If His Feelings For You Are “Complicated,” Make Yours Simple By Walking Away

When you ask a guy a direct question, he should give you a direct answer—but some dudes seem incapable of clear communication. You want to know whether he’s ready to be your boyfriend. It’s standard “yes” or “no” but he goes for option three: “It’s complicated.” In truth, it’s not complicated at all—the simple fact is that he’s being a selfish jerk.

  1. He doesn’t want to let go of his options. In his own mind, this Lothario is a cool player, hustling the ladies and living the good life—and you’re just one flavor among many. He thinks settling down too soon is a wasted opportunity. He vastly prefers hookups because they leave him free to pursue multiple women, so he tries to convince you that he’s confused rather than admit the real reason for his unwillingness to commit. Shame on him for underestimating your intelligence. You know that the only complicated part of this scenario is how delusional his fantasy really is.
  2. He puts his own feelings first, always. Some guys really believe the world revolves around them. To these center-of-the-universe types, their own needs and wants are always paramount. He thinks nothing of diagnosing himself with “complicated feelings” if he believes it will get him out of a commitment—and it’s not only you hearing the lines. He’s repeating them to every woman in his life.
  3. He’s a total cliche. It’s embarrassing how similarly guys present their case. They should at least vary their language a bit. And how about that mock-serious expression they all get when repeating those worn-out phrases they all use? Do they learn how to do it from some boys-only instruction manual?
  4. If he cared about you, he’d take his uncertainty elsewhere. Even though you’re a total badass, not every man is going to adore you and that’s okay. (Be real—after all, there are probably some amazing guys out there who simply don’t do it for you.) Still, only a slimy man hangs around seeing how much he can get from you without giving in return. Next time he hems and haws about how much he’s struggling with his emotions, you might recommend that he spend a little time centering himself in an ashram and stay the hell out of your bed.
  5. If he wanted to, he could be confused and still be committed. Everybody’s feelings are complicated! The human condition has never been simple. So when he gets all flustered and blurts out those excuses, what he’s really saying is, “I lack the grace and intelligence to handle myself with a real woman. I can only do this if you promise not to place any demands on me at all.” Charming, right?
  6. He would never wait around for you if things got “complicated” on your end. It’s only fair to give him a chance to be an upstanding guy, though, so go ahead and turn his bogus lines around on him next time you see him. “Sorry, babe. Sleeping with you is super complicated. I can’t keep doing booty calls, but if you want to continue buying me the occasional dinner and taking me to concerts, we can talk.” Then see how long he sticks around.
  7. Complicated situations do happen but this probably isn’t one of them. When a guy tells you his reservations, he should explain the situation in depth and ask for your input. Then you two should decide as a unit whether you can pursue the relationship despite the challenges. What he shouldn’t do is mumble something vague about how he’s in a weird place right now and needs to keep things casual.
  8. “It’s complicated” is a catchall excuse. Look, if women don’t get to excuse their behavior by citing PMS (which is actually a legit thing), he doesn’t get to excuse his by citing complicated feelings  (which are actually BS). He can be straight with you if he only wants to screw around. Make him meet you on equal terms.
  9. He’s not “bad” but he’s bad for you. Now that we’ve skewered him, let’s ease up a little. This guy is not inherently awful (really)—selfish, yes, but not necessarily mean spirited. If you were in the market for something quick and uncommitted, he’d be your perfect match. However, since you’ve tried to talk things out with him, that means you want something more. The clear-cut truth? He’s not going to give it to you.
  10. Backing away can be difficult. We’d all be in our perfect relationship if we consistently judged men for their steadiness of character and willingness to be half of a couple, but nope. We sometimes fall for flighty, flaky players. Maybe the idea of being the gal to turn his behavior around excites you. Or, he has the body of a Greek god. You see him for who he is but something’s still holding you in this untenable situation. Unfortunately, your decision is pretty simple: ditch him and keep your dignity or stick accept his lame terms and remain only partially fulfilled. No one ever said simple was easy.
  11. You deserve so much more. The decision to walk can be daunting but it’s the best long term solution. Finding love is an exercise in faith. Even in Disney movies, those princesses go through hell before they find their happily ever after. Don’t let one self-absorbed commitment-phobe take you down. 
Jackie Dever is a freelance writer and editor in Southern California. When she's not working, she enjoys hiking, reading, and sampling craft beers.