When Should You Walk Away When He Won’t Commit?

Last Updated on April 5, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester

Most women want supportive, meaningful relationships with their partners. So, what happens when you really love someone- but you want more than what he’s offering? 

Should you walk away when he won’t commit? What if you’re stuck in that stagnant place where he won’t commit, but won’t let go? How much time should you give him? 

Is it better to keep talking about how you feel and what you want, or should you just cut your losses and leave? Let’s get into everything you need to know. 

What Do You Do When Your Partner Won’t Commit?

What to do when your partner won't commit?

It’s extremely frustrating to feel like you’re alone in your relationship. You may love your partner, but you might also feel annoyed and angry that he won’t take things to the next level. This irritation might be amplified if he keeps making halfhearted promises to change things in the future.

Of course, you can’t control someone else’s actions, but you can focus on putting the ball in his court. Here’s what to say when he can’t commit. 

Reading Suggestion: Do Emotionally Unavailable Man Miss You?

Decide What You Want

What is most important to you in life? What are your core values? Then, when you think about what lies ahead, what seems the most non-negotiable? 

These may sound like heavy, existential questions, but it is crucial that you reflect on them. For example, do yo you want to live with a partner who can commit to being loyal to you? Do you have aspirations of getting married or having children? 

Your relationships should support your goals in life. If you and your partner don’t see eye-to-eye, you may have to sacrifice essential values as a result. Over time, this can lead you to feel disconnected, regretful, and even directionless.

So, think about your future. Really, really think about it. Now try to imagine how your current partner (assuming he doesn’t change a thing) fits into that image. Does it feel right? Or does it only feel right if he makes significant changes? If it’s the latter, you might be holding onto false hope that things will improve. 

Ask What’s Going On Directly

If your partner does fit into your core values, and you feel determined to make things work, it’s time for a real conversation.

You need to ask him why he won’t commit. It may sound like an obvious question, but have you explicitly asked him it? And if you asked it a long time ago, it’s time to address it again. 

Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t pretend like it isn’t a big deal when it is. You have the right to a legitimate answer to this important question. 

You may find that even he isn’t sure what’s going on. Or you might discover that he has fears that he feels ashamed or concerned about. Commitment issues may stem from difficulties with trauma or attachment. Either way, having this information can be valuable. 

Reading Suggestion: 15 Things What a Guy Is Thinking When He Kisses You

You might be able to work together to come up with a reasonable compromise. Or, he may be willing to seek individual or couples therapy to work through some of his resistance. These solutions can help you feel more optimistic about where things are going. 

But you’ll never know unless you ask. And you owe it to yourself (and your relationship) to ensure that you have the relationship you want. 

Tell Him How You Feel

If he cares about you, he will care about your feelings. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Men who only look after their own interests focus on their needs first. They may even find your feelings annoying or cumbersome.

The goal of expressing your feelings isn’t to guilt your partner or make him change his mind. Instead, the goal is to simply express how his actions affect you.

He needs to know that his lack of commitment is creating problems in the relationship. He also needs to know that you’re frustrated, scared, or even resentful of the situation. 

Healthy communication starts with assertiveness. You can practice being assertive by using I-statements like, I feel hurt when you keep telling me I’m being too impatient. I feel frustrated by our living arrangement. I worry about our future together. 

Consider an Ultimatum 

It’s a good idea to consider setting a limit for yourself when it comes to staying in your relationship. It’s up to you whether you share this limit with him.

But, ideally, you shouldn’t just wait around hoping that he suddenly decides he’s ready for commitment. Try to think of a reasonable timeframe for when you want him to make specific changes- and then stick to those guidelines.

Remember that ultimatums are only effective if you absolutely intend on following through with them. If you aren’t sure whether you can honor your intention, avoid giving him one. If you go back on your word, it only reinforces that you’re letting him call the shots.

Reading Suggestion: When a Guy Has a Crush On You He Always Says These Words

16 Signs It’s Time to Walk Away From Him

You can walk away from a relationship at any time. But when should you really walk away? And how do you ensure that you don’t regret your decision later?

Here are some signs it’s a good idea to consider walking away from a man who won’t commit. 

16 Signs it's Time To Walk Away From Him

#1 You’re Tired of Waiting 

Maybe you’ve been dating for months, and he still doesn’t want to make things exclusive. Or, perhaps you’ve been in a committed relationship for several years, but he still won’t propose.

Whatever the circumstance, you feel like you’re on a treadmill going nowhere. And you don’t know how much longer things will take. 

Waiting can make anyone resentful and frustrated. These feelings often compound over time. As a strong woman, you don’t owe anyone your free time. In the long run, if he knows you’ll just keep waiting around for him, he will probably continue engaging in this toxic pattern.

So, if this is where things are, it’s probably time to have one last serious conversation- or walk away altogether. 

#2 You Perpetually Feel Stuck

Whether you want to move in together, get married, or have children, healthy relationships move forward on a natural timeline. This timeline, of course, varies based on the couple. However, both partners tend to be on the same page about sharing their values and moving forward to achieve their goals.

So, if you feel perpetually stuck, it means that you’re on two different plans. He very well might not want the things you want. Life is short, and if you keep waiting for him, you risk missing out altogether (or waiting until it’s much too late).

#3 You Already Set An Ultimatum 

If you already set an ultimatum, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by changing or disregarding it. Ignoring your boundaries may reinforce that you don’t actually have relationship boundaries!

So, if you already made a promise to yourself, try to stick with it. You may feel scared, frustrated, or uncertain. But you wouldn’t have set that ultimatum if it wasn’t important. So try to revisit those initial reasons when the self-doubt creeps in. Doing so can help you stay accountable to your own emotional well-being.

Reading Suggestion: 10 Ways He Feels When He Realizes You Blocked Him

#4 You Don’t Feel Respected 

Respect is a key part of any healthy relationship, and a man who won’t commit might not be respecting you in the ways you deserve. 

That’s because he probably isn’t being upfront with his intentions. He might be stringing you along (until someone better shows up). Or, he might simply really care about you- but not enough to make things as official as you want.

If he respects you, he will care about your feelings and needs. That doesn’t mean he will necessarily go along with everything you want. But it will mean that he’s open to discussion and also interested in making things work as best he can. 

#5 You Don’t Trust Him

Is there a small part of you that fears he isn’t committing because he’s focused on someone else? Have you had concerns or evidence of him cheating?

Trust is paramount in a loving relationship. If you can’t genuinely trust him, staying together will only be even more painful. You’ll constantly be assessing his behavior and scanning for potential threats. 

#6 You Two Communicate Poorly 

How well do you express your needs and feelings to one another? When faced with conflict, how do you two typically cope?

If you can’t manage arguments well now, it’s only going to get harder as life becomes more serious. The big things- living together, getting married, having kids- only add more pressure and responsibilities onto couples.

So, if you already have serious issues in this department, it might be worth reevaluating the relationship. If you want to stay together, you’ll need a serious plan for improving communication.

#7 You Feel Like He’s Too Irresponsible

Is he always in between jobs or unable to make this month’s rent? Are you constantly bailing him out of things and even taking care of business for him?

It’s one thing to date a carefree guy when you’re young and relatively oblivious to all the hardships in life. But it’s another thing to be a grown adult feeling like you’re paired with a child.

If you don’t feel like your partner is responsible, you won’t be able to rely on him. This results in you taking on more of the emotional burden in the relationship. It also typically requires that you probably have to cover up or rescue him when he makes mistakes.

Reading Suggestion: 9 Clear Signs His New Girlfriend Is Jealous of You

#8 You Keep Making Sacrifices 

Time for some self-reflection. How many times have you edited your goals or pushed back your ideal timelines in order to give him more space? How often do you sacrifice what you want to ensure you can meet his needs?

No dynamic is a truly perfect give-and-take, but healthy partners strive to mutually benefit one another. They both try to bring the best versions of themselves into the relationship. 

As a result, if you feel like you’re always the one having to make adjustments, you’re bound to feel resentful. Is that the kind of imbalance you want for yourself? 

#9 You Don’t Really Enjoy Spending Time Together

Does it feel like you’re more like roommates than lovers? Do you generally prefer spending time with other friends or engaging in other hobbies?

Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to spending time together in a relationship. So if you feel like you’re just “existing” with one another, that isn’t a good sign. 

It’s healthy to have separate lives. However, you should have a solid enough relationship that you both miss each other when you’re apart and look forward to reconnecting. 

If that’s not the case, it means that things are probably complacent and stale. It also means you two might just be more comfortable with the idea of staying together than the idea of trying something new. 

#10 You Don’t Know Where He Stands

Let’s say you know he has commitment issues. But he makes an active effort to talk about his feelings and work on this problem. 

Now let’s compare this to the guy who won’t even tell you what’s going on. You don’t really know how he feels because he’s vague or guarded. When you try to ask, he becomes defensive and potentially hostile.

That kind of guy is only going to cause problems. His behavior means he doesn’t respect you enough to tell you how he feels. It also means that he probably doesn’t care about the integrity of your relationship. 

#11 You Keep Fantasizing About Someone (Or Something) Else

It’s normal to think about other people or goals from time to time. But in a healthy relationship, those alternative paths don’t hold a candle to the current path.

However, if you’re in a more dysfunctional relationship, you might find yourself fantasizing nonstop. For example, you suddenly become fascinated by the nondescript new coworker in your department. Or, you feel preoccupied with the notion of packing your bags and moving to a foreign country. 

If this is the case, it’s likely because you feel trapped and unsatisfied. Your subconscious is picking up on your stagnation. You know there is something better out there, even if the idea of leaving your current relationship behind scares you.

#12 Your Loved Ones Express Concern

What do your friends and family have to say about your relationship? If they keep telling you that you deserve better- or if they make no interest to get to know your partner- those are red flags.

It’s true that not everyone will support your relationship. But if people are actively expressing their concern, it might be worth paying attention to their reasoning. Your loved ones should have your best interest at heart. So, if they aren’t into him, it’s worth finding out why. 

Reading Suggestion: 18 Subtle Signs He Doesn’t Want To Lose You

#13 He Doesn’t Walk the Walk

Sometimes, this pattern is even more frustrating than someone who avoids the topic of commitment altogether. A man who “talks the talk” will talk eagerly about the future. 

For instance, he might tell you how he can’t wait to be married or have children He may even be more elaborate and talk about specific details like the kind of ring he wants to get you or favorite baby names. 

But the talking never progresses. Even though he loves the idea of you two together in the future, he isn’t mature or responsible enough to make a real plan to ensure these goals happen. 

It’s true that some men simply aren’t ready. That’s fair. Maybe the timing isn’t right, they don’t have the money, or they’re going through a particularly difficult transition. But if they care about the relationship, they will make every possible effort to commit to you as soon as possible.

#14 There Are Lots of Double Standards 

Irresponsible, disrespectful men hold women to numerous double standards. At times, you may not even recognize these hypocrisies, especially if you’ve been gaslit to believe they’re normal. 

For example, maybe he doesn’t want to make things “official” in the relationship, but he also assumes that you won’t date other people.

Or, perhaps, he says he isn’t ready to have children, but he refuses to wear a condom because he claims it’s too uncomfortable. Maybe he blows through every paycheck (instead of contributing it to a joint savings account) but then criticizes you for being frivolous when you go shopping one day.

These types of guys are only looking after themselves. They very much want to make sure the relationship meets their needs. They don’t care if you generate the same satisfaction. They only care that you stick around to satisfy them.

#15 Things Consistently Feel One-Sided 

Relationships should have a sense of equality to them. So, if you feel like you’re the one putting in the majority of the effort, the gravity of that mismatch will eventually take its toll on you.

Think about what he’s bringing to the relationship. What special attributes does he have? Now compare those to any of the potential red flags. How do the two columns compare?

Of course, relationships entail work. But they don’t entail one person doing all of the work. That isn’t fair to you. 

#16 You Just Want Out

Even if you can’t pinpoint a specific reason, wanting to end your relationship is enough of a reason to do it! Don’t feel like you need to have this elaborate rationale. If your intuition is telling you something, it’s worth paying attention!

Sometimes, it’s possible to reach a point of compromise. But if you keep putting in the effort, and you aren’t seeing any decent results, you have the right to call it off.

Reading Suggestion: Do Married Men Miss Their Mistress?

Will Walking Away Make Him Commit?

Will Walking Away Make Him Commit?

Walking away when he won’t commit to marriage or other important goals can feel scary. Part of you might hope that he’s only making excuses about the future. Another part of you may long for the chase. After all, if he realizes what he’s about to lose, will it convince him that he’s making a mistake?

So, will reverse psychology work? The answer is yes, maybe, and no. In other words, it entirely depends on your relationship, and you might know what will happen until you walk away for good.

Let’s explore more in detail below. 

What Happens When You Walk Away?

What Happens When You Walk Away?

You finally decide to end things and walk away. You’re done playing games and waiting for him to figure things out. You want a serious relationship and not some flaky deal with a guy who has commitment issues. So, what happens now? Here are some possibilities.

You Feel Regretful 

Regret, sadness, and fear are all common reactions after a breakup. This applies even when you initiate the split. 

And so, you should brace yourself for this possibility (even if you already feel checked out emotionally). There is a grief process associated with such loss, and it’s okay to feel those feelings. Try not to judge yourself for having them.

You Move On

At first, this outcome might seem unlikely. This is especially true if you had genuine feelings for the guy and truly envisioned your shared future together. In the initial stages of the breakup, you may seriously doubt that you can love someone else again.

But sometimes, walking away releases an intense form of freedom. You may realize that the single life may not be as daunting as you feared. Dating might be more fun than you anticipated. And, yes, you may even meet someone else who can commit without all the silly games or empty promises. 

When you truly move on, it doesn’t really matter how he reacts. At this point, you have realized that you want something new for yourself. And once you’re there, you won’t want to look back into the past. 

He Gets Angry

He may become extremely offended if you move on. Anger can look like him blaming you for wanting to move too fast in the relationship. It can also look like him attacking you for giving up on things too quickly.

Anger is a mask for being hurt. If he’s feeling raw and vulnerable, anger acts as a protective shield to hide those fragile feelings. 

He Starts Second Guessing What He Wants

Unfortunately, many people take even good relationships for granted. They aren’t aware of how lucky or happy they are until it’s gone.

So, when you walk away from a man who won’t commit, he just might realize how good he had it. He may feel like a complete idiot for letting you go!

Of course, that doesn’t mean he acts on his feelings. But it can mean that he starts analyzing if he made the right move.

Reading Suggestion: Don’t Text Him and He Will Text You

He Keeps Reminiscing About Your Past

How do you know he hasn’t moved on? He’ll keep dropping hints about the good times you two shared. He’ll make it a point to wistfully talk about all those special dates or inside jokes.

This response likely means that he regrets how he acted in the relationship. If he keeps sharing these moments with you, he’s hoping that you’re on the same page.

Regret can be an incentive for change. Many people do grow when they realize that they’ve hurt people. But don’t assume that means change will happen. Having thoughts about wanting to be better isn’t the same as actually doing the work to be better. 

In order for the relationship to work, he needs to show a level of dedication and willingness. If you don’t want to be heartbroken, it isn’t enough to just tell you that he wants another chance. 

He Apologizes 

If he wants you back, he will apologize for his wrongdoing. However, you should be cautious when listening to his apologies. Narcissistic or manipulative guys will often say what they know you want to hear just to get what they want. 

A genuine apology means:

  • Apologizing without having expectations 
  • Taking full accountability for his actions
  • Validating your emotions or experiences
  • Expressing how he intends to do better in the future 

He Makes a Promise for Commitment 

At first, this might seem like the best outcome. After all, commitment is what you wanted, right?

But you also need to be careful with this response. Some guys will make empty promises just to get you back into the relationship. Then, even if they do have the intention of following through, they’ll often return to their usual tactics once they know you won’t leave.

If he hasn’t worked on himself, he probably won’t make any real changes. In addition, genuine commitments should never feel forced or only made under the threat of a dramatic exit. 

Final Thoughts 

It’s hard when you feel stuck with someone you really love. But knowing what to do and what to say when he won’t commit should leave you feeling empowered in your relationship. 

You are allowed to have needs and preferences for what you want! You are also entitled to be with someone who shares the same visions as you. When you find yourself in that kind of relationship, the commitment often feels effortless. 

Reading Suggestion: Why Do Guys Hook Up With The Same Girl Multiple Times?

Photo of author

Alexander Burgemeester

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. Want to know more?

Leave a Comment