My name is Heather and I am a 35 year old single mom who almost gave up on dating and love until I met this amazing man at my local book club. We continued seeing each other and the more I knew him, the more I liked him. He is smart, talented, ambitious and on a personal level he is very attentive, kind and caring. I really thought (and still think) we have great potential until he said he is not looking for a relationship. I was disappointed and hurt when he said that but respecting his wish, I stopped seeing him.
But he still continued texting me, calling me and wanted to see me. I recently fell ill and he took great care of me just like a boyfriend would. He cooked for me, cleaned my home, took care of my kid, got the groceries, changed the oil in my car and I was overwhelmed by his love and care for me. Now my feelings for him have become more intense though I don't show it to him in my actions or words and I am having a tough time understanding him.
Why would someone who claims "he doesn't want a relationship" act and do all the things a boyfriend would do, but not want to be in a relationship? Is there anything I can do to make him realize that we can be a great couple and have a wonderful future together?
Please let me know your thoughts.
A. Dearest Reader,
It is perplexing and maddening when our person of interest’s words and behavior don’t match. I’ve been there myself and although it was one of the most painful stops along my journey, it taught me powerful life lessons.
I invite you to trust the wisdom, knowledge and blessing that will come from this chapter of your story. There is much to be gained!
To start, I want to address your most pressing question, “Is there anything I can do to make him realize that we would be a great couple and have a wonderful future together?”
People have oodles of reasons why they are unwilling to commit. Being I do not know this man’s backstory, I could only theorize about what is going on in his heart and head. However, theory is not fact; therefore, speculation would only serve to promote further confusion.
What I know for sure is there is nothing you “can do to make him realize that you can be a great couple”. I know those words are not what you want to hear and probably feel like a punch in the gut, but I invite you to stay with me here. I’ve got some important information to share that may help lead you to greater clarity and your next best step.
Since we cannot control another person or bend them to our will, we are left to look at the only person we do have control over and that is ourselves.
When we get radically clear about what we want and weigh it against what we are getting, the haze magically lifts from our muddled mind, the truth about our situation becomes clear and we are better positioned to make a sound decision.
The definition of “relationship” per Merriam Webster online dictionary is: a state of affairs existing between those having relations or dealings.
The question is not whether you are in “a relationship” because you are clearly having “relations and dealings”. I venture to say, your man might mean something more akin to: he does not want the commitment, expectations or responsibilities of what his definition of a romantic relationship entails.
The haze begins to lift...
What do I want in a romantic relationship?
What are his defining terms of this relationship?
Are his terms acceptable to me? In other words, are they in alignment with what I want?
Oftentimes, when we discover a discrepancy between our wants and our partner’s, we’re often willing to compromise what is important to us to keep the person close. Truth is, we enjoy this person, have much in common and can easily visualize a dreamy life with him. We want it so badly, we can taste it. We may even believe if we stay long enough, he will see it too!
Unfortunately, it’s nonsense. All nonsense.
The best and only thing we can do when a person gives us parameters regarding our relationship is to decide whether they are congruent with our authentic desires and wants or not.
Would I be honoring myself by staying in this relationship?
It’s really that simple.
My “non-committer” pulled me in and pushed me away over and over again. When he was in, it was brilliant and beautiful. When he was out it was lonely, isolating and nerve wracking. I had to decide if compromising my sacred self (peace & self-worth) to lap up the occasional scraps (albeit delectable scraps) he tossed my way, was worth it.
It was around this time that I began realizing I had settled for relationship scraps my entire life. I continually compromised the essence of my worth by accepting the unacceptable repeatedly!
It was then I decided it was no longer okay for me to compromise my sacred self any longer for any-one. I am worth way more than that and so are you.
I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not saying your man is bad nor is he trying to confuse you on purpose. I refrain from judging a brother on something I know nothing about. However, I do lean into the notion that he himself might be confused and confused people, confuse people.
Where he is at on his journey is between him and God. That is neither your business or mine. The most important business that we must attend to is our own. And we do this best by consciously weighing our options to make grounded, centered decisions intended to honor and support our worth.
The last and most important point I want to make is this:
If a man is undecided about a committed relationship with you, setting a hard boundary that squarely exemplifies your worth will either draw him in or push him out the door for good.
It may sound scary to do; however, an empowered, confident woman is dreamily attractive to a man and may make him realize what he will lose. Contrarily, if he is still not commitment ready, you have saved yourself precious time and energy you could be spending finding a man who will honor you mind, body and spirit!
Either way, you win.