10 Reasons He’s Keeping You Around When He Doesn’t Want A Relationship

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There’s a guy in your life – but he’s not exactly your boyfriend.

He doesn’t seem interested in an official relationship, but he’s quite happy to keep you around.

It’s like he doesn’t want to let you go, but he doesn’t want to fully commit either.

It could be for a range of reasons, so you don’t need to panic!

There are ways you can tackle this issue and move forwards – together!

Let’s take one issue at a time.

1. He might not know what he wants.

This is totally normal for a lot of people!

Some of us aren’t 100% sure what we want in life, or at what time we should be doing certain things.

If you met on a dating app, it might seem like he’s saying he’s ready to date and be in a relationship, but he might not have considered actually finding someone he wants to be with.

So, now that he has, he might be feeling a bit out of his depth.

Maybe he had plans to change career or go travelling for a year, and having feelings for someone doesn’t really fit into that timeline.

It’s okay to not know what you want, but it can make things tricky when you’re seeing someone.

How to work through it:

Talk. It’s really that simple!

If you both still enjoy spending time together, you don’t need a label and a five-year plan.

You can revisit the topic later down the line, but it’s okay to be with someone without sticking a label on it. 

2. It might be too early.

Annoyingly, most men and women work differently – that’s just how it is!

Maybe you asked quite early on to put a label on it, and he just wants a bit more time to get to know you first.

Remember that ‘relationship’ means something different to everyone.

To you, it might mean not seeing other people. To him, it might mean meeting each other’s family, talking about marriage, and getting a mortgage together.

How to work through it:

If things are good between you and you’re in the first few months of getting to know each other, there’s no cause for concern.

As long as you’re comfortable with whatever you’ve agreed on (e.g. being exclusive), does it really matter that he doesn’t want to label it?

3. It’s convenient for him.

This is where we get into the real-talk.

Sometimes, men keep you dangling because it’s easy for them.

If you’re in a rut with them and they’re only calling you at 2am, it’s time to think about what’s really going on.

If you’re comfortable with that type of relationship, go for it!

If you want something more real (and in daylight!), you need to address what’s happening.

Is everything on his terms? Does he bail on you all the time? Does he never pick up his phone unless he wants something from you?

How to work through it:

If you want more, you need to tell him.

If he can’t, or won’t, give that to you, it’s time to consider moving on.

It’s brutal, but it’s true.

You are worth whatever it is you want in a relationship.

Sure, there have to be some compromises and maybe he will never answer the phone every single time, but you need to think about what you really want from someone.

Be honest with him without throwing an ultimatum at him. Know your worth and when to walk away. 

4. He’s hung up on an ex.

If he’s not committing to you – either by being exclusive or by putting a label on it – he may not be fully over his ex.

They may have recently broken up, or it could have been really messy.

If he’s not gotten closure and is still in touch with her, this is likely the reason he’s not ready for a relationship with you.

How to work through it:

Again, communication is key. It might feel a bit scary to bring this up, but you need to know where you stand in order to know where you’re going.

If he’s not over his ex and it’s stopping him from moving forwards with you, it may be time for you to move on.

It’s hard, especially if you feel like you have something real with him, but you need to be with someone who makes you feel good about yourself. 

5. He’s seeing other people.

‘Relationship’ means something different to everyone, but the most common aspect of being in one is being exclusive.

If he doesn’t want to commit to you, maybe it’s because he’s enjoying playing the field too much. 

How to work through it:

Consider if you’ve actually spoken about this before.

If it’s an ongoing issue and he’s repeatedly dating or sleeping with other people while with you, there’s a bigger issue at hand.

If you’ve not talked about it before and want to see where you stand, speak to him about it.

Either he sees just you and you date exclusively to see how you get on, or he sees anyone he likes that isn’t you.

It’s difficult to say that and put yourself out there, but you need to be with someone who can commit to you in some ways.

That might not be a label and a public declaration of love, but if he can be exclusive with you, he’s taking a step toward committing to you. 

6. He doesn’t know what you want.

Maybe this will sound naive, but unless you’ve openly spoken about it, he might not know that you want a relationship.

Guys fear rejection, too! He might not be acting like he wants to commit because he’s afraid to suggest a relationship in case you say no.

If you’ve been making an effort to be ‘cool’ with casually dating, he might think that you actually want to be seeing other guys, so he has been holding off from asking for it. 

How to work through it:

If you’re starting to really want a relationship with this guy, tell him.

He might say no, for any of the other reasons on this page, or he might be really relieved you brought it up!

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7. He’s been hurt before.

Again, guys have feelings too. We get so caught up in the media’s stories about men being heartless, but they also get scared of things and have been hurt in the past.

His ex may have cheated on him or made him feel worthless. Or he may have some anxiety around relationships or feel insecure in himself in some ways.

How to work through it:

Remember that he’s a human being as well.

He may be carrying some past traumas – that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to be with you; it just means that he may want to take things slowly.

He may have subconsciously linked being in a relationship with getting hurt or being cheated on, and it may have nothing to do with how he feels about you!

Talk it out, be compassionate, and, if he’s committing in other ways (being exclusive, making the effort to see you, introducing you to his friends etc.), maybe consider letting go of that label.

You’re together in a lot of ways, so does the label really mean anything if you’re already committing to each other? 

8. It feels bigger than it is.

He may be worried about things suddenly jumping to something more serious once you’ve said you’re in a relationship.

Maybe his friends’ girlfriends have asked to be official and then asked to get a joint bank account or move in together, for example!

Again, ‘relationship’ means something different to everyone, so it’s quite natural to both have different reactions to the suggestion of it. 

How to work through it:

If you want your man to commit more, or show he cares more, it might not be a question of putting a label on it.

Instead, talk to him about what you do want.

If you want the relationship to be official because it makes you feel more secure, work out ways to get that security without the label.

That might mean making plans and sticking to them, or spending time with his friends so you feel considered in his life.

If that’s all too much for him, you need to think about how that makes you feel and if you’re happy to compromise those things just to be with him in other ways. 

9. There’s too much pressure!

If you’re reading this article, you may have already had the chat about making your relationship official.

If that’s the case, think about how you approached the subject – and be honest with yourself.

Did you put pressure on him to commit?

Have you brought it up several times and held it against him when he said no?

Maybe he feels quite overwhelmed by how much you want to put a label on it.

That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t still have feelings for you. It might just mean that it’s somehow become something quite big and scary, and he just needs a bit of time to process it all.

How to work through it:

Give him some time and space to process.

That doesn’t mean you need to put whatever you have on hold; it just means not bringing this conversation up for a while!

He may have been a little put off by it all if you got quite insistent or upset during the initial conversation, so might just need some time.

Take your foot off the pedal and step back – he’ll probably ease into the idea in his own time.

Nobody likes being nagged or made to feel like they have to do something, even if they wanted to do it anyway! 

10. He likes the single life too much.

This is a tricky one, but it’s a truth we all have to acknowledge at some point!

Some people just want to be single.

It’s that simple.

It’s easy to have little flings with people, have a few women on the ‘backburner’ that they can text when they’re bored/lonely/drunk.

Some guys just don’t want anything meaningful, for a huge number of reasons – they don’t have time, they don’t want to have to consider someone else’s feelings, they like sleeping around, etc. 

How to work through it:

If you feel like the guy in your life is keeping you hanging on a string, but never commits, talk to him about it.

It may be that he’s keeping you dangling because you’re available. It sounds harsh, but it might be the case.

You need to see if he wants to actually give things a go by asking him – if he says yes, go for it; if he says no, he’s not the right person for you, no matter how much you may think you like him.

Remember that this isn’t personal – he might like you, he just likes himself and his lifestyle more.

It’s rubbish and it hurts, but it’s good to ask this and move on if you need to, rather than sitting around and wondering.

Ultimately, you need to think about how the situation makes you feel.

Sure, you might not have a label and you might not be official on Facebook, but is he making an effort, committing to you in the ways that count, and making sure you know he cares?

We often get so caught up in the idea of having a label that we forget that what actually counts is how we feel with the person.

Sometimes, we need to take a step back and give the other person a bit of leeway – that means acknowledging that they’re human and that they may need a bit of time.

Remember, they don’t need to be factoring you into their 5-year plan just yet!

It’s okay if they want to take things slowly or they’re worried about being hurt – if they make you feel good and they show up in the ways that really count, you’re basically in a relationship anyway! 

Don’t give them an ultimatum if this is the case – it’ll likely make them feel more pressured or stressed, and it shows you in a negative, needy light, which isn’t representative of the real you.

He may make a decision based on that version of you, rather than the real you that he’s taking time to get to know.

Nobody likes being told to make a decision on the spot, in a stressful situation with lots of feelings involved.

Let go of the importance of the label and decide based on how you feel (how both of you feel) and everything will figure itself out along the way.

The more comfortable he feels, the more likely he is to suggest it himself, after all…

If they continue to behave like they’re not with you – keeping you hidden from friends, cancelling on you all the time, only wanting to see you when it suits them – you need to consider if this is enough for you.

That kind of arrangement works for a lot of people, but both sides need to be comfortable in order for it to work.

If he keeps failing to show up for you and makes you feel insecure and bad about yourself, things need to change – and that may mean that things also need to end.

If you’re not comfortable just being someone’s partner when it suits them, you need to find a way to ask for what you want – and be prepared to walk away if they can’t give that to you.

It’s really hard – especially when other aspects of their personality are highly attractive – but you need to put yourself first.

It’s not irrational to ask someone you’re seeing to commit to you (whether that’s being exclusive, making it official, or moving in together!), so don’t let yourself be made to feel ‘needy’ or ‘crazy’ for wanting some level of commitment.

If they gaslight you or make you feel like you’re asking for too much, they’re not the right person for you and they don’t respect you enough.

You will find someone who can make you feel wanted and cared about – which is what you deserve.

Still not sure what to do about this guy and whether it’s going anywhere? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.

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About Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.