Commitment Phobe? Warning Signs Of a Commitment Phobic Man

Commitment Phobe

Often if you are feeling like your man doesn’t want to take your relationship to the next level, you wind up taking that to mean he’s (gasp!) a commitment phobe that doesn’t know how to be in a real relationship.

However that’s not always the case and it could be much simpler than you think.

Commonly men tend to struggle with a bit of fear over taking the next step in a relationship.

He also could be experiencing a warning bell clamoring in his gut that he’s just trying to take some time to make sense before making any big leaps into the unknown.

Many guys find themselves changing their views on commitment once they are in a relationship with a woman they care about, even when they were relatively confirmed bachelors up until that point.

It is never an overnight process though, despite your fervent prayers it will be!

Men need certain things from you the woman in order to feel secure enough to “let their hair down” so to speak, open up and reveal their true selves, much less commit to you for life. (I talk about this a lot in Girl Gets Ring, it’s all related what I call his “masculine hero avatar”… good stuff!)

So, if you’re feeling he may be balking at commitment maybe it’s a perfect time to do a quick relationship assessment and decide once and for all if he’s the guy for you.

Biggest Warning Sign That He’s a Commitment Phobe

Some women (I know this from fascinating past observations) can hear one thing from a man, but in their female brain completely translate it as something else.

At the top of the list of mistranslation is when a man flat out tells a women that he’s not the commitment type.

Hearing a man tell you point blank he’s not going to get married, ever… somehow mysteriously translates into he’s not going to get married, ever… except after he meets you and falls madly in love.

Then suddenly he will become one-woman man for life. Sorry ladies, but this is a big red flag of the true commitment phobic man that’s likely firmly entrenched in his bachelor life for good.

Has he expressed feelings from day one that he just isn’t marriage material? Or said something along the lines of “I’m not a one-woman kinda guy” or “I’ll never get married or have kids”?

If so this can be an extremely reliable indicator of his stance on commitment and settling down long-term.

Of course this doesn’t always spell disaster for the future of your relationship, but 9 times out of 10 if a man is saying he’s not going to commit to a woman, he’s probably not going to commit.

Many women will still try to move forward though, despite all the clamoring warning bells, thinking they can “change his mind”, even when he’s expressed very directly that marriage isn’t in his future.

If this is your situation and he’s been very upfront about his position, it might be time to take him seriously and move on to warmer waters.

This is especially true if he’s very adamant, gets ticked off or shuts down when you want to talk wedding bells and kids.

What Holds Him Back From Making a Commitment

If on the other hand he’s expressed his interest in the idea of settling down “someday” but gets a little antsy or nervous when the topic is brought up, that’s much more promising.

It may just be he’s suffering from nerves and needs you to help him figure out what’s holding him back from commitment and make it easy for him to take the next step.

Remember that when a man feels like that green light in his gut has been triggered to yellow or red (which we’ve discuss in Girl Gets Ring as well as here on the blog), it’s practically impossible for him to move forward until he comes to grips with what triggered it in the first place.

How Can You Get Him To Commit To You?

If it’s basic fear that’s making him shy away from commitment, you may be able to alleviate it by showing him how much you love the real him, and focusing on the little things he believes most people don’t really pay much attention to.

When he realizes you pay attention to those little things, you become all the more important to him immediately. He feels you are special because you make him feel special.

Men can’t always verbalize it but they want to be loved for their true self and to be needed in a way that makes them feel like real men, not simply because they are a convenience, a “catch” or because you are desperate.

They want to feel comfortable in your presence, like they can be themselves without feeling dumb or devalued in some way because they aren’t what you expected them to be. It’s the little gestures that often show them they are important to you and make them start to feel you are the woman they could spend a lifetime with.

When it’s not just nerves or fear and he really is a true commitment phobe, your best bet is to cut your losses quickly and cleanly, and move on before there’s any lasting damage to your heart.

Don’t get down about it, just think of it as practice that will help you better spot the true potential of the next guy you meet.

So my question for you now is do you feel your man is a commitment phobe? Is he giving you very clear signals he’s just not the marrying kind? What about the not so clear signals?

Do tell us all about it in the comments below!

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Leave A Reply (18 comments so far)

  1. Jess
    7 years ago

    I’ve known this man for 5 years now, and he’s always said that he never wants to get married which was fine, I wasn’t pushing the issue, he was just a cool guy I wanted to be friends with. But he’s kept saying things over the year and all of his actions say that he cares for me and wants a life with me. We’re physically attracted to each other and laugh and have a good time – it’s been a bit trying as he lives in America and I live in Australia. During my last visit in July he was extra affectionate and caring, to the point where I had started to hope that he was going to propose! But it didn’t happen, which I was again OK with, I can be patient. Just this past month though he was set up with another girl and has now started to talk to me less and say we can send sexy stories to each other any more. I’m so hurt and confused, which is why I came here. There’s no logical reason why he would suddenly change, and he is a big commitment phobe. He doesn’t even like to sit through movies because he would have to be committed to watching them for that length of time. But he’s also the most perfect man I’ve ever known, and I’m very much in love with him, and I honestly believe that he is the one I’m meant to spend the rest of my life with.

    Any advice or if there are further questions, I’m all ears.

  2. amelie manic
    7 years ago

    my last boyfriend who I have just started speaking to again, after a few months after the breakup is very shut off. He has never said to me i will never get married or commit or anything but i have always had doubts over how serious he was about me as he never introduced me to his family and friends and was hot and cold all the time. He said this was because he felt I was going to leave him and didnt trust me in the beginning of the relationship. He had all reason not to trust me as he looked at my phone on the first few days of our relationship and saw texts i was still sending to another guy. I am not sure if I have made him be like this the hot and coldness and taking ages to respond to texts, because of what happened at the very beggining of our relationship. I feel like I wont know now if he really wanted to commit to me or not. Because of the text thing, it stopped him wanting to. Do you think theres any chance in hell that we could re start things differently, with him trusting me and me trusting hhim that he wont back away from me again and go distant?

  3. Lori
    7 years ago

    He loves me around him. Always looks out for me. He always likes me near him when we are together. Yet he says he is not interested in dating me. ( he has never been in committee relationship). He loves when we spend time together he lights up I don’t get it??

  4. Lisa
    7 years ago

    I meet a great man a few weeks ago, online, and we’ve been talking by email, we live ab 2.5 hrs apart. We had a wonderful first date. He’s been through a lot of bad experiences with women in the past and still is very gun-shy about progressing to a second date because it. I’ve told him, I’m a sweet, level-headed woman and that I enjoy spending time with him very much. He keeps putting up the distance as a barrier, however, I don’t see it as a barrier. I want to spend more time with him, I’ve told him that, but he’s still not moving along.

  5. Renee
    6 years ago

    I met this man on a dating site, his actions say he wants a relationship but he told me he won’t get married because he thinks divorce is like goin threw hell, which he has never been married. This is all coming from friends of his he sees the pain they go threw. What should I do ? Stay or leave

  6. Le Blanc
    6 years ago


    Well a not so good sign is this one : before being in a relationship, verbally flirting, the man shows far too quickly that he wants you, without really knowing you, asking to see you. But never proposing an appointment… Waiting for the girl to take herself the appointment (no promise, just sex…).

    Am I right? How can women handle this kind of approach, when they are very interested by the man, want a long-term story, but don’t want to do a mess of it by making love too fast?…
    Help! I’m in that plot! What to do?

    Thanks a lot.

    Sabine :O

  7. Jennifer
    6 years ago

    Well I have known this guy for a short amount of time he states that everyone always tells him he has commitment issues what does this mean. He is using this as an excuse to not go further?? Someone help please

  8. s
    6 years ago

    My guy is not the only one that is a commitment phobe. He has been single (but dated) for over 20 years (He has also never dated anyone as long as he has dated me). I just got out of a bad marriage before I met him and we have such a good thing going. We have been dating almost 2 years and neither one of us are ready for the “I love you” or the moving in with someone and really not ready for the marriage thing. We enjoy each others company, we are extremely compatable, and just enjoy being with each other. I do not push him in anyway to “further” our commitment and neither does he. I figured if he has been single for so long that he is not going to be the marrying type. Yet 10 days before what would be our 2 year anniversary of the day we met, he says out of the blue he doesn’t think we ought to see each other any more. He said he felt like I wanted more out of the relationship than he was willing to give. I tried to assure him that was not the case but he still wants to pull out. So I told him do what you feel you have to do.
    I honestly love just hanging out with him and enjoy being in his presence. He is a good man and we enjoy the same things in life. I hate to see such a good thing let go. Is it the 2 year mark that he is running from? I am not on the “I need a major commitment by year 2” time clock like most women. I liked it the way it was… What happened?

  9. Levita
    6 years ago

    WOW, how accurate. I have been dating a guy for about 6 months. One minute he communicates constantly and wants to spend all this time with me the next, it takes him a day or two to respond to my calls or texts. My feeling, move on, which is exactly what I have done.

    I can however agree that initially, about a month after we started going out, I had the feeling that something was “off”. Something has always been off about him. I can’t put my finger on it, but one thing I know, if that bell keeps going off – LISTEN!!

  10. Patrice
    6 years ago

    James ,my husband is a commitment phobe,u never understand him,he has no sense to live in todays world,he shows more warning signs than any other thing,he doesn’t know what is love, at first in the relationship he did say that commitment is not for him, so that say alot,this marriage I would say is basic up on nothing,we were living together and I got save,so I ask him what will happen now, he said he’s not ready for marriage,so I say ok we he saw that he’s going to lose me he say he ready, and now he shows no low,he does have a clue about how to have a marry life,at one point he even say I’m too in love, James only god can help me out of this that I’m in, but I loooove ur articles them so much enjoys them dearly .but one thing never had that chance to see the video….but toward my life ur advice is welcome

  11. Rosie
    6 years ago

    If you could shed some insight on this, I would appreciate it.
    Was seeing a man 4 mos, who after a few get togethers, I was honest in telling him I was looking for a real relationship, based on honesty and respect.
    Abt a month after seeing each other, he told me he was not in a position to be in a relationship. He flew to work every week, and then we lived an hr and a half apart.
    I said I understood, but I would have to move on, since that is what I wanted long term.

    Meanwhile, we had great fun together, had a lot in common.
    Great chemistry, laughed etc. he told me he really liked me and couldn’t get me off his mind. Then he lowered the boom abt not being available. He has been divorced twice, the last marriage ended 5 years ago.

    I was hurt, but cut him off. He kept texting me … And this really was confusing.
    I once again explained to him I wanted a Real relationship, which he then said he wanted to wrk things out. We see each other the next week, him saying we would discuss things when we got together. Well, he didn’t broach the subject, and I asked him what was going on? Again, he procrastinated…it goes on another week, I am seeing clearly this man is in angst, and cannot make a decision. I put two and two together, and most of the signs for cp were present.
    Finally… After being exhausted, I td him I understood he wasn’t able to decide, so I pretty much decided for us) not that I had a choice) this was the final straw. He followed up stating he just couldn’t commit to a relationship, long distance, although we were acting like, we were in a relationship.
    He called or texted everyday when away morning, noon, and night. It was weird, and even he ended saying we were in a “weird” place, and something was going to have to give.
    The night before we had this final talk, he was saying it was so great we had a lot in common. Had a bwlast, and crazy chemistry. I did see also the week I went no contact, he was trying really hard to stay connected emotionally. This last event, I asked him for no contact, and expressed our need to both move on with our lives… He promised to respect my wishes. A few days go by, I get a text from him saying he hoped I was doing well, and he had been thinking of me all day.
    Wasn’t sure if he was purposely doing this to make me angry, or testing the waters…
    Since then it’s been 2 weeks no contact, and I won’t dare contact him.
    By what Ive shared, what is your take on him seeing he has commitment issues, and returning to me , taking a risk? Thanks for your input..

  12. Rosie
    6 years ago

    Ps.. The wife left him last marriage

  13. Eruvwu Obuaya
    6 years ago

    Article makes sense. I read and skimmed through the comments which were painful to read on the most part. A few things come to mind after reading the article/comments and would like to share, namely:
    * Women should have more respect for themselves;
    * Never compromise yourself or beliefs for a man;
    * Sex and love are not the same;
    * Don’t make a man the centre of your life;
    * Learn from others mistake you don’t have to make your own;
    * Get advice from long time married couples you respect;
    * As painful as it may seem, if a man makes his stance known from the beginning, you should respect that and not delude yourself into thinking you can change him;
    * Marriage is for life, but when there’s trouble seek counseling and self improvement as the only person you can truly change is yourself;
    * The value you place on yourself will translate into respect from others, even male suitors or distant husband’s amongst other things.

  14. mitzi
    6 years ago

    dating a guy – says he’s not ready for commitment – never married was due to be married 3 years prior got somewhat burned by the girl – she called it off a month before they were due to be married, or so he tells me – they were together for a while before – found out later she was with another guy and recently had his baby – he says he wants to have children – yet in another sentence says he like his single life, he is 50 I am 52 – have 2 kids of my own, but older and not going to have more children. He sends mixed signals – I’ve met his family (only after a month of dating) and am attending a christmas party (which will be around 2 months) that his brother is throwing, Doesn’t want to get into the BF/GF commitment – had the conversation because he called me his GF to a friend and I asked is that where we are or did you just say that because I was present and you didn’t want me to get mad? I have read all your advice and am trying to go by all the rules and things you say about men. He and I see each other several times a week – mostly on the weekends, have met his neighbors and he takes me out around his town from time to time. I’ve backed down from contacting him during the week, he seems to be somewhat aloof and will send very simple text back and forth but nothing in detail and I keep it at that – while I don’t want to waste my time on a guy who is never going to commit – i feel that we have a connecting relationship sexually and are developing a great friendship – he mentioned he likes me and we connect sexually and such. So I am taking it day by day and just enjoying our time together without getting too serious of feeling as if we are or expected to contact each other all the time. The distance and time apart is nice, as we both have busy lives etc. Any advice for me? thanx mitzi

  15. susan
    5 years ago

    hi , i sent you a letter sayingi was having trouble with my man. Read book and i he says i can move in to his place, every time i get ready to , he upsets me somehow? Then i have a week off and we get back together. i have got several books . He won,t include and grow with me financially and wants me to move in with him, give my accomodation up. When things don,t suit him and i confront him and say i need openess/honesty and inclusion he shuts down walks away and tells me im lecturing him and keep repeating myself and he is fed up with that. I just want to be heard and have some of my basic needs met. ?? He says has just about enough of me keeping on and feels like im pressuring him. What about me 4yrs later. Still not living together.

  16. Vickie
    5 years ago

    My man tells me he loves me, but he is not “in love” with me. I asked him what that means. He says that when he is ready to move in with me or me with him, that is a commitment and that is “in love”. We have a wonderful relationship, spiritually, sexually, emotionally, intellectually. We laugh all the time, play golf, dance, enjoy opera, classical music, the Eagles!, Neil Diamond and we both care genuinely about people and we both love our Lord. He has been married twice and was exclusive with someone for about a year, but he would not totally commit to her. He says she was too “needy”. I am a widow who lives on the beach in one state and he lives in a lovely townhome in another state. He is a retired chemical engineer. I teach piano and voice and as a former Miss Al., I am still active with Miss America Pageant. I sang professionally in New York, with Met and on Broadway. I am very active in my community, respected and loved. I don’t think I am “needy”! We are sometimes together for a week at a time, then apart, then together for another three or four days,,,and so it goes. He knows that I do not see anyone else. I truthfully don’t KNOW about him. He seems to NEED much attention. He belongs to or belonged to it. Perhaps he is looking for someone with millions.

  17. Lee
    4 years ago

    My ex and I were married for eleven years. He divorced me and married a very unattractive woman; that marriage lasted about three years. I was heartbroken and prayed he would come back to me. He eventually did and that was eight years ago. He says he made a big mistake marrying her but we are living together with no sign of marriage, though he knows this is what I want. He says we’ll get married but it seems to be all talk and no action. The big problem is he’s always looking at other women and writes to women he meets on line. He says it’s just for fun and means nothing, but knowing how much it bothers me, he does it anyway. He has real mother issues in that he hates his mother and seems to lack respect for most women. I think I made a mistake getting back with him and am ready to call it quits, but he says he loves me and will marry me so it will make me happy. I’ve let him know that I don’t want to get married that way. To me, he plays too many games. He is a man in his mid 50s, not a 20-year old. This is hopeless, isn’t it? I don’t know many women who would have lasted this long in such a roller-coaster relationship. BTW I hate roller coasters.

  18. Stella
    4 years ago

    I really want to buy this “Girl Gets Ring” program but I’m really strapped for cash. The truth is I have tried at least three of these online programs that are supposed to shed light on male psychology and save your relationship and they all seem to give the same advice. I’ve worked my ass off and tried to apply it all and it just doesn’t seem to work for my situation. I’ve tried unconditional respect, appreciation and giving him space when he needs it. I’ve been with my man for almost 3 years now and we have a 16 month old daughter. More than anything I want to get married or at least be engaged and there’s absolutely nothing stopping him from proposing– finances are not an issue for him and he is nearing the big 4- 0 so you would think he would start thinking about settling down. I’m barely 29 and not to toot my own horn but a 40 year old man could do a lot worse than me. He is good man and a great father. He treats me very well and goes out of his way for me on a regular basis. We live together and I even have a ring but it is not “the ring,” I simply asked him to buy me one because I am so stigmatized as an unwed mother and always embarrassed when I take my daughter out. He says he wants to buy me a better ring and do a really special proposal when the time is right, even though I’ve insisted that this ring will do just fine and I don’t need a fancy proposal with fireworks and skywriting. Every time the subject comes up he says it’s “too soon” but assures me we will get married eventually, and insists that people who get married or engaged after only a year or two are “insane”. I can’t seem to win this argument even though this seems to be the usual timeline for most people. In fact he went through a nasty divorce years ago with a woman who he married after 2 years. My opinion is that he is dangling marriage and engagement over my head like a carrot and I’m fed up, but the problem is I don’t have anywhere to go or any leverage to show him what life would be like without me and I’m unable to demonstrate my independence, being a stay at home mom. I became physically disabled after my pregnancy so I don’t have my own money and am pretty dependent on him financially, but it’s not like I’m a huge financial burden– I have almost no bills and he makes a very good living. I don’t want to leave because I know he has abandonment issues and I think this may result in angering him, ending the relationship or doing more harm than good if I put my foot down and left. I love him but that is not the issue, sometimes love is not enough and at this point I just want to keep my family together, and make it legitimate, because I came from a broken home and don’t want to put my daughter through that.
    I need help and I just want to know that this program is different and will provide advice beyond the usual “show him you’re independent; show him you don’t need him” blah blah blah because we are past that. We have a child together and it’s no secret that I want to be married. I feel stuck and trapped in a hell of my own making. I’m completely despondent and looking for any help I can get. Can anyone tell me if they have had any success with this program and assure me it will be different from all the others?
    Finally I have some advice for ladies going through similar issues who are not in as deep with their men as I am: Don’t move in with him unless there has been serious talk of marriage, you have a ring on your finger, a date set, and your families have met.
    Don’t give up your career or your personal space, even if his is nicer and he promises to take care of you, because you will have NO leverage if things aren’t working and you need to make an exit or just get away and take some time for yourself to get your head on straight. Right now my man is getting all the benefits of matrimony, and while he treats me well and I’m living comfortably as a stay at home mom, I’m still crying my eyes out more often than I would like to admit over my suspicion that he doesn’t want to be married to me, the mother of his child.
    Don’t put yourself in my position. No matter how great of a guy he is, you want to hold on to what is yours until he shows you with his actions, not just words, that he wants you to be a part of his life for the long haul.