Why A Guy Who Doesn’t Make An Effort Really Isn’t Interested

Dating and relationships require effort. You have to make time for dates, text back regularly, and commit to learning about each other. But when a guy doesn’t make an effort with you, is he just not that into you? Here are seven reasons why he’s not really interested and why you deserve better.

  1. He’s comfortable letting you do all the work. You’re into him and want to keep dating, but you’re realizing he’s putting forth almost zero effort. So what do you do? You put forth double the effort to keep the relationship going. Relationships require two people—period. While it’s understandable (and respectable) that you might be willing to go the extra mile, it’s not doing you or your relationship with him any favors. If you’re dating a guy who’s comfortable letting you do all the work, he probably doesn’t really want a relationship. After all, relationships take effort—from both people.
  2. He likes the attention. If a guy doesn’t make an effort but knows you’re interested in him, he may just be passively enjoying your attention and company. For some guys (and ladies too!), the ego boost can be enough to keep someone around. If he’s interested, he’ll show you. But if not, he may just be happy to have you around, knowing that you’re there to provide affection and validation when needed.
  3. You’re not a priority. We all have limited time and energy and must decide carefully how to use them. We must set our priorities and give our attention to what is most important in life. So if a guy is putting little effort into your relationship, the truth is you’re not a priority. This can happen both in dating and in already-committed relationships. If a guy you’re dating doesn’t really care about developing the relationship further, he probably won’t try to keep you around. And if a guy you’re already in a relationship with has several other competing priorities, he likely won’t have much energy left for you. Either way, he’s choosing to place his efforts elsewhere, whether it be with work, hanging with his guy friends, or even with dating other girls.
  4. He’s not scared to lose you. When a guy is just as happy with you as without you, he typically won’t make an effort to keep you. Though healthy relationships aren’t built on codependency (where both partners are highly dependent on the relationship), they shouldn’t be viewed as disposable either. And let’s be honest: you’re far too valuable to waste your time on a guy who doesn’t mind not having you around. If he’s content envisioning life without you, perhaps it’s time you start considering life without him too.
  5. He’s taking you for granted. Similar to not being scared to lose you, a guy may also not make an effort when he’s taking you for granted. When a guy takes you for granted, he doesn’t appreciate you. He assumes you’ll always be available, even if he doesn’t contribute to your relationship. On the other hand, a guy who is truly interested in you will continuously appreciate your presence in his life, and his actions will reflect this.
  6. He’s exploring his options. If a guy is into you, he won’t treat you as an option. But sometimes, guys put the minimum into a date or relationship to keep that person available as an alternative, while continuing to date and meet other people. If a guy hasn’t completely rejected or ignored you, yet he’s putting no effort into getting to know you, he may only be treating you as a backup option while he continues playing the field.
  7. He’s bad at communication. You’ve probably heard the phrase “actions speak louder than words,” and consider this true when a guy makes no effort. While direct communication is usually best, it isn’t often used in the early stages of dating and relationships. Instead, people rely on signals to communicate their feelings and intentions. If a guy stops putting effort into getting closer, he likely isn’t interested and is hoping you’ll understand by his actions alone.

Whether you’re just starting to date someone new or already in a defined relationship, it takes two people to make it work. You deserve more than a one-sided relationship; you deserve someone who can see and appreciate your innate value as a person and a partner.

If you’re just getting to know each other and he’s already unwilling to make an effort, you may want to save yourself the time and energy and let go now. But if you’re in a long-term relationship where his effort has waned over time, consider communicating your feelings and concern directly to your partner. Communicate clearly what you need in your relationship.

And above all else, if you find you’re still the only one trying, remember that one person alone can’t make a relationship work.

Relationship educator, writer, host of the Relationship Reminders podcast, and mental health advocate hailing from the US and currently based in Tokyo