Did He Change When You Made Things Official? Here’s Why

It’s that common long-term relationship fear: once you make things official with the guy you’re seeing, it’s like he changes overnight. You’re left wondering, “Where’s the guy I was dating?” Here’s a breakdown of what’s really going on.

  1. He’s too comfortable. He’s gotten super comfortable in your relationship, and this is especially the case if you’ve been together for a while now. He pops his zits in front of you, he doesn’t care what he looks like, and he’s basically a giant slob. Ugh.
  2. He doesn’t want to lose his inner bachelor. He might be a little freaked out about the whole commitment thing, so part of him wants to hold on tightly to his single lifestyle. Part of that is being grumpy or wearing a gross sweater to dinner if he wants to without feeling like he has to be in “boyfriend” mode all the time. Give him a bit of leeway and let him have his emotional man cave by playing video games and acting like a bit of an idiot sometimes. In a way, it’s good to hold onto some freedom, as well as the things we enjoyed when we were single.
  3. He’s letting his guard down. This can be a good thing. You want to be with someone who can show you what they’re like on their worst day, right? You want to see him at his most vulnerable. The catch is that you don’t want him to slide into that state EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
  4. He’s becoming lazy. He might just have been a lazy guy in Prince Charming clothing all along. The minute he locked you down, he decided he could do the relationship version of flopping onto the sofa and settling in for the long haul. He doesn’t have to text you back right away when you’re not at home and he doesn’t have to make an effort to be romantic. Double ugh.
  5. The chase is over. Maybe the chase ended a really long time ago or it’s just ended now that he’s defined the relationship and it’s on more solid terms. Whatever the case, once he feels the chase is over, he’ll feel that he doesn’t have to try so hard to get you or impress you. Hey, you’re in love with him, right? So he can stop going the extra mile (or so he thinks).
  6. He figures if you haven’t left him until now, you probably won’t. It’s good to feel secure in your relationship, sure, but it’s another thing entirely if he’s so comfortable that he figures he can take you for granted. That’s not on. He might think that since you’ve stuck by him all these years through good times and bad, you’re not going to go anywhere so he can let rip with all his drama and issues. NOPE.
  7. He’s got you where he wants you. Some guys really change when you get into a more committed relationship with them, as in they become psycho. They might be moodier or angrier than usual, leaving you shaking your head. What gives? This type of guy is a manipulator who spent a lot of time in your relationship courting and charming you. But now he’s become Prince Harming because he knows you’re not the type to walk out the door, especially if you’re committed to him.
  8. He knows how far he can push you. He’s seen what you’re like. He knows how far he can go before you express anger or hurt at his behavior. Basically, he’s got an “A” in Your Boundaries 101 so he doesn’t have to do too much work anymore. He can slip up a bit more, perhaps, especially if you’ve given him nothing more than a hypothetical slap on the wrist during your relationship when he crossed a line. Once you allow him to cross the line, no matter how much of a small step he takes, be warned that his behavior will only get worse.
  9. He feels safe—that’s a good thing! Maybe the problem isn’t that he’s becoming a bad version of himself overnight. Maybe he’s just a little different, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The honeymoon phase couldn’t last forever, after all. He might just feel totally safe to be himself, warts and all. It’s time to rip off those fairytale lenses and see him for who he truly is instead of who you think he’s going to be.
  10. He’s made a good first impression already. When it comes to making a great first impression (and a second and a third), he graduated with flying colors. He has an amazing woman at his side and he figures he doesn’t have to keep making good impressions. But let’s be honest: it’s disappointing when he thinks he doesn’t have to clean up for date night because you’re living together, or when he can swear in front of your folks without batting an eyelid. Just because he knows he has you on his arm for the long-term future, it doesn’t mean he should stop trying. Love is a verb!
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.