Reminder: If He Says He Doesn’t Want A Relationship, Believe Him

As human beings, we have a tendency to practice selective hearing, particularly when someone is telling us something we don’t agree with. However, you should probably listen to and believe a guy right away when he tells you he doesn’t want a relationship. I can promise you he’s not lying and if you ignore his warnings, you’ll be sorry.

  1. It might be an excuse, but it’s a decent one. You can try to rationalize why he might not be telling the truth by saying he doesn’t want a relationship, but the bottom line is that he’s saying no to you right now, which should always be heard. He obviously has his reasons for not wanting to lock things down. Just because he won’t tell you what they are doesn’t make what he’s saying any less final.
  2. He might change his mind, but that’s up to him. He could always change his mind, of course, but he’s going to do that on his own, not because you’re presenting him with a list of reasons why he’s wrong about the two of you. If he doesn’t want a relationship right now, take his word as bond and move on to someone who’s actually on the same page.
  3. You don’t need to stick around while he changes his mind. If you wait around hoping things with him will turn into a relationship, you’re going to be disappointed in the meantime. If he comes around and decides you’re the person he wants to be with, then he’ll come find you. Whether or not you want him anymore is anyone’s guess.
  4. He might be dating multiple people. A lot of people don’t want relationships because they want many relationships, if you know what I mean. Sure, he could just say that he’s not interested in monogamy right now rather than saying he doesn’t want a relationship at all, but maybe this is his subtle way of doing so.
  5. You should be wanted. Do you really want someone begrudgingly getting into a relationship with you? Probably not. Being in a relationship should be something both parties genuinely want to do and feel strongly about if it’s going to have any chance of lasting. You deserve a happy, healthy relationship. Anything less isn’t worth your time.
  6. He might be letting you off easy. There are a lot of ways to get rejected, and some are better than others. In long-term relationships, talking things through usually works best, but before things get serious, sometimes people just try to slip away with the least amount of conflict possible.
  7. Convincing him to commit isn’t winning. There might be a sense of accomplishment for getting a guy to commit who claims he doesn’t want a relationship… until he starts resenting you for it or just not being the awesome boyfriend you were hoping for. When all is said and done (and believe me, it’ll be done sooner rather than later), you’ll end up feeling alone, rejected, and like you just wasted a lot of time and energy that would have been better spent elsewhere.
  8. He might not know what he wants. If you know what you want and he doesn’t, then you’re just not on the same page, bottom line. Even if he thinks he could want you at the moment, you really do want your partner to be sure. You’re too old to be playing games with a guy who doesn’t have his head screwed on and can’t see how lucky he is to have a woman like you in his life. Don’t be taken for granted.
  9. He might not be in the right mental place. Sometimes people want a relationship on one level but know they don’t have the time or energy to really give someone all that they deserve. That can be why you feel some back and forth vibes from him, but ultimately, it’s better to trust the no if there is a no. He says he doesn’t want a relationship, but maybe he just knows deep down he’d be a terrible partner at this point in his life.
  10. You don’t want to fight for something that’s not good. Sometimes you do have to fight a bit for love, but the other person needs to be willing to meet you halfway. Otherwise, you’re fighting a losing battle. Healthy relationships should be a 50/50 effort as often as possible, and if things are that imbalanced from the beginning, that doesn’t bode well. “There are two types of people in a relationship: Those who actively want to be there, and those who’re simply along for the ride,” explains Susan Winter, NYC relationship expert and love coach. “Ideally, relationships should be 50-50. In real life that percentage may be fluid. For example, your partner gives a lot in some areas and not so much in others. But no matter how the give and take ratio shakes out, a fulfilling partnership is based on balance. Relationships that lack balance breed resentment.”
  11. He’s doing you a favor. It might not feel like it in the moment, but if someone knows that they don’t want to be with you, then you’re better off knowing that today than in a few months when you’re more invested. Even if it’s just you that he doesn’t want a relationship with, you’re better off knowing now than having your heart broken when you discover the truth down the line.

What to do if the guy you like says he doesn’t want a relationship

couple having argument on couch

While the best course of action here is clearly to cut ties and move on when a guy says he doesn’t want a relationship and you do, that’s sometimes easier said than done, especially if you do care deeply for him and feel like there’s a real connection there. In that case, there are a few things you might want to try before walking away completely.

  1. Ask for more info. If you feel like he really likes you and that is resistance to a relationship is down to bad experiences in the past or simply where he is in life at the moment and that might change soon, talk to him about it. “Ascertain whether they don’t want a serious relationship for a long time or whether they don’t want one with you,” advises London-based celebrity life coach and dating expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams. “If it is the latter, then do not attempt to revive it. If they have a lot going on in their life and they just need time, be patient and ask them to share their ideal relationship timeline.”
  2. Start pulling away slowly. Maybe you feel like you can’t quit this guy cold-turkey or you simply don’t want to. However, if you know for sure that he doesn’t want a relationship and you do, you know deep down that you’ll have to put an end to things to protect yourself. You can start by pulling away slowly. Call and text him less, don’t be available every single time he wants to hang out, and start committing time and energy to other things and people in your life. This will make it much easier to transition to a life that doesn’t include him.
  3. Stop sleeping with him if you have been. It goes without saying that sex heightens the feelings of closeness and connectedness we have to our partners. That’s great when you see a future with someone, but if he doesn’t want a relationship, you’re only screwing yourself over by giving him the benefit of having sex with you and putting yourself through the emotional, mental, and hormonal upheaval when you’re not going to get anything in return. Your hangouts, until they end completely, should not include sex, bottom line.
  4. Don’t get caught up in chemistry. It’s true that you might have connected pretty much immediately and had a wild spark, but does that really matter when he doesn’t want a relationship and you do? Not particularly. All the chemistry in the world isn’t going to make you feel okay about a noncommittal guy who will never offer you what you’re looking for. Breakup and dating coach Natalia Juarez explains: “I find whenever there’s connection and compatibility in a new relationship, people get really stuck because it just feels really good. But there’s all this middle stuff to think about, like commitment and communication. Those are sometimes the hardest things to extract yourself from. It’s easy to ask, ‘Why would I give up something that feels really good?’ And sure, it feels really good now, but if we’re thinking more long-term then this isn’t going to work.” In other words, it’s time to walk away.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog