Hi Neely,

I read your blog and really appreciate your advice. I have a question for you about a guy I’ve recently started seeing. We’ve been out a handful of times already, but I have some reservations. He says he has feelings for me, but he is not ready yet to put all his eggs in one basket. He admitted he isn’t dating anyone else or sleeping with anyone else. I am not sleeping with him. I don’t want to date others but haven’t told him this. He is new to dating, and I am the first woman he has really dated. This is hard for me because I haven’t liked anyone like this in years. He said he felt the same way, too, and he said it first. What do you think? Any advice for me and my situation?

–         Cecilia, 40

Hi Cecilia,

Let’s break your email down into a few main themes. Like I mentioned in my last post, What Should I Do If I’m Not Getting What I Need In My Relationship?, when most people write in to me with their questions, although their particular situation may be unique in certain ways, the general themes are ones that most singles (including myself back during my solo days) have experienced.

The themes I’d like to touch on in this post are the following:

  1. Figuring out your priorities when it comes to your love life
  2. Believe what a man tells you
  3. Thinking you can change a man’s feelings for you or about commitment through sex
  4. Actions speak louder than words in the dating world
  5. Making excuses for a non-committal guy

Figuring out your priorities when it comes to your love life

The second I decided for myself that I no longer would pursue or wait for wishy-washy men, was the second I stopped pursuing or waiting for wishy-washy men. Sometimes it would take me, say, 2-3 months to realize they weren’t interested in anything serious either in general or with me, and sometimes it was obvious from the very start. But no longer was I going to waste several months or years on my life focused only on one person who seemingly didn’t really know what he wanted. So it really just depends what your priorities are. Are you willing to hang around a guy who has openly stated he’s not sure how he feels about commitment and wait by his side until he figures that out? Are you willing to cut off all your other options? I get that you have feelings for this guy, but just because you have feelings for him doesn’t mean it’s meant to be.

Believe what a man tells you

Most guys will be honest with you about where they stand. It’s certainly not easy to hear their truth, but it’s better you really listen and hear it than continue on assuming he’s feeling something different. Often times, though, a woman either chooses not to hear what the man is telling her (even if he is very clear about his intentions or situation), or she thinks that if she hangs in there just long enough she can change his mind. Which leads me to the next point…

Thinking your can change a man’s feelings for you or about commitment through sex

I’m glad you’ve abstained from sex with this man, because, for a lot of women, doing the deed really complicates matters. And it’s important you look to your past and have a firm understanding of who you are to know if you are emotionally and physically prepared to handle the consequences of sex outside of a committed relationship, or at least a budding relationship in which you feel fairly confident about where the two of you are headed. But a lot of women think: If we have sex, then his feelings about me or his feelings about committing to me will change and that will solidify us as boyfriend and girlfriend. Often times, nothing could be further from the truth. So in this situation, if your priority in life is a loving, committed relationship, you’re probably better off saying: “I have strong feelings for you and we can continue to hang out, but I know myself and I’m just not the type of woman who can or wants to sleep with someone who isn’t my boyfriend. And I want to be up front with you and tell you that I think it’s also important for me to continue to date other people in the meantime.” Do not put your life and options on hold for someone who has told you he isn’t ready to do the same for you.

Actions speak louder than words in the dating world

A man can tell you how much he likes you, how he hasn’t felt this way in however many years, how he thinks you’re different than the others. But unless he’s backing up his words with consistent action (in this case: giving a relationship a shot with someone he says he hasn’t “felt this way about in years”), his words are, well, just words. A man will speak to you through his actions.

Making excuses for a non-commital guyMaking-excuses-for-a-man

Oh, the excuses I’ve made for men back during my single days!

He’s not ready to commit because he’s scared, because he’s so busy at work, because he’s having family issues, because his heart has been broken, and on and on and on. If I just hang in there and if I’m not so demanding, I would tell myself, well, then he will see the light and his feelings for me or his stance on committing to me will change. After all, the logic in my head went, if my feelings are so strong, it must mean I should continue to sacrifice my needs for his. The result? Not one of those situations turned into something more. Making excuses for a man is a great way to assuage your own ego and to take the responsibility off his shoulders to make his own choices in life, but it doesn’t do much to help you create what you want to create in your life.

Cecilia, I hope this helps you get clarity on your current situation. Keep me posted!

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