What Stops Men from Committing from the Get Go?

Dan Bolton



If you or the woman you're with starts to behave differently once the relationship has deepened, you can bet that it is due to a change in expectations. This is a dubious endeavor if it is different to how you'd treat a person your dating compared to how you'd treat her if she were your girlfriend or your wife, and even applies to a change in how you behave from the first ever encounter to the first phone call. So, why would the label on your specific relation mean changing the way you act or how you are with another person?

To start I want to address the expectations that get in the way of a man's willingness to commit, which I had pointed out as women's most common complaints about men in "Commitment Phobes". A HUGE expectation men go into the dating game with is that women will want a commitment from them right away, or very early on, and men sometimes avoid dating, or following through with that first call after getting a woman's phone number altogether because they do not want to deal with this imagined emotional burden from a woman they hardly even know. This fear is not totally unfounded, as women can be more relationally minded. I have encountered numerous women who want to date exclusively early on to "see if things work" or "give it a chance," whereas many men would typically rather take it casually and see if it works out. Men will take the early exclusivity as a threat and women will take men's wish for taking the process casually to mean that he just wants to sleep around and will never commit. This is unfortunate because often times both the man and woman in this situation want the same thing, but are just speaking a different language, and this gets lost in translation.

In fact, this is the very dating situation that occured between my wife and I. I had put myself back out into the dating world. Here was this great woman I just met wanting to date exclusively after the third date to "give it a chance." Before her I had met a woman who was ready for our kids to meet after the first date (wha?!?! yes, for real), so it definitely alerted me put me on guard that trouble might be brewing. But I didn't freak out and run for the hills or feed into my fears about what it meant. a great relationship grew out of this. Of course it took a lot of communication. I communicated with her about what it seemed she was asking of me, and she explained her position. She wasn't a facesucker ready to leach my emotional energy, grasping desperately for the first relationship she could get... Phew! I explained that I did want to find a great relationship, but because my last relationship had been 7 years and I had rushed into that, learning how incompatible we were later, I was not eager to make the same mistake (So, I wasn't a guy on a sexual rampage looking for woman number 12 to be part of a makeshift harem). Most men would have been turned off by the idea of "giving it a chance" and ran, because they would think that the woman was trying to rope him into a relationship before even really knowing who she is. Through communcation we sorted it out... together... and learned that we really wanted the same thing, putting to rest our fears from how we interpreted what the other was saying.  

Does anyone have any stories of bungled interactions or misunderstandings that stopped a potentially good dating relationship before it even started? Please share…

Further Reading:

Commitment Phobes - http://danbolton.com/Daniel_Bolton%2C_LMHC/Blog/Entries/2012/1/25_Commit...

Photo Courtesy of Emad Maher (http://www.flickr.com/photos/45800466@N03/4522423367/in/photolist-7TCAUF-sBVpc-9aekgp-cvPyAo-9kmacY-2nu91B-MbLEz-aet24a-4GfZ3L-a2YfAK-5osDno-9jo7ao-4UufLW-2YNhmd-6KZpi1-pFq7Z-BcU5X-6wKzhP-dfv6AR-c9HssQ-c9Hsj9-c9HsDj-dfv6qZ-KYihJ-72f5v-aeatsp-6PSZsY-9Zo5zv-6mvxpZ-6mvxjz-6mzFC7-6mvxhK-55L3VG-4Vc3dj-aiA7xb-7PwsKS-5dMuAu-vDxEV-2NQWEj-7toLBQ-6PRmGs-4UsTph-4UsTYN-5srSG2-3nSXSJ-34Gqaf-hKHRk-6rYSGf-6w4aEC-q6E5-4Xy3i7)