went back to an old girlfriend, who in my opinion wasn’t the brightest but whose lack of career ambition was perhaps more suitable, quickly grew tired of her and is now dating someone else who is in his same field of work. A mutual female friend said to me, “He sounds scared.” I went to see a therapist to try and unravel this and she said the same thing. She explained that maybe he wasn’t ready to be the man I thought he was, and was afraid to be in a position to disappoint me. As long as my expectations were kept low it was fine, but a real relationship would’ve raised those expectations. I thought this was all too self-congratulatory of an explanation for me, and I didn’t believe her. I felt deep down that I was deficient and he threw me away for someone else.

    Many months ago I told him we were not friends and I didn’t want to speak to him anymore. But I accidentally ran into him recently and now he has resumed texting and snapchatting me. His tone is nostalgic verging on sentimental, he sends me things that are blatant reminders of what we used to do together and I’ve been stuck wondering what he could possibly want with me now. Is he trying to keep things open for a possible “later”? I have a boyfriend who is willing to go all in with me, who is FULL GROWN in every sense. I know better than to fall for this nonsense but I’m dying to know what is in his mind and heart. Thank you for this article, it has helped me to feel a little more settled on this issue.

    • Meemaw

      It’s a trap. Forget he exists.

      • Olivia AP

        Imagine someone telling men: she is not ready to be a woman… WTF

    • Seriously, listen to Meemaw.

    • MJPanda

      They pop up again when they see how well you’re doing without them and they’ll wait for their opportunity to take a big steamy shit all over it. As Meemaw said, it’s a trap.

      • Gigi James

        Isn’t it Zombie Dating when they come back from the dead chasing you?

        • Miss Crystal

          I have never heard that term before but I LOVE IT. It needs to be a thing.

    • Kattigans

      Meemaw has it right. It’s a trap, girl. Boy just wanted you when he couldn’t have you, liked the chase, chase was over, reality set in, and on top of that he sounds like an a**. They always have this funny way of sneaking back up on you when you’re doing well. It’s their radar going off saying “hey so-and-so is happy, time to try and eff up her life”.

      I dated this guy for 3-4 months who was an utter psycho in the end. After being strung along by him, I woke up one day and texted him saying “I’m not interested in seeing you anymore”. He FREAKED out. Had no idea why that could be and pleaded for me to give it a shot. I said “no thanks, been there done that and I’m ready to get off this hamster wheel”. We parted ways and 3 months later, after I’d been dating someone for a month, he just popped back up – called me incessantly one night, texted me non-stop, asked to see me. The works. I said no again bc seriously boy bye. I don’t have time for the fiddle diddle. Sometimes they trick you and you gotta see them for what they are and let that ish go.

  • LMB

    Idk, can’t this just be summed up by the fact that men tend to mature more slowly than women? At this point it just seems like we’re making elaborate excuses instead of just saying “Men, do better.”

    • Marina Corrêa de Moraes

      The way they were created that built this fake “men tend to mature more slowly than woman”. As children, they didn’t have the same responsabilities as a woman, to help their mother, to sit straight, learn how to cook, clean the dishes… They were allowed to play and not help at all.

      • LMB

        Agreed – I think girls/women grow up faster because we are forced to.

      • Olivia AP

        AMEN SISTER!!!

      • Karl-Johan Lundberg

        But if that’s true, if they’ve already ended up that way, don’t they still have to amend it in their own time?

        A guy in his late 20’s stumbling on this realisation, he’d be crazy to commit to a same age woman who already has all maturity aspects down to a T (homemaking, financial, career, social relationships). If you’re that guy, wouldn’t commiting to this woman be highly irresponsible and nigh guaranteed to make her disappointed (and him left feeling useless/inferior), even if he hauls all sorts of ass trying to meet that level?

        He can however commit to someone who’s like him in those aspects (women who “fail” the same way he does), or just younger (where there may be a natural intersection in maturity level).

    • Julie

      AGREED. I’ve been talking with my mom more about relationships lately and how frustrated I am with these dudes in my life who flake on plans, can’t seem to reach out to make plans themselves in the first place, don’t answer texts, don’t check-in, etc. She plays it off as “Well….men have different brains than women and they can’t multitask, yada yada…” But it’s like…. NO. No excuses. They just need to be better and try harder.

    • irembezek

      It is also that most men are like “I cant do better. This is me.”, but women are more willing develop themselves against problems…. I see that most relationships near me are going good because women are most likely to meet halfway

      • LMB

        I am haunted by that line from SATC when Carrie says some bullshit about how you can’t change a man, but once in a blue moon you can change a woman.

    • Miss Crystal

      Yes! I can get behind women being more mature by a few years, but when there are 45 year old men-children everywhere… That’s just ridiculous.

      • jab7168 .

        Yes, 45 year old children that make everything in your pampered existence possible.

    • Karl-Johan Lundberg

      Or… just date/commit on your own level of maturity? Isn’t that a valid option?

  • Patrizia Chiarenza

    Am I stupid for thinking that finding a true connection with someone is extremely rare? I am a 35 single girl who has never been married and the dating scene is truly disheartening. I am a romantic and I am definitely ready to be in a long term relationship (not necessarily interested in marriage or kids, but just a monogamous, long relationship) but so many men I’ve dated recently are absolutely turned off by the idea of even settling down with one woman. The more time passes, the more I am afraid I will end up alone. How many connections can I truly find in my life time??
    All this to simply say that this article makes some very interesting points but still makes me wonder: is the fear to step up and be who they want to be bigger than the fear of losing the chance of being with someone they truly connect with?

    I hope this makes sense…. I feel like a rambled but I have a lot of feelings about this 🙂

    • Miss Crystal

      29 never-married here and omfg yes the dating scene is abysmal. It’s hard finding a true connection, and heartbreaking when that guy is afraid of committing, as well as finding the excitement to keep dating.
      The older I get, the more it feels like I’m going to be left with the leftover guys and have to let go of certain standards or beliefs for fear of being alone forever. Men children, felons, messy-recently divorced, 5 kids… I already let go of my height requirements (to an extent). My married girlfriends say I’m “too picky” (watching my friend throw out all of her heels because her same-height husband doesn’t want to feel short was a traumatic day for me) but why does it seem like women have to let go of their standards while men can always still aspire for the young supermodels?

      • Danaë Botha

        Preach, sister. When I go on dates, one of the first questions I ask is what the other person is looking for in a relationship and then sit back and laugh inwardly at the long list of superficial bullshit that comes pouring out. One guy (early 40s, kid, divorced, definitely no oil painting) literally said she has to have “the perfect legs and ass”… Um, ok buddy. good luck with that.

  • tmm16

    “I’m not mature enough for a relationship” – words from a guy on a second date. Kinda similar but also kinda different. Idk, I just think it’s timing, willingness to date, opportunity to date, and time that could be spent on a person. It just all has to fit together. I’m also single and have dated unsuccessfully so maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about lol.

  • This is probably why I always date older men. They have their shit together, so we’re at the same stage at life emotionally at least. An emotionally stable man knows that he doesn’t quite have his career together yet, but is working on it and can balance me with his other work without having an existential crisis. Just like I balance him with mine.

    • Aydan

      eh SOMETIMES! I’ve dated a guy three years younger that was far more mature than any guys I dated older. Its a hard thing–age–because it doesn’t always factor. Def depends on the individual

    • Lena

      I had the same general idea about older men too. Most often, they have their act/career together but boy was I wrong about the current person I’m seeing. Eleven years my senior, great career as a physician, world traveler, handsome…and never married/no kids. Probably a “bachelor for life” red flag. I just got hit with the same convenient “I may be moving, not sure when, may take awhile, etc. etc. not sure if getting into anything serious is a good idea” blah blah. Come on, you’re too old for this buddy!

    • Adrianna

      My boyfriend and I are both 28, and we started dating when we were 23. (He’s four months older than me.) Age differences in relationships kind of fascinate me because I feel zero attraction to someone older/younger than me. Which means that dating in college was frustrating, because the guys that I was attracted to were a mess.

  • jackie

    i think it also has to do with… wait for it…. being with the right person. Last year, on two seperate occasions, I dated guys who said they weren’t ready for something serious. the first said it was because he could potentially move (i was given no specific timeframe of when but, ya know, he could move at some point in the next 50 years). the second said he was too busy with work. shortly after each “relationship” ended, they each got serious girlfriends much to my horror.

    when i started dating my current boyfriend, all signs pointed to him not being ready for a relationship (based on articles like this and previous experience). he was starting a new job. he had never been in a relationship before. he lived an hour from me. i even chalked him up to a summer fling lol. and yet he ended up being the one to initiate all of our big mile stones- me meeting his family, our first weekend trip, and eventually the relationship talk. he said it all really came down to him needing to meet the right person, which ended up being me.

    point is, yes i think everyone has to be in the right place in their lives to want a relationship. but sometimes it just also comes down to a guy not wanting to be in a relationship with a girl (and vice versa) because he just doesn’t see that with her. and thats ok!

    • But jesus could they please say that?? Instead of “I can’t be in a relationship right now” or “I need some time to myself” just admit to me that you don’t think we would work! I’m an adult, I can handle the honesty.

      • Kattigans

        Not everyone has the guts and as shitty as this is to say: you gotta learn to read between the lines and not fixate so much on the language of it all.

      • Frances

        Seriously.

      • silla

        They are telling you that! If you’re an adult, you should also be able to figure that out (I say this with sisterly love!)

        • I think they are doing that sometimes, but sometimes there’s a weird impulse on their part to continue pretending they like you, when reading between the lines they clearly don’t. I once had a guy who repeatedly said he wanted to go on a second date and had a great time on our first one, and was very effusive about it, but then kept moving the time of said second date over and over so it would never happen. It felt like he was worried I would crumble into a devastated heap if he just said yeah let’s just be friends or whatever, which I found kind of arrogant on his part.

          • silla

            Ooh yeah okay. I totally get that. That’s never happened to me personally but I’ve seen that happen to girlfriends. I think that’s borne out of them just not being that into you (obviously that means he a moron because you seem great!) but also still wanting to be seen as “the nice guy”. It’s a self protection thing, and I think it comes more from insecurity than arrogance but that would FUCKING annoy me too. Like….I’m going to be fine babe. More than fine. Trust me on that one! URGH dating is hard.

    • Kattigans

      I fully agree. My ex (who is someone I’m working things out with now- we recently broke up for 2 months) was the same way. We dated for 2 years. Before that, he’d just gotten out of a relationship that also lasted 1.5-2 yrs and really was on the “im not settling down” train. He insisted on all the reasons he couldn’t be exclusive, but I seriously wore him down and when I finally was like “alright, no problem, let’s keep seeing other people” that’s when I think he realized “oh shit I really like this girl and she could very well move the eff on”. I had no issue with walking away even though I didn’t want to. Sometimes you do have to put your foot down, say enough is enough, and from that you get your answer. If its meant to be it will be. Sometimes a guy isn’t mentally ready, isn’t dating the right person, and he’s actually just scared more about what commitment may do to him even if he has met the right girl, but like you said: sometimes it has to do with being w/ the right person.

      It’s not black and white. People are people, not categories. It’s really not a one size fits all.

    • Adrianna

      I’m of the mindset that if someone (particularly hetero men) truly likes you, they’ll figure out how to be with you. Unfortunately that sounds too harsh and too simple. The Sex & Relationship industry (magazines, rom coms) perpetuates the overcomplicated idea that we’re supposed to almost trick someone into a commitment.

      • I am guilty of trying to trick someone into a relationship…he saw right through it. (duh)

        • Jessminder Kaur

          Katie how did u do that may i ask?

        • Melody Ramos

          yikes.

      • jab7168 .

        …… he will figure it out, and what exactly do you do?

    • Abhimanyu Chatterjee

      This reminded me of that one quote from Definitely, Maybe : “It’s not a matter of who, it’s a matter of when.”

    • kellymcd

      “shortly after each “relationship” ended, they each got serious girlfriends much to my horror.”

      This happened to me last year and I lost.my.shit. When this happens, it is so hard to not blame yourself and think “maybe I’m just not girlfriend material and worthy of a relationship with them. Or anyone.” It makes these “men” look so fucking terrible when they try to tell you in the grand scheme of things they’re “not into a relationship right now”, then go off and link up with a serious girlfriend. We find out and then hate you even more than if you’d said “I cannot be in a relationship with you because it doesn’t feel right to me”. This stings, but wears off much quicker

      • jab7168 .

        Of course it makes the man look horrible; god forbid if you were self reflective, can’t be anything to do with you.🤔

        • kellymcd

          Ok, well eff you too, SIR

          • jab7168 .

            What a well thought out response. Self reflection is difficult…….but I can appreciate where you are coming from, no surprise there.

  • flamesonthesideofmyface

    Ladies, I’ve been with this guy. The “maybe when I move to your state guy”, the “I want to travel to Germany” guy. And take it from this old married lady: MOVE. ON. NOW. He will never be ready. Life is what happens while you’re waiting for things to be “just right”. That guy is still single, while all of his friends have married and had babies. Some guys just want to keep their options open forever, some guys just never want to grow up and have anyone place expectations on them. And that’s their life choice, but you don’t have to go along with it. I cringe when I think that if I hadn’t met my husband, I might still be that guy’s back burner, a decade later, because at the time I didn’t have the self-confidence to demand more. You are worth more. Believe it.

    • LMB

      Louder for the ladies in the back!

      • Amelia

        (I was the lady in the back for years)

        • LMB

          (me too girl! that’s why I wish someone had said it louder for me)

        • kellymcd

          SAME

    • Engels_Beard

      This. Believe him when he tells you who he is and what he wants and move the fuck on.

    • Rosie

      SCREAMING THIS AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS WITH YOU, SISTER.

      THANK. YOU.

    • Tim

      I’m a man and one reason I don’t get in a relationship is cause women love to argue and they think they can control there man and they are usually all one way or the highway type of woman and to bad for them

      • Amy Brumbpo Tungus

        tim………….zip it.

        • Brieeee

          LOL Tim.

        • Rosie

          Can we make this into a t-shirt? “ZIP IT TIM”

        • jab7168 .

          Seems you proved his point.

      • Hayley

        Their*, too*, etc. Go away.

        • b.e.g.

          LOL! and Because, not cause.

        • jab7168 .

          Address his grammar and not his point, makes sense. 👍🏻

      • pamb

        lol Tim. What are you even doing here?

      • Alexandra Queiroz

        “… is *because* women love…”
        “…think they can control *their* man…”
        “…*too* bad for them.”
        Also, the popular saying is “*my* way or the highway.”
        It’s shocking that ANY woman would ever want to date you.

    • Julia Anderson

      AMEN. AMEN. AMEN.

  • Lindsay D

    “They are held to their gender role in an age where women have more leeway ”

    I hate everything about this quote.

    • streats

      I didn’t like the way it was phrased but I think I agree with what they’re trying to say, i.e. women have become more comfortable with subverting their traditional gender role whereas men have a harder time of it. Or, it’s somehow been more acceptable for women to be “strong, independent” but God forbid a man overtly be more sensitive. It’s all tied to misogyny; it’s okay for women to subvert their gender roles because in society’s eyes it’s them being more like men, whereas society can’t handle men embrace a more feminine side because that’s perceived as weaker or less ideal. So yeah I agree with you I don’t like the quote but thinking about it more I think it does make sense.

  • Lil

    If someone really wants to be with you, they’d actually be with you right now.

    Anything else said is an excuse and you’re simply just not the, “one.”

  • nell

    Something really bums me out about the narrative that you have to be like a fully baked adult with a great job and a 401k to be in a stable, loving relationship. It’s so important to know who you are as an individual and not become codependent in a relationship, but I’m just not convinced everyone has to hack through the jungle of their twenties alone in order to be “ready” for a relationship. Growing together and supporting each other can be a really amazing thing too. (But of course really leaning on someone takes vulnerability, and really supporting someone takes strength…so it does all boil down to connection)

    • Miss Crystal

      Right?! I think back to my grandmother’s generation where people got married at like 16. Six freaking teen! No way did most people at that age have any kind of adult things sorted out. I didn’t have my acne/skin care regimen sorted out back then. Even though that’s kind of gross-young, it still shows that this modern view of being a full on adult with everything perfect and in place in order to find love is really tragic.

    • Engels_Beard

      You don’t but these guys either a) don’t understand that or b) want to use it as an excuse. Either way move on.

      • Olivia AP

        Right. I know times change but when my dad married my mom he was 27 years old and they went through shitty and good times together and ultimately that made their relationship stronger. At the end of the day saying you want a stable life before you commit it’s just an excuse, that type of people will always find something out of place.

    • Abbie

      I’ve heard this called cornerstone vs. capstone. Previous generations treated their spouse like the cornerstone on which they built their life (probably because they married/had kids when they were 20) whereas today, everyone has to have EVERYTHING in life lined up before even going on a date.

      • Elizabeth Armstrong

        Good terminology.

    • Senka

      That really depends on people’s age. In early twenties, it’s kind of clear that you are both starting your careers or jobs. No one expects a 23 year old to have it all, so yes, if two people that age love each other and want to date, chances are, lots of support during mutual struggle is needed. They would really grow together, and build a life together.
      However if one is thirty and still trying to find himself or herself, figuring out what to do, or simply not working, to me it’s a red flag, and not a really good sign. Not someone you want to include in your life if you already made a life for yourself.

  • Daniel Szilagyi

    Guy jumping in here for my two cents, I’m at that point now where I’m older and more mature (I’m 31 now) and i’ve definitely been there like what was written (blowing people off and all that) and I can say for myself personally it has a lot to do with trying to “get it right” feel as if I’m stable enough and grown enough to support that other person.
    I’ve worked really really hard when I was younger on my career to advance and get to a fairly good position and make a good enough income, also to learn and expand my knowledge in life from food, fashion and politics.
    That had come at a cost though, because I lost relationships to it or because I felt I wasn’t ready for it, but after meeting the most amazing woman i’ve fallen deeply in love and wouldn’t change anything or want to lose her.
    I do think a lot of it is guys trying to get things in order and seeing a straight forward plan, I don’t think this is so especially unique to straight men though, it’s not as if gay men have magically figured out their romantic lives either.

    • Aydan

      agreed. I think this is why some run. I was told about a year ago that I induced his anxiety. His anxiety about what you ask? His place in life, his profession, etc. He blamed the whole breakup on me and despite what was coming out of his mouth, I knew this was his insecurity not mine. (aka my strength, self assuredness, etc. was off-putting to him)

      • Daniel Szilagyi

        I don’t ever think that the guy should ever blame anyone for this, that’s not fair and it’s not right either.
        From my own experience I’ve been with people who wanted someone figured out and that’s fine i think, but it wasn’t me at that point, but i’ve also dated people who did exactly what was written here and left because ” I want to move to a different state etc etc” or they themselves had no idea what they wanted to do in life or where they were going, what kind of person they wanted and so much more.
        Both men and women take time to realize what they want and need, some people aren’t very good at communicating either and that doesn’t help, regardless of sex.

        • Aydan

          so real.

      • Rebecca Ann

        I had a 2 year on/off guy do this. I feel like he was so intimidated that I have my life somewhat together, and I’m a couple years younger than him. He basically said, “I’m not ready/I need to work on myself/blah blah blah/I’m a child and I refuse to grow up.”
        I straight up told him that I didn’t care that he wasn’t where he wanted to be career-wise, and that I’d like to be there regardless of all that stuff, but he didn’t want that, I guess?
        Overall, I think he just wasn’t into me, and really would have preferred that he been honest about it, instead of stringing me along and making BS excuses. I’ve seen guys who, to be quite honest, were in NO place to add a relationship in the mix, but they went for it anyway, and did what it took to make it work with the girl.
        So in my experience, it’s less about the “when” and more about the “who.”

        • Aydan

          FULLY agree. Ick–we are better off without them!

    • Danaë Botha

      But… it’s 2017? You don’t have to “support” a woman. We’re doing pretty well ourselves, my guy.

      • Daniel Szilagyi

        I appreciate that and it’s true, you don’t need me to “support” you but then again being a jobless bum doesn’t really help either 😉 my point was to make sure for myself that i’m stable enough to have my own life in order and should something happen to my partner, be able to support them for a time as well.

  • Suzan

    They type of guy described here totally reminds me of myself in my early twenties. Except for that I’m a girl.

    I think there are some interesting theories here, about commitment and fear thereof in general. But the whole “Women are from Venus, Men from Mars” thing kinda bothers me about it. I know both men and women who have been on either side of what is described here as something divided by sex.

  • Kattigans

    THIS IS ME: Overall, I’m just not a small-talk-with-strangers-from-apps kind of gal. So, when I am excited for a date, 1) it’s really rare, 2) I already feel a connection with the person, and 3) I’m really wary, because history has taught me to be such. Connection can be dicey.

    I’ve explained this to my therapist too. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started inching closer and closer to dude like behavior towards guys that are interested in me. I don’t know what shift took place – where or when – but I went from being desperate to being aloof without intending too. Maybe its because life got busy, I enjoy being alone, or I just would rather be doing something else? Idk. Also, maybe I also shouldn’t be complaining? I get your thought tho about connection being dicey. I can very much relate. It takes a lot for me to be into it and once I fall out of interest after a couple of hang outs, I don’t have an issue just moving on and resuming life like it was. I also cringe at the word: DATE..I feel like it puts too much pressure or something. Any other women out there feel this way?

    • Gigi James

      Oh yes, this is me. Have been single for 3+ years after a 10 year relationship. Went on a second date on Saturday, the guy is nice, but his kissing was truly bad…Bye Frederic. My friends tell me I’m too picky, but I like being alone and feel at best, lukewarm, about dating. Too many guys to sift through and finding one who I actually want to meet in person is miraculous. Then I go on the date and if it’s not fireworks, I’m ready for it to be over already. I will die alone. My ex? He was married in a minute after I booted his lazy ass.

      • Kattigans

        “Bye Frederic” LOLz. Omg bad kissers…the worst. I also know when I’m not into it too when I avoid any moment of pause or a lull that could invite the guy in to kiss me even when I he isn’t necessarily a bad kissers. I went out for a 2nd date with a guy, he took me to a baseball game and told me 6 times throughout the evening how happy he was for me to be there. I wanted to run away. It made me so uncomfortable..like I don’t even know you? It’s sweet but too much. It makes me tired.

  • Emily

    These guys are SO frustrating. And I think the thing is, maybe our generation overall is a little non-commital.. but the right person will be excited enough about you to try it for real. so that’s worth holding out for

  • Alex Vásquez Dheming

    This is me except I’m not a dude…

  • Miss Crystal

    This is a definitely a more positive view than my theories hah… Too many dating sites/apps that are basically Groupon for poon, guys perpetually in their post-breakup ho-phase after being burned by an ex, guys just being immature asses, etc. I assumed this for young-ish guys but the fear of commitment issue is something I even see in guys 30-40 (my dating range)

    Since situationships are the best thing I can hope for now, maybe all of us single forever ladies can start a blanket crocheting club or something ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • Kattigans

      Groupon for poon..dying!

      • kellymcd

        This made me LOL real hard today

    • anna

      i’m joinin yr club

  • heather Tatman

    I think u can sum this whole article up by saying, he’s just not that into you. This article, although well written is analysis paralysis over a guy’s behavior,

    • Rebecca Ann

      ^This.

  • karherine

    The guys in their 40s are no better! Big babies.

  • I have a short attention span I guess & scrolled down to the comments..It could ‘ve been the repetition of.. the “guys” this, the “guys” that “guys,guys,guys.”.women got to stop looking at “guys” for direction as the “guys” are clearly lost

  • Frances

    I needed this. <3

  • Bee

    I just can’t with men at this point. I just want to travel with my girl friends and read magazines while sheet masking. The emotional immaturity and lack of self awareness in boys has gotten really old and I’m only 25!

    • nina corissa ortiz

      omfg THIS SO HARD

    • Rosie

      PREACH IT BEE

    • Amelia

      I AM ALSO 25 AND THIS IS ALSO ALL I WANNA DO except add in cuddle w my cat

      • Bee

        Yes! That too!

    • jab7168 .

      When you are in you are in your 30’s looking to settle down and looking for that great guy , you will be wondering where he is….he is with the 25 year old. Enjoy your travels…….

      • Bee

        Lol cool.

        • jab7168 .

          Indeed.

    • jab7168 .

      So, when will you want to settle down?

  • Fezzers

    As a graduate student that has dated three physics graduate students (im not even in physics!? What is my problem??) I’d like to suggest that graduate students and researchers as a group are … “unique” people.

  • StanUlam

    Dating a woman is like having an extra job. These guys are just being straight up with you.

    • Olivia AP

      Well, so date men then. Don’t waste women’s time

      • StanUlam

        Thanks for the femsplanation

  • the fox forgot

    I think the sad, hard truth is that when a dude is truly into you, he’ll drop all those cheesy excuses. When someone shows you who they are, believe em.

    It’s a deadly combination, metropolitan areas and this era of dating apps. It creates a false sense of infinite abundance on one side of the coin, and hopeless defeat on the other. Neither one is reality.

    I honestly met my husband by not giving a shit about anyone but myself. The cliche of “love finds you when you aren’t looking” is terribly true, but only when you are coming from a healthy place of self improvement and natural confident.

    New York City seems damn brutal. Good luck!

    • Karl-Johan Lundberg

      “I think the sad, hard truth is that when a dude is truly into you, he’ll drop all those cheesy excuses.”

      Except if the problem is he doesn’t love/value/believe in himself.. then he will excuse himself even if he is truly into you.

      It’s incredibly common for the depressed to self-sabotage and rob themselves of what they really want after all.

      It can be frustrating to suffer someone else’s problem (with himself), in this regard, but I find it hard to be mad at someone who’s just essentially unhappy.

      • the fox forgot

        I definitely agree, because I have been in a relationship with a depressed person who wanted to make it work but couldn’t leave his room, and sadly I had to move on.

        Also, my sentiment wasn’t to express anger. It was something I realized that helped me become *less* attached to any negative emotions in situations that aren’t healthy for me.

        I wasn’t really referring to the situation you described – moreso the types I see my friends waste years of their life with in on/off again flip-switch relationships. The types that guard their phone passcodes with their lives. The types that are possessive, flirting with abusive (or just straight-up abusive), and also flirting with other women.

        I am also referring to tepid romances that never take off. Perhaps one party is not interested in taking things further, but the other party puts their life on hold waiting for the uninterested one to “come around”. I see this happen a lot with people I know irl…. a LOT

        Of course it is difficult to generalize, and everyone enters the dating world with their own history and ideals. As a serial monogamist (and now married), I would be lying if I said I didn’t find this stuff absolutely fascinating.

        • Karl-Johan Lundberg

          Ah got it! Yes, that’s something else.
          I think what you describe is someone who uses withholding as a means of control, which could actually both be abusive and manipulative in a passive sort of way.

          Then ‘the tepid romances that never take off’…. I think in some cases these are “new love junkies” who think it’s only exillerating just as things are starting to take off but any sort of defining the relationship means coming down from that high. I find this incredibly nasty also. These people chase the intensity of it all and for that reason they talk to their dates like they want to commit for life, but it’s actually only moments they’re after.
          Or something like that?

          On the other hand, people who are brutally upfront with the fact that they will not commit and are exclusively interested in brief flings are better people. At least then everyone knows what they sign up for.

          Yeah, I’m also in a long steady (and defined) relationship but find these things really interesting all the same. 🙂

  • BrooklynBridge

    Ew. Women are forced into emotional maturity and intelligence, and this article is telling me I should be patient with a man-child and decide when he wants to be an adult and give me the time of day? No thank you. Men, grow up.

    • jab7168 .

      Funny thing, when you look at who carries most debt, who is having children out of wedlock, and who is on most public assistance it is the ladies. Men are more responsible. I take grow up to mean to commit to a woman and put up with her crap. No thanks. 😂

      • streats

        How can women be having children out of wedlock more than men? If a woman is having a child out of wedlock then by definition so is the man.

  • Abhimanyu Chatterjee

    Like I replied to one of the comments below, there was this line in this movie Definitely, Maybe which I really liked; “It’s not a matter of who, but it’s a matter of when.”
    And by the way, the “Lol, no” response to his attempt to break up? That was priceless. And ballsy, but in a nice way. 😁

  • Amy Brumbpo Tungus

    We give half-assed men WAY too much air time

    • Preach.

    • jab7168 .

      …and you’re all that. 😆

      • Amy Brumbpo Tungus

        mmm. don’t be bitter.

        • jab7168 .

          Mmmmm…….why not? Why do women always pull that weak attempt at shaming? Just curious…….

          • Amy Brumbpo Tungus

            because, Jab, it’s a nice term compared to what I could be saying about someone who’s coming on to a blog and anonymously singling out someone for saying something that wasn’t even about them. you came on to several of my comments and left remarks like I’d personally been attacking you. who hurt you? damn.

          • kellymcd

            This guy is such an ass, did the same thing on one of my comments and implies I AM the one who needs self-reflection. Lol k. Sure dude

          • Amy Brumbpo Tungus

            I’m starting to think Tim has created pseudo identities ……..

          • jab7168 .

            I maybe an ass, but sadly, you can’t reflect on yourself. I feel very sorry for you. 😭

          • kellymcd
          • jab7168 .

            If you are on a public forum, your comments are open for response from the public. You didn’t realize that? Dam, do you have sand in your va- jay jay? Calm down… it is ok.

          • Amy Brumbpo Tungus

            Tim bites back!

          • jab7168 .

            Yes, yes….. of course. It is Tim. 🙄. Because that is what you think , it is so…..

  • silla

    No one said it better than Berger (the worst, but because of this, also the best) – HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU. You can slice it any which way you like, you can research it for months, you can wrap it all up in the “he’s a millennial” blanket. Doesn’t matter. HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU. Don’t you deserve better than “learning to bear with men as they figure themselves out”? Ain’t nobody got time for that. You don’t have to bear with any type of shit unless there are (reciprocal) feelz involved.

  • Amber MB

    This whole phenomenon (which I see in myself too – “gotta be perfect, gotta be ready) just makes me want to be the BEST (there we go again!) parent/aunt/mentor/friend to the next generation, in an effort to make sure they’re less freaked out by BASIC LIFE THINGS than we all seem to be

  • Senka

    While reading plenty of those guys excuses, because excuses those are, I can only say this: either he’s not relationship material, in which case no sane woman needs him in her life, or the girl simply sin’t the one for him. Because for “the one” he’ll do anything. Change his plans, try harder, and do whatever it takes to keep her. Yes, now people have all this choice, dating apps, scial media, hook ups, friends with benefits and what not, but when a guy trully, really loves you, he wont come up with explanations, he’ll do whatever it takes. It’s simple. And yes, those feelings still exist. And all this is comming from a single woman.
    On the other hand, I’m not a millenial or am only barely so, being born in 1983 but one thing, about men having to be accomplished to at least attract me, rings true. Why? Well, because I, and most women of my age, have good life on my own (at least by the standards of the remote part of world I live in). Most of us work hard to be financially independent and so why would we want to be with someone who doesnt have his life figured out.

  • Babs

    It also sounds like the gentlemen interviewed for the story don’t really have the tools to deal with insecurity/fear. IMO, those are things you could talk to your potential partner about: “I like you, but I’m really terrified because x, y, z…” I think this aligns with your theory — they think they need to have EVERYthing together, including self-confidence. It’s sad, though. I really don’t agree with the sentiment that you have to be personally ready or together before you can have a relationship (bc let’s be real, we might never get there!). I like the idea of building things/working through things together through trust.

    • Babs

      THERAPY FOR EVERYONE!!

    • Daniel Szilagyi

      Lots of Men and Women aren’t ready, there should be a better dialogue about it but sadly lots of the times and especially from experience myself i can say it’s not true.
      I do agree very strongly though, people should just be more open and honest about it

  • C. Killion

    It all sounds exhausting, just too much like work. Wasn’t romance and dating supposed to be fizz and fun?

    • Danaë Botha

      Haha – this is the best approach, and in fact every time I’ve said “fuck it, let’s forget about the future and just have the best damn time possible”, commitments just rained from the heavens. I guess some guys are attracted to the whole “Yeah, I guess you’re fine, but if you weren’t around I’d still be killing it, buddy” thing… Which is such a pathetic cliche.

  • Kattigans

    I just have to add something again on this. I think one big piece that’s missing is articles like this, while helpful, is that they tend to put men and women into boxes. It becomes the same narrative of women can commit and men can’t. I don’t think that’s true. There is a common expectation by women that in dating, and I know this both from my own past feelings and seeing it from friends of mine right now, that men need to do it all (or most of it). That they need to prove it. They have to reach out first, they have to pay, they have to check in, they have to ask you out, ect. My parents are divorced. Once my dad was single, he was dating while I was in HS, he would come to me more times than not and tell me about how after about some time dating the same women he would start to feel like he was being taken advantage of. And my dad is a really self-aware, generous person so he has no problem asking women out, making the effort, and all of that but what he experienced was this level of entitlement from women that he dated for him to do it all and for them to get away with not contributing even at least 50/50. And if he didn’t do it all or meet their expectations (many of them they wouldn’t say these things until they were in some heated argument) then in their eyes he was the asshole. He was just like all the other guys they’d dated and had been assholes too. A lot of the times he felt like he had to prove and make up for the wrong doing of all the assholes these women had supposedly dated.

    Now I get it. It’s frustrating to date. My point is though that I think its frustrating for both sides of the coin. And yes, there are guys who are assholes out there that will string women along, make up every excuse to not commit, play games and it sucks to be on the receiving end of it. But women can be assholes too. And in the end, people are people. People play games with each other. I’ve been the girl who’s been an asshole, not wanted to seriously date a guy who on paper was great but I wasn’t that into him, I’ve been dishonest, I’ve played the field dating multiple people at a time and not told any of them, I’ve been upfront in telling someone I’m not looking for anything, I’ve dumped people, and I’ve been dumped. It just really goes with the territory. And as online dating has infiltrated the dating landscape it does make it that much easier to meet people, be bored and swipe right, talk to someone who’s just looking for sex, all of that. But its important to really not fixate on this narrative of “men are assholes who can’t commit” and “why isn’t he texting me back, he’s a player” or whatever it is. Take some control, make the effort where it counts and take stock of when its not coming back in the way you want and then MOVE ON.

    That is all.

  • Amanda Faerber

    After having heard the “I’m not in a committed relationship place right now” or the “you’re just more invested in this than I am” (after dating 8 months and going on vacation together … ok …) or the “I’m not good enough for you” this article rings so true! I guess I knew it somewhere deep down but when someone says this crap to you, if you are commitment focused and have invested and *think* they are good enough for you (which he, clearly, was not) its hard to say see ya. Maybe that’s just me. But as another commenter said, people will tell you who they really are whether they intend to or not. In my 20s, the search for a companion was so important to me that I straight up did not listen to some of these jerks. But I would not trade a one of these experiences.
    Also, I will now think that the reason these men could not commit was because I was the ideal and they didn’t think they stack up … thanks!

  • Hermione

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been under the false impression that my long-distance relationship isn’t getting more serious for reasons that are “unique to us” and based more on the circumstances than our differences and his fear to embrace the vulnerability of further connection. He has law school to lean back on as an excuse for not committing to me, and I’m slowly but surely realizing I’m naive to think he’ll commit once he knows where he’s going. This realization is coming to light as his initial frequency of communication (similar to that of your 20-something grad student) has dropped as we’ve approached a stronger line of seriousness (four months of exclusivity, oh my!). Maybe I’m jumping the gun on digging the grave –but, alas, I expect more than the thought of “am I talking to a brick wall?” when I’m talking to the person I want to be with.

    • silla

      I’m a lawyer, went to law school, and I’ve pretty much exclusively dated lawyers (ugh, the worst, I know). And law school just isn’t that hard. It’s definitely no excuse to not be with someone – I would have done anything to be with someone I really cared about during law school, and same with the lawyers I know. You deserve better babe.

  • Pterodactyl111

    Jesus what a fucking exhausting way to live.

  • pamb

    This is called “The Peter Pan Effect”. It’s a guy who doesn’t want to grow up. Nothing new.

  • Rebecca

    I am a really loyal reader and honestly really really disappointed that MR posted this article. It’s time that millennial women stop telling other millennial women how to “get” a man or how to “win” at the dating game or all of that. We have other important things to talk about. Like clothes. And pointy shoes. And taking down the patriarchal structures that lead us to literally write books about how women aren’t landing men because men aren’t “Ready.” (lol) Let’s read more about women in STEM, what female litigators wear to work, not because it’s all we care about, but because we have to work 10x harder to get anywhere and seem 10x more serious than our male colleagues. I come to MR to be empowered, not to read this 1950s bullshit.

    • Rebecca

      “Men are supposed to ‘have it all together’ and ‘make it work.’ Love comes after money and success.” So, feeling too much, too soon with someone? Kind of a barrier.”

      DON’T WOMEN GO THROUGH THIS TOO?! Or are we just about to abandon our whole lives- drop moving to Germany to study migration, because we met Mr. Right and guess what – he’s ready!!!! I mean, come on.

      UGH.

      • Rebecca

        Sub “eat the fucking cinnabon while shopping at target, and paying for it after because you just do as you please.” for moving to Germany.

    • silla

      great point!! I love relationship articles, ESPECIALLY Hayley’s, so I wouldn’t want them to go away, but this one really irked me for these reasons. Thanks for articulating what I was feeling! Also I’m a female litigator and I wear silk shirts and cigarette pants and loafers every. gdam. day to work 🙂

  • Summer Mosher.

    this is the best thing i have read ever. it is what i have been trying to put into words for the last year. THANK YOU.

  • Hannah

    Not gonna lie, I think this article is true for both men and women. I’m a young woman in college and I relate to the men you’re describing more than I’d like to admit. I’m still figuring out my life, from what I want to do after graduation to where I want to be located physically.

    On top of that, I feel like I have it SO not together that adding in a relationship to this mix sounds like a recipe for disaster. Why drag someone through all the shit I’m thinking through on a daily basis when I can wait and find someone once I’m more (I hate to say it) stable?

    Is this the wrong way to approach this? I go to a school brimming with crazy smart, pre-professional, and ambitious young men and women, and the majority of people I know (regardless of gender orientation and sexual preferences) are afraid the same way those men you describe are afraid. I’ve definitely pushed away multiple opportunities for relationships because of this exact fear.

    Maybe yours and the other women who have commented here feel that many men act this way because society teaches us women to be less ambitious while it doesn’t teach men the same. Generally, men are more ambitious than women in our society (which is a whole another problem in itself) and so maybe you’ve encountered more men in this situation than women. However, when you’re at a place where both men and women are of the same level of aspiration & ambition, this behavior is common in all genders.

    • Matt

      Hannah, I don’t think this is the answer. And I’m a 29yr old male who feels like you do. Like I should wait until all my shit is together. Here’s the thing, love is supposed to be something that helps you grow, not hinder it. Plus, what is the better answer? Hook up with randoms? No… what you (and I) really need, is someone who make you feel good about being where you are and excited for where you are going. What you should work on (in my opinion), is being proud of what you are working towards and confident with where you’re at now.

  • Ciccollina

    It makes me really sad to hear that people are missing out on the tumultuous adventures of love because they think they have to be “ready”. My bf and I met when I was depressed as hell, working in a bakery during the GFC. In the eight years since we’ve pushed each other to achieve so much more than we’d ever imagined, including moving to Berlin together in our mid-thirties just because we felt like it (nb. white privilege noted).

    There are no rules or deadlines in relationships, you get to write your own playbook. It’s so exciting to do things the way you want and to have the love and support of someone who knows you through and through. I feel sorry for these guys because life can be so much fun with someone else to share it with and they are missing out on that.

    • Laura

      Too much pressure for everything to be perfect. Your post illustrates that the richness of the journey in life comes from imperfections and surprise.

  • Oh god. Is there any hope for us?

    • jab7168 .

      No. You want independence, yet want men to adhere to traditional roles. Men a privy to this and have had enough….

      • Is this my ex?

        • jab7168 .

          You really do think the world revolves around you, and no.

  • Natty
  • Matt

    I’m a 29 year old male and let me say, girls should really take this article to heart. I’m the guy who just got over a big breakup. I wasn’t the perfect boyfriend. She had a wealthy family, was the golden child, and well established. I just moved to the city for a new job and we fell madly in love. But I was so intimidated by her that I was always 100% honest with myself or her. What I mean is, I’d try to be the guy the article takes about. Good at everything. And I just wasn’t. And obviously that’s what her family wanted for her as well. And they lived across the street 🙄. My point is this, girls need to hear the part of the article that says “guys feel they need to be good at everything” and also the part that says “girls feel they deserve the best.” Even though you may deserve the best, sometimes, the best comes from making your man feel like the best. I was all-in, committed, faithful, and pretty close to being good at everything (still have some debt, self esteem wasn’t all there, but getting better financially and mentally while having a good family, friends, hobbies, body and solid future). All that she needed to do was make me feel good about who I am, and I truly believe the rest would have fallen into place. I want to finish by saying, guys who have it all figured out and are the “best” that women deserve, usually aren’t the best. It’s the guys who are literally avoiding relationships because the want to be so great for the one they choose. If you’re in a relationship where your man isn’t all that confident or maybe not being honest about where he is in life, don’t get mad. Realize all he needs is a little shove in the right direction. Make him feel great about the things he is good at it. Help him grow. Because if you do that, he’ll will be the best for you.

    • anna

      “All the women that keep posting “this is just another way of saying men can’t grow up” are wrong. Let me explain.

      I’m a 29 year old male and let me say, girls”

      literally everyone stopped reading after that point, if they even got that far.

      • Matt

        Bahaha well… I’ll just consider it a personal journal entry to the ether then… thanks for letting me know though 🤷🏼‍♂️

        • Sara

          that isnt true!!! I READ what you have to say, Matt. Thank you for sharing your Truth!!! You are good enough and will meet the right woman who SEE’s YOU!

    • Danaë Botha

      Ok… So I did read your “message to the ether” and your statement that women should “make their man feel good about himself” made my actual skin crawl. Seriously, gross. If a man’s self-esteem so depends on me that he can’t even consider commitment unless I stroke his ego every second of the day, then that man is a child and I don’t date children.

      If you are saying you don’t want to date a woman who breaks you down out of narcissism or spite – cool, bro. No one wants that, so thanks for stating the obvious. But if you’re saying the other thing… Yuck.

      • Matt

        Suggesting women make their man feel good about himself is far from stroking his ego every second of the day. I wasn’t saying that. And I’m not saying women who fail to make their man feel good are narcissistic.

        Also, I’m not expecting anyone to read my post and have some huge epiphany. I just thought the article made some good points, and when I was reading the comments, it seems like most people missed those points. All I’m trying to do is hopefully help people see the points this article is making. In my case, I never needed someone stroking my ego. If anything, it was the other way around. So… your skin can stop crawling.

  • Julia

    I’ve BEEN this person. I’m a woman who has acted this way on many occasions. And it all boiled down to not being with the right person. I would be the one to initiate anything romantic, actually being pretty intense about it, but end up admitting (and genuinely believing) that I was not ready for a relationship. But after every fizzle-out I’d find myself starting something new with another person, each time willing to try harder, be more open, etc. I reached a pivotal point in life and decided to completely stop dating for at least a year until I ‘figured things out’ and ‘gained stability’. A month after this decision I met a guy, he moved in six months later and hasn’t left since. We know we want to be together, so we make growing-up decisions together. we’re there for each other and the rest is pretty simple. Stability seems to be more about our respect for each other and attitude towards life, rather than ticking boxes to confirm that we’re adults.

  • Natasha

    jesus christ, i can relate to this right now.
    met a guy whos going travelling in january and he had decided he didnt want a girlfriend before he left (or at all, since his last three years prior) – until he met me.
    after some initial doubts, we agreed to ‘give it a go’ under no set rules. basically together in everything but name with the agreement to end ‘that’ when he left and possibly resume ‘that’ when he returned.
    it lasted a month before a tiny argument triggered him into calling things off. too scared to commit. didnt want to invest his feelings before he leaves. despite always supporting his decision to leave, id apparently make it too difficult to actually do so.
    he literally likes me too much to be with me. wtf.

  • Lotty

    I’m a woman in grad school and the men being described in this article is so me…

  • John

    If you were offered an investment opportunity, and a huge loss was guaranteed, would you invest? If you’re working on a project, and the costs clearly exceed the benefits, would you proceed?

    The answer is: Of course not. And there you have it. It really is that simple.

    The odds of divorce are > 50%. The odds that she will initiate the divorce are > 70%. The odds of the family court being biased against men are = 100%. A man marries a woman hoping she’ll never change. A woman marries a man hoping he will change in the way she wants him to. Both inevitably end up disappointed.

    There is no benefit to marry, be in a relationship with, or go on a date with a woman. Men aren’t scared or intimidated; they’re making a smart economic choice.

    If women want to change this situation (men apparently don’t) they will have to sway the economics in their favor. We’ll let you figure out what that is and how you might accomplish it. It isn’t worth putting forth the effort, you wouldn’t believe us anyway, and we don’t care anymore.

  • The Truth

    Just too many women nowadays very busy sleeping around with different men all the time. So how in the world would they be able to commit to just only one man anyway? Very impossible.

  • The Truth

    Most women nowadays unfortunately just can’t commit to only one man anymore.

  • b.e.g.

    Poor Tim. He just didn’t realize how serious a topic this is!

  • b.e.g.

    Me, I met my husband at work. I had wasted 8 years of my life on a useless man. Ugh! Then I met my husband, rebound I thought. He was scared, I could tell. At the time he was dating 3 women (used to buy 3 Valentines, the same one for each, scoundrel!). Then four months in he tried to break it off, some bs type reason. I saw through it. I said no way he was breaking up with me (like C. Teigen). He stuck it out. We are celebrating our 25th this month. Sometimes it is worth giving them the chance to work things out in their heads.

  • And That Is The Real Truth

    Most women can’t commit to only one man anymore since they like to party all the time and sleep around with different men unfortunately.

  • JIm

    Why is a piece of paper so important to a woman? If a man is wonderful, supports you , and treats you like gold, you will leave because he doesn’t want the state involved in his personal affairs?

    Judging from the divorce statistics, it seems that women are the ones with the problem with commitment.

  • And That Is The Real Truth

    Good luck trying to get a woman nowadays to commit to only one man which unfortunately is very impossible now.

  • Truth

    Well feminism has caused this to begin with.

  • Karl-Johan Lundberg

    I think some are not entirely truthful, and what they’re really saying is “I’m not into you enough for a relationship but wants to sleep with you a couple of times”.
    Dodgy jerks.

    Those who are truthful though…
    they don’t believe in their own future, or in themselves.
    In some cases, maybe they have good reason not to.

    Don’t complain about them or berate them. Don’t presume to know what they need or truly want.

    Just let them be.

    They have no obligation to slap their hearts on their sleeves and form a smorgosbord for powerful women to scrutinize, select or discard.

  • True

    Most women will never be able to commit to one man at all since they like to party and get wasted most of the time. Enough said.