Commitment can take many forms, some of which are intangible, such as trust, support, and respect. If the person you’re with is committed to you, you will feel it. However, if you’ve been dating for 6 months and there’s still no commitment, here’s what could be going on.
- You haven’t made your expectations clear. Lack of communication can ruin a relationship before it’s had a chance to begin. If you and your partner have never discussed your situation, you may be on completely different pages. He may not even think you’re dating, let alone being in a relationship. Six months is a long time to be confused about what you’re doing with each other and a lack of communication cannot explain his lack of commitment entirely. But having a conversation about it is a good (though long overdue) place to start.
- You don’t see each other very much. One situation that drastically lengthens the standard relationship timeline is if you and your partner live in different places. If you only see each other a couple of times a month, things will probably progress more slowly than they would if you were together almost every night. No amount of FaceTiming can compensate for in-person bonding.
- Your partner thinks it’s a casual arrangement. Without having an open conversation about the nature of your relationship, you have no way of knowing where your partner stands. He may think that, because you’ve never discussed it, you don’t have an official relationship. Six months of sex and the occasional date does not equal an agreement to be serious or exclusive. He may think that your relationship is closer to a friends-with-benefits arrangement than a meaningful partnership.
- He’s seeing other people. Another way that the relationship timeline can be slowed is if one or both of you is pursuing other people. His attention might be stretched over multiple prospects and he therefore can’t focus on one person long enough to decide if he wants to commit to anyone. If you’re in an open relationship, you should expect commitment to take a little longer to develop.
- He’s taking advantage of your low self-esteem. The most obvious indication that he’s taking advantage of you is that you’re six months in and still don’t know what the deal is. An unscrupulous guy who’s got a reliable source of sex from a person who asks nothing of him probably isn’t going to make things complicated for himself by establishing trust or commitment. If you feel like you would lose him if you asked him to commit, he’s taking advantage of your fear of abandonment.
- He’s told you he can’t commit. Sometimes we don’t listen to the things we don’t want to hear. If he told you that he wouldn’t commit, you need to take him seriously. You may have ignored him because you thought he could change over time, but if he hasn’t after six months, it’s time you believe what he said. There is no mystery as to why there’s no commitment in your relationship. He’s already told you.
- He still isn’t sure how he feels. Again, the key bit of information here is that it’s been six months. If he doesn’t know how he feels about you after six months, the prospects for a long-term, happy relationship aren’t great. Not knowing how he feels is a perfectly legitimate reason for not taking things to the next level, but it isn’t a satisfying one for you. If he isn’t sure about you by this point, he probably never will be.
- He has commitment issues. Some people are allergic to commitment, no matter how good their current relationship is. This could be the result of baggage from previous relationships, a history of abandonment, or deeply-ingrained patterns of behavior. Whatever the reason, it is hard to change a commitment-phobe, especially if nothing has changed in six months of dating. But it’s worth asking him where he stands. If he says he will never be able to give you what you want, believe him. If he says he needs a little more time and you’re willing to wait, give it a little more time.
- He’s keeping his options open. One of the main reasons people don’t commit is because they’re holding out for something better. If he evades you whenever you talk about getting more serious or tells you that he likes to take things slowly, it’s code for, “I want to keep you around as a backup option while I look around for The One.” He’s telling you that you’re Plan B and he isn’t ready to let you go until he’s secured Plan A.
- The future is uncertain. If he’s been waiting around to get a job in another state or has plans to spend a year backpacking through Asia, he may be dragging his feet about committing to a relationship. He’s holding off on any life-changing decisions while he waits for his pending plans to materialize. If he is straightforward with you about these external forces that are shaping his path, you can make up your own mind about whether you’re willing to wait for him. If he isn’t, he may just be trying to evade discussing your relationship, which is reason enough to rush for the exit.
What Does Commitment Look Like?
Now that you’ve considered the reasons why he might not be committing to you, here’s when you’ll know that he (or your next partner) is:
- He talks about a future with you. Involving you in plans and long-term goals is a major sign that someone is invested in you. It shows that you are a main character in the future they envision for themselves. Talking about your hopes and expectations as a couple is an indication that you’re in a committed relationship.
- He’s there for you. When you’re at your lowest moments, is he there to comfort you, make you laugh, and help you through the darkness? Being present and supportive in tough times is a sign that someone has chosen you to be their partner. Adversity drives away commitment-phobes because they’re only interested in what they can get from their relationships.
- He meets you halfway. No one wants to compromise when they know they’re right, but it’s part of a healthy relationship. You will not agree 100% of the time, but the key is to not let your differences drive you apart. Meeting in the middle is a sign that you both put the relationship before your own egos.
- You can just feel it. There is no precise recipe for commitment. You’ll just feel it. In the same way you know that your partner hasn’t committed to you, you’ll know when he has. Don’t discount intuition when it comes to trusting someone and feeling solid in your relationship with them.