What to Do When He Won’t Commit – But He Also Won’t Let Go

he won't commit but won't let go

Here is a personal story for you. One of my close friends has been dating a woman for a few months. They are only casually dating, but they seem quite happy together. He refuses to enter into a formal relationship and to be exclusive with her – in other words, he won’t commit to her, but he also won’t let go. Understandably, she is finding the situation quite confounding.

This scenario is not one-of-a-kind. I often hear women complaining about men who they want to spend more time with, want to have sex with, and even have developed an emotional bond with – yet the man won’t make any kind of formal commitment. That behavior can be frustrating.

In this article, I will explain why that guy you’re interested in won’t commit – but also refuses to leave.

Why he won’t commit, yet won’t let go

1) He has different relationship goals

This is perhaps the most common reason for a man who refuses to commit and refuses to leave. If you are dating a man who matches this description, the first thing you need to discuss with him is what you both want. If you seek commitment and he has no interest in it, you obviously have different goals for the relationship. If he does not leave, you are providing him with something that he wants or needs – otherwise, he would have called it quits already. However, if he won’t commit, he is trying to tell you that he is not interested in a committed relationship.

Some men simply are not interested in long-term relationships, but the case could also be that he just does not want one with you. If your man is only interested in sex or casual dating, or if he simply enjoys being a player, this will drive his behavior and it will not satisfy you at all. You will need to decide what you are willing to do about being in this position, particularly if this relationship is no longer making you happy.

2) He has a fear of commitment

His lack of commitment may not be out of a lack of love or out of the desire to stay single, but it could be that he has deep feelings for you. He might fear commitment and, admittedly, relationships can be scary. This fear can come from a variety of sources, such as prior bad relationships or fears that your relationship will disintegrate if he gets too close. Perhaps he even saw his parents’ divorce. Any of these experiences could have him feeling jaded about commitment.

Whatever the reasons, none of them matters quite so much as the outcome. He likes you, but he is afraid of commitment. You will need to be patient with him and attempt to build greater trust between you. In other words, you need to convince him that you are worth committing to.

That being said, he might not be afraid of commitment at all but, instead, just not want to commit for another reason. Here are some other potential reasons why he might be holding back.

3) He wants to stay independent

Here is another case study for you. One of my family members is very successful and handsome. He dates around quite a bit but rarely makes things official. Most of them want him to commit, and while he does not fear commitment or have any baggage that might cause issues in a relationship, he simply does not want to settle down with anyone – at least not yet.

Some men enjoy being independent and would prefer to just date around. There are other men who are open to having devoted relationships, however, it is just that they have not yet found the perfect person for it.

If he does not commit to you but still won’t let go, he very well might enjoy your company but not so much that he is willing to be tied down. The most important thing to keep in mind here is that just because he wants to date around does not necessarily mean that he is a player. For some guys, that is true, but others just haven’t found the right person. He might be “the one” for you, but the reverse might not always be true.

If this sounds like your relationship, you will need to accept the fact that he is not ready for the kind of relationship that you want. He might be ready in the future, or he might never be ready to take that leap. Take a close look at your relationship and his personality, and prepare yourself for the likelihood that he might never be ready to commit.

4) You are not the most important person to him

This might be hard to hear, but neither of the examples I have discussed in this article ever ended up with the men committing to the women in the stories. They obviously were attracted to and like the women, but they never took that final step. Instead, they strung these women along until the women got sick of their lack of commitment and ended things.

These men may have been looking for someone to settle down with, but it obviously was not these women. If these stories sound like you, then you are being used. You are just another girl to your man and not his forever woman. If you can live with that, stick around, but otherwise, be aware that he is just biding his time with you until things end. You need to realize that remaining as his current flavor of the month will never lead to your getting married or having any kind of commitment down the road.

There is a small chance that he will finally realize how awesome you are. However, if you have been around for a long time and he is still exhibiting this behavior, the odds are that he is never going to change the way that he is and suddenly be ready to commit to you.

So What Can I Do About It?

If you are stuck with a guy who won’t commit – but also won’t leave – it is time you do something about it. There are solutions to every problem, and this common relationship issue is no different.

1) Give him an ultimatum

Nobody likes having to play this trump card, but often, this is exactly what it takes. However, what is important is that you not only give him an ultimatum, but you stick to it. If you really want things to work, you will need to take the wheel and steer things in your direction.

Tell your man that if he can’t respect you by committing to you, then you are going to leave. If this does not work, it is because he thinks you are bluffing. He might come back around for a while and then return to his old ways. However, you need to do your part by setting your standards and then sticking to them. If he slips back into his old habits, get out of there.

2) Have an honest conversation

This can be a difficult thing to do, but it is often necessary if you are looking to make a difference in your relationship. Ask your man directly what he wants. Tell him that you do not like where the relationship is headed and that you want to resolve the issue that has been annoying you for some time. You may need to explain to him that real relationships involve commitment, and make sure you remind him that you will leave if he does not have a change of heart.

3) Know that things can improve

Many women stay in non-committed relationships because they are numb to negative feelings. If you have been lied to, cheated on, or treated badly on a regular basis, you might be completely used to these negative feelings. Tolerating and living with those emotions might seem easier than finding somebody new and allowing them to hurt you.

However, what you need to realize is that every relationship is not like this. Being single is not so bad when you can sleep like a baby knowing that there isn’t someone cheating on you, lying to you, or ignoring you.

4) Leave him by himself to mull things over

If you push him or try to suffocate him, he will leave you in a heartbeat. However, if you show him that you are the best woman around and give him some time to think, he might act differently. He might see how much work you put into the relationship and make him come back to you, even if he just wants to see how things will work if he does decide to commit.

5) Set boundaries and keep them

If you see that you are not getting where you want to with your man, you may need to set some boundaries. Draw a line in the sand and let him know that you have needs and rights too. He should not be able to just string you along and control you without giving you anything in return. That is not love and that is not healthy! Let him make up his own mind, and if you two do not have the same take on things, say goodbye.

6) Talk it through – but not with him

It can be really helpful to talk through your stresses with a close friend or family member. Do not talk to your friend who will only tell you what you want to hear but, instead, talk to the friend who tells you what you need to hear – even if it is blunt or harsh.

If you have not yet figured out who that friend is, know that it is probably the friend that grinds her teeth or rolls her eyes every time you talk about how he is hurting you. This is the friend who will inspire you to be stronger and more independent.

7) Explain that commitment does not equal a lack of independence

Your man might just have a fear of commitment, but he also just might be a coward in general. If he keeps playing games with you, you need to resolve things as soon as possible. Explain that he does not need to be afraid of losing his independence if he decides to pursue a more serious relationship with you. A committed relationship does not always equate to a loss of manliness and that he can have the life that he used to have before he met you, too. This just might change his mind if he is on the fence about commitment.

8) Refuse to take no for an answer

Leaving is not easy, particularly when he won’t commit to you but also won’t let you be by yourself or with anyone else, for that matter.

This is a method of control for him. Once you have realized that you can – and will – do better without him by your side, you need to take steps to get yourself out of the relationship. Stand your ground and hold your own! Do not take no for an answer. He can try to explain himself and even panic, he can threaten and even make excuses. But as soon as you walk away, know that he no longer has any kind of power over you and that you have won the final battle.

9) Prioritize yourself

You need to show this man that you are your own top priority. That you do not need to take any crap from him and you definitely do not allow him to string you along. Prove to him that you not only can live without him, but you are also not willing to wait around for him any longer.

Once he sees this, he may hesitate and think twice. He will likely see what sort of a person he is losing and he will probably treat you better than he used to. Making a man your priority will never give you the same amount of satisfaction as making yourself a priority instead.

10) Just stop

There are so many men who think that your threats are in vain because they will somehow find a way to fool you in the future. They think that you are saying you will end the relationship, but that you will never actually follow through. The easiest way to prove him wrong is to just leave. Prove to him that he lost you with his foolish behaviors and that you are not going to spend the rest of your life with a man who can’t make up his mind as to what he wants. Once he sees that you are actually serious and not bluffing, he will definitely try to get you back.

Some Final Thoughts

Dealing with a commitment issue in a relationship is often more painful and stressful than just leaving would be. At least when you leave, you can finally move on. If you are in a situation like this, knowing that if he has not committed and nothing you have tried has changed things, it might be time to say goodbye. Accept that he will never actually change but you can!

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