Sally asks Karen why her boyfriend won’t commit to her
Question: FROM SALLY
I want to get married but it seems he doesn’t. We have been going out for 3 years now and are seen by friends and family as a couple. He assures me that I am the only girl in his life. But he won’t speak to me about getting married. If I bring up the topic he just goes quiet. And if I insist, we end up arguing.
Many of our friends are getting married, but not us!
So it makes me wonder sometimes if he has someone else. Why won’t my boyfriend ask me to marry him? Is he a commitment-phobe? Am I fooling myself to think we have a future together?
Answer: FROM KAREN
It sounds like you are in a relationship with a great guy… you can see him as husband and father, and you feel impatient and frustrated that he has not yet asked you to marry him.
When a man shows kindness, communication and affection to a woman, she will be drawn to him as a possible partner. If there is sexual intimacy, all her boxes are ticked, and she feels loyal to and faithful to her man, and starts to ‘nest’. This is a biological thing. Females are made that way!
A man however, does not operate in the same way. A man never considers commitment until all his thinking, planning and decision making is done about whether or not you are the one he wants to be with, and whether or not he can provide for you… and then he proposes! How good the sex is with you is just one factor that he is considering, but the sexual intimacy you share is not the thing that makes him committed.
Until he utters the words of commitment, the man will not consider himself in a committed relationship
And he will assume his girl understands that of him! (She doesn’t, of course – if he strays, she calls him a jerk!) This is one of the greatest misunderstandings in a relationship – the difference in assumptions and expectations of what this relationship actually is.
Some men fear that the moment they declare commitment to a partner, a more gorgeous or ‘perfect’ girl will come around the corner, and they will have missed out (and this even when they know they love you!). It is an irrational fear because they do love you, and many feel guilty about even having such a thought. The best way to handle this is for you to mention that this feeling about “missing out” is pretty normal for a guy, but for him to be careful about missing out on you!
Most men (some sooner, some later, some much later) make the decision to be in a committed and monogamous relationship because they too, seek stability, a loving partner and a family. If you tell him you are faithful to him and want the same in return from him, he can then agree to be faithful also, so that expectations are clearly set. These are the words of commitment (not necessarily in public during a wedding ceremony).
A commitment is in fact a decision, not a feeling.
And every day, even though feelings can temporarily change, you continue to choose to make a decision… to drive to your home, to have a meal with your chosen partner, to sleep with him or her, to be faithful.
I can understand that you sometimes feel suspicious, when he doesn’t ask you to marry him. Don’t let your imagination run wild! Don’t allow your insecurities to overtake you. His procrastination in proposing to you is more likely to be a concern about a job or money, and how can he possibly provide for you and any children you may have, into the future.
Or it may simply be that he believes you both to already be in a committed relationship because he has told you that you are the only woman in his life. That for him is commitment!