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Tough Love: Will He Ever Commit?

by Kelli on December 8, 2011

in Sex & Relationships

A letter to my Curvy Sisters,

I am a soon-to-be 36 year old woman. I have been seeing a guy for a little over a year now. When I first started seeing him, he had just ended a 17-year relationship. He told me he wasn’t looking for a serious relationship.

We have a great time when we’re together, and we really enjoy each other’s company. The sex is fantastic.

The problem is, we’ll see each other for a couple of days, and then he’ll go a few days without calling or contacting me at all. What does this mean? I don’t think he is seeing someone else, but shouldn’t he at least tell me if he is, out of respect for me? How long should I give him before I demand a commitment?

Help!
–Anonymous

Dear Anon:

Three words come to mind here: Milk. Cow. Free.

You are the cliche, my dear.

I know that’s not what you want to hear, and it’s not what I want to tell you, but it’s the truth. This guy told you from the get-go that he didn’t want a serious relationship with you. It sounds like you still expect him to “check in” with you, which is, I suspect, exactly what he was trying to avoid. He doesn’t want to answer to you. If he did, he would call you his girlfriend or, better yet, his wife.

As for whether or not he should tell you he’s sleeping with someone else; well, in a perfect world, yes, I suppose he should. But does it make him a bad guy if he doesn’t? No. It’s your fault for expecting it in the first place after he already told you he doesn’t want the commitment. He’s not your boyfriend, so technically he doesn’t have to tell you anything.

It sounds like you have some expectations for him that he is not meeting. But, again, he doesn’t have to because he’s NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND.

The real issue here is not whether or not this guy will ever commit or how long you should wait. The issue is that you’re waiting around for him to decide whether or not he will finally commit to you.

My guess is he won’t, because he doesn’t value you.  How could he when you don’t even value yourself? You’re making him a priority while allowing yourself to be his option.

Look, we’ve all been there. But the truth is, most of us go through it in our 20′s. You’re 36 and still going through it. Why haven’t you learned to value yourself by now?

My suggestion to you is that you look deep within yourself and figure out why you’re allowing yourself to be in this position. It has nothing to do with your looks or personality, and everything to do with how you view yourself. Maybe even consider a therapist to help get you on the road to that place.

It also sounds like you need to end this relationship before you get any more deeply involved. Maybe, just maybe, this guy will come around after you’re gone and realize your worth. But if you stick around, he never will, and you’ll wake up one, two, or five years from now in the same place you are now. He will have moved on, and you will be on to the next guy who isn’t looking for anything “serious.” They never are. It’s up to us to prove them wrong.

But you’ll never do it by giving away the milk for free.

Want some Tough Love advice from our resident, cut the BS, keep it real, Curvy Girl Guide expert, Kelli?  Email us at curvygirlguide@gmail.com, and your question could be featured!

Helen December 8, 2011 at 9:04 am

Good advice there. I am in a similar cow/milk/free situation.

When I read the title of this piece on twitter I marched on over as I thought it might offer a solution to my issue; Been with my boyfriend for nearly 6 years, lived together for 4, no sign of anything more serious and he dodges the subject of marriage and babies like a pro…
I don’t want to be issuing ultimatums or anything (as friends have suggested) but how do I let him know it is what I want in the long term… We talk about the future but his phrases are always in the very distant future.
I am only 25 so not in a huge hurry, but he is 36 so you would think it would be the other way around.

Gosh sorry I have gone off on a ramble again… Just venting frustrations I guess. :) x

Daisy December 8, 2011 at 9:30 am

Just offering my two cents…but it isn’t about issuing ultimatums. It is about saying, honestly “This is where I see my life going/where I want my life to go.” and informing him that if he doesn’t seem himself as part of that then you should go your separate ways. It isn’t about “we must be engaged by this date” but about sharing a vision – and if you can’t share a vision of the future, then it is time to find someone who does.

Gregory Scott December 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Agreed completely. That said, it’s also ok to be crystal clear and say ‘I need to be engaged within 6 months and married within a year, and I’d like it to be with you, so that we can then begin to build a family together. If you don’t want the same things, I’ll be sad, but I need to know now so we can both make choices that make sense for each of us in the long run.’

And then — here’s the tough part — you need to *listen* to his response. You need to hear his truth, what he wants, what he doesn’t, and you need to respect that as much as you respect your own needs.

Odds are very high that a person who dodges and evades questions of deeper commitment simply does not want deeper commitment, or is so afraid of it that their fear is the deciding factor. But it never hurst to ask, and ask clearly, and not settle for anything less than a clear response. Just be prepared for the response to be ‘no’, and if it turns out to be a ‘yes’ then all the more reason to celebrate your life.

Good luck with it all; it’s very simple, but it’s not very easy.

The Blaqnite January 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm

First of all, you NEED to move out and get your own place! In today’s society, it’s so convenient for couples to live together without the commitment that SHOULD come with it! For women, this type of relationship is a double edged sword!! You get the convenience of having a live-in guy (husband), with all the amenities of such a relationship but you also get a guy who doesn’t have to risk anything insofar as long-term goals or plans for that relationship! In fact, it could go on for years!!! And I do mean YEARS!!! As in 15, 20 or more! Why? Because, when a guy has all the comforts of a wife, and mother to his kids, why should he upset the apple cart by getting married. Why risk messing up a good thing, when he’s happy with the arrangement and you’re ACCEPTING of the arrangement! It’s a win, win situation for the guy, but a lose, lose proposition for the woman!

No woman should ever move in with a guy, if she ever wants to somebody’s wife!

Kelli December 8, 2011 at 10:06 am

Right on, Daisy! Helen, I was once in your situation. We had been together 5 years, bought a house together (though he said it was an “investment”, not a “commitment”). Eventually, I realized that he wasn’t going to give me what I want, so I broke up with him. We were stuck living in the house together because the market had crashed by then. The break up lasted less than a week, and I had my ring a couple months later.

The point is NOT that you should break up with him thinking that he will propose. The point is that, at some point, you need to admit that what you want and what he wants (or says he wants) are two separate things. You deserve to get what you want, and it’s up to you to make that happen. When/if you break up with him, either he’ll give you what you want, or you’ll open yourself up to finding someone who can.

Helen December 9, 2011 at 4:01 am

Thanks for the responses guys, I think I do need to get up the courage to have an open and frank discussion about it.

I will take everything you have said on board. :) xxxx

Megan December 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm

An advice column is what this site was missing! LOVE IT! Keep ‘em coming :)

Kelli December 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Thank you!

Sarah December 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Awesome advice, Kelli! Sounds like this girl needs to wake the shit up and learn to love herself enough to move on.

Kelli January 3, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I love “wake the shit up.” I’m so using that from now on.

Selina December 8, 2011 at 8:27 pm

I went out with a guy for 7 years. We lived together for the last 2. He always wanted to take it to the next steps (engagement and marriage). I always put him off. Told him I needed to finish college, then told him I needed to begin my career. We eventually broke up. I look back and think geez I wasted 7 years of my life. I should’ve just been honest with him from the get go and told him I just never saw me married to him. I was just used to him.
You’re not giving him an ultimatum.
Daisy’s right, you need to discuss what path you want to take. If he’s not on the same path end it now.

SwingCheese December 9, 2011 at 12:21 am

A friend of mine went through something similar, though they hadn’t been together as long. But he wasn’t sure about marriage, and she wanted the marriage and family, so she was very honest with him and told him “Hey, this is how I see my future, I’d love it to be with you, but if you’re not there, I’m moving on.” And about a month later, they were engaged, they’ve now been married almost 6 years with one child and another on the way. So it isn’t an ultimatum as much as a meeting of the minds. But if you take this route, you have to be completely prepared for him to say “OK, it’s been fun, see you later.” Because that could very well happen.

The Blaqnite January 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm

The “moving on” possibility is very true, but you should also view it as YOU moving on as well. Nothing ventured is nothing gained! You have to remember you’re not losing out on anything when what you want isn’t there in the first place! The one mistake a lot of people make is allowing the fear of losing something (the guy), where what they want (marriage, family) isn’t there to lose in the first place! So, you should feel empowered at that point, not powerless!! Now you can move on in search of the things and life you seek and not be spinning your wheels on something that’s not going to ever happen, or at least that’s not in the foreseeable future!

The Blaqnite January 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm

The “moving on” possibility is very true, but you should also view it as YOU moving on as well. Nothing ventured is nothing gained! You have to remember you’re not losing out on anything when what you want isn’t there in the first place! The one mistake a lot of people make is allowing the fear of losing something (the guy), to scare them into holding on to something where what they want (marriage, family) in life isn’t there to lose in the first place! So, you should feel empowered at that point, not powerless!! Now you can move on in search of the things and life you seek and not be spinning your wheels on something that’s not going to ever happen, or at least that’s not in the foreseeable future!

Rachel December 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm

You know what, I’m all for tough love, and I think the commentors here have made some valid points about talking to the other party about what it is you’re looking for and making sure you’re both on the same page. And if you’re not on the same page, to move on.

But here’s my problem, Kelli, where exactly do you get off telling Anonymous she doesn’t value herself??? And making it sound like there’s something wrong with her because she’s in her 30′s and going through this situation? People go through different chapters in their lives (and their love lives), and those chapters don’t happen in the same order for everyone. And they certainly don’t happen at any particular age. People lead different lives. I wasn’t aware that there is a schedule we’re supposed to follow.

We form emotional attachments to people. Those attachments are not always necessarily smart or good for us. But I always tell people you can’t control what you feel. You *can* control what you do about it. Anonymous, from the phrasing in your letter, it sounds like you already know what you need to do. It’s just hard to do it. You know what you want in a relationship. You need to have a very open, honest discussion with this man about it. And if he can’t give you what you want, find someone who can. It will hurt. You will miss him. But at least then you give yourself the chance to find someone who will appreciate you and give you the relationship you want. In that, at least, Kelli is correct. You want to be the priority, not an option.

And I think it’s also especially easy (and more than a little sanctimonious) for someone who is married or in a serious relationship to dole out advice and talk down to a single person.

Kate December 9, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I totally agree with this. Anonymous, you need to be brave. Saying goodbye is always a hard thing to do, and it can be really scary. If, however, that is what you need to do, then you need to find the courage to go through with the breakup. Nothing work having is every easy, and it may lead you down the path towards someone who can give you everything you need.

The Blaqnite January 3, 2012 at 1:13 pm

As I said above, “the one mistake a lot of people make is [to allow] the fear of losing something (the guy), to scare them into holding on to [it] where what they want (marriage, family). . . isn’t there to lose in the first place! . . . you should feel empowered at that point, not powerless!! Now you can move on in search of the things and life you seek and not be spinning your wheels on something that’s not going to ever happen, or at least. . . not in the foreseeable future!

As far as the “talking down,” part, I don’t believe that’s talking down to Anonymous, but simply trying to spell out the most likely (and perhaps, obvious) mindset of the writer. The majority of people that are in these types of scenarios and are aware that it’s not acceptable to them, yet they remain there, usually are dealing with some self esteem issues and perhaps explains the lack of ability to muster up the nerve to do something about it! If the definition of insanity is “to do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result,” then the definition for low self esteem has to be “living with circumstances you know are wrong for you, having the power to but being unwilling to do anything about it!”

Anonymous obviously knows she wants more than what’s being offered!

Al_Pal December 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Dig the advice column! The Author Bio is great, too.

Rebecca December 10, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I disagree with Kelli on one very important point – if he is sleeping with someone else, you *do* have the right to know. You don’t know this hypothetical person’s sexual history. They could have something contagious, and you do not want to get involved with that sort of complication, no matter how great this guy is.

So seriously, for your health, ask him if he’s sleeping with someone else.

The Blaqnite January 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I DO agree with Kelli! Most likely, if he disappears at various times, it’s more than likely understood by both of them that either of them doesn’t owe the other any explanations about their whereabouts or what they do in their spare time apart from one another. Regardless of what he tells her, she should ASSUME he’s sleeping with other women (or men, …. it can happen) and may contract an std for which she should always insist on using protection until such time as there is a mutual understanding that they’re exclusive with one another. Until then, and even then, there are no guarantees he’s only sexually active with her only! To assume otherwise would be irresponsible.

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