If you’re a fan of gender stereotype jokes from the 80s and 90s, you’ve probably heard that men aren’t into commitment.
Actually, that’s not true at all. While some men have a pathological unwillingness to commit to anything, plenty of men out there have no problem committing to something that matters to them.
What happens much more often is that men seem reluctant to commit to a relationship they don’t have much confidence in.
When a man doesn’t truly believe a relationship will work out, he’s unlikely to put much effort into maintaining it.
Here are some signs that a man has doubts your relationship is going to go the distance:
1) He doesn’t make future plans with you
There comes a point in every relationship when it’s time to think about the future.
That doesn’t mean you need to sit down and start planning every detail of your wedding. But it does mean that you need to be on the same page about what the future looks like.
Do you both want to have kids, for example? Do you want to travel? Do you want to live close to your parents, or do you want to explore the world?
Sometimes, these conversations can come up quite naturally. But how your man talks about the future can be very revealing.
When he speaks about the future, are you in it? Or does he simply talk about the things he wants to do, the places he wants to go, the life he wants to live?
If that’s the case, maybe he doesn’t see your relationship continuing in the future.
2) He doesn’t advance the relationship
A relationship is not a checklist to work through. Just because everybody else gets engaged, gets married, moves to the suburbs, and starts a family, doesn’t mean you have to.
On the other hand, relationships often do have stages they move through in time. But if your man never seems to want to advance to the next stage of the relationship, that’s a warning sign.
Relationship coach Kelly Gonsalves writes that even in a relationship with someone who prefers to avoid labels, the relationship still requires clarity around expectations. And wanting to avoid labels is not an excuse for never wanting to move the relationship forward.
3) He minimizes the relationship
Are you guys dating? Or are you just hanging out?
Does he introduce you to others as his partner, his girlfriend, or his boyfriend? Or does he just give your name and keep things vague?
The same applies when it’s just the two of you talking.
Does he get uncomfortable when you call him your boyfriend? Does he do everything he can to resist defining your relationship?
If so, it may be a sign he doesn’t see a future in the two of you.
4) You haven’t met his family
You have to be careful with this one.
My family lived on a different continent from where I met the woman who became my wife. For that reason, it was years before she met any of them.
At the same time, she did meet them eventually.
Some people have terrible or nonexistent relationships with their family, and if that’s the case, it’s possible you may never meet them and still be very happy with your partner.
But watch out if your partner does maintain a good relationship with his family, but he seems to never want you to meet them.
Although there may be lots of reasons for this, one very plausible reason is that he doesn’t think your relationship will last.
5) He disappears
Is your man a ghost sometimes?
Look, I’m a person who needs an unusual amount of time to myself. So I spend a lot of time without my wife. But that’s not the same as disappearing.
Disappearing is when a man vanishes without telling you beforehand where he’ll be, and for how long. He’s just gone, and you may not answer your phone calls or texts.
You don’t want to be controlling. You want to be the cool partner who doesn’t need to know where your other half is all the time.
At the same time, especially in a longer relationship, you have a right to know why your partner isn’t talking to you.
If he has a habit of disappearing without warning or explanation, it’s a good sign he’s not all that interested in maintaining a relationship with you.
6) He forgets important dates
My mom can tell you not only the dates but the time each of her children was born, and what we all weighed.
My dad isn’t sure what month my birthday falls in.
It’s not just him. I know when my wedding anniversary is. But this year, the date passed me by without me noticing until it was over.
Ladies, it’s not completely our fault. Studies show that men are worse at remembering things than women, although the reason why isn’t clear.
Still, your man should be capable of remembering dates that are important to you.
I know the date of my anniversary, even if I don’t always notice when it happens. I know my wife’s birthday. I know the date when we first met.
If I can remember these important dates, so can he.
And if he can’t, it may be because he’s not trying very hard.
7) He makes excuses
There’s always a reason not to do something. But after a while, constant excuses become just that – excuses.
What do I mean?
I’m talking about excuses not to move in together. Excuses not to propose or get married, if that’s something you want. Excuses not to have kids.
In short, excuses not to commit to the relationship you have together.
8) He changes the subject when you want to talk
Relationship talks can be tough. Especially for people who have a hard time expressing their emotions.
But being in a meaningful relationship means having those difficult conversations sometimes. And if your partner is constantly changing the subject when you try to talk to him about your relationship and your future together, it’s a really bad sign.
According to psychologist Leon F Seltzer, when one partner refuses to talk about the relationship – usually the man – it can make the other partner feel unloved and unwanted.
It can also be a sign of a man who doesn’t believe in the relationship you have, and is just filling time until the next thing comes along.
9) He keeps his options open
Unfortunately, these days it’s easier than ever for people to keep their options open, even in a relationship. Online dating sites and social media constantly parade other beautiful people straight to our cell phones.
And if your man seems to be keeping his options open, that’s a really bad sign.
Maybe he refuses to delete his dating website profile. Maybe he interacts with other women on social media. Maybe he still hangs out with former partners or people who have expressed romantic interest in him.
Look, a guy doesn’t have to shut off all contact with other women and become a hermit just because he’s dating you. And it’s not healthy to ask him to do that.
On the other hand, being in a relationship requires some sacrifice. One of the main signs you’re serious about a relationship is that you abandon your other options.
If a man won’t do that, he may be already halfway out the door.
10) He detaches from you emotionally
Some people are simply emotionally unavailable. Often, this can stem from past trauma that has made them incapable of trusting others.
Other times, though, people detach from others emotionally because they aren’t serious about their relationship.
According to relationship coach Sneha Tate, signs of emotional detachment include:
- Not sharing problems and worries with you
- Seeming disinterested in what you say
- Putting their needs above yours
- Not sharing your emotional reactions to events
- Rarely showing affection
11) He is a selfish lover
We all have different needs in the bedroom, just like we do outside it. But a man who is serious about a relationship with you will spend at least some of his time focusing on your needs as well as his own.
On the other hand, if sex is all about what he wants, it may be a sign he is not interested in keeping you happy for the long term.
12) He doesn’t prioritize your relationship
Finally, you can tell how a man feels about a relationship by where it comes in his list of priorities.
It’s not healthy for your romantic relationship to be everything in the world to you. But it shouldn’t come last, either.
If work, hanging out with his friends, and spending time on his hobbies all seem to be more important than spending time with you and developing your relationship, it probably means he isn’t all that serious about it.