His reasons for waiting could make him the one.
You’re out drinking a glass of wine—or two—with your girlfriends, complaining about your guy who just won’t commit. And the dishing of men begins. Because men are commitment-phobic, monogamy-loathing, sex-driven, immature, selfish bastards, right?
And I’m not going to say, not all men here. I’m going to say, not most men. Most men have a good idea of what they want in a romantic or potentially lifetime partner, and they’re not just looking to get their rocks off or carve another notch in their bedpost. Who has bedposts anymore anyway?
Most men are looking for a true partner, not a princess or a piece of arm candy, and definitely not a drama queen. And most men are not holding off on commitment or marriage because they want to spend a few more months or years sowing their wild oats.
Hesitation isn’t always tied to fear or self-indulgence. Often it’s the result of thoughtfulness, reflection, healthy self-awareness, and healthy self-respect. And in a man, those qualities are… hot. So here are five sexy reasons why your guy may not be ready to go all in with you just yet—the same five reasons why you should be patient and stop pressuring him.
1. He’s not commitment-phobic.
Honestly, there is no such thing. I think it’s a phrase women’s magazines invented.
Unless he’s living in his mother’s basement and not taking out the trash, a man honors a substantial number of commitments in his life. There’s work, and possibly paying off student loans. There’s his commitment to his own family of origin. If he has good friendships, he’s committed to keeping them alive. And if he’s involved in any kind of civic or volunteer work, he’s committed to helping on an issue he cares about.
What you see as commitment-phobia may very well be his wisdom—being emotionally intelligent enough to look for red flags, apply some tests (yeah, men test women, too), and make sure you’re the one for him.
He doesn’t see you as a commitment to run away from, he sees you as the commitment, and he wants to walk with you before he runs. And all this speaks to his maturity and makes him more, not less mate-worthy.
2. He’s not intent on playing the field.
Unless you know for sure he’s dating other people or wants to, why jump to the conclusion that his uncertainty about you is his desire for someone else—real or imagined? With the exception of players, most men are not moaning about having to give up a diverse and spicy sex life for the proverbial plain vanilla of one partner.
The truth is, finding women, going out on dates, and getting to the point of consent is hard work (expensive, too), and there’s nothing a guy wants more than to come home and know a loving mate will be in his bed every night—the same loving mate who was there the night before.
So before you start making assumptions about his motives, remember that monogamy is easier than serial dating. And men always take the easy path, right?
3. He’s not just not that into you.
If he’s truly not that into you, unless the sex is hypnotically mind-blowing, he won’t stay for long; he’ll have the courage break it off, because something will be missing for him.
The irony is that the more you doubt his love and attraction, the more insecure you appear, and the less attractive you become to him. Men actually like confident, self-assured women who aren’t constantly demanding reassurance.
We run from commitment when you try to force or manipulate us into it, or you challenge us to provide proofs of love. And we lace up our Nikes because obsessing over whether we really love you speaks volumes about your psychological health and relationship skills.
4. He hasn’t done all his work yet.
Here’s a not-so-secret secret: self-awareness is incredibly sexy. When your guy says, “I’m not ready yet,” he may very well mean, “I’m not ready to take you on,” instead of, “I’m not ready to give up being single.”
He may be wise enough to honor his commitments to himself before he can commit to you. And he may be honorable enough to want to give his best self to you or any partner. He may want to give you a present and a future, instead of the worst aspects of his past. And he may not have dumped all his baggage yet.
Did you ever think of that? If a man wants to share his life with you but doesn’t want to burden you with his crap, doesn’t that turn you on? If it doesn’t, it should.
5. He doesn’t want to break your heart—or his.
Just as premature sexual climax can cause intense disappointment for both partners, premature commitment or marriage can spell disaster for a relationship.
If the two of you start running together before your relationship has legs, you’re bound to fall down as soon as the road gets rough. Pretty soon you’re stuck in the valley of despair, bordered by mountains of blame and guilt. One or both of you starts to feel trapped by the inescapable geography of pain, the pain of hurting another by choosing to save yourself.
We’re all a little bit delusional in those heady early first few months of love. If your guy is waiting for the stars in his eyes to fade just enough so he can see clearly, trust me—and trust him—he’s doing you both a huge favor.
So that man you think may be wasting your time with what you see as indecisiveness? Think again, because he might be a keeper. Try to be patient and understanding. Up your game and stop blaming him.
If you try to force him to commit too early, there’s a good chance he’ll turn and head for the hills—without looking back. But if you respect his caution and concern for the future, he just might guide you to the heartland of true love.
This article was originally published at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission from the author.