Why He Wants to Keep His Options Open Even When He Really Likes You

Even when you’re sure he really likes you, whether because of his actions or because he straight-up tells you he does, the guy you’re seeing still refuses to lock things down. That must be endlessly frustrating for you ladies, but there are probably legitimate reasons he wants to keep his options open even though he really likes you. From a guy’s perspective, here are just a few of them.

  1. Flirting is fun. Even when a guy is in a happy relationship, it’s hard to resist the urge to flirt with random women when the opportunity presents itself. Flirting is fun, especially when it’s with someone you don’t actually know/aren’t dating. After all, you don’t know any of their tricks and they don’t know any of yours. This is one reason he might have a wandering eye when he’s in a happy relationship. He doesn’t want to give up the option to flirt and have fun. The thing to remember is that flirting is cheap and doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you.
  2. We don’t want to be alone. Nobody wants to be alone, right? Some guys are more fearful of this than others, but those who are terrified will likely want to keep their options open even if they’re in a stable relationship. More than anything, they want to have a backup even if it’s something more casual. A lot of guys aren’t as confident as they appear. In the back of their minds, they worry about being dumped. In case their relationship turns south, they want to have a Plan B in place.  It’s more out of fear than maliciousness.
  3. You may not be marriage material. Okay, harsh truth time. There can be a difference between him being happy with you and thinking that you’re “The One.” If he hasn’t yet been convinced that you’re for keeps, he’s more likely to keep his options open. Of course, this will change if he starts to view you as his future wife. However, there might be other women in his life who he thinks are “wife material.” Even if he’s happy with you, he still has those women on the back-burner for when he feels like he’s ready to get married.
  4. He’s feeding his ego. Some of us are a tad insecure, but there are others who are egomaniacs. The latter category of guy always thinks he can do better. Even if he loves you, his ego is telling him that the grass is possibly greener elsewhere. This will keep his eyes wandering in case something better comes along.
  5. Something is missing. I can’t say specifically what might be missing from your relationship, but if he feels like he’s not getting everything he wants, he’ll be more likely to keep his options open. Of course, a guy can love you and be happy even if things aren’t perfect. However, is something is missing, he won’t want to shut the door to other possibilities.
  6. He doesn’t want to settle. For some guys, becoming exclusive with someone feels like settling. Even if engagement and marriage aren’t particularly close, a guy may not be eager to settle down into a serious relationship. A guy keeping his options open might be doing this to avoid this feeling. He may love you and be happy to get serious, but if he’s afraid of settling down, he’ll still try to avoid settling down
  7. He’s hung up on his ex. We all have the one that got away, right? The sad truth is that some of us can get past that person and some of us can’t. When a guy can’t get over the one who got away, he’ll always want to keep his options open in case she comes back. It’s his way of holding out hope. For what it’s worth, he can still love you if he’s still pining away for someone else, but he’d also drop you in a second if he thinks he has a chance to get her back. Sometimes it’s not about keeping his options open, it’s just about leaving that one door open.
  8. He misses the single life. With so many dating apps and ways to meet people nowadays, some guys find it hard to give up the single life even when they’re found someone awesome. They tend to romanticize that lifestyle and all of the possibilities it created. For a lot of guys, there’s always a part of them that’s always reluctant to give that up. Even when a guy is in a loving relationship, if he’s keeping his options open, he can hold onto the single life for as long as possible.
Bryan Zarpentine graduated from Syracuse University and lives in upstate New York, where he writes largely about the world of sports. His work has appeared on Franchise Sports and WSN, among others. You can find him on Twitter @BZarp.