We had a saying back home that went like this, "Never tug at fruit that isn't ripe. It's hard to get off the tree and even if you do get it down, it's going to be bitter!"
I'm really excited about this topic. It gets very personal for me plus it's a topic about which I get perhaps the most questions. Almost every day someone in our audience wants to know why he hasn't proposed, committed to being exclusive, set a date for an actual wedding, etc. It goes without saying it's a highly frustrating situation for a lot of women. Many are disappointed that he hasn't even asked her for a DATE or for her phone number! There's a mutual spark or some chemistry, but nothing's happening!! Why???
I've got some ideas. I'm a guy, but I think I can be balanced and unbiased. I'm going to let my brothers off the hook a little bit on some of these...
1. He is selfish. If he is able to get some or all of the benefits of a relationship with you, why go forward with more? There is no question there are men who will take as much as they can take while giving as little as possible in return. It's human nature. As much as I want to stand up for my brothers, I have to be honest. If this is his thing, tell him you might be noticing a pattern and give him a chance (or eight) to change. No efforts at changing? You probably have to ask him to get back in touch with you later! Some people call this the "too many options" argument. I'm not too quick to buy into that, but I can't deny it either. I get the feeling that this is where most of my readers will stop reading and the only reason they care about!! But I continue...
2. He is still too wounded himself and honestly doesn't want to hurt you. (He might actually be thinking about YOU!) This is the case where a man KNOWS he isn't ready to give you want you want and need and doesn't want to string you along or set you up for disappointment. I've seen this, a lot. I've behaved this way myself keeping certain people at arms-length. Sometimes I've explained why and sometimes not. Suffice to say you don't want to force it. If he isn't moving towards you, there might be an honorable reason why not.
3. He is still dealing with the shock and awe of being "available" again. Divorce is initiated by the woman over 80% of the time and “infidelity” is NOT the #1 reason...nor is "violence" as reported by women. "I outgrew him" in some combination of "I wanted more" is the #1 reason given. Many men are going to spend some time in shock wondering how their relationship could have died. He's numb. Let him regain feeling from the shock.
4. He doesn't trust you. This one I've got to place on some women. Sure, there are men who don't trust anybody, but it could also be you. I'm sad to say that, but I'm being honest. If you approach your interactions with him solely on the basis of what you can "get" he's not going to trust you. This would be funny to me if it weren't so sad. In my own life, I see this more times than I can count. Women approach me, but never ask me anything about myself, my wants, desires or vision. NEVER! Very few have even asked me how I'm doing at any given time. It doesn't anger me. I don't care. It's just a signal that's all. It's a sign that she's not interested in anything except what she wants from the interaction.
5. Getting serious with you appears to be too risky and he perceives that he's already lost so much. Depending upon his age, he might feel like he can't afford to lose again. If it's true that it takes men longer to recover emotionally, spiritually and financially (up to seven years) than women, some men are going to be reluctant. I'm not saying being with you, dear reader, IS too risky. I'm just saying it looks like it. I'm not even saying he should see you as risky. He just does. I happen to think you can help with that, but we'll have to explore that topic another day.
6. Perhaps mostly, he might not feel like you can handle all of that garbage from his past. This one I've seen a hundred times, maybe more. His life might be so ugly financially and in terms of old relationships that he's not certain YOU can handle it. He's starting over, cleaning up messes and generally trying to the do right things. He loves and respects you, but wonders whether you can deal with all those realities from his previous life. I've also heard women tell me to tell men "I can handle it!!" and that he doesn't need to have everything together to be with her. I don't think most men are getting that message.
7. He's trying to walk in integrity and in right relationship with God. If he's just trying to have that alone time to be with God and get clarity, let him have it. There are some guys in this category. He sees you, likes you, but doesn't make a significant move. Agonizing! Well, it might be for him, too. He might be feeling a leading to hold off for the time and season. It's a lonely walk to be alone and with God only. But it's necessary at times. Frankly, I'm more concerned about a man who can't let him-self be alone. You should be, as well.
From a woman's point of view, a lot of this is going to read like a load of manure. I get that. I know sometimes the guys are just offering excuses. (Funny how many excuses being celibate will eliminate!) Not every guy is scared, selfish or a casual excuse-maker, however. Just wanted you to think about that possibility. So…what can you do about it? What can he do about it so everyone can move forward into healthy relationships?
Please add your comments and thoughts. Mostly I want every reader to know that it isn't always personal. You are not flawed or unattractive because he hasn't moved as quickly as you want or thought he would. A lot of times he's just working some things out in his own mind and spirit. I'd encourage you to let him.
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