I’m tired of waiting. How do I handle a commitment-phoebe?
Leather and Lace Advice, I met David about a year ago and I really love this man and he says he loves me. We both have good jobs and no debts, and we’re both in our late 30’s. I want to settle down and get married, or at the very least, move in with David. He says he feels the same way. But while we agree we want the same thing, David has not made one single move toward making this a reality. Normally, I am cautious and like to take things slowly, but I really feel that if David is sincere about being with me, he needs to prove he’s serious about it. Every time I suggest looking at apartments, or anything that could move our relationship to the next level, he makes some sort of excuse. He always says he is too busy but that we’ll get around to soon — and that’s been going on for months! I know some men are afraid to make a commitment, but my biological clock is ticking and I have already given him more than a year of my life to make up his mind. By now, he either wants me or he doesn’t. I’m afraid to push him but I’m tired of waiting. So how do I handle a commitment-phoebe like David?
Alison’s Take: I hate to say it, but your boyfriend David shows all the signs of being a commitment-phoebe. He talks the talk, but he balks at the “walk.” If David was younger, I’d say that he was just fearful of making the wrong decision and he was trying to be cautious, buying some time to be sure he was doing the right thing. But David is not a youngster in his late 30’s. Certainly he’s lived a little, and if he’s been with you for a year, he should know how he feels by now and if you are the one for him or not. To take more of your time at this critical juncture in your biological timeline, while he either is struggling to figure out what he wants, or worse, is stringing you along waiting for something better to come his way, is terribly selfish and shows that he really doesn’t care about you.
Actions speak louder than words. That means your actions, and his actions matter. If f David really wants you, he is going to have to finally get off his you-know-what and act. And you need to act, too. If your biological clock is ticking it is time for you to take a risk you hope you’ll never have to take. Realize that a man who says he will do something, but then never does, probably never will. Therefore, he must do it now and show he means it or you have to get out of the relationship and cut your losses. You may lose David if you insist that he must act by a certain date and do something specific (whatever it is that you want in a tangible way that isn’t just “talk”) but you don’t really have that solid relationship you think you have with him in the first place, if he can’t or won’t do it.
Tony’s Take: I don’t actually view this as commitment phobia. As as a guy who has unfortunately played similar games, the syndrome should be called, having cake and eating it too. It sounds as if your boyfriend loves having you around as a backup date, but he is still looking for his ideal woman which, at the age of thirty, he should have realized is non existent. He is not seeing you in reality. He doesn’t see the companionship, the fun, and the warmth that you bring to the relationship. Instead, he uses you to comfort himself while he continues his search. Your boyfriend appears to be a very selfish individual, and giving him an ultimatum will sadly, not help you in any way.
If, by chance, he actually is a commitment phoebe, then you have to change the game on him. You have to make him understand that he needs you and wants you. You have to back off the relationship. Tell him that you are going to date others, and then do it. Tell him that when he wants to be serious, you’d love to talk to him again — if you’re not in another relationship.