I once dated a guy for five months who refused to call me his girlfriend, but who also told me verbatim that's basically what I was. We went on vacations together. I was his plus-one at weddings. He insisted on meeting my parents, and he introduced me to his sister. I was even on email chains with his co-workers and his best friend.
But after months and months of dating, I still never got that girlfriend title. Why was this? And what are the signs he won't commit? Sometimes, it can be hard to tell — especially when your significant other is being hot and cold.
To figure it out, I asked dating coaches Eric Resnick, owner and lead dating coach at ProfileHelper.com, and Mike Goldstein, founder of EZ Dating Coach (where women go to understand men and become expert online daters), about the confusing things men do when they're absolutely terrified to take the next step and commit. If you recognize some of these behaviors, you might be in a non-relationship with someone who fears commitment.
1. They Start Becoming Distant
If your partner is afraid of commitment, then they might be emotionally unavailable or at least a little hot and cold when it comes to your relationship.
"When some men start feeling like a relationship is starting to get a little more real than they were expecting, it's not uncommon for them to pull back, become a little more distant, and start doing things like taking longer to return calls or texts," says Resnick.
They might make more plans without you or go out for more nights with the boys. Maybe you start seeing them less or — as one of my exes did — they go out of town without even telling you.
It's great to be independent in a relationship, but when you are dating someone, you're also interested in blending your lives together. Someone who is not interested in commitment will value their autonomy more than monogamy.
2. They'll Start Being Overly Critical
Resnick says, "When some men get scared at the idea of a relationship becoming more serious, they start over-analyzing ever little detail about their partner and and will often start small arguments over the smallest of faults."
So suddenly, the small things in your relationship — little road bumps — all of a sudden become large hurdles.
Have you ever had a partner say they just don't know if they can be with someone who doesn't like horror films? Or have you been in a situation where a small argument about taking out the trash suddenly becomes a relationship-ending fight?
If so, this is most likely just a significant other who actually fears commitment, and the small details have nothing to do with it.
3. They Start Cheating
A man who is afraid of commitment is likely also afraid of exclusivity and monogamy. "A big thing that men will do when they are afraid of committing is that they'll self-sabotage, and there is no better way to sabotage your relationship than to sleep with someone else," says Resnick.
If a person respects you, they're not going to lie to you by secretly f*cking someone else. Players wanna play, not settle down. Don't try to change them.
4. They Don't Introduce You To Family And Friends
Someone who sees a future will incorporate you into their inner circle, and that means introducing you to family and friends.
"If he doesn't want to meet your friends or family or vice versa, it is simply because he doesn't expect you to be around for long enough to warrant meeting them," Goldstein says. "If he truly wanted to get to know you, one of the best ways is through friends and family."
Although it doesn't have to be immediate, if you've been dating for a while, your significant other should be excited to show you off to his friends. If you're not a part of any of his down time with the people close to him, you have to question why.
5. They Don't Make Plans For The Future With You
A person who wants to commit to you isn't afraid to talk about the future. "Does he invite you to a wedding in six months? Any talks of a Caribbean vacation down the road?" Goldstein asks. "If he is not talking about the future, he doesn't see a future with you."
While no man has ever planned a Caribbean vacation with me (I'll have to vision board that one), every serious relationship I've had has involved freely talking about weekend vacations, moving in together, couples Halloween costumes, and RSVPing to weddings that are months away.
If a guy can't commit to being Mario and Luigi for Halloween in a few months, then he probably doesn't see a future with you. That is the litmus test for a good relationship!
6. They Only Want Sex
Are you his boo or just his booty call? "If you don't sleep with him for five dates, does he keep asking you out? If yes, he likes you and is most likely OK with commitment," says Goldstein. "If no, he doesn't like you."
If you don't give it up, and he immediately loses interest, then your relationship was most likely built on lust, not love. If someone is truly interested in you, they'll put the time and effort into getting to know you — regardless of whether or not you're givin' it up.
7. They Don't Try To Accommodate Your Schedule
Someone who wants to be in a relationship with you will move mountains to see you.
"He normally watches football on Sunday, and you say, 'I would love your opinion on what new bed to buy. Would you come with me to Macy's on Sunday to bed shop?' If he says 'yes,' that is a good sign," says Goldstein. "If he declines, not a great sign. If he negotiates to go on a different day, that is still a positive sign."
Real relationships are built on seeing one another in real life. If a person wants to see you, they'll make an effort to rearrange their schedule and make it happen. If they don't want to put effort into you, or they make you feel like a burden, then they don't think you or your relationship are worth the trouble.
Listen, dating a commitment-phobe is a dead-end road — I know, I've done it. You deserve better than to waste your time. So if you recognize some of these signs in your relationship, it might be time to move on to someone who is emotionally and physically available.
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