You love him. You’d do anything for him.
He knows that.
So why is he telling you that he doesn’t want a relationship?
It’s not the right time, he’s not in the right space, he can’t commit to anyone right now.
Lots of excuses, but nothing that satisfies you.
You know he cares about you.
You can tell it from the way he acts. He’s done kind and caring things for you. He wouldn’t have done that if he had no feelings towards you.
To make matters even more confusing, you’re still seeing each other.
It’s almost as if that conversation never happened.
What’s going on?
What He’s Really Saying
When clients come to me in this situation, they tell me that there must be more to the story. There must be something he’s not telling them.
How could a man enjoy a woman’s company and have feelings for her and still not want a relationship?
It boggles the mind!
If a woman met a man she enjoyed being with and was developing feelings for, of course she’d want a relationship. It’s the natural next step.
But men don’t necessarily see things like that.
For men, it’s a big leap to go from casually dating/hanging out to being in a relationship.
Being in a relationship involves certain responsibilities and obligations.
A man who doesn’t feel he can meet those obligations won’t get into a relationship.
For example, one of the main reasons men put off marriage is because they have certain financial and career goals. They don’t want to make that kind of commitment until they feel they can financially support a family.
So, if a man says that he doesn’t want a relationship right now, take him at his word. A relationship is off the table.
However, he may be happy to continue seeing you.
As far as he’s concerned, casually dating someone involves much less pressure than committing to a relationship.
The question is:
Is that what you want?
Waiting for Him to Change His Mind
When a man tells a woman that he doesn’t want a relationship, he’s giving her a choice.
Either she can keep seeing him, knowing that what they have together is strictly casual, or she can end things.
But many women find it hard to end a relationship, especially if they like the man.
They’re eternally hopeful that “like” will bloom into “love.”
Because he’s not ending things completely, women in this situation tend to stick around.
They accept the new terms he’s given them, because they don’t feel they have any other choice if they want to keep him in their lives.
Unfortunately, sticking around comes at a cost.
It’s hard not to feel rejected and frustrated when you’ve invested your heart in someone who won’t invest back.
You feel confused, heartbroken, and increasingly resentful.
You’ve done so much for him. Why can’t he see what a good thing he has in you?
Those feelings make things increasingly awkward between you.
It’s not the same as it was before.
He knows you want more than he’s able to give.
He starts pulling away or treating you more brusquely.
You feel even more heartbroken. You can feel him slipping away.
It’s time to stop and reassess.
Was it such a good idea to stick around after all?
What You Can Do Instead
You know yourself better than anyone.
Are you the type of person who can spend time with a man and not fall in love with him?
Can you set firm boundaries around your heart, or will you always hope for a relationship?
If your heart leans towards attachment, and you can’t help but dream of a future with every man you let yourself get close to, then it will cause you pain to stick around after a man has said he doesn’t want a relationship.
Do this instead.
When he tells you he doesn’t want a relationship, you can say:
“I really appreciate you letting me know. It means a lot to me that you told me, because I was this close to falling head over heels for you.
“But I’m at a stage of my life where I am ready for a relationship, not just a friendship with benefits, so thank you for your honesty.
“I am going to take a break for a bit. I need to emotionally disentangle myself from you, so you might not hear from me for a while. Maybe at some point I’ll look you up again and we can hang out as friends.
“In the meantime, if you are ever ready for a relationship in the future, let me know. I can’t promise I’ll still be single, but look me up.”
With that speech, you become “the one who got away.”
You see, the only force powerful enough to change his mind is losing you.
He doesn’t get to keep you on as his pseudo-girlfriend.
Life without you will hurt, and that pain will teach him how much you meant to him—or didn’t.
This only works if you follow through.
Go no contact for a few weeks at the minimum. He needs to experience life without you. No texts, no visits, no phone calls.
If he cannot live without you, he’ll be back in touch.
When he contacts you again, let him know that the only way you’ll agree to be with him is if you’re in a relationship. A real relationship.
It’s hard to set boundaries and even harder to enforce them, but your heart is precious. Protect it.