Are You Really Prepared for a Relationship?

Last week we were talking about a 36 year old man who had never had a relationship that lasted more than 6 months. A few women said that that was a major red flag. Which is understandable But let’s do a little critical thinking. What if he had had a relationship that lasted 3 years, but the last 2 were tumultuous? What if he cheated? What if they stopped having sex a year in? What if that relationship, overall, was unhealthy? Do those 3 years still count as a plus for him?

It’s funny thing things we choose to take at face value because they align with our inner narrative.

“Well, if they’re divorced, at least that means they can commit.”

And my personal favorite…

“Why would you ask a SINGLE WOMAN for advice?”

While reading Private Man’s latest post, I came across an interesting comment.

If you want to seek advice from a woman, talk to a happily married woman. There’s a huge difference in how they respond, versus the single bitter woman. – Anonymous

Another commenter responded with:

“If you want to seek advice from a woman, talk to a happily married woman who has been married for many years. There’s a huge difference in how they respond, versus the single bitter woman.” There. Fixed that for you. A woman who can remain happy in her marriage once the big day is over and reality has set in probably is a valuable resource. Women place way to much emphasis on marriage and being married. The credit they give women just for being married is undue. - Sheldon

Allow me to now amend Sheldon’s statement:

The credit they give women just for being in a relationship or married is undue.

There. Fixed that for ya, Shel.

It’s true. Women, for the most part, place a heavy emphasis solely on the fact that a man can commit or that a woman can get a man to commit. The quality of those relationships doesn’t really matter. As long as they’ve “done it” then those people hold a higher place on the relationship food chain and have more credibility. Watch how women react to the men in the comments or in posts that appear to be “serial daters” or “not looking for commitment.” Some women love to throw that in their faces in an attempt discredit them. (Fun fact: Upon doing a little research, those guys come from families where their parents are still together. Something else people dismiss that they shouldn’t.)

There are other attributes that could imply that someone has the ability to both commit and develop a healthy relationship that have nothing to do with relationship history. Starting with:

1. Owning a Pet- Taking care of an animal is a big commitment. Not only that but it takes nurturing and patience. I know people who plan dates around being able to get home and walk their dog. They aren’t going to let their pet hold it in until 10 or 11pm when they get home. You also don’t get a dog or cat, take them home and they magically behave. There’s training involved. Which takes patience and a time investment.

2. Owning a Home - It’s rare that someone invests 25K or so in a home and then bail a year or two later. They worked hard to save up some or all of that money. By buying a home, they are agreeing to take on all the responsibilities involved. They don’t have the luxury of ringing up the super to unclog their drain.

3. Holding long time friendships/Being at a job for several years – Friendships take work. It’s easy to let them slip to the wayside. They take maintenance. Friendships, like romantic relationships, have peaks and valleys. Friends don’t take advantage of each other (often). Friends apologize even if they know they’re wrong. Friends are supportive. It’s almost impossible to avoid conflict or disagreements in a years/decades long friendship or job position. Learning how to navigate these arguments effectively takes skill.

All of these things require a willingness to commit, effective communication, conflict management and compromise.

Other things to consider when trying to determine someone’s ability to commit or ability to have  a relationship:

1. Does this person support themselves (for the most part?) - Someone who is responsible for paying their own bills/debt and other day to day needs usually does so through hard work and discipline.  Getting help from parents every now and then is one thing. Being mostly supported by your parents is another. Some who is financially aided by parents typically miss out on some major life skills. Namely financial management and general responsibility.

2. Are they surrounded by sycophants? – When you’re always being told what you want to hear, you never learn how to disagree. Nor do you learn how to deal with criticism.

3. Are they emotionally mature? – A lot of people have an overly idealized or romanticized view of relationships. When reality doesn’t match up to their fantasy, they’re more likely to quit the relationship.  This is one of if not the biggest hurdle that many single women encounter. Especially women who have been single for a very long time. They’ve been alone for so long and are likely surrounded by women like them that their ideas about relationships never mature. They’re expectations and perspectives are almost childlike and definitely one-sided. They are baffled by the simplest of things.

There are a lot of people out there who commit pretty effortlessly. I’ve spoken about the guy I know who, by age 30, has already lived with 3 different women. Take that at face value and he might have real relationship potential. Dig a little deeper and you learn that he cheated on two of them. Multiple times. For years.

Still want him to be your boyfriend?

One’s experience with commitment has little to do with one’s understanding of commitment. And like anything, a true understanding of something involves knowledge of all aspects of the experience. Not just the act itself.


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59 Responses to “Are You Really Prepared for a Relationship?”

  1. dimplz Says:

    While I think actions speak loudly, one has to realize that actions can be empty. A man can move in with a woman and have no intentions of marrying her. It always surprises me how many women arbitrary things like men buying them things and talking about the future means something will come about. Even if they take no interest in the woman’s family or offer help when the woman is sick. It also surprises me how much women expect from men when they aren’t giving the same in return. Like, how they will expect the guy to follow them around and attend every event they are invited to, and then cavalierly suggest the man get rid of his immature friends because they are getting in the way of them spending quality time together.

    I see this almost every day. Women want men to pay, take care of the house, do their share and then the women turn around and don’t know how to cook or bitch about cleaning and doing THEIR share. Then on top of all that, they need “me” time. They spend their time complaining about it when they could just be doing it.

    • Kay Says:

      I could not agree with this more. Some women seem to have a list of expectations for potential dates, but they themselves cannot fulfill half of them. Drive this car, make this much money, buy me this, own his own home and hold post graduate degree. But they cannot cook, keep a job, are dependent and simply lazy. Women, learn how to cook, clean up, do the laundry, and take care of yourself; learn how to be domestic; if not for him then for yourself.

      • Ken Says:

        So true! After my divorce I continued to drive my 25 year old beater for no other reason than it was cheaper than driving my new pickup truck. It came to be known as “the filter car”. Dates would be fine until they caught sight of it on the 3rd date, A few stayed, one who was a good observer told me she was puzzled by the car: Her observations: I was & still am well dressed in upscale clothing, didn’t mind paying for a nice date, the car had an air conditioner that worked-she knew that cost me, & I had satellite radio in the car. I wish them luck!

        • dimplz Says:

          I wouldn’t care about that as long as it didn’t smell. I think if you’re caring for it, as you clearly are, it shows that you don’t throw things away just because they are outdated. I think that’s a great quality to look for in another person.

      • DC Phil Says:

        And, just curious, where’s the incentive for them to do that?

    • DC Phil Says:

      It’s called entitlement, plain and simple. Something that has snowballed in the past 30 years or so. Very bad among some women because of Cosmo, Oprah, women-centric schools and industries, unfair divorce laws, etc. In the absence of checks and balances, the entitlement mentality runs amok.

  2. myself Says:

    I know I’m not supposed comment to say how much I like a post, but really, right now, due to an argument I had with a friend yesterday, this hits home and couldn’t come at a better time to prove my point that it can sometimes be smoke & mirrors and that maybe I’m not completely wrong in the things *I* consider to be important in a man.

  3. Saywhat! Says:

    Yes, but the reality is when you meet someone you don’t really know all the little facets of their past experiences. Good bad or indifferent. We learn these things over time and personally I feel people are too understanding and accepting of everything about a persons past in hopes things will work out. Not to say we shouldn’t be to some extent but sometimes we tend to ignore obvious signs of conflict in personalities. It depends on ones own persepective which is what will attract them to the wrong or right person but even then sometimes we just don’t know what we are going to get. For instance, you use the word, ‘childlike’ about the women who surround themselves with other women just like them and can’t grow up. etc. but to some men, they view these women as, cute , fun, adventurous, blah blah.. and it works for a while until they begin to see something is a little off. Then, either try and make it work and settle miserable or have it end leaving them questioning themselves and confused about relationships in general. I see this a lot. More often with men because they aren’t the types to analyze shit to death as far as where they went wrong WITH THEMSELVES. They often focus more of where they went wrong in the relationship with the wrong person they were with in the first place. This goes for women too.

    Owning a pet or home doesn’t always prove maturity either. Like you said, those things too can also be part of the ideal world they would want for themselves but it doesn’t mean they can commit nor are ready to have someone else share in their world.

    • DC Phil Says:

      Eh, I wouldn’t necessarily say that men are off the hook when it comes to overanalyzing what went wrong with themselves.

      I’ve often said that men can be simple and complex at the same time (like anybody, regardless of gender). Men like facts and solutions to problems. If a date with Woman A went well, the guy isn’t likely to analyze what went well and then proceed to the second, third, etc. date in the hopes that the good times will last. Maybe all the way into a LTR or a marriage. But, if a date with Woman B went terrible, then the guy is wondering why. Didn’t she like how I looked? Did she think I was cheap? Was it something I said? Something I didn’t say? Etc. If he knew what the problem was, and what the solution was, apply the solution to fix the problem so that it doesn’t happen again. Trouble is, why Woman B didn’t work out might have nothing at all to do with him. He’ll never find this out, nor will he know exactly what he did or didn’t do right on the date. No one will tell him except friends who weren’t there and who didn’t read the situation clearly. They bring their own interpretation to things.

      Now, if the guy has a lot of experience in this area, a strong sense of self, and a thick skin, he’ll be able to function better. He can just let the bad roll off him like water off a duck’s back.

  4. Saj Says:

    Oh boy.

    Holding a job for 5 years – check
    Owning pets – Check
    Owning a house – Check

    Comparing that to a long term relationship just…is apples and oranges. Going to celebrate my 4 year wedding anniversary next week and we’ve been through some rough times and was able to hold things together. A daughter who we weren’t sure would even make it the first month she was born and who will never walk and has constant Dr Appointments. My own crappy health issues and does my job, my house and my pets stay on my side and help me get through this? Do I have practice difficult conversations and maintain intimacy and vulnerability with these things? Yes friends can help but friends also have their own lives and burdens and sometimes you don’t want to overwhelm them with what is going on in your life.

    I think having prior long term relationship experience can be valuable. It helps people grow up. I learned how to compromise and work out problems in my first long term relationship and also figure out what I wanted and didn’t want in a long term partner. His ex gf also had a lot of health and substance abuse issues and he was there for her and tried his longest to be there for her until he got sober and she was unable and the relationship finally ended. By the time we got together we had a head start in dealing with difficult situations and weren’t stumbling and figure it out together. We knew how to commit and still value it to this day.

    Now I won’t say that a married person’s advice is better then a single persons advice because this blog is about dating and the single people are out there right now dealing with the current climate where I can only watch and analyze from the sidelines. But I think relationship experience with another person (not a house, friends, pets, and family) is just a different ball park of coping skills your dealing with.

    • dimplz Says:

      You’re kind of proving her point. You’ve been married four years, and holding it up as some sign that your relationship is unbreakable because you value commitment. Why you may feel that way in your heart, your relationship hasn’t really stood the test of time. You have a myriad of health issues, your daughter has a myriad of health issues, and your relationship is far from healthy if the parties involved aren’t even healthy. Yet, every time she writes something about how to look for these signs, you hold your relationship up as some kind of accomplishment. You haven’t even hit your 30’s yet, have you? You have many more milestones to go, and I just think it’s a little premature for you to be claiming victory. It just shows how young you are – victory is never achieved in a relationship. It’s just a growth process. I admire your claim that you are committed, but that will only show over the years, maybe after a decade or two, like when you are old and tired and sick. Not now, while you still have youth on your side.

      • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

        Also? What was your relationship history before you got married? I mean, you’re only what, 27? 28? And you’ve been married 4 years, so that means you got married around 23 or 24. So you met him at 22 or 23. On top of that, you met your husband online and maintained a mostly long distance relationship with him before even meeting him. Before that, based on what you’ve shared, you dated a couple douchebags your brother brought home and a few guys you met online. And even those relationships, based on what you’ve shared, never seemed to produce anything remotely substantive or last long at all.

        What adult, mature, healthy relationship experience have you even had? You’re also completely negating the obligation/fear factor that leads many men to stay in relationships far beyond their natural expiration point.

        4 years is NOTHING. Especially when there is so much illness involved.

        Also, I’ve never heard you mention any female friends or friends in general. Do you have any long term friendships with people that did not or do not exist online? What relationship experience do you have other than this marriage?

        • Skiz Says:

          I’ll answer on Saj’s behalf since she doesn’t check back too often to answer questions. She’s 30, married for 4 years to a really nice guy. Before him she was in a relationship for 5-6 years with a guy who didn’t want to marry that she started when she was 19. She only had a online relationship with her husband for a few months before he came out and then they moved in together fairly quickly. Got married, bought a house, had a daughter in the timespan of about a year.

          Since we are sisters and share the same douchebag brother there has been no guys ever that she dated that he was friends with. She dated for a period of time between these relationships.

          I wouldn’t hold up her life as an example of being perfect but her advice is great. I’ve been married almost 11 years so I agree that I would have good advice for battling ups and downs and tough situations (my son has the same condition as her daugther plus a another son with cleft lip/pallette) and getting married at 19 to a 21 yr old equals challenging times for a few years. However I have little dating experience so I don’t comment much here.

          I totally agree that my job, house and pets are nothing in comparison to my family life. Sorry Saj for clearing this up if I said too much but the misconceptions were too crazy.

          • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

            Well, then what *are* we allowed to infer?

            By your timeline, Saj met her husband, dated him, got engaged, got married and had a child in the span of two years. Is that correct? And so, because her marriage has lasted all of 4 years, that some how gives her clout, despite the fact that she pretty often depicts him here as whiny and clingy and regularly shares her various issues and problems? We’re not allowed to question her? We’re not aloud to say, “Hmmmmm…I don’t think everything is as it seems there.”

            And please. She checks this blog quite regularly. She needs to learn to defend herself instead of running to her sister or her husband to validate her opinions.

            • Saj Says:

              I didn’t even know about your responses and her response until she told me on MSN just now. Her description of my life was correct.

              Dated lots at 18-19, met boy friend, broke up after 2 years. Dated lots again, got back together for 3 more years. Broke up at 24. Dated a bit then. Met husband while still with boyfriend but were only friends at the time. He visited for a week, he went home and spent the next 7 months working 2 jobs to afford to move out here thus we were long distance at the time. Moved in. Lived together for a year before we got married when I was I think 26-27. Pregnant with daughter shortly after wedding. Daughter is 3 and married 4 years.

              Was with first boyfriend 5 years and husband 5 years so that would give me 10 years of long term relationship experience with some fun online and non online dating experiences in between. Is that enough experience for you?

              Husband has his flaws but I have MUCH more flaws then he does. He’s a rock star. He’s my rock. Emotionally supports me. Makes me coffee every morning, cooks my dinner. Tells me he loves me 20-30 times a day and I find him to be beautiful (looks like Adam Monroe from Heros with Daniel Craigs eyes and the best set of buns a man could ask for) and our physical chemistry is amazing. You know what we look like and yes I check the blog regular but you can see that I didn’t check the blog from the time I posted and before my sister posted on her own behalf.

              • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                He’s a rock star. He’s my rock. Emotionally supports me. Makes me coffee every morning, cooks my dinner. Tells me he loves me 20-30 times a day and I find him to be beautiful (looks like Adam Monroe from Heros with Daniel Craigs eyes and the best set of buns a man could ask for)

                And in return you emasculate him on a blog. A blog that he apparently knows about. Wonder how he’d feel if he read some of the stuff you’ve said about how he follows you around and begs for sex?

                Listen to why you think he’s so super awesome. Because of his looks and because he dotes on you and because the physical chemistry is amazing. Yes, you certainly have a strong grasp of what’s important.

                • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                  Was with first boyfriend 5 years and husband 5 years so that would give me 10 years of long term relationship experience with some fun online and non online dating experiences in between. Is that enough experience for you?

                  I asked:

                  What adult, mature, healthy relationship experience have you even had?

                  I’m still waiting for the adult, mature healthy examples. Not some relationship you had as a teenager. You don’t have to answer my question. I’m just trying to point out that you are hardly a poster child for marriage or mature relationships, so you really need to stop trotting out Mr. Buns of Steel who makes great coffee as evidence you do.

                  • Saj Says:

                    Rofl sorry I’m not as old as you would like me to be. I can’t really do anything about that. But for being 30 years old I think I’ve had quite a lot of long term relationship and dating experience and feel I have a right to my opinion just as much as the anti relationship guys, or the never been in a long term relationship at 40 girls or the girls dating men who still live with their parents. We all have very varied experiences that makes our advice and comments complex.

                    I could ONLY talk in glowing terms then be accused of bragging. I can make snarky comments and now my relationship is a disaster.

                    No matter what I say you’ll have a negative counter point. You rushed, you have intimacy problems, you settled ect ect. Which is why I made statements that would cut off those counter points off at the knees. But when someone really wants to argue and shut you down they can just go on forever (alah Paula) and I can choose to ignore and be attacked for not fighting my battles or I could respond to your questions and be attacked for needing to defend myself too much.

                    Honestly I can’t win here but this is just a blog and I won’t take it too seriously.

                    I’m sorry if the commenters on private man’s blog bothered you by nullifying the advice of a single woman. I disagree with them and think single people do have good advice.

          • dimplz Says:

            I’m not usually one to bring up people’s dirt, but since she talks about her life so freely, she mentioned the other day having a child at 26. Now, you’re saying she’s 30 and has been married four years. That says to me that she’s been married the same amount of time she’s had a baby. Like almost exactly. Did she get married after finding out she was pregnant, and if so, what were her reasons for determining in such a short period of time that her husband would be capable of commitment? Because if I am to do the rest of the math, I’d say she had maybe a couple of months between LTR#1, her husband, and the guys who bought her free jeans and trips to Maui? That’s quite a rebound. But, it’s ridiculous to see someone carrying on long-term friendships as a marker for the fact that they would be good at commitment?

            • Saj Says:

              yah inception of my daughter happened the week of my wedding (cough). So 26 at marriage and 27 when she was born.

              • Saj Says:

                This is bizarre. Time lines don’t really matter when talking about the value of long term relationship experience in helping the success of future experiences. But more points to clarify I guess (as if anybody but you two actually care)

                Jeans guy was 18, New York Trip guy was 24 Maui guy = Husband 24-25 years old.

                Yes my husband was a rebound. But I had my preparing to breakup with my boyfriend who had been waffling on commitment for a year at that point (thus my insight about the boyfriend who was planning on breaking up with his girlfriend after the holidays post) you emotionally disconnect. I was nervous about it being a rebound but thought to myself. If i wasn’t heart broken would I still want to date this guy and is this just out of loneliness. My answer was Hell yah I would so I went for it and it worked out. Not all rebounds turn out horrible and this rebound ended up being an upgrade by far.

                • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                  Of course you don’t understand why timelines matter, because the time line here doesn’t support your argument. If anything, it weakens it.

                  Basically, you rushed in to marriage. Maybe because you were pregnant/maybe not. (Not sure what you were implying with that “cough” thing.) A marriage that appears to have a myriad of issues due to your self-admitted addictions/illnesses etc and, so far, it hasn’t led to a divorce. But it’s totally stable and healthy and solid. Even though you spend copious amount of time here and occasionally make snarky comments about your husband.

                  So we’re all supposed to bow down to you and listen to you as some wise sage strictly because a marriage you rushed in to hasn’t ended after all of 4 years.

                  And you can toss of judgment after judgment about us. But we’re not allowed to do the same because we’re single.

                  • Saj Says:

                    When have I said you are supposed to bow down to my advice? My first post said that my advice isn’t any better then someone who is single due to them being out in the trenches.

                    I love my husband, currently my relationship is stable. Being married is great. I would recommended it to anyone who finds someone they love and can build a great life together.

                    This is why I avoid these arguments because they go around in circles and avoid the main point and go off topic.

                    My opinion = long term relationships can help you with future ones due to the thing’s you have learned.

                    What I wrote in my initial post.

                    Now I won’t say that a married person’s advice is better then a single persons advice because this blog is about dating and the single people are out there right now dealing with the current climate where I can only watch and analyze from the sidelines.

                    (point out the bow down part)

                  • Skiz Says:

                    I convinced her to take a pregnancy test after she described some symptoms a few weeks after the wedding. So she didn’t know until then. The wedding was 6 months in planning and a destination wedding so it wasn’t shotgun.

                    When you are in a LTR there are good times and bad times. The key is to keep staying in love through the bad times. If someone has problems or issues it doesn’t mean that the relationship isn’t a good one. If they pull out of the bad times intact then the relationship gets stronger. If you can through this cycle several times and stay in love and committed then you have a good relationship.

                    If you never have any problems means that someone is keeping resentment inside and not rocking the boat which will blow up eventually.

        • Saj Says:

          No the douchebags my brother brought home tended to be serial date rapists that made international news. Not romantic prospects (vomit)

      • DC Phil Says:

        I always have to wonder about why unhealthy people (even if they’re recovered) choose to be in a relationship with each other. Birds of a feather? Do former addicts attract each other because they have a kind of “kinship” and “understanding” that the former addict and someone who’s sober wouldn’t have?

        • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

          Like I said yesterday, there’s really no need to reply to every comment in an attempt to redirect the conversation to you. Seriously. We just got rid of a few people who did that. Stop it. You are over exposed in these threads. You need to cut back on your commenting or I;m just going to moderate you and choose which comments get approved.

  5. UGH! Says:

    Hmm, owning a pet shows commitment? It does to the pet. While I admire a dog owner who has taken the time to properly train their dog recent events has caused me to wonder if what you say is true.

    I have wondered is the dog a substitute for a long term committed relationship with a woman I am dating. This woman who has always had a dog, along with a history of relationships that were for the most part about a year, (one canceled wedding in her late 20’s she is now 49), (he met someone & married a year or 2 later)). There is more than one guy in her past who is now a “friend” & friend’s WIFE has asked that friend/her husband, curtail the friendship in the interest of their marriage. I am not sure if this woman is testing me, (which “…will result in a never ending string of test”…. I know, has met someone else & is not sure what the next move is, or she is reevaluating the relationship at the 3 month point. I like her very much but my patients does have its limits. Thoughts on the dog people?

    • Selena Says:

      The woman you are dating told you a married woman wishes she would curtail her friendship with her husband? What was her response?

      I’d be more interested/apprehensive about that if I were you. Don’t see where the dog fits in.

      • dimplz Says:

        The dog is a red herring.

      • UGH! Says:

        She had a long term dating relationship with I think 2 different guys. The relationship ended, they remained friends/kept it cordial. The guy(‘s) later met someone & married. The wife was not accepting of this friendship. Actually I don’t blame them & the guys were stupid for not knowing this without being told.

    • DC Phil Says:

      You might be right. There’s some truth to the stereotype of the crazy cat lady, which is more common than the crazy dog lady. That is, she has a pet, but no man.

      I hold all women over 30 suspect who have more than one pet. One reason is because the pet fulfills her nuturing need, but expects very little in return except being fed, petted, brushed, housed, and walked. It’s a one-sided relationship.

      • Joey Giraud Says:

        Ya know Phil, it’s one thing to touch a nerve, but you really stepped in it with that one.

        Atta boy!

  6. D Says:

    Most days I’d take my dog over a woman (or a child). She is loyal, affectionate, makes me smile about a dozen times per day, and never makes me frown. She also will never become a teenager.

  7. icara Says:

    I don’t think the dog is a good proxy test for a relationship, but it IMO it is an excellent proxy test for the responsibility of children.

  8. JS Says:

    Sorry…. but having a pet, a house, a job, long-term friendships, and financial independence…ONLY shows that one is capable of committing to: an animal, house/mortgage, an employer, friends and their bank account. None of which means they will be a good boyfriend/husband or even be willing to take on that role at all.

    Think about it: we’ve all known a ton of guys who fit this profile: mid-30s, athletic (has a dog that he goes running with), successful man, driven at his job (so he doesn’t job-hop) and makes good money (doesn’t need parental help) and invests that into the purchase of an apt/coop/condo/house, has the same friends that he met in high school and his college fraternity…has a different girl every night from when he is 25 until…as long as he still looks hot. He has had little to no relationships and has to desire to change that. But he hits every point on your list (as for the sycophants and emotional maturity, no one can know that until they get to know them but on paper he hits all your points)

    We’ve all known this guy, probably at least 100 of them. And in NYC they are a dime a dozen. I’d almost venture to say that they are more the norm than not (although owning is tough but the same rental apt for 10 yrs is as good as owning in NYC as far as showing commitment…not bailing every time they raise the rent).

    I am not saying that the guy who commits is a great guy or even a good guy. He could have numerous multi-year relationships under his belt but still be a shitbag and an awful, cheating, abusive boyfriend. Or maybe he’s just a lame, mediocre, ambivalent guy who tends to take his women for granted. Or maybe he’s actually a great boyfriend.

    However, if all we are judging is one’s ability to commit (not their likelihood of being a good partner), then Mr. Shitbag does qualify as being more likely to commit. Although, any sane woman should run from him away as fast as she can.

    The first guy (with the dog, house, resume, bank account, friends for life) gives no evidence that he can commit to a woman romantically. Now, probably WHEN/IF he actually does commit, he does have some good traits that he can bring to the relationship but again, that is presuming that he’d even consider being in a relationship. But he could also be a great dog/home owner and career man who likes to stick it in anything in a skirt.

    If we are JUST evaluating likelihood to commit…..sorry, all the dogs and houses in the world doesn’t mean he wants to give up the non-stop snatch parade and commit to just one woman.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      Think about it: we’ve all known a ton of guys who fit this profile: mid-30s, athletic (has a dog that he goes running with), successful man, driven at his job (so he doesn’t job-hop) and makes good money (doesn’t need parental help) and invests that into the purchase of an apt/coop/condo/house, has the same friends that he met in high school and his college fraternity…has a different girl every night from when he is 25 until…as long as he still looks hot.

      And many of us know men who fit all the categories who date women exclusively for 3, 6, 8, 9 months but who don’t settle down with them because they knew they weren’t women they could see themselves with long term. And those men are deemed commitmentphobes. Only they’re not.. They just didn’t find any of those women worth the sacrifice. Their caution and capriciousness is actually held against them rather than seen as a plus. Maybe those men you speak of want commitment but just haven’t found someone healthy enough or that weren’t after their money or a ring. Or they just didn’t want you. That doesn’t make then shitbags. Some of them, I’m sure, enjoy their non-commital status. But I’d bet just as many want to commit and just refuse to settle. Women say that allll the time and they are applauded for it.

      Although, any sane woman should run from him away as fast as she can.

      And yet, most of those women don’t. Because the women who pursue men like you’ve describe base his value on quantity, not quality. They’re the women who jump at the chance to commit and end up with the cheaters, crash and burners and emotionally bankrupt. In short, they’re the women who scoffed at the 36 year old guy whose longest relationship was 6 months, but thought nothing of the men who commit after a week.

      • JS Says:

        Re-read my post….I didnt say the men who dont commit are shitbags. I said:

        “I am not saying that the guy WHO COMMITS is a great guy or even a good guy. He could have numerous multi-year relationships under his belt but still be a SHITBAG and an awful, cheating, abusive boyfriend. Or maybe he’s just a lame, mediocre, ambivalent guy who tends to take his women for granted. Or maybe he’s actually a great boyfriend.”

        My point is while it is true that just b/c someone commits doesnt mean they are great boyfriends. The men who dont commit….dont commit.

        And what is wrong with a man going out with a woman for 3-9 months or 2 yrs and realizing “hey we dont work for a life-long committment”??? Would it be better that be married the wrong girl? No of course not. And yes, the work-hard/play hard guy who never commits may be holding out for “the one” or hasnt found anyone worth committing to or is picky ….OR one should see their actions for what they are…indicative of their lack of desire/abililty to commit.

        It’s kind of like people who say I want to lose weight but continue to eat doughnuts and never workout….their actions scream “I dont want to lose weight”

        A guy who commits may not be a prize or maybe he is. But your list is irrelevant to determining if a man will commit. It is comparing apples to oranges (as another poster already said).

        Let’s see it in reverse…I’m a hiring manager…an applicant is 36 yrs old he has never held a job for longer than 6 months and some years he didnt have a job at all. But he has a wife and a dog so he must be a reliable employee. WHAT!?!?! Of course not. But yet we should apply the opposite logic to relationships.

        I am not saying that all men who commit are great and all men who dont are awful. I am just saying that just as a man with a record of committment is not to be taken at face value, I am not taking dog/house/job to be an indicator of a man’s ability to commit. Either presumption is lunacy.

        Lastly……….people are their actions.

        • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

          But your list is irrelevant to determining if a man will commit.

          That’s because it was a list things that indicate a man isn’t afraid of or adverse to commitment or not good at it. Obviously, if he does any of those things, he can commit to something. He also picks up skills that are pretty useful in relationships. As opposed to somebody who has a spotty resume, no real ties to anything, lives off their folks and a has limited social circle comprised of short term “friends.” The point of the post was to get women to base a man’s relationship potential on more than just relationship history and do some critical thinking.


          • DC Phil Says:

            In the past year, there are two things I’ve learned that now direct my dealing with women in the context of both STR and LTR:

            1. Women control access to sex, men control access to commitment. As women age and are desirous of commitment, men who appear to have less baggage than their peers become in high demand. And, that usually means men older than the women.

            2. Women are still taught to fantasize about commitment and marriage and spend a good portion of their energies during their 20s and 30s to find it. Trouble is, when they do find and get it, it’s all over. They want the COMMITMENT, not what comes after.

            It explains a lot, I have to say.

    • dimplz Says:

      A lot of these men eventually get married. They just might marry a woman who’s 10 years younger or they will marry later in life. They don’t make marriage a priority until they have fully committed to the idea. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, as long as they aren’t stringing someone along for years, who cares? Find the one who does make marriage a priority and forget about the rest.

      • JS Says:

        I dont see anything wrong with it either. Not everyone has to marry. It is not the be-all-end-all of life’s purpose.

        My point is that the list of dog, house, jobs, etc is NO indication of a man’s ability to commit.

        Just as a man’s ability to have a relationship and a dog is NO indication of a man’s ability to hold down a job if he never has (excepting of course teenagers and college students who obviously have little experience with all areas of life).

        • dimplz Says:

          Ok, but if a man desires to hold down a job, then I would imagine you would assess his ability to be responsible. The men you use in your example don’t seem to be too enthusiastic about getting married. In fact, they seem to be very happy being single. Just the same as someone who is happy to be temping and working freelance, they wouldn’t be interviewing for a permanent position, would they? That would be a contradiction of what they are capable of versus what they want. A man who doesn’t want marriage isn’t going to date a woman who says, “I’m looking to get married in the near future.” They will date a woman who’s not looking for marriage at the moment. They will be involved with a woman who’s like-minded.

          • JS Says:

            My point was that a man could hit every item on Moxie’s list (dog, job, friends, house, money, etc) and still not be a person who will ever committ to a relationship. Whereas a person who has committed to a relationship, does commit to relationships. I am not saying that women should want to be with someone who just has a long track record of relationships but is a disaster in all other aspects of their life. I’m just saying that: writers write, painters paint, and people who have committ to relationships, commit to relationships.

            • dimplz Says:

              The desire has to be there first. Then comes the ability. The signs one could look for are indicated in the post, but it’s not a science. That you and the other women are reading it that way is what’s puzzling.

              • JS Says:

                Yes, desire and ability are separate. One could have the ability but no desire and so what’s the point whereas someone else could have desire and limited ability (but can learn and acquire the ability). But you cannot teach/learn to desire something you dont want.

                It’s not a science; it’s barely a philosophy; The list makes no sense to me at all. I wouldnt read it as a science or a roadmap because I think the items on the list are a poor comparison to willingness to committ to a relationship.

                Personally, I have had about 3-4 relationships in my adult life and there was a LONG period of time between them. So, my comments are not coming from a “where are all the committment-minded men” mindset.

                My annoyance with today’s blog post is purely academic.

                It’s like when people say “I’ve babysat a lot so I konw what it’s like to have kids” NO YOU DONT. Having kids you are 100% responsible for 100% of the time is what it is like to have kids.

                …OR my other favorite: “I want to test marriage by living together” That is not testing marriage…that is testing co-habitation. You want to know what being married is like, get married and then jot down your thoughts/observations and then you’ll know what being married is like.

                What’s next… a man dressed up like a woman (in drag) for a day and walked around the city and BAM now he knows what it is like to be a woman. I dont think so.

                I cannot stand irrelevant comparisons that are simply a desparate grab to control an outcome… it’s this desparate idea that, “Oh, if he has all these items on my checklist then he must be able to commit to a relationship (even though he never has)”

                ….And guess what even if he has been in a bunch of long-term relationships doesnt mean he wants one with the woman using this list as her barometer. You want to know how to know if a man will commit to you….when he DOES. Then you’ll know.

                • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                  It’s like when people say “I’ve babysat a lot so I konw what it’s like to have kids” NO YOU DONT.

                  Well, they may not have a 100% idea of what it’s like, but they certainly have a better idea than people who’ve never taken care of a child. Which brings me back to my point. You can drill it down and disagree all you like. You’re discrediting the experience entirely simply because you don’t agree. Fine, don’t agree. But it’s not clear WHAT barometer you use, so I don’t understand why you have such a hard time processing the idea that it’s possible I make valid points.

  9. JS Says:

    I see it as two completely separate ways of viewing a person:

    1) How do I know if they will commit to me? Answer: when they actually commit to me, then I know.

    1a) What would make me suspect that they can commit to a relationship at all? Answer: If they have done so in the past.

    2) How do I know if they are going to be a positive in my life vs a liability/negative weight around my neck?

    Answer: Well, a lot of things on your list would be on my as well.

    I see those as ways to know that someone is a quality guy who may or may not ever commit to anyone.

    There are people who are broke, struggle with their career, have very few long-term friendships, dont own anything, live like a vagabond….but they are great at committing to relationships because they cant be alone, either emotionally or financially or both.

    And then there are people who have all the items on the list above (house/pet/job/friends/money) and they will never commit. Or if they do commit to a relationship, just because they are faithful to their dog and friends, but that doesnt mean they will be faithful in a relationship when it comes to fulfilling their needs and the desire to screw anything hot and female.

    If your post had focused on how to spot a quality mate, I would have had no issue with it. But as a litmus test / barometer for the likelihood to commit, I feel it falls very short.

    • Saj Says:

      It’s sorta comparing George Clooney’s love for his pig, having a good job, and male friendships as good relationship/husband material when he has no problems dumping girls after the 2 year mark.

      • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

        Except he all but sends out press releases stating he will never marryagain. So any woman who thinks shell be different is the fool. He’s honest from the start. Hell commit, but he will never marry. If he’s dumping them, itprobably because either the relationship went sour or they wanted more. Not necessarly because he tires of them. He’s never been discovered cheating. His relationships last multiple years. So what’s your point?

        • Cricri Says:

          The point is WANTING to commit and BEING ABLE to commit are 2 different things Moxie. By your criteria, any John Doe could be dimmed able to commit when these are basically superficial criteria that do not really have anything to do with how someone feels about they ability to relate to another person and actually take on the lifelong charge of their happiness.

          I think the only relevant criteria in the list are about emotional maturity and supporting themselves ( knowing a lot of people commit without necessarily being able to support themselves but the complementarity between partners makes it work).

          • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

            The post said.noting about how those criteria meant the man was more likely to.commit. nor did it say that the criteria outweghed actual relationship experence. You, Saj and JS are the ones infering something that wasn’t even in the post. Everybody else got it.

            The post said that those criteria could be good indicators that the person has the ability to commit. That’s all it said. It also said don’t take relationship history atface value. Again, you three are the only ones having knee jerk reactions about thngs that weent even said.

            • Cricri Says:

              I actually got that and said that in my opinion, they don’t even register as indicators; they are not serious indicators since most people are capable of those things. How is that helping ? I don’t have a knee jerk reaction about it, I just don’t see why someone saying they disagree and offering that they got to know more about the ability of people to commit was by being in a LTR with them is bad. Is it a place of dialogue or not? I get the feeling that people want to be right so much so that they forget to hear the others.

  10. Amy Says:

    I don’t think there is any foolproof way to tell anything about the future by looking at the past or at these pet/friend/job benchmarks. Sometimes they are indicators, sometimes not. People change sometimes – other times they don’t.
    Some people who are married long term are truly happy & can give good solid advice. Other times there is a lot that is going on behind closed doors that you would never know which would render their advice invalid. Some single people can give good dating advice, others not.
    See where I’m going? There are no blanket rules. I don’t know why there is so much bickering on this thread about who should be able to speak into a situation. I think anyone should be free to speak, it is up to the readers as to whether to take their advice.
    I just read through this thread and found it exhausting. I really hate when the comments get personal and combative. They feel like attacks to me. I once had a question and considered writing in, but decided not to for that reason. Maybe I’m too sensitive. But I don’t like it.

    • Cricri Says:

      You’re not sensitive, you’re sensible!

    • chillybeans Says:

      “There are no blanket rules”

      So true, and there are no guarantees, and no assurances.
      We want to be able to follow some rules, to get some
      I have been with same company for 20+ years, owned house for almost as long, have pets (one is 22 yrs old have had him since he was a baby). I was married for 17 years(so many people called us the perfect couple HA! if they only knew what he was up to!!!!)
      I had a lousy two year relationship after my divorce.
      Having long relationships for me didn’t mean I was good at a healthy relationship, just good at staying in them, even when they weren’t good for me.It took me many years to learn from my mistakes.
      My BF is my opposite, I think his longest relationshp was just over a year, he has never owned a house or a pet, and has varied resume….If I had used a checklist like this, we wouldn’t be together.
      What’s important is learning from your past relationships, good or bad, and your character.

  11. Cricri Says:

    Owning a pet/house or holding a job these days are more a sigh of commitment to one self, not to someone else; more like a type of ambition. So I don’t think this is really a sign of commitment. People can have all the above and still not want commitment or not even know how to reach it within them.
    Commitment is for situations where you know there are no exits and that it will probably be tougher than smoother. You can always ditch you dog/job/house and be distant from friends. You cannot do that with your partner otherwise it is not a marriage anymore and you are not committed anymore ( aside for all the financial attachments). In short, I believe people who have been in LTRs, of any sort are best placed to share info. It might not be the right info, only God knows where that right info is, but it for single smart people to hear and understand the advice that is offered to them, from diverse points of view, and then decide for them selves.

    And please people, stop judging each other relationships or lack thereof, it makes all women sound petty.

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “You can always ditch you dog/job/house and be distant from friends. You cannot do that with your partner otherwise it is not a marriage anymore and you are not committed anymore” That’s exactly the point, though. People who are willing to ditch a dog/job/house/friend when it gets difficult are probably more likely to ditch a partner when it gets difficult. Marriage just means that ditching them is more expensive (at least for the man) than not being married; it’s a piece of paper, not a commitment. Commitment is measured by what you do, not what you say you’ll do.

  12. mari Says:

    Being married is a LT committment to compromise. Owning a home and having a consistent job, or caring for a pet are all good signs of stabiliy. But in my opinion, don’t tell you enough about the person’s long term ability to sacrifice and compromise for the relationship. I think the best indicator of compromise is to date someone who has an active role in their child’s life – this teaches you compromise big time. Other than that, watching your bf/gf with their family and friends to see how they navigate any rough spots – the true test is how they compromise with you though..and something to be paid attention too..assuming the person is up for committing in the first place.

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