As a marriage and family therapist, I know that men and women often aren’t on the same page when it comes to whether or not they want to settle down. Men can experience strong fears about committing (or seem to avoid it altogether), much to the frustration of the woman who wants him to.
So how do you know if he’s ready to commit? Here are four things to be on the lookout for.
1. He’s willing to talk about it
Many factors can contribute to a guy avoiding a commitment, especially if there has been little decision making or certainty elsewhere in his life up to this point. Not feeling financially secure, established in his career, still living at home with his parents, or lacking a sense of independence can lead a man to feel inadequate or fear he will be.
When a man is feeling more certain about the idea of settling down, he’s probably going to let you know that. You will hear more talk of the future, of values and his belief system and the kind of person he wants to be with. His confidence about even having these kinds of conversations indicates his readiness for commitment in his life.
2. He’s making choices, rather than being paralyzed by them
Oftentimes, having more options doesn’t lead to clarity in decision making but instead leads to more excessive searching and confusion about what you want. This is true when it comes to dating, especially when you now have so many options and opportunities to connect with people.
When a man is ready to commit, this will be reflected in how he engages in certain things like social media, online dating apps (for example, keeping profiles active or deleting them). It shows he wants to invest more time in one person, rather than keeping his options open.
3. He wants the relationship to move forward
Let’s state the obvious here: There are a lot of women and men who willingly engage in non-committed sex, friends-with-benefits arrangements, and even intimate emotional relationships without placing a label or status on it. This has become extremely common, and more people are actually choosing to go this route rather than seeking committed partnerships.
When a man is ready for commitment, there won’t be that same kind of stalling. Again, there will be more investment in creating an actual relationship; an emotional connection that surpasses having a strictly physical relationship.
4. There’s less of a struggle between his head and heart
Men sometimes get lost in their thoughts. They may question their compatibility with their partner and whether or not they really have the qualities and personalities to make it work long-term. In the relationship, this may sound like: “I love you, I just don’t know if our personality differences will work.”
It’s important to know that relationships can’t be understood through logic alone. The language of logic is one that men are well-versed in! Relationships aren’t black and white and cannot be determined by compatibility alone. While compatibility is an important factor, what’s more important is a couple’s ability to navigate their differences in healthy ways. A man who is ready for real commitment will be open to this concept and ready to do the work of creating a healthy relationship that lasts.
No doubt, men and women experience fear and issues around commitment in different ways. It can be helpful to know the signs that you’re with a man who might not be ready to explore serious commitment. Just remember, there are typically obvious signs that will indicate where he stands. Don’t be afraid to start the conversation about these things if they are important to you.
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