You've fallen, but he's still overlooking the drop.
At the core of so many failed relationships is one simple thing: balance. Or rather, the lack thereof. How many relationships have ended because one partner wanted more or less sex than the other? Or because one person didn't seem to care as much about the relationship as the other?
At some level, we're all unhappy when we feel we aren't getting as much out of our relationships as we're putting in.
That's why it's so hard to be with a commitment-phobe. It makes you ask yourself a loaded question: "If he loves me, why is he scared to be with me?" And because it's a loaded question, it leads you toward the conclusion "He must not love me as much as I love him."
You have relationship imbalance. While he may in fact love you just as much, in relationships it can often only matter how we feel, no matter what the truth may be.
So, heed these warning signs and learn what to do when your man is afraid to put his cards on the table:
1. You've been "just dating" for way too long.
Nothing says "fear of commitment" like struggling to make the very first one. After awhile, endless dating with no discussion of each other's goals and desires can make you feel like it's all going nowhere.
Sure, there's no perfect answer to how long or how many dates is right before committing to an exclusive relationship. That's why you go with your heart on this one.
If you're ready to lock it down and go exclusive, and he hasn't broached the subject, it's time to make the suggestion yourself. I'm not saying give an ultimatum — just good old-fashioned communication. It's important for everyone to be on the same page. Otherwise, you're going to feel like you've jumped into the relationship pool, while he's just dipping his toe in to test the waters.
2. He's uncomfortable talking about your relationship.
If he has anxiety about something, such as committing to a future together, he's going to avoid the topic at all costs. Literally every single relationship expert in the world will tell you that communication is the most important cornerstone of any relationship. Nobody's a mind reader, especially when it comes to something so complicated as love.
If the topic of your relationship makes him squirm and he changes the subject, it's a problem worth addressing head-on. No couple has ever made it by keeping each other in the dark.
3. His words speak louder than his actions.
He knows what you want to hear, but he doesn't have the gumption to follow through. He may make promises that he's going to break it off with the other girls he's seeing, or that you'll go ring shopping together, but then none of it ever materializes. Except maybe his excuses.
At least in this case, by virtue of his broken promises, he knows he has a commitment problem.
4. He won't plan anything too far in advance with you.
If he isn't sure he wants you in his future, then he'll resist planning a future with you in it. Plain and simple.
5. You haven't met his closest friends and/or family.
If he introduces you to his other loved ones, he'll have to explain what happened when you're no longer around. It's a headache that a commitment-phobe can just avoid altogether.
Meeting friends and family is a step toward commitment. He's legitimizing your relationship to the other people in his life. Much like point number four, this one is all about avoiding long-term consequences.
6. He doesn't celebrate special occasions.
If, like in point number one, he wants to stay in dating limbo forever, he won't want to celebrate anything like birthdays or Valentine's Day with you. After all, these are activities typically done by actual couples.
By buying you a Christmas present, he might be saying that you're actually boyfriend and girlfriend. And that's too scary for a commitment-phobe.