Dear Wendy: “How Long Do I Have To Wait For A Commitment?”

Recently I met a guy that I truly enjoy being with. We have been sort of dating for a month. We are very different from each other, but we connected really well from the first time we started talking. I have never really “dated” in the conventional sense before. Usually, it takes two to three dates before me and the guy are already sort of a “couple.” This guy doesn’t want to commit to me yet though. He feels that one month is too short of a time. I really like him so I agreed to it, but deep inside it is eating me up. I mean, I know he isn’t dating anyone else because he works like crazy and we talk on the phone every night. We have already had sex and the more I have sex with him the more I fall head over heels. I took a bit of time off from him because I felt like I was falling for him and the more I did the more I wanted a commitment. This word pushes him to the wall and it scares him away. So I figured, if I don’t see him for a week, then he will miss me and want me more, or I will get over him and that way won’t scare him off. It seems as if he is still the same. No drastic change with him. It seems like he isn’t going crazy for not seeing me. On the other hand, he calls me every night. It confuses me because he keeps on calling me and talking to me as if he needs to call me, but does not want to commit to me. I miss him so much. What am I supposed to do? I do not know how the dating scene works. How long do people casually date before they can start thinking of being a couple? Should I continue dating him casually and wait for him to make the move (if ever), and if so, how long should I wait until I understand it is pointless to continue? — In A Hurry

First of all, you have to cool it with the games. This whole “I’m not going to see him for a week and then he’s going to miss me and want me more” business is childish and you know it. Keep playing that way and it’s going to backfire, and that’s not what you want. You really like this guy, and he likes you. I mean, obviously he likes you — he calls you all the time; he spends his limited free time with you. And you have it in your head that “he does not want to commit” to you. That’s not true. He never said that. What he said was he wasn’t ready yet, which is perfectly reasonable and understandable after dating for only a month.

For the record, it’s reasonable if two people want to commit after two weeks of dating. Or wait six months! Or even a year! There isn’t some hard-and-fast timeline that applies to every single couple about when a commitment should be made. Some people just know and they’re ready right away. Other people may have very strong feelings but are more cautious. Maybe your guy’s been burned before and he wants to take things slowly before he invests himself 100 percent. I wouldn’t be offended by that at all if I were you. If anything, it shows he takes commitment seriously. And he respects you enough to not just tell you what you want to hear. Now, if he were saying he wasn’t ready for a commitment and you only heard from him once every week or so, I might be a little more concerned and see that as someone who really has no interest in being in a serious relationship. But that’s not the case here. For all intents and purposes, your guy is behaving like a boyfriend. He’s calling you every night, he’s having sex with you, and he isn’t freaking out when you play your little dating games. He sounds like a keeper, and I think you’d regret it if you let a little thing like how you’re labeling yourselves get in the way of what sounds like a potentially promising relationship.

You don’t need to define yourselves as “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” to continue getting to know one another and enjoying each other’s company. The word “commitment” itself doesn’t suddenly make a couple immune to issues. It’s not a safety net that will keep you from getting your heart broken. It only means that two people have reached a significant point in their relationship where they’ve decided that when issues come up — because they always do — they’re going to work through them together as a team. Just because your guy isn’t quite there yet, doesn’t mean he isn’t well on his way. Back off with the dating games, refrain from pressuring him, enjoy his companionship, and in another month or two check in with him again and see where he is in terms of committing. If he’s still resisting it at the point, you may need to have a discussion about whether he isn’t interested in committing to you at all, or if he simply isn’t ready yet. My guess is by then you’ll already know what his intentions are.

*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at [email protected]