November 17, 2017

He Doesn’t Want a Relationship But Won’t Let Me Go: What Should I Do?

He Doesnt Want a Relationship But Won’t Let Me Go- What Should I Do

“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick."

~ Brené Brown

# Begin with you
Bryn Williams

You’ve been seeing this man for a while, now, and it’s been amazing.

In fact, you think he might be “The One.” He’s got all the traits and attributes you were looking for in a partner—he’s sensitive, funny, respectful, handsome, a considerate lover, all of them. Except there’s one problem—he’s told you he’s not looking for a relationship and this breaks your heart because you are and he’s perfect.  Besides, he keeps calling you, asking you out and texting. That must mean something, doesn’t it? 

Unfortunately, the answer is “maybe and maybe not.”

Men don’t really play games. They’re pretty straightforward, good men are, anyway.  If you’re their “One,” they know it, so if they say they’re not looking for a relationship, there’s something else going on.

  • They may not be ready to commit to one woman.
  • They may like your company (and the sex) but you’re not “The One” for them. 
  • They may have been hurt and it’s a defensive mechanism.
  •  They may be still hung up on their ex and are emotionally unavailable. Or…
  • You’re going too fast and he likes you, but he’s feeling pressured to commit and is afraid of committing.

Bottom line, either your guy is not letting you go because there isn’t really another woman to take your place…yet, or he’s hesitating to take that final leap into a commitment.  (Note: It’s very common for a man to pull back right before he takes that commitment leap.)

So what are you going to do about it?

It’s your life, after all, not his and your happiness is your responsibility, not someone else’s. It’s time to think about YOU because it’s not healthy to wonder and worry and try to figure out what it all means.

When deciding what you’re going to do about this situation, begin with you.

What do you want? How will you honor your needs and goals? How will you respect yourself and your future? 

So many women (myself included once upon a time) put their wants and needs on the back burner and give their power to the guy, meaning, being there for him, not setting clear boundaries for what works for you or doesn’t work, and not really saying how you’re feeling. Men really can’t read your mind and they’re not good at subtle hints. You need to be direct with them.

It is time to make some decisions, girl friend, for your sake, for your ultimate happiness….

Choice one: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.

You can do that. Keep the status quo. But, ask yourself--is it really okay with you to let things be as they are and hope that he will come around and see how good for him you are?  If it is, then keep in mind the longer you’re with him you’re risking even more heartache down the road if a break up is the end result.


Choice two: The Risky Conversation.

Is it time to take the risk that he’s been telling you the truth--that he’s really not ready for a relationship with you, nor does he want one. IS it time to set your boundaries?  If the answer is ‘yes,’ then how do you set a boundary?

By giving him a choice. Tell him, bluntly, what you want and if he doesn’t want that, then you need to stop seeing him and he needs to stop contacting you.

I realize you are taking a big risk and that you may lose him. I know it’s painful and scary, but be brave, sister. It will be better in the long run.

I witnessed my niece being brave. She set her boundaries, told her boyfriend her needs. And the end result?  Her boyfriend ended the relationship because he wasn’t willing to match what she felt was necessary for a healthy, long term partnership. My niece was heartbroken, but she took time to grieve, to nurture herself. After awhile, she felt powerful and strong because she knew she could trust herself and she was even more clear what she needed in a partner. It felt good to own her life again, to be her own woman. 

Funny thing happened.

During their time apart, my niece’s boyfriend realized how special she really was. They were married last May.

I’m not telling you that story to give you hope, I’m telling you that story because if the man you are seeing now is “The One, and you’re “His One,” then he’s going to let you know because he’s not going to want to lose you. And if he doesn’t let you know, then you can begin the grieving process, appreciate the good times, learn from the bad and move on, stronger than you were before you two met.

Remember, it is YOUR LIFE. If you decide to keep the relationship as is OR if you decide to set your boundaries, begin to make plans with friends and disengage from him. Become more independent, less available.

Take back your power.

You may be surprised how the dynamics will shift when he realizes you’re not waiting around for him.

Bryn Williams, Spiritual Love Coach -

# Follow the 5 tips below
Dr. Valeria Chuba

Have you found yourself with a man who doesn’t want a relationship, but at the same time, refuses to let you go? A situation like this can feel heartbreaking, confusing, and deeply disempowering. Here are 5 steps you can take to turn it around:

1. Make yourself your number one priority.

As women, we are socialized to put our own needs last. Unfortunately, this often means that we see others, including our partners, as having more importance and value than we do. This leaves us vulnerable to manipulation and power imbalance in our intimate relationships.

No matter what, remember: men may come and go; relationships change; but you are the only true constant in your life. Your opinions, needs and desires are important. Treat yourself as the VIP that you are.

2. Get clear about your needs and desires.

It’s absolutely normal to want things for yourself, including a committed and loving relationship. If this is what you truly want, get clear and don’t be afraid to assert yourself.

If the man in your life tries to dismiss, mock, or otherwise “gaslight” you for your needs and desires, this is a clear sign that he should become your ex, pronto. You should not have to apologize for yourself, and nor should you have to compromise your deeply held needs and values in order to be in a loving relationship.

3. Communicate your value.

Once you start making your needs a priority, communicating them is the next important step. We are often afraid to voice our concerns and desires because we worry about being rejected, dismissed, or abandoned. Remember: communicating assertively means not leaving any room for prevarication or doubt. The way the man in your life will react to your communication will be very telling.

Someone who wants to be with you and respects your value, will appreciate your honesty and clarity, and will pay you back in kind. But if this man is attempting to manipulate and take advantage of you, he will resist honest and straightforward communication. Keeping things vague and undefined will be in his own best interests, but definitely not in yours. Request him to be honest and clear with you, and let his response speak for itself.

4. Assert and defend your boundaries.

Personal boundaries are absolutely essential for a healthy relationship. You know that the man you’re with isn’t the right man for you when he ignores, dismisses, or repeatedly violates your boundaries. Specifically, if a man refuses to have a relationship with you while also refusing to let you go, he is violating your boundaries in two significant ways:

- He is dismissing your perfectly legitimate desire for having a committed relationship.

To him, you don’t matter; your needs are at best, negotiable and at worst, insignificant. This can be devastating to your sense of self and your self-esteem; and it certainly won’t get you what you want: a healthy, loving relationship.

- In stringing you along despite knowing that you want a relationship, this man is manipulating you and keeping you from getting what you want and deserve.

Simply put, he is using you, and will keep doing so for as long as it suits him. Now, to be clear: it’s ok not to be on the same page about not wanting a relationship. When our and our partner’s needs and values don’t align, it’s regrettable, but it happens. A man does not owe you a relationship; but he does owe you honesty and respect. If he isn’t interested in a relationship, he needs to do the right thing and let you move on.

5. End the relationship.

You deserve better than a man who ignores your needs and runs roughshod over your boundaries. Your life will be much better spent going after what you want, and that includes a relationship with someone who will love, respect, and value you. You shouldn’t waste your time trying to change a man’s mind - and frankly, if this man can’t see your worth, why would you even want to?

When you do end things with this man, be clear and concise. 

Don’t apologize and defend yourself; it’s likely that he will try to argue with you to change your mind. Don’t give in. Remember: whether it’s today or a year from now, it is inevitable that your association will end. But if it ends later than sooner, it will hurt exponentially more. End it now, on your own terms, to protect yourself from heartbreak and potential loss of self esteem. And next time you meet a potential mate, use the first four steps outlined above to make sure he is the right one for you.

Dr. Valeria Chuba, Clinical Sexologist & Certified Intimacy Coach -

# Follow the 3 steps below
Leigha Lake

If you’re experiencing the pain and frustration of a man telling you that he doesn’t want a relationship – yet he’s still texting, calling or maybe he’s doing even less like “liking” your Facebook posts – you’re not alone.

What happens when we feel a strong connection with a man who tells us he doesn’t want a relationship but his actions kind of tell us he does – is it keeps us holding on to “hope."

We hope he’ll realize that he really does want a relationship. Otherwise why would he “stick around” if he didn’t really want to be with us? It doesn’t make any sense!

When his actions and words don’t match up, it causes you to feel confused and that confusion starts to erode your self-confidence. You start to analyze and read into everything he does or doesn’t do, hoping you’ll get some kind clarity from HIM.

You can’t quite get yourself to completely end things, just in case there’s a chance.

End The Cycle Of Attracting Unavailable Men With These 3 Simple Steps

When a man says he doesn’t want a relationship – believe him.

Step 1. Create a boundary of not being available for men who don’t want to be in a relationship with you by expressing how you really feel.

(This includes not being available to men who withdraw, pull away, are confused, don’t know what they want, need space and time…etc.)

This means you need to put your needs FIRST. If staying in contact doesn’t feel good and it’s keeping you from moving on, then the best thing you can do for yourself is to express this to him and then stop responding to his texts, calls and any other messages.

(If it feels too hard or scary to express how you REALLY feel, it’s necessary to value your feelings over his, otherwise you’ll keep attracting men who hurt you and can’t meet your needs. There’s no reason to EVER be in this situation again.)

Here’s how to express how you feel in a feminine way:

“I know you said you don’t want to be in a relationship and I really heard you. Staying in contact doesn’t feel good to me and it would feel best if we no longer communicate.” 

That’s it! Done! No More. Don’t explain why or keep going on.

If you create a long, drawn out conversation over this, the ONLY thing he’s going to hear is that you’re afraid to lose him and that you’re desperate for him to feel the same way about you that you feel about him.

Step 2. Trust

You have to trust that IF he changes his mind, he will let you know. (A healthy, masculine man WILL pursue you if he’s into you.) This is the number one fear that keeps a woman from having strong boundaries, and valuing herself.

She’s afraid that if she expresses her truth then she’s going to push a man away (a man who MIGHT be interested.) The thing is … You don’t want you to stay open to a man who MIGHT be interested. You truly only want you to stay open to a man who KNOWS he wants to be in a relationship with you.

Trust that the man out there that wants nothing more than to make you his is waiting for you. 

Trust he exists.

Trust that when you express how you really feel, it will compel the right man to come closer. 

Step 3. Healing Your Heart

When we finally say “no” to what we don’t want so we can open up space for what we do want, it’s easy to start seconding guessing and doubting ourselves. We worry that we made a mistake and it’s easy to go into a downward spiral.

The best thing to do is to be ready and aware of this natural cycle and have tools in place to help you get on the fast track to lasting love.

When you catch yourself wondering if you made a mistake, you can reaffirm to yourself that you’re only available to a man who knows he wants to be in a relationship with you.

You said “no” to a man who said he didn’t want a relationship.

Think in the big picture – you want to be with a man who knows what he wants and doesn’t string women along. You want to be with a man who’s capable of cutting off communication with a woman who doesn’t want to be in a relationship with him, so you want to embody that as well.

Write down “I am worthy…” statements every night before you go to bed.

Here are some examples:

- I am worthy of a being just as in love with me as I am with him.

- I am worthy of being with a man who knows without a doubt I’m the woman for him.

- I am worthy of being in a loving, committed relationship that’s exciting, passionate and intimate.

- I am worthy of easily attracting a high quality, masculine man.

- I am worthy of having love find me.

- I am worthy of being able to express how I feel without worrying about pushing a man away.

Understanding that he's taking care of his own needs and doing what he wants - and he thinks you're doing the same - can help put things in perspective. He's not thinking about your feelings if he saying he doesn't want a relationship but he won't let you go. (Sad but true!)

When you care more about how you feel when you're with a man and when you're not with him - and if he can be a good partner - you'll have all the information you need to know whether or not to keep moving forward with a man. It's really so simple - not always easy though. 

I hope this article empowers you value yourself and how you feel ALWAYS. 

Leigha Lake, Love Coach -

# Use the below relationship tools
Jennifer Urezzio

When I was 25 (that’s about 20 years ago), I was in love with a man who loved and needed me, yet was unable or unwilling to be in a relationship with me. It was extremely painful. I know now, in retrospect, that it was more painful than it had to be because I didn’t love myself enough to let him go.

So often we feel that being in a relationship is up to the other person – it isn’t. It is up to us. I had to ask myself why I was willing to stick around for someone who was only interested an aspect of me. The reason was that I didn’t feel worthy of the love that I wanted and needed.

Here are a couple of tangible tools to support you in feeling worthy in relationships and for dealing with someone who chooses not to commit to a relationship, but doesn’t want to let you go either.

Self Worth Tools

a. Each day look into your eyes in the mirror and say: “I love you, you are worthy and you deserve all that you desire”.

b. Before making a decision or interacting in a situation, ask yourself if you are “making” this choice based on the lie that you are not enough, or based on the truth (whether you believe it or not) that you are enough. If making the decision based on not enough, simply ask yourself what would you say or do in this situation if you knew that you were enough.

c. Understand and accept that you deserve to experience the kind of relationship you desire. This means saying no to those individuals that are not truly nurturing you.

Relationship Tools 

I had to go cold-turkey and stop seeing this individual. It wasn’t his “fault” that he didn’t want the same things I wanted, AND I had to accept that I had the right to have what I truly desired.

a. Create boundaries. Don’t drop everything when he wants to see you. Don’t wait around for his call or text and don’t plan your day around your hope of getting together. Be busy. This is a great time to rally the troops for a Girl’s Night Out.

b. End the night with just a kiss. Sex makes everything more complicated – truly it does. If you are going to spend time together, give yourself a break and ease back on the sex. This will allow you to understand your feelings without dealing with all your hormones too.

c. Remember, all relationships are internal first. In what ways, do you not want to be in a relationship with you? Spend some time getting to know you. I know it sounds corny, but it’s true – no one can truly love you until you love yourself.

I’m happy to say that relationship is in my past and I am now experiencing a loving relationship. It’s still a relationship, and takes communication and nurturing but I know that he truly wants to be with me. And, when you allow yourself to move past the “somebody”, you create the space to find the “one”.

Jennifer Urezzio, Master Intuitive -

# Face reality + gain back power over your choices
Nicole Ness

Raise your hand if you’ve been in a situation where you find yourself infatuated, in lust, in love with a man who doesn’t want a relationship, and yet won’t let you go.

Both hands raised? This seems to be a more common thing in modern day dating: “your” man won’t let you go, and yet he also won’t commit.

Typing that sentence out frustrates the F out of me! For a few reasons: 1) it places women in a situation of choosing to compromise their own needs and 2) the end result is almost always the same: the relationship WON’T in fact happen.

Face reality

Maybe my previous statement sounds a little harsh; yet, the sooner we accept that reality, the easier it becomes to begin to move forward. If he wanted to commit to you, he would have by now.

The reality of the situation is that you and “your” man operate on two completely different love systems – at least right now.

You’re seeking love, intimacy, romance, feeling wanted, and commitment. He, on the other hand, enjoys these aspects of a relationship – the catch? Only at his convenience.

The reason he is not letting you go is because he IS in fact getting something from you: at the expense of your own wants for the relationship. The question is: what are YOU getting from the “relationship?”

Placing this question on you can be powerful, and can also help you gain control back over how you feel and over what you want for yourself. My guess is that he does actually bring you some sense of happiness and affection – however, for how long? What happens when the conversation once again leads to a lack of commitment? Do you WANT to be on this rollercoaster ride of a romance? My guess again – probably not.

Gain back power over your choices

No one is FORCING you to stick around either! You have the power to make the choice to leave. Yes, I understand situations where there are strong feelings. Leaving isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. And, again referring to point #1 (facing reality), the relationship itself WILL actually end. Why drag it out for an outcome that is already prewritten and decided by him?

It is also important to note that “leaving” the relationship should not be a form of emotional manipulation to “win” him back. We’ve all been there. If you have to leave in order to gain someone back in your life, I question if they were really there to begin with.

You deserve respect!

Of course, there is such a thing as casual dating, hook ups, and what have you. However, the difference here is that there is a mutual agreement from BOTH sides that they both are still dating others, sleeping around, or just simply don’t want to be in a committed relationship.

Casual hook-ups are fine! Until, they’re not for YOU anymore. If you want something more, make your needs and wants known through open and honest communication. I’ve heard over and over again from friends that, “he doesn’t owe me anything! We’re just hooking up!” This statement bothers me on so many levels and for so many different reasons. Remind yourself: you do not need commitment in order to receive respect as a human being.

Respect means that your needs and wants are HEARD, not merely listened to.

Remind yourself that someone who respects you will not play with your mind and lead you down a path outlined with mixed emotions. Respect means that you love yourself enough to not need another non-committal man to lead you to falsely believe he does. Respect means that you are treated in a way that honors your values.

Placing so much effort into a relationship that will NEVER actually work out only keeps us from discovering a relationship that was meant to.

Nicole Ness, MA, LPC -

# Date commitment-focused men
Dina Robinson

I get many emails from and have many discussions with women who are confused about a particular man showing great interest in her but won't commit.  Let’s call him Mr. Available Unavailable.

He throws little crumbs of affection or interest, occasionally a whole slice of love bread, her way emotionally connecting her to him and then goes MIA – leaving her sad, empty, and straight up confused about what went wrong. 

Been there. When I finally understood for myself that I wanted a real commitment and that MIA wasn’t going to cut it anymore I started noticing that men are really in one of just two categories of commitment:

1)   Non-committal – admittedly doesn’t want to settle down, never has a steady girlfriend, shows no interest whatsoever for whatever reason.  It’s really not hard to avoid that guy because he's just being who he is without giving women much reason to hope for his affections.  This guy isn’t a problem.

2)  Commitment focused – will only date one woman at a time, desires a monogamous relationship and is turned off by anything but, wants a family, wants marriage/co-habitation.  Though women want this guy, he can be harder to find because he often hasn’t mastered the art of wooing a woman (which is a fantastic quality, by the way) and isn’t “playing the game.”

Wait, but what about Mr. Available Unavailable?  Any guy that isn’t clearly in one of the above categories falls into a seemingly ever-increasing gray area of “sorta kinda maybe commitment.” 

He’s the guy that:

-       Flirts with you like crazy but never asks you out.

-       Is not “ready” for a relationship right now.

-       Will see you during the week but then disappears all weekend.

-       Still has another woman somewhere, somehow.

-       Will sleep with you but then disappear for a while.

-       Wants to only hang out rather than date.

-       Will hang out with you when it’s convenient for him but disappears when you want to see him.

-       Hides behind texting.

-       Did I mention that he disappears??

So then doesn’t this gray area man represent a third category?  

Here’s the thing…NO, he doesn’t.

This gray area man, as much as he’s mastered the art of appearing available to get some kind of comfort from time to time, is still very much non-committal.  

And it has nothing to do with you whatsoever.  He may have many reasons for being wishy-washy – wanting some intimacy, needing to feel needed, wants to forget about his problems, still dealing with emotional trauma, etc.  It has nothing to do with anything you’re doing or not doing.  If someone has stuff to work out then it’s on him to work it out without putting you through the emotional ringer.

What can you do about Mr. Available Unavailable?

You can’t change him.  So, as the deliberate creator of your love experience as soon as you recognize the signs put him into the non-committal category where he belongs, pick yourself up, and move on.  

Your time, your energy, your body, and your heart are worth just too much to be wasted in an endless sea of grays and getting nothing in return.  

If a committed love partnership is what you really want then your only option from now on is to date men that are clearly in the second category – commitment focused.

Dina Robison, Love Coach -

# Redirect your focus
Mallory Rose

​Instead of focusing on why HE is not able to let go when you both want different goals, focus instead more on what you want and why it is difficult for YOU to let go of him and put up those boundaries when you want two different things.

Often times in relationships, it isn't so much about the person, but about the mirror the person provide for us.

We usually are attracted and addicted to the reflection we experience that they shine back at us.

Therefore, as challenging as it is, try and focus more on figuring out what is the part of you that gets activated and lit up when you are with them. We usually are drawn to people because of the way they make us feel, and the parts of ourselves that are brought out when we are with them. 

Once we can first identify what those parts are then we can try and find other people, experiences, or self care activities that can bring those lit up parts of ourselves out.

If we are able to discover ways to still experience ourselves with that mirror, then It isn't so hard for us to be assertive, ask for our needs, and put up boundaries if he can't meet them.

Mallory Rose, LMFT -

# Follow the 3 tips below
Nancy Harris

I think most of us have been on both sides of that equation at one time or another. It takes so many factors to lift a relationship off the ground that it’s a wonder so many of them do. 

The question here is; should you stay or should you go? No one can truly stop you from moving on yourself unless you allow it. In this situation it may be easy to think if you just give it more time, he may change his mind. Yet ,there is no guarantee of that…

1. You have to decide what is important to you and what you want.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

How does it feel to be focusing on someone who does not want to be in a relationship with you? Is this reminding you of another time in your life when you felt unwanted or undesirable? Do you feel you don't deserve more than that? 

What are you possibly getting out of being in this kind of dynamic? Is it keeping you safe from finding a real relationship? Is this a challenge that you feel compelled to overcome? If so, why? Is it an act of self-sabotage to spend more time in this kind of situation? Is he commitment phobic? 

Many of us have blind spots when it comes to choosing healthy partners for a relationship. We may overlook red flags and give the benefit of the doubt more times than we should. Yet, this can waste precious time and limit certain windows of opportunity. Women have a biological clock that men do not have to worry about. It is important to face this reality and take care of your needs.

2. Once clear about your wants and needs, communicate them.

Many times when I ask women if they communicated their desires to their partner, they say they didn’t because they didn’t want to be a nag. It is an act of self-empowerment to be clear about what you want, need and desire and to state this to your partner in a loving and respectful way. This is not nagging. Men are not mind-readers. They are also generally not very good at deciphering hints. 

Men generally respond best to direct communication and, if he is a good man, he will want to fulfill your desires and please you. If a man does not want to be in a relationship with you, but won’t let you go, does he understand or care about your needs?  It is important to be honest with yourself about this.

You could try saying something such as, “I really love spending time with you and I want to continue to do so. However, since I am looking for a relationship and you are not, I plan to begin dating other people." 

3. Trust in a bigger plan for your life.

I see many women stay stuck in undesirable situations because of fear. They fear they may find nothing better or they fear ultimately ending up alone. Our fear-based minds can create all kinds of negative scenarios should we consider leaving what is familiar to go in search of something more. 

Yet, what if the Universe was pre-programmed for your success? What if the desire in your heart was placed there because it is the compass telling you that you are meant for greater love? Love isn’t meant to be painful or ambivalent. 

What if you trusted in a bigger plan for your life? What if you insisted to settle for nothing less than full-on love with a committed, available man? 

I venture to challenge you that if you put that kind of energy and self-trust into the Universal field you just may magnetize a man to you who is not ambivalent about his commitment to you. You  may find the relationship that you truly desire. There are never any guarantees in life, but how will you feel if you settle and don’t give your best shot a try…

Nancy Harris, LCSW, LICSW -

# Ask yourself the below questions
Ruxandra LeMay

This is definitely a challenging, emotionally charged situation with many nuances. Any time I am faced with a highly emotional situation, I need to first clarify the facts.

What makes you feel and think that he doesn’t want you?

Does he say he doesn’t want you? Or are you assuming he doesn’t want you because the communication lines are broken and you feel like you are not on the same page?

What does “not letting go” mean? Is it physically, mentally, or emotionally? Obviously, physical restraint is different than occasional texts when he needs something.

Does he not fulfill your needs because he doesn’t know how to or because he flat out doesn’t want to?

Does he not want to commit to a monogamous relationship? But he still enjoys your occasional company? Is it for sex or just for a good talk?

If that’s the case, he won’t let you go because you fulfill a specific need. It’s either physical (sex), a mental one (intellectual conversations), or an emotional one (validation).

Once you clarify some of these questions, the next one is what do you want to do next?

You have to assertively communicate to him your needs and wants. If he can’t deliver or doesn’t want to, you have to put boundaries in place to protect yourself. If he crosses these boundaries and you still let him, more than once (everyone gets a free pass), you need to do some self-exploration:

Why are you allowing that to happen?

What vulnerabilities or needs is he filling for you that you are having a hard time sticking to those boundaries? Is the excitement of his comeback stronger than the pain of him leaving you? Because if the high is stronger than the low, there’s a chance you’ll keep letting that happen.

Do you need that validation more than the self-respect?

I totally get it, it feels good when he comes back. “I desperately want to believe that this one time is different because he learned his lesson. He missed me. He chose to come back to me. He just needed someone to be patient with him and show him true love, and now he knows I am the one.”

Maybe, but as I psychologist, I know hard habits are hard to break. I am leaning toward “he came back because he had a temporary need. It’s like he had to put gas in his truck and you were the gas station. I know it’s a tough analogy, but do you want to be someone’s gas station or do you want to be someone’s home?

Letting go is a two-way street. You have to let go also or you’ll be dragged!

I know that’s easier said than done, that’s why you need a plan. Know your trigger points, your weaknesses, your soft spots and prepare for them to be challenged. Have a great support system in place to help you with that and get a LONG list of productive distractions and self-care things to do such as: working out, going out with friends, redecorating your house, de-cluttering a room, getting a pedicure, or getting a new hobby. Keep adding to this list, print it, and post it all over your house along with a bunch of affirmations to get you over the urge to pick up that text, phone call, or to reply on social media.

Rumination is the worst and women are notorious for torturing themselves and analyzing everything to death. Stop analyzing the crap out of everything. If you got the answers to the questions above, develop an action plan and stick to it. One explanation of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” We know where he is on this, but where are you?

Ruxandra LeMay, PsyD –

# Explore the below reasons and solutions
Jacklyn B

#1 Avoidant attachment style

What this means is that, like all human beings, he craves to be loved but the difference between an avoidant style and a secure/anxious style is the avoidant partner gets easily overwhelmed by intimacy. As soon as he senses a bond is developing, he’ll distance himself either temporarily or permanently.

He’ll probably pull away temporarily at first and then eventually either you’ll get fed up and breakup with him or he’ll end things. There’s a constant battle in his mind between wanting to enjoy a bond with you and resisting it to due to fear that he’ll be abandoned or lose his freedom by being involved in a committed relationship. This is due to either traumatic childhood/painful romantic experiences.

How to cope:

If you tend to be anxious in relationships, then RUN! Yes, that’s correct, run! If he’s avoidant and you’re anxious, then this relationship will be a continuous cycle of misery. His avoidance of you will trigger your anxiety, which in turn, will trigger his avoidance and so the cycle will continue. Educate yourself about attachment theory, which will help you get to know yourself better, re-evaluate your needs in a relationship and eventually exit out of this toxic cycle.

#2 Loneliness

Maybe he just recently came out of a long-term relationship and is still healing but feels lonely and wants to date casually. Maybe he doesn’t have the strength to invest energy into a serious relationship after a painful breakup. Instead, he might be looking for companionship with someone who shares common interests.

How to cope:

This one has a few overlapping reasons all tied into one main reason, being that he’s lonely and seeks companionship as an antidote. If you’re unable to date him casually because you’re developing strong feelings for him beyond companionship, then ask yourself how long you’re willing to wait until he’s able to reciprocate those feelings? Is he ever going to develop feelings for you that go beyond companionship? He may or may not but the more important question is how much of your time are you willing to invest into waiting? Remember, the longer you wait the stronger your feelings might get without a guarantee that his feelings will grow.

#3 He’s interested in the sexual component of the relationship

He may enjoy spending time with you, but he might enjoy most of all the time you two spend in the bedroom. He might be telling you he isn’t ready for commitment and just wants to have fun. Does he tell you why ruin a good thing and encourages you to continue with your relations as they are?

How to cope:

Male and female brains are wired differently which influences the effect sex has on both sexes. During sex, women release more oxytocin than men do, which makes women feel more emotionally connected to their partners than men do. Keep this in mind if you’re sleeping with a man who has told you explicitly that he has no interest in commitment and is only interested in sex.

Most likely he won’t change his mind about wanting more serious relations with you. If you’re unable to have casual sex without developing feelings, then strongly consider cutting ties. Think about the consequences: your feelings will continue to grow and if his won’t, then where are these hook-ups going?

#4 Financial motivations

Do you lead a more lavish lifestyle than he does? Does he have the ability to support himself? Is he employed? Does he have his own place?

How to cope:

Set financial and territorial boundaries. You don’t have to let him stay at your place, if you’re not comfortable. Pay attention to your intuition/emotions when he does or says things that don’t sit well with you and to his behavioral patterns in regards to finances.

#5 Low self-esteem/Validation

Maybe he’s seeking validation of his manhood due to low self-esteem. He might feel desperate to validate his masculinity and isn't able to provide himself with internal self-validation, so he resorts to seeking out external sources of validation, which include showing you off to others.

How to cope:

You’re not there to boost his self-esteem for superficial reasons. It’s one thing if he genuinely likes you, admits to having low self-esteem and you help him increase his confidence. It’s a completely other thing when he’s using you to make himself feel like a man.

Ask yourself how you feel about being used/taken advantage of? Your own confidence will deteriorate over time if you allow yourself to be used. Is he worth it? No one should be worth it!

Here’s the thing…

All the reasons listed create a lopsided relationship, which is unfair to the partner who is investing their time, energy and emotions into someone who is on the receiving end and never on the giving end of a relationship.

Be honest with him about what you want and in turn you’ll be honest with yourself. Tell him you won’t settle for anything less than a relationship. If he doesn’t give you the commitment you desire, then you have a choice to make. Of course, it’s a difficult choice because either way you’ll be hurt. The length of time you'll spend being heart-broken will depend on which choice you’ll make. If you decide to continue dating him casually, you’ll continue to experience painful feelings for an indefinite amount of time.

If you keep giving of yourself, he’ll keep taking what you’re giving. The other choice is to leave him, which means your broken heart will start to mend sooner and your pain will dissipate much faster than if you continue putting yourself through this turmoil of wishing and hoping he’ll change his mind about being serious with you. Leaving him will also aid in recovery because you’ll feel empowered having made the decision to no longer put up with being taken for granted.

Happy Dating!

Jacklyn B, LCSW –

# What is your truth and ask him what HIS truth

What's critical, in any dating scenario between two people is that both are aligned on one thing - the Primary Dating Purpose.

If one sincerely wants monogamous relationship and the other truly doesn't, then they simply shouldn't be dating at all. Someone is going to get hurt and someone is going to feel like a louse.

How to stay out of trouble and heartache?

Reveal this information upfront, on your dating profile or early on, on the very first date.  And for goodness sake, keep your clothes on until you have the answer to that question. (No one ever called me on a Monday morning to say "Darn, I wish I'd slept with that guy...")

Not comfortable asking these questions?

That's OK too, if you're willing to invest time, energy and resources dating someone when you're both in the dark. That's risky business, you should know. Dating is a fantastic opportunity to practice your communication skills -- the very skills you'll need in spades when you are actually in relationship. 

Find the words to say what is your truth and to ask him what HIS truth and sincere desires and goals are.  

Julie Ferman, Matchmaker and Dating Coach –

# Set limits with him based on your clear goals and desires for a committed relationship
Erica Komisar

It is not uncommon for men and women to feel conflicted about having a committed relationship

It is particularly common in this age of millennial men who feel emotionally insecure, detached, lost and often confused in regards to their identity, their career choices and their roles in relationships.  This confusion and slower pace of emotional development makes it even harder for men today to commit to a responsible relationship.  The challenge with growing up is taking your place in the adult world.  Becoming part of the adult world means going from group social behavior to intimate contact and commitment to one person.  Whenever we commit to one person or one career or any one thing we have to give up others.  It is this ability to choose but also to let go of what we don’t want or can’t have that marks us as mature adults. 

So when a man loves you but cant commit it is not uncommon for him to want to hold onto you and all of his options out of fear of being alone, but also of losing the possibilities.  This means that the decision of whether you allow yourself to feel like a yoyo in a relationship with a man who is ambivalent about making a commitment will be up to you.

First be honest.  

Don’t play games ever!  Tell your guy about your wishes and desires clearly and without ambivalence.  Tell him what you want, and if you love him and it is he you want then don’t be afraid to tell him.  But also recognize and reflect for him using your words what you see in his behavior.  

If he seems to care for you, and seems afraid of committing to going forward, but also shows you in his behavior and through his actions that he has trouble letting you go tell him what you have observed.  

Ask him what he really wants and really listen, putting away your fear of hearing the truth.  You have to be able to hear his truth to move forward.  For intimate relationships to work both people need to be in the same place emotionally.  Sometimes you may say you love your guy first, or he may say it first (someone has to say it first), but generally speaking relationships cannot work, if you are not in the same place developmentally.  Meaning if you are ready and he is not that is a deal breaker.  Relationships are like sharks, they have to keep moving forward or die.

Sometimes by being direct, honest and confident with your own desires you can influence your guy to question his conflicted behavior and help him to become more self-aware.  

Self-awareness and emotional development is not a given.  Encourage him to get help from a therapist who is NOT behavioral but rather reflection and psychodynamic, meaning they will help him delve more deeply into his conflicts rather than treating them superficially.  Psychotherapy has been shown in research to promote social-emotional brain development and get a sluggish process of emotional development going faster.  But you have to have a willing participant.

The only way you will know if your guy can move forward is if you set limits with him based on your clear goals and desires for a committed relationship.

That means don’t be a softie and let him go back and forth. This will only make you angry and depressed and make him feel more confused.  Be clear that you have to hold out for what you need, but the door is open to him if he seeks help and decides he wants what you want.  Remind him that you will not be waiting for him, and will go on with living your life and meeting people and only if you are available when he is ready can it work.  So again remind him he is risking losing you because life goes on, with or without him, preferably with him.

It is only through this firm and confident stance that you have a chance of waking up your guy to the real possibility that he will lose you forever.  I know it is hard when you love someone to let them go, but your only chance that you may keep him is if you set a limit.

Erica Komisar, LCSW -

# Follow the 3 tips below

If you are confused about your relationship, you have a lot of communication to do.

There are some questions that need answering, like, “Where is this relationship going?”  “Do you see a future together?” ‘If not, why are we still seeing each other?”

These are not unreasonable questions, especially if you are with your partner a long time.  After all, if your goal is marriage and a family and his isn’t, why waste your time?

The question you need to ask yourself is, “Why am I still with him?  Why can’t I just go?”  This may be the crux of the problem.  Is it you who is unable to leave?  Is it you who feels so insecure and maybe needy that you can’t say, “That’s it.  I’m out of here!”

Look at why you are willing to stay under these circumstances and why you are putting the blame on him.

After all, you know that he doesn’t really want a relationship, yet you are still hanging around with the excuse that he won’t let you go.  You can go if you wanted to, but you just don’t. Yes, you love him.  Yes, he is perfect is so many ways – but in the most important way, he’s not there.

So, what can you do?

1. Make a decision one way or the other.  Do you want to stay in this kind of going-no-where relationship, or are you ready to leave? Give yourself the pros and the cons and then make an informed decision.

2. Open up the conversation and have a heart-to-heart with him.  Maybe he cares enough to commit, because he doesn’t want to lose you.

3. Consider couples counseling.  In a safe, neutral environment, you can both speak about your concerns and fears and, hopefully, come to some understanding.  If you each make some personal changes, the dynamic of the relationship will change.

Your relationship should give you some comfort and enjoyment.  Not knowing where you stand or where it’s going can be very counter-productive.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC –

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