When Dora met her college boyfriend, they were instantly inseparable. She knew from the beginning that they’d be together forever.
They talked about the future. Even their parents assumed they’d get married.
But as graduation neared, her boyfriend began pulling away.
He finally told her that he wanted to take a break. He wanted to experience life. He didn’t want to “hold her back.”
He broke her heart. She thought she’d never get over the grief.
Ever since, she’s been looking for a relationship like the one she had with him.
Where she instantly knows a guy is the one.
Where it’s immediately apparent they’re going to be together forever.
By the time I met her, she’d become incredibly frustrated with the men she met online.
“They’re not willing to commit,” she told me. “They don’t know what they want. They’re not willing to have a conversation about the future. It’s like they’re boys in a grown man’s body.”
Where have all the committed guys gone?
Is it too much to ask to want a life with someone?
When a woman tells me that she just wants a guy who can commit, I dig a little deeper.
I want to hear in her own words how she distinguishes guys who can commit from guys who can’t.
Dora was looking for a guy who responded positively when she said she wanted something committed. She was up front about her intentions. She didn’t want to waste a second date on a guy who was, as she put it, “wishy-washy.”
She had that instant sense of commitment with her college boyfriend, and she wasn’t going to settle for anything less.
We all go into encounters with the opposite sex hoping for that kind of a spark.
That instant recognition. That sense of knowing this person is going to play an important role in your life.
But that experience is so rare, and we often end up disappointed.
What I suggested to Dora is that pinning her hopes on an elusive feeling might be preventing her from spotting really great guys.
Commitment-minded guys can sometimes come across as indecisive. Not because they’re flaky, but because they need more information before jumping into something.
And in just a moment, I’ll explain how to spot them.
Three Kinds of Commitment
There are three ways to look at commitment.
- You can feel committed.
- You can think you’re committed.
- You can act committed.
Which do you think is most likely to result in happily-ever-after relationship?
Let’s find out…
1. Feeling Committed
In Dora’s college relationship, she certainly felt committed. She thought they were committed.
But it became clear that her boyfriend had not been making plans for their future after college. He hadn’t made an explicit promise to stay with her forever. He felt committed to her until, one day, he didn’t feel that commitment anymore.
This is why feeling committed is the least likely to result in marriage and happily-ever-after.
Think about the guy who tells you, “I can see us being together forever.” You think he’s making a promise, but he’s just expressing a feeling.
Feelings come and go. Feelings change. Commitment is too important to entrust to a feeling.
2. Thinking You’re Committed
You gain more security in the relationship once you agree you’re committed.
You talk about it. You decide to be exclusive. You call him your boyfriend, and he calls you his girlfriend.
Commitment is an idea you’ve both agreed on.
But maybe you’ve been in a relationship with a guy who claims he’s 100% committed to you…
Except that he spends his weekends with his guy friends, and he forgets Valentine’s Day, and he talks about what he wants to do with his life—conveniently forgetting that you’re part of his life now.
He says he’s committed. He believes he is committed.
But his actions show otherwise.
3. Acting Committed
At this level, commitment looks more like a contract.
It involves planning and practical considerations. It’s not terribly romantic at all!
A guy who takes commitment seriously worries less about how he feels towards you and more about whether he’s going to be able to make a promise to you that he can keep.
For example, the average age of marriage for American men has crept upwards to 30. Why? Because many men postpone proposing until they’ve finished school and gotten established in their careers.
They want to be financially secure and have the resources to support a family before making any promises.
These commitment-minded men want to be absolutely sure that they can make it work before tying their lives to someone.
They don’t vow eternal love on a first date. They want to get to know a woman and see how well they mesh before agreeing to a relationship.
A commitment-minded man prefers to take things slow. He wants to build up a friendship as well as enjoy the romance. He knows that passion fades, but friendship keeps you together through difficult times.
So if you meet a man who doesn’t strike you as the type who’s going to sweep you off your feet…
But he’s got a sparkle in his eye, and you enjoy his company a lot…
Allow yourself a little more time to determine where this might lead.
He might just want to lay a solid groundwork for a lifetime of happiness with you, and that takes a lot more than just one date.