How Long Do You Wait For Them To Commit?

Name: Tracey
Age: 45
City: Baltimore
State: MD
Comment: Hi Moxie,

As usual a quick google has turned up contradictory advice on my question, so I would appreciate your always well-conceived thoughts on this.  From the bits I have read, my natural inclinations aren’t always the best course of action.

My question:  how does one balance determining if a man has genuine interest vs a man wanting to take things slowly?  Some advice says not to put men on the spot about their feelings, they need to come to it organically and “process.”  Okay, fair enough, but how much time is reasonable to give it?  On one hand, I am not in a hurry and naturally want a relationship to be right for both parties, but on the other hand, don’t want to be dragged along and left feeling like an option (or in the “grey zone” as some site called it).  How much do individual circumstances (excuses?) play in to the equation on what’s reasonable?  For example .. relatively recent break-up, job stress ..

I could be setting dates with other gents as I do get asked out often (on okc).  But as a parent with a full-time career, don’t have the time, and frankly don’t have the inclination as I would prefer to be developing things with Guy#1 so it feels disingenuous to these other possible dates.  Be happy to share any other details you think would be vital to a response.

Thanks, T.

If, after a handful of dates, someone isn’t making an effort to see you more than once a week then they’re either too busy for a full-on relationship or not looking for anything too serious.

Since you’re crowd sourcing this predicament and scouring the internet looking for an answer, then my inclination is to tell you to just ask Guy #1 where he sees things heading. If he’s interested, he’ll stick around. If he’s not, he won’t.

If you have people showing interest and you think you and they might hit it off, go out with them. I just don’t understand this need to put your whole life on hold while you wait for someone else to decide the direction of the relationship. If you want a certain kind of commitment, you need to ask for it. That seems a lot more productive than spinning your wheels and wondering.

If someone constantly has a reason for not being able to see you on a regular basis, you have your answer. When someone wants you, they’ll do what they can to make sure nobody else gets you. It’s very simple.

I apologize for being short with this response, but the whole idea of worrying about whether or not a guy wants to commit or not and wondering where I stand with him just exhausts me. I intentionally detach myself from guys who travel a lot, work inordinate hours, or otherwise make it abundantly clear that they aren’t physically available. The minute a man shows signs of having limited amounts of time or emotional bandwidth, I simply shut off the switch in my head and look elsewhere. I might still date them and enjoy the time we do spend together. But I also acknowledge that they can only give so much and therefore should not be made any kind of priority. I expect nothing from them. Sometimes they surprise me, sometimes they don’t. Oh well.

I guess it comes down to how comfortable you are being alone or not being attached to someone.If you can get to a place where you accept the possibility that singledom might be your destiny, it’s amazing how much easier and less stressful dating becomes.

OP, you’re 45 years old. You have a child. You have a career. You have what it takes to get by and be secure. If this guy comes around, then Godspeed. Enjoy it. Love like nobody’s watching. But if he doesn’t, it’s okay. You’re fine. You still have options. Women our age have to stop buying into the idea that a happy ending looks one specific way. It doesn’t. Write your own Second Act. Maybe it has a dashing leading man. Maybe it has a few. Maybe it has none. Just remember that they’re just the supporting players. You’re the lead.

 

Thoughts?

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23 Responses to “How Long Do You Wait For Them To Commit?”

  1. LostSailor Says:

    my inclination is to tell you to just ask Guy #1 where he sees things heading.

    Yes. This. I think that people don’t want to have these conversations because they sort of really don’t want to know the answer or are afraid of rejection. But handled properly, it doesn’t have to be pressuring.

    That said, there’s not really enough information here to make any other solid recommendations. Without knowing what the current state of the relationship is or what Tracey means by “commitment,” it’s hard to tell what the best course of action (or inaction) might be.

    Is she just looking for dating exclusivity as “commitment”? Is she sleeping with Guy #1? Has he been difficult to pin down for dates? How old is/are your kid/kids (meaning are they self-sufficient enough that you don’t have to be home for dinner every night)? Are you divorced (meaning the kids’ dad might have them some of the time, freeing up at least a weekend or so a month for dating)?

    As a parent at 45 with what sounds like limited time to date, you’re already in a somewhat difficult situation that limits your flexibility and options.

    I’ve dated single mothers before and it can work if the kid are older and/or spending time with their father. But I’ve also dated some moms who are constrained with younger children, and those relationships died pretty quickly.

    If you have limited time to spend with a man, he’s going to be reluctant to commit because he isn’t going to be a high priority in your life; your job and your kids will always come first…

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  2. AnnieNonymous Says:

    It’s hard not to be disingenuous when telling a woman to just ask a guy where he sees things heading – yes, she has a right to know, but let’s not act like it might not make the guy panic and feel like he’s being pressured. I think a safer question to ask at this point is, “I’d like to see you a bit more often. Do you want to go out or come over after work on Wednesday?” You’ll get a better idea of how the guy feels about you if he’s eager to see you more than once or twice a week.

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    • T Says:

      Thanks AnnieN! I like the question you posed. Fortunately since I sent in this question, we somehow are seeing each other a bit more often. But I am going to remember this in case that isn’t the case later.

      Yes, I fear the panic with asking straight out where things are heading. Your question really gets to what I want to know without that fear, his response will tell me all I need to know (granted, this guy works a lot so squeezing in a weeknight is dicey, but point still valid) .

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  3. The D-man Says:

    Here’s how I broached the topic with my girlfriend:

    “I like spending time with you. When I have something good in my life, I naturally want more of it. So right now I’m asking you for more of you in my life. If thats not what you want, that’s okay. But I’m telling you how I feel. No pressure to answer this now. Think about it for a couple days and let me know how you feel about it. I promise I won’t pressure you or act batshit if you come back with ‘no thanks.'”

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  4. Zammo Says:

    “Just remember that they’re just the supporting players. You’re the lead.”

    So ya got that whole female imperative down quite well, good for you. Look, I understand why you had to say that line. It’s good for business. It’s the social expectation writ large and women want to hear such words, regardless if they are truthful or not.

    But you know it’s a horrible lie, you’re just not allowed to say the real truth – “A woman joins a man in his quest and his endeavors”. She’s the supporting character, the first mate to his captain. A woman who is in the lead will almost instantly lose respect for a man who follows her. A man who is the follower in a relationship is the doormat, the nebbish (spelling), the loser, and the chump. But you can’t tell women that. No dating coach can do that because women (and men!) don’t want to hear such radical (but successful) notions.

    Take it away, LostSailor.

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    • krismae Says:

      Everyone is the lead character in their own lives. You probably aren’t waiting around for some woman to enter your life to start enjoying it or to “complete you”. That’s the point, here. She should live her life the way she wants to live it, enjoying it as it is and making the most of it, and if a man comes along that becomes invested in her, that’s great, but it’s not the end-all and be-all. And if a man comes along who she enjoys, but he’s not all that invested, when that comes to the surface, she will be able to move on and continue her already fabulous life. If a man can’t appreciate a woman who loves life as it is, then he’s probably got some self-esteem issues and isn’t really relationship material, anyway.

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    • The D-man Says:

      Ugh. This guy’s been reading too many red pill blogs.

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  5. SwimmerChix Says:

    OOOOOHHHH Zammo! You are really a character out of Mad Men arent you? See, some of us women raising kids are doing it because we have to! The kid’s fathers either turned out to be weak partners or not “family men” (as was mine)….they were chasing rainbows and skirts elsewhere.

    Tracey….Moxie is dead on (again). Make your own life…for you and your kiddo. Hopefully you’ll meet the man of your dreams and have a fairytale ending. Or you’ll meet Zammo here and he’ll take care of you and you’ll get to be a supporting character in his fairytale. But in the event that you don’t….live like the rest of us single moms and make the best of it. Or (do like I do and) spoil your kid rotten doing fun stuff like going out in the city to museums galore, plays, whatever and have a really fun time doing it. You might even meet someone doing those things…but even if you don’t you still have your kid to share that with. (I take my kids every year on some wild level 3 white water trips). And am not waiting for some stupid Zammo to show up. Fortunately I have a great job and can pay for things myself….and hopefully you can too. Enjoy your life, and enjoy your kid.

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    • LostSailor Says:

      Hopefully you’ll meet the man of your dreams and have a fairytale ending

      There are no fairytale endings. And it’s the quest for and expectation of fairytale endings that destroy so many relationships, marriages, and lives. Because fairytales are fantasy stories for children…

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      • Marie Says:

        ^^This!! Gotta admit, this was my worst offense for awhile there. Damn those romantic comedies and their expectation setting.

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  6. Zammo Says:

    “See, some of us women raising kids are doing it because we have to! The kid’s fathers either turned out to be weak partners or not “family men” (as was mine)….they were chasing rainbows and skirts elsewhere.”

    You picked him (them). Attraction is not compatibility.

    “And am not waiting for some stupid Zammo to show up. Fortunately I have a great job and can pay for things myself….”

    Then do. And then understand the unintended consequences of your actions. A man won’t commit if he doesn’t feel needed. If you don’t need a man, then a man won’t commit to you… he’ll simply use you for what he desires and move on.

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    • India Says:

      So let us summarize zammo’s core thesis – men = blameless; women = completely at fault. Super helpful.

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      • Zammo Says:

        Given the feminine imperative and the failure of so many relationships, perhaps it’s time to seriously examine how women are not doing relationships right. Moxie – and so many other dating/relationship coaches – are earning a fine living from the relationship screw ups perpetrated by too many women.

        Yeah, I know… NAWALT. [Insert eye roll, forehead slap, and long sigh.]

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        • Marie Says:

          Well, Zammo, I hate to break this to you, but there aren’t many women who just want to sit at home while you work – waiting for you to give them their weekly allowance. Are they out there? Sure, but then don’t whine when they are the ones using dates for free meals and nothing else. You should give that girl Brittny from XOJane a call.

          There is a huge difference between needing someone and being dependent upon them. Just because a woman is not dependent upon a man does not mean that he shouldn’t feel needed. You seem to imply that monetary dependence is the only way you feel needed (oh, hey 1950s – how you doin?!). While some people may feel that way, the majority of men (at least that I know) don’t – so I’d say that one is on you.

          In the end, your mate should be your best friend and companion. In the end, nobody NEEDS anybody. I’m sure your ex girlfriends are still alive despite you not being with them anymore. Yes, I agree that if your sig other does not feel important in your life, they will not stick around. There are a million ways to show you “need” someone without relying upon them.

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          • Crotch Rocket Says:

            “there aren’t many women who just want to sit at home while you work – waiting for you to give them their weekly allowance.”

            Are you kidding? There are millions of women who would jump at the chance to focus on raising their kids rather than try to juggle kids AND a (second) full-time job outside the home. Millions more would be happy as a trophy wife without rug-rats to get in the way of their spa trips and shopping sprees.

            “Are they out there? Sure, but then don’t whine when they are the ones using dates for free meals and nothing else.”

            It’s the “and nothing else” that’s the problem. Both people have to demonstrate during the dating process what they’re willing/able to contribute to a future relationship–not just what the man can contribute.

            If a woman wants to be a SAHM, fine, but a guy who is willing/able to support that will need to see her skills as a homemaker, e.g. cooking, doing errands, taking care of kids of friends or family, rather than just mooching off her dates.

            OTOH, if a woman expects an equal partnership where both work outside the home (and share childcare), then the guy will need to see her skills as a professional, e.g. planning and paying for dates, rather than just mooching off her dates.

            Heck, even if a woman a wants to be a trophy wife, then the guy needs to see that she can provide something else of value, e.g. lots of sex with a hot body, rather than just mooching off her dates.

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        • CoolDude Says:

          The reason I like this blog, unlike many others, is that it actually points out that some women are just shitty. Most blogs either focus on the men being terrible or the women having terrible choice in men which essentially communicates “Hey girlfriend, YOU’RE awesome but you just need to stop picking bad guys.” Most people don’t speak the ugly truth which is, basically, most people aren’t worth committing to and settling down with forever (and hey, I’m probably in that group as well).

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          • ATWYSingle Says:

            I’m sorry to be a buzzkill, but is it really necessary to comment on a year old post responding to someone who is never going to see your comment?? That just encourages all the other blogflies to do so. Can we not?

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    • The D-man Says:

      A man’s core need is purpose. The “need to feel needed” is just co-dependence.

      Not surprisingly, a man who has purpose is attractive to women.

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  7. Chillybeans Says:

    “don’t have the time, and frankly don’t have the inclination as I would prefer to be developing things with Guy#1 ”
    Tracey, what I’m missing in this is what you really want, and why. Do you just want Guy#1 for convenience, because that’s what it sounds like to me. YOU have a decision in this too! What is it about him that makes him a good fit for you, and not just that he’s Guy#1.

    I was 45 when I told the guy I’d been dating, and I liked, what I wanted, which was either marriage or living together in the next 1-2 years. (and he stuck around, we have been living together for 3 years- he didn’t run away screaming like women have been told will happen if you dare to have this conversation)

    I had been strung along for two years in my previous relationship by a man who TALKED commitment all the time, but his actions didn’t show it (avoided me at holidays, reluctant to have anything to do with my kids etc) and I was DONE with pussy footing around. If that scared him off, then Buh bye, don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out.
    Now, if you just want something casual that’s one thing, but the tone of your letter tells me otherwise

    And remember it’s not so much what he says, but what he does. Plenty of guys will tell you what they think you want to hear, but you will just be a placeholder to them. A guy who cares for you will show it.

    What’s the line from the Bonnie Raitt song? “Time gets mighty precious when there’s less of it to waste”
    good luck!:)

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    • T Says:

      Hi ChillyBeans,

      “Tracey, what I’m missing in this is what you really want, and why. Do you just want Guy#1 for convenience, because that’s what it sounds like to me. YOU have a decision in this too! What is it about him that makes him a good fit for you, and not just that he’s Guy#1.”

      Nooo, definitely don’t want him just for convenience. I only referred to him as Guy#1 because my initial question referred to other potential dates but Guy#1 (this one) is too heavy on my mind and too good a fit for me to even want to bother (with limited time all ready) with any others. As for what it is about him .. he’s wonderful! I’ve never felt so comfortable around anyone, so at home with myself and not on-guard. He’s cool, not aggressive, thoughtful, affectionate without it always leading to more .. these are some, but there are dozens of things that make him a good fit (seems i just typed a few of them in an earlier reply upstream). It’s just that he does appear to good with a slow and methodical pace and perhaps I am too eager to need to know if he’s biding his time or taking me seriously as a potential exclusive partner. That’s as far ahead as I am thinking! I know I have a decision in here too, perhaps I am overly sensitive to having my time wasted (hedging in to those *cough* invisible ages for women though to be frank I do okay attention-wise, just not from whom I want it to be most times!)

      “And remember it’s not so much what he says, but what he does. Plenty of guys will tell you what they think you want to hear, but you will just be a placeholder to them. A guy who cares for you will show it.”

      Yes!! Noted. You caught my tone correctly. Thanks for your sharing your experiences.

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  8. CoolDude Says:

    I’d say waiting a good 6-8 months seems the safest way to go.

    I kid, I kid. Honestly, people need to determine their own personal net value. A 45-year-old mother with kids is likely an ambitious (and intimidating) undertaking for most guys but, if someone likes you enough, they’ll commit to you rather quickly. If they don’t, they’ll move on to other options quickly.

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