Sometimes unless it's spelled out, knowing when a man is ready to commit completely to a relationship can be hard. Learn how to find out if your man is ready to commit and what to do if he is not from our dating coach's response to this readers question.
When Is a Man Ready to Commit?
Hi, my boyfriend and I have been dating long distance for about a year and a half. Everything had been going great until I started wanting more of a commitment. He freaked out and broke it off. He says he loved me and was happy in the relationship--we never really had any problems. Everyone that knew us is completely shocked. He said he just doesn't know--he can't commit right now (that day). Our relationship was always very serious and we went on many extended vacations. Why is he just now thinking about marriage? And how does he grow up and realize what he is throwing away by being so immature?-- Contributed by: Lucy
Dating long distance can be very exciting compared with relationships that are in the same city. There is a sense of adventure in having to travel to see one another. However, long distance relationships can also be very challenging because they require a level of trust based on faith. This last requirement is one reason why long distance relationships don't last. For some partners, being faithful (as in monogamous and exclusive) is a loosely constructed definition. In addition, without the checks and balances that couples living in the same town have, this loosely constructed definition invites varying degrees of infidelity.
When you brought up to your boyfriend the subject of wanting "more of a commitment" with him, you were implying that the relationship would be monogamous and that this type of faithfulness would then have the same checks and balances that couples who are not in a long distance relationship observe. This suggests that having a more committed relationship would be a change from your current relationship. I noticed that your question did not say that you and your boyfriend are already in a monogamous relationship, so I am assuming that you are not. On the other hand, if you are then in his mind it is based on that "loosely constructed definition" of commitment. If this were the case, then your boyfriend's reaction to you wanting more of a commitment makes a lot of sense to me. He may love you, but he has not and is not exclusively committed to you, which is the reason why he has not been thinking about marriage.
Sure he has taken you home (and on vacation) with family. You're likely the kind girl who family approves of. That does not mean that he himself has been thinking about settling down and having his own family. It simply means that he is smart enough to know that if he brings 'the right kind of girl' on vacations that include family, he gets his own family to stop harassing him about 'settling down'. You have equated meeting his family with him wanting their approval rather than wanting them to mind his own business. As a result, you have been thinking that he wanted the same things from the relationship as you. Now you are learning that this is not the case. Part of being mature is knowing what you want and don't want in life; knowing when you are ready and not ready to commit and know who you want (and don't want) in your life. I think your boyfriend has shown a lot of maturity by telling you that he did not want a commitment with you and ending the relationship. While this may not have been an easy thing for him, he has made it clear in his words and actions that he does not want marriage. This is not a sign of immaturity. Now it is your turn to demonstrate the same level of maturity.
Your love for this guy went much deeper than his for you, accepting that fact takes a lot of maturity. Accepting this fact doesn't make hurt less. It simply shows that you recognize that you and this guy are not on the same page at the same time. It also means that you understand that you cannot 'make' anyone do something he doesn't want to do. Having a free will means that you accept the consequences of your choices. Sometimes you may choose correctly, and everything works out just as you imagined. Other times you learn from your mistakes. Either way, you choose for yourself. Moreover, fortunately or unfortunately, you won't know if you've made the right choice until sometime in the future. You can't live in the future, you have to live in the present. All this is to say that he may not be throwing a good thing away. He simply is letting go of something he does not want at this time in his life and by doing so he opens the door to you and him finding someone else.
For you, free will means choosing to find a great man who is at the same place and on the same page as you i.e., a man who is looking to settle down. A guy that does not want this, is not the right guy for you. It is your choice as to whether you can let go of the guy who does not want this type of relationship or worse, believe that you can somehow make him change his mind. Likewise, it is your choice as to whether you will open yourself and your heart to finding a man who wants the same thing as you.