Why Is He Paying Her Bills If He’s Not Getting Sex?

Name: Single Mom
Age: Early Thirties
Question: Is it worth sticking around?
I am an attractive, professional, physically fit, single mom in my early thirties. Ultimately, I would like to remarry and have another child (ren). I usually don’t have trouble getting male attention when I go out, but between being a mommy and my career, getting out hasn’t been a priority. Last year I reconnected with an “ex” from many years ago. About him: he is in his late forties and works in the political arena and is well known in our area. He is considered a very eligible bachelor in his circles.  We started sleeping together again within a few months and thereafter spent a great deal of time together.  However, during this whole time he was adamant he didn’t want a relationship. So after 7-8 months of dating/sex, I stopped sleeping with him and cut back communication because I knew I ultimately wanted a committed relationship and felt he was being clear he didn’t want one. Fast forward a few months and we start seeing each other again. This time sex is not part of the equation, BUT we are spending more time together than ever before and doing  things traditionally reserved for couples: we talk/text several times a day (if he cannot reach me he calls repeatedly); we see each other 4-5x per week often staying over several days; he has met my child  and seems to adore her; we have met each other’s family, friends and coworkers; we have gone down to his summer home a few times for extended periods; he has done helpful things around the house; for Christmas he paid off a credit card for me, etc. He has said he loves me although he has made it clear he is not in love. Also, very clear is that he still says he doesn’t want a relationship. After digging a little deeper this time, he told me after how horrible his divorce was   and how another serious relationship ended… he doesn’t want to go there again. He says he cares for me and he knows I am a great catch, but he just can’t do a relationship.  I guess what I don’t understand is how a relationship would be any different than what we are doing now besides slapping a label on it.  It has been about a year and half of on and off dating without a commitment and about a year since I last slept with him. My question is, should I ride this out longer to see what will happen or cut ties completely with him.  With as much time as we spend together, I don’t have time to explore any other options or to even keep my options open.  What makes it hard for me to decide is that unlike other men I have dated he acts like he wants a relationship,  but says otherwise, whereas my experience has been with men saying they wanted commitment, but their actions were completely at odds with that.


Let’s see…late forties, divorced eligible bachelor. Side note: Know who else was a successful eligible bachelor? Liberace. Moving on.

I’m stuck on the part where you let this man that you’re not dating/sleeping with pay your credit card. I mean, doesn’t that feel odd to you or ring any bells? Tell me again what he’s getting out of all of this? It’s clear what you’re getting: you get a show pony to trot around town and show off to your family and friends and pay your bills AND you don’t have to have sex with him. It doesn’t sound like the lack of sex really bothers you. The only thing that appears to bug you is that he refuses to agree to be your boyfriend. That’s all quite telling to me. Do you even want a relationship with him or do you just want to be able to say you have a relationship with him?

More intriguing is how you’re making it sound like he’s doing all of these of his own volition. Which, sorry, I’m dubious about. If you’re asking him to help hang a picture or fix something or attend a family party,  he’s doing it because you’re making the request. That’s completely different than if he offered to do all these things. Maybe he just likes being needed. You could be exploring other options. You’re choosing not to. It sounds like maybe you’re creating a certain atmosphere so you can turn around and accuse him of acting like a boyfriend.

I guess what I don’t understand is how a relationship would be any different than what we are doing now besides slapping a label on it. 

Well, no. One other thing that you’d be doing is sleeping together. You’re not. You and this man aren’t dating. At best you’re just good friends and he’s hanging around for the companionship and possible professional benefits. He’s made it clear that he doesn’t want a relationship with you, he’s not sleeping with you and thereby building up expectations. A man can not want a relationship but still want sex. He doesn’t even want sex from you. He’s just hanging out with you. You are allowing this because it allows you to appear as though you have a man. There’s no mystery here. He’s just your friend. You’re the one building this up into something it isn’t. He’s likely getting the sex from someone else and the companionship from you. Did you think he’s been going without for the past year? Of course not.  He’s just not getting it from you because he doesn’t want to lead you on and make his life more difficult. I have several male friends who buy me drinks and pay for my meals and attend family functions with me. It doesn’t mean we’re dating. It means we’re friends. Other than paying your credit card bill, which baffles me and does makes me question his motives slightly,  this guy isn’t doing anything that doesn’t fall under the category of friendship.

Find someone else. This guy doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you. You’re hitching your wagon to the wrong horse insisting that the guy is acting like a boyfriend. No, he’s not. He’s made his position clear and now feels like he can just be himself. His reasons for not wanting to be in a relationship with you don’t matter. He’s being polite. He’s not interested in dating you. He’s giving you phony reasons for why you can’t be together, probably because you keep trying to force a relationship that doesn’t exist.

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31 Responses to “Why Is He Paying Her Bills If He’s Not Getting Sex?”

  1. D'Alias Says:

    I agree with Moxie. This man is really and truly just a friend. He doesn’t want to be with you, he’s not acting like your boyfriend. I think you’re acting a little confused because you are really hoping he’ll change his mind and want to be with you. If he wanted to be with you, I’m sure he would’ve asked.

    What I think you should do if you want a relationship is to start to date people who are interested on starting one. Either online, through friends, meetup or whatever. Because it you don’t it’s not how fault – it’s yours.

    My hunch is that one day this man will find a woman he wants to TRY with and that you will be hurt by his sudden disappearing act.

    I don’t think it’s weird that he paid your cc bill. It was a present. And I know lots of guys who pay for dinner, take women out, or sleep over if they’ve been drinking, whatever. It doesn’t mean anything.

  2. John Says:

    Maybe the guy has some sort of ED but wants the look and feel of a relationship without the label of one. Maybe him saying he doesnt want sex is less embarrasing to him than being unable to perform. I wouldn’t automatically assume he is getting sex from another girl. If he is in his late 40s, then perhaps the plumbing is starting to break down. Its just speculation of course, but I think that is a very real possibility here.

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      The plumbing is always breaking; a 25 year old has less sex drive then a 15 year old, a 45 year old less then a 35 year old.

      Most men deny the passing of age and fool themselves into thinking they’re as horny as they’ve always been, it’s just a little ED problem, let’s buy some Viagra.

      And some recognize it, accept it and rather enjoy living without that monkey on their back.

  3. Single Mom Says:

    Let me respond to some incorrect assumptions you made. I don’t ask him to do things for me. Things he has done around my house or paying a credit card as a Christmas gift have been of his own volition. I am very much capable of paying my own bills and handling things around my house; he takes it upon himself to help out. In addition, he is not my “show pony.” The information I provided you about him was just to illustrate he could be choosing to spend his time elsewhere and with other women. I do care about him deeply and could see the long term potential. As far as sex, I personally see no reason to sleep with someone who tells me they do not want a relationship. I am too old to be someone’s FWBs and think that I can screw my way into a relationship. Contrary to your assumptions, he has ED issues that have factored into “our/his” sex life. Even, with these issues he has periodically attempted to initiate sexual activity with me over this last year. Also, I feel our relationship goes beyond just a friendship as you call it. We ARE dating… we spend the night together 4-5x per week, go on dates, spend every major holiday together, talk on the phone daily, cuddle, hold hands, etc. (If that is not dating I guess I have been out of the game too long.) The concern is this dating is not leading to a commitment. My question to and your readers is specifically what would make a man assume the role of a significant other, yet be so averse to making a formal commitment.

    • loveliee Says:

      I don’t think it matters why he doesn’t want to commit. The bottom line is that you want a commitment and he does not. You both want different things and it won’t change, so you should find someone who wants the same things as you do.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      You don’t have a relationship with this man. I find it strange that, in just a few short months, he suddenly started experiencing ED problems. But okay. If you say so. Of course saying that in the letter would have helped. But regardless of his alleged ED problems, HE’S STILL NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND. Let’s see, he’s made it clear that he’s not in love with you, he’s told you he doesn’t want a commitment and he can’t do a relationship. What the hell else do you need to hear?

      Also, I feel our relationship goes beyond just a friendship as you call it.
      He says he cares for me and he knows I am a great catch, but he just can’t do a relationship.

      But this is what you’re not getting. How you interpret the relationship is irrelevant. He’s TELLING you what you have is not a relationship. You two are friends. That’s it.

      • The D-man Says:

        It sounds to me like the ED has been there all along, not just this time around.

      • Single Mom Says:

        I find it interesting how you will make assumptions and be so steadfast that they are truths. He is a prostrate cancer survivor and yes his issues have gotten progressively worse over the years. Even before when I was sleeping with him, we never had a “normal” sex life, Since his surgery the issues have ranged from the inability to get an erection to pain after orgasm.

        • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

          Then maybe learn how to tell a story? You don’t think the fact that he had prostate cancer was an important detail? Regardless of whether or not he actually has ED problems – HE DOESN’T WANT TO BE YOUR BOYFRIEND. He has told this over and over again. Doesn’t want a relationship, doesn’t love you, doesn’t want commitment. That’s what you wrote. So don’t get pissy because we’re not telling you what you want to hear. He doesn’t want to be with you the way you want him to.

          • Howard Says:

            That is the consistent problem with 90% of these stories from various OP’s. And gender has nothing to do with it. People tell their version of the events, withholding critical information.

            Guys will do it, to not come off as a villain, a condition women like to quickly attribute to them. Women tell the story their way to encourage sympathy and endorsement, the classic “playing the victim” scenario.

            Do people really want advice, or encouragement in their continued mental games they play with themselves? With this story, I continue to get the feeling, that this guy won’t give the commitment, precisely because it seems more important to her than him. Men tend to give commitment to people who care about them first and foremost, not who they are or what money or prestige they have.

            I still believe the OP’s chances of commitment with this guy are low because he is not in that place, right now. And she is certainly making things worse by playing all these games and putting such a high value on commitment. My question to the OP. Do you want him because he is prominent or do you like just being with him in those quiet moments?

    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      This may come as a shock but there are some people in this world that don’t express committment when they don’t actually feel committed. “Formality” is just pretense. That’s what you want? You don’t understand why a person would not want to make insincere promises? The story is entirely consistent with him enjoying your friendship and maybe not caring so much about money, most likely because he has some. I assure you he is getting all his needs met… whatever those might be.

    • Howard Says:

      ” However, during this whole time he was adamant he didn’t want a relationship.”

      After hearing anything like this, why do women continue, when they know they want commitment? I have asked myself that question too many times. The only answer I come up with every time is ego, stupidity, and/or being too captivated by the hot Mr. Big.

      Let me say this real loud and clear for women who don’t get it. Men who are not interested in commitment, very rarely give it. And it doesn’t matter if they love you, or spoil you with gifts.

      In this situation, the OP clearly knows what she is getting out of it. She is getting her version of Mr. Big. It makes her feel special. She knows deep down that this guy will never give her commitment, but she settles her mind with a strange type of mental massage that includes the payment of credit card bills and sex withholding.

      My only advice is to cease and desist from trying to con yourself. Decide that you like being around this guy and enjoy that, knowing fully well, that you will not be trying to seek commitment. Or just stop seeing him because commitment is important to you. It really is quite easy to take one of those two paths.

      • The D-man Says:

        Many, many women think “I can change him.” Practically every girl I know has had a relationship that involved saying this to themselves.

    • Eliza Says:

      If you don’t ask him to do anything–how did he know that you actually had debt on a credit card to begin with? You either asked him to help? Not sure…or somehow brought up in conversation – the need to pay down debt on a credit card. I agree with the other posts that have stated–you have a guy here that is very straight forward and has communicated his intentions. You can’t say you were warned.

  4. yb Says:

    You spend the night with him 4-5 times a week without having sex? I find it strange that you would withhold sex yet allow for so much intimacy….
    I do agree with another poster that HIS needs are being met so then why would he officially commit? If the only need of yours that is not being met is being called out as “official” then maybe you have a keeper (on his term of course). Actions count more than words right? Just don’t expect to be the beneficiary of his 401K. And if one day he finds greener pastures don’t be surprised. But then that risk is inherent in all relationships; couples break up and get divorced all the time.

  5. D. Says:

    The OP has asked for some reasons why the guy might not want to be in a relationship, in spite of doing things that look like relationship behavior. While it’s been clearly stated that, because he has SAID he doesn’t want one, you (A) aren’t in one, and (B) should look elsewhere for one, here’s a few possible reasons why it’s playing out as it is.

    1. He’s not that into you romantically. It may be that he really enjoys your friendship. Might even enjoy sex with you. Might even do all kinds of couply things with you. But he hasn’t stopped looking elsewhere, and he doesn’t want to commit to you because, for whatever reason, there’s something else he wants from a relationship.

    2. He likes you, but not enough to commit. Similar to #1, but goes a little past the “friends with benefits” scenario. He’s not dating around, but he doesn’t want to be tied down — again, because he wants something more. I have no idea what that would be, though.

    3. The ED issues make him incredibly self-conscious and he doesn’t feel he can perform as a boyfriend should. Plus, he knows you want more kids and he’s concerned he can’t give you that. I rather doubt this is the case, though.

    4. He’s deeply fucked up and gun-shy about relationships in general, give the incredibly messy divorce. He cannot bring himself to trust someone fully enough to say “Yes. we’re in a relationship.” So, it’s not that he doesn’t like YOU, but rather that he’s so terrified of opening up emotionally that he refuses to admit he’s in a relationship.

    Of the above, I tend to think #4 is the more likely case, at least based on what he’s said (or what the OP has related he’s said). Failing that, it’s #1 or #2.

    However, as has been stated repeatedly, the reason why doesn’t really matter. The guy doesn’t want to be with the OP in a committed relationship. The OP wants a committed relationship. Therefore, the guy and the OP have conflicting desires. Meanwhile, the OP is settling for “relationship-lite.”

    The issue of “settling” has come up a few times recently, with some folks challenging the notion that it’s bad to settle. In the context of “Accept someone who is not objectively perfect, but with whom you can be happy,” the advice to “settle” is good advice. In THIS context, though, you should not settle. When you have a fundamental desire about how you want a romantic relationship to work, and the other person doesn’t share that vision, you have to take a good hard look at what the difference is. In this case, it sounds pretty much insurmountable. You can spend your time hoping you can change him or cure him of his anxieties, but that’s a fool’s errand and will end in heartbreak.

    So, your choices are as follows:

    – Accept that you will never be in the kind of relationship you want with this guy, and settle for “Relationship-Lite.”


    – Call it off and start looking elsewhere.

    There is no third option where he comes around. We live in the real world, not a rom-com. Jack Nicholson is not gonna marry you, in spite of your efforts to convince him that he just has an irrational phobia about commitment. His reasons for not wanting to be with you are ultimately irrelevant. He doesn’t want to be with you as your boyfriend. Take him at his word and decide if you want a “companion” or whether you want a boyfriend. My bet is that, if you’re as bothered by this as you sound, you won’t be satisfied with “not-quite-a-boyfriend” or “boyfriend-in-all-but-name.”

    Move on.

  6. wishing u well Says:

    Well, I have to agree with the overwhelming majority of the comments and say “move on” also. But I’m going to play devil’s advocate a bit and throw out a possible reason that hasn’t been touched on: does the man that the OP is referring to have children? If so – he knows the responsibilities involved on a first hand level. If not – then there is a reason that hasn’t been touched on. Some people do not like to seriously commit to persons with children as they may not want to deal with the responsibilities involved. This isn’t a nice answer, but it’s also a potential “no brainer” in the mindset a single person, sans children, who is used to living solely (or mostly) for themselves. Regardless of who you are: taking on a ready made family is a tough task. It’s okay to be casually around as “mommy/daddy’s nice friend” but further escalation may not be wanted. Also possibly relevant is how many children you have and / or how well behaved they are. The truth is: you’ll likely never know the real reasons he has for not wanting to be with you. And from what you’ve shared, it seems that this lman cares for you as a friend too much to subject you to such harsh, brutal honesty.

    Regardless of whatever the reasoning is: this man has had the chance to try you out, OP, extensively. If he’s spending 4 – 5 nights a week at your place – he likely knows your lifestyle, etc. And yet he’s made it clear that he’s not interested in committing to you. There’s no mystery to solve here, except the one as to why you’d put yourself through this. And only you know the answer. Stop looking for every possible angle that will somehow result in the outcome that you’re hoping for and start living in reality. The first option has nothing but pain and disappointment ahead. The second option has initial disappointment, yes, but it also has the hope of a better dating future as there will always be another man to date. It’s your choice, OP. I wish you well.

  7. mari Says:

    He has said he doesn’t want to marry, have a child – and that is what he means. If that is something you want you need to do it now..you are in your 30’s. If you stay with him another 10 years it won’t be an option anymore. If you are good with having a LTR with a guy who will never marry you or have babies with you, then stay with him, but stop trying to change him. He has told you his plan..you just aren’t hearing him.

  8. mindstar Says:

    OP said it herself “About him: he is in his late forties and works in the political arena and is well known in our area. He is considered a very eligible bachelor in his circles. ” She thinks she’s landed Mr. Perfect and can’t accept the fact HE DOES NOT WANT A COMMITMENT since this reduces her bragging rights to her girlfriends. This guy could not make it clearer but OP doesn’t hear it. Leave him and find a guy who wants commitment and babies your Mr. Perfect will be just fine and will have a new gf very quickly

  9. L. Says:

    I think the bottom line is this. YOU are uncomfortable and not satisfied in some way, shape, or form … with this “relationship”. It is NOT complete for you. There is a sense on your part that there is a lack of commitment on his part and my sense is that this is a major issue for you. I’m not sure I buy his explanation, but it could be viable. I understand that you are getting some nice support out of it, but I sense that it’s not what you want and you need to cut him loose and move on. I know that’s not an easy thing to do because it’s not easy for anyone to meet people and you have a busy life, but that’s not a good reason to stay in the wrong relationship.

  10. S Says:

    I can understand the OPs confusion here. I was in a similiar situation not so long ago. I had a long standing crush on a friend that was very open about not wanting a relationship. Over time the friendship grew into more without discussing where it was headed. As with the OP, we spent all of our free time together – holidays, 4 – 5 overnights a week (including sex), vacations, etc. Basically, I let myself believe that it had become a relationship. Well, it wasn’t. He said he didn’t want a relationship and he meant it. Shame on me for not believing it and moving on. I accepted less than I wanted and deserved to have. In the end, he moved on and I was heartbroken. Essentially I wasted precious years, the last of my childbearing years, 33 – 41.
    I urge the OP to talk to him about your feelings and desires and if they don’t line up….dust yourself off and move on with your life.

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      He said he didn’t want a relationship and he meant it. Shame on me for not believing it and moving on.
      Let this be a lesson for the ladies: when a guy tells you something that is directly against his own interests, believe him. Save the doubts for the guys telling you what you want to hear.

  11. erine Says:

    Men do that when they are not in love but don’t want to be alone. But no need to be harsh on OP. It is very understandable why she is confused, and no, there are no red. Flags in him paying her cc debt.
    He cannot give her what she wants so she should drastically slash their time together and concentrate on actual dating while she’s still young.

  12. yb Says:

    “Eventually she will seek to fulfill this part of her life and take a lover or leave me altogether.”

    OP – this is probably what this man is thinking. He may be unwilling to commit to you because he knows he really cannot give you everything. I bet he is unwilling more for his sake than yours. Why would he knowingly put himself in such predicament?

    And BTW, previously I commented before the ED thing was brought up!

  13. MsJ Says:

    I think the key phrase in the story was the horrible divorce. After going through divorce myself I was not interested in getting into relationship and after I did I got frustration from my boyfriend of how I hold back in certain areas. It seems the responders above have not been divorced because I’m the first one addressing it. its like a funeral of a parent or a child. No one gets married with the intention of divorce. Its a horrible experience and even if both persons agree its not working the system in this country to process that agreement forces you to be put in an adversarial situation. It could take him 5-10 years to get over it or never. He could be one of those men that is happy you have children because it means there is no pressure on him to have children with you. He just enjoys your company and gets his emotional needs met with you. The question you have to ask yourself is that enough for you? Are you willing to never have the label, never have the ring, never have the wedding and spend the next 40 year this way? There was some sports owner my dad told me about who just proposed to his girlfriend and I think they were together for 15+ years and the only reason is because she publically announced that she was leaning towards leaving him. Giving this guy an ultimatum like that won’t work because he was burned so bad from the divorce but if you really want relationship you will have to walk away. ALL MEN know that we want the ring so if he agrees to relationship the next step is the ring and the divorce was so bad he can’t fathom going through that again. He has to come to his own terms that you are the one which is why he keeps hanging around trying to decide. We can spend forever talking about what he is doing but ultimately this comes down to what you can accept and what’s emotionally healthy for you. I don’t that this is good for you and you have to walk.

  14. MsJ Says:

    One more note. Consider a matchmaker. I hired one after I was ready to start dating after taking a break after my divorce. When you don’t have time you need help. I had the same issue. Look at “Two of Us” and “its Just Lunch”. I didn’t get my boyfriend I have now through them but it really helped me get back on the dating scene.

  15. AJ Says:

    I have plenty of guy friends that have fixed my car, installed my garage door opener, paid for drinks, dinner, etc. One even gave me money around Christmas. I’ve often said to my girlfriends…”why do I need a boyfriend if I have so many guy friends who are willing to help out and accompany me to events”. If a guy wants a relationship he says so. It’s that simple.

    • AJ Says:

      Why give up a great friendship in the first place. I think you are very lucky to have him as a friend. I think you should start dating available men if you need to be in that type of relationship.

  16. Diana Says:

    Why is he still hanging around if you’re not giving him sex? I don’t get that. And paying your credit card off? Hmmmmm….doesn’t add up to me. One thing I know after dating many years is men don’t hang around and pay for things if there’s no sex. Period. Despite what anyone will tell you, it’s pretty much what motivates them from the beginning. The puzzle pieces don’t add up. Get back on Match and find someone else. If you kiss enough frogs, eventually you’ll meet a prince. Best of luck.

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      men don’t hang around and pay for things if there’s no sex. Period.
      I would generalize that to saying a guy will only maintain any relationship if it’s meeting his needs. It appears that, in this case, the needs in question are platonic rather than romantic/sexual. That seems a bit odd to me in this case, since they had slept together in the past, but if he’s in his late 40s, perhaps he’s having ED problems, has a low sex drive in general, or has decided that it’s easier to get his sex elsewhere (he obviously has money to burn) and is using the OP for all the other relationship-y stuff.

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