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Why Is He Afraid to Commit? 7 Reasons He's Dragging His Feet

Jorge's relationship advice is based on experience and observation. Let his trial and error be your success (hopefully).

Are you trying to get some more commitment from your guy, but he seems afraid?

Are you trying to get some more commitment from your guy, but he seems afraid?

Why Is He Afraid to Commit When Everything Is So Great?

Is your boyfriend afraid of committing to you, but you have no idea why? Does it seem like everything in your life seems like fertile ground for a life together, but he's still hesitant?

Well, there may be a few things that you're missing when it comes to his perspective. Not everyone is the same, but there could be a lot of different reasons why he doesn't want to commit. He might not even be "afraid" per se; it might just be that he doesn't want to deal with some of the perceived problems that come with commitment.

Take a look at some of these common reasons and consider whether they might fit your situation.

1. He Doesn't Want to Invest If It Might Not Work Out

"Investment" can mean a lot of things. In can be emotional investment, or even financial investment. When a person has a lot to lose, one of their greatest fears will be that everything they've built up will come crashing down.

Imagine if he spent all his money creating a household with you, but then you broke up and it tore both of you to financial shreds? What if he spent a lot of his energy on building a loving relationship, but then all of a sudden you decided to leave him one day?

Although you can never have the things you want in life without some level of risk, you can't blame him for being a little wary at least. Every step on the commitment ladder requires risk on his part.

It would be nice if everything always turned out "happily ever after," but this isn't always the case—and he probably knows that.

It would be nice if everything always turned out "happily ever after," but this isn't always the case—and he probably knows that.

2. He Doesn't Know If He Can Trust You 100%

This might sound harsh, but part of the "risk" of commitment is putting his trust in you! Right now you might say, "Oh, but I would never betray him!" You don't know that for sure, do you? People sometimes don't act like themselves when they are angry or some other circumstance has affected their life.

It could be something as mild and simple as his not wanting to give his exclusivity and commitment to someone who could eventually cheat on him.

It could be deeper than that, though.

Let's say the two of you get married (or just live together) and he invests his entire future in your household. That means he's trusting you with his money, his resources, and the fruits of his labor more than anyone else. Let's say you have kids together. This means he's trusting you with his own children!

This might seem like no big deal at first, but think about how much power this gives you over him. If he gets on your bad side—and you were that type of person—then you could use his finances or his children or whatever you built together to manipulate him. If he does not trust you 100%, then it would only be prudent for him to take a step back and think about the future.

Even just living in the same house as someone requires a certain amount of trust that they won't try to take advantage of the fact that they live in the same space as you. Put yourself in his shoes.

Trust takes time to build, and it also usually gets built one step at a time. Make sure he can trust you with the little things, and don't break that trust, or he may start to drift away. (Wouldn't you?)

3. He's Afraid That You Won't Respect His Boundaries

If he's committing to you, that means he's hoping you won't take advantage of your position in his life and step all over his boundaries. He's hoping that, even if you're in a long-term relationship or married or otherwise tied together in a way that makes it hard for him to run from you, that you won't take this as a blank check to push your desires and agendas on him.

Remember that at the end of the day, he is a different human being. Many people who are in love fall into this mindset of being "one flesh," and that can be a problem, especially when someone is naturally independent. Show him that you won't suffocate him, that you don't need to be together all the time, and that will actually help him grow closer to you.

4. You've Done Something in the Past That Made Him Wary

It's possible that you've done something—even if it wasn't malicious or your fault—that made him question the relationship. If that's the case, then he may be hesitant to move things to the next level.

Once you suspect that this may be the case, it's best to address it directly. It could have been a complete misunderstanding. Bring it up in a non-judgmental way. Ask him why he's being hesitant to commit and what his specific fears are.

This is difficult to do in a relationship where the communication is not very open—but it's good practice for learning to be honest and vulnerable. He may not want to be honest with you, either, because he's afraid to hurt your feelings or he might not even know very clearly why he doesn't want to commit.

So be gentle. Don't push too hard. If you ask openly, non-judgmentally, and make sure that he knows your feelings won't be hurt by the answer, and he still doesn't want to tell you, then let it go. He might come and tell you on his own.

Don't drive yourself crazy racking your brain as to what you might have "done," though. It could have nothing to do with you, and it probably doesn't.

Of course, if you betrayed his trust in a really obvious way, even years ago (for example, if you cheated on him), then . . . there's your answer, probably. Most guys will be very hesitant to commit to someone who has broken their trust in the past. Trust is very, very hard to rebuild.

"Getting serious" might mean saying goodbye to all the fun stuff . . . in his mind.

"Getting serious" might mean saying goodbye to all the fun stuff . . . in his mind.

5. He's Afraid All the Fun Will Be Over

People tend to get complacent in a relationship and then stop growing. He might be afraid that this will happen to the two of you if he commits. When a relationship is no longer growing and changing (or rather the people in it aren't), then all the fun is gone! Things become too "serious."

He might be getting all kinds of "serious" vibes from you when you talk about getting together for the long-term. That feeling that you're grasping for something less light-hearted can very easily turn him off. At worst, it may even come off as desperate.

Tone it down a little! It doesn't have to be that serious. Remember that every relationship you are in will always come to an end, even if it lasts the rest of your life (because one day one of you will be gone). This might sound morbid, but it does put things into perspective.

It means that you're better off making the most of the time that you have than spending so much of that time grasping for more.

Never get so tied up in wanting a certain result from the relationship (or really anything in life) that you stop enjoying it.

Consider his perspective, too: While you were casually dating, neither of you had expectations, everything was a fun "bonus" added to each other's lives. Once someone wants to commit, often it leads to a slew of expectations. These expectations and requirements wear everybody down. Suddenly, if he fails to do something that you expected, it's "serious."

6. You're Not the One / He's Not the One

This one is pretty simple.

There's probably no such thing as soul mates in the generally-understood sense, but usually people know when someone is "the one" (or one of "the ones"), in the sense that it's the right person to commit to.

Maybe you're just not the right person for him, and he knows this intuitively. If that's his issue, it's best not to argue with that. Enjoy the time you have with him now, or else move on.

7. Some People Don't Want to Commit to Anybody

It might not be a specific issue with you.

Some people just have a very focused life mission, and that may not include you. He may know that he can't commit to the time and energy it takes to maintain a relationship if he is to continue to follow his path, and he's not about to drop the things that he is truly passionate about just to be in a romantic relationship with someone.

Maybe he has a demanding career or maybe he wants to devote his life to spiritual pursuits. Maybe he just wants to live a certain lifestyle that he knows you don't want, and he's not keen on compromising about that sort of thing.

And for some people, falling in love and getting into a committed relationship is just not a priority. This could be the case with him. It might not be a milestone in his life that he cares to pursue.

One Last Thing: Are You Objectifying Him?

Wait, what?

Objectification is when you reduce someone into being a means to your ends, and if they don't fit that role in your life, then you have no use for them. People do this all the time. Your boss at work probably objectifies you as an employee from time to time, seeing you merely as labor instead of a human being.

What does this have to do with your love interest?

Well, if you started a relationship with this guy solely with the intention to acquire commitment, and it's a "waste of time" for you if you don't get it from him (if he doesn't want to be your boyfriend/husband), then know that you're objectifying him.

Yes, that's right. People badmouth men for befriending women and then considering it a waste of energy if the women don't want to sleep with them, but women do the same exact thing very often, except by trying to get commitment. Don't get me wrong; there's nothing wrong with either, necessarily. Just know that you don't actually love him for who he is if all you want from him is commitment, and you feel that you'll regret the relationship if you don't get it.

Wanting anything from someone besides just their existence and company is basically objectification. It is not unconditional love. You can have a relationship that is not unconditional, of course, but just be aware that this is what you're doing.

Don't lie to yourself. Don't tell yourself that you're doing it for his own good. Don't tell yourself that you're trying to get him to commit because you love him. You could love him with or without commitment, couldn't you? It's not like it's a requirement. You love your friends and they're probably not committed to being exclusively your friend forever and ever, right?

At the end of the day, you want something from him and you're trying to find a way to get it.

Does this mean that it's wrong to desire commitment for your own reasons? Of course not. You can invite a committed relationship into your life without having to resort to requiring others to behave a certain way. It just comes down to finding someone who has the same intentions in life as you do—and having the wisdom to recognize when the guy you're with is not the one.

You can still love him, and then gracefully move on to someone else who actually wants the same things in life that you do. There's no rule that says that just because you're in love with someone, that you have to be in their life.

In the end, this is a much better strategy than trying to mold a situation into something that it isn't. In fact, you might find with time that trying to manipulate people and situations is actually the root of most of your suffering.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Jorge Vamos